Yesterday’s post, in which we talked about Hoaxtead True Believers’ need to believe themselves personally, heroically, and above all exceptionally righteous and moral, touched off a number of very interesting discussions.
Satanic Views pointed out the invaluable role played by scapegoats, upon which various groups can hang their collective anger, hatred, and fear:
Who is the hubristic fool who came into our troubled society, who is different from us, who pulled all our psychological strings, all our hates, our fears and anger? After near three years of extreme distress, who shall become the Jesus who will carry all our anger, hate, fear and outrage upon their cross? The wickerman standing waiting on Hampstead Heath for them? Someone is going to fall, someone is going to get it. The opportunity for that moment is still to come. But we are all open to this human fault, them and us.
And building on that idea, Justin Sanity pointed out that the True Believers aren’t the only ones prone to projecting their anger, hatred, and fear onto “the other”. In fact, those of us on the side of rationality and evidence-based thinking are just as prone to creating scapegoats, and we shouldn’t try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re somehow immune.
It’s important to recognise in ourselves that same wish to be seen as the arbiters of moral authority, or at least the keepers of the rationalist keys to the kingdom. We’ve placed ourselves on that particular pedestal over and over on this blog, and while we believe we’re justified in doing so, we must beware of becoming smug and complacent. We must also beware the tendency to decide that this person or that one is the “true villain of the piece”. Yes, some people certainly seem to bear more culpability than others (coughAbeEllaBelindaSabinecough), while some are just plain objectionable human beings (coughAngieCharlotteShurtercough), but in taking a stand for what we believe is right, we mustn’t risk becoming just as ugly and offensive as those we oppose.
‘This is their pornography’
AVTM offered an interesting counter-analysis:
[Mr Clark’s] analysis is almost certainly valid when we’re considering the ‘more harmless’ bizarre tales that cross the blurry line between the ‘entertaining unexplained’ (i.e. modern folklore) and stupidly-childish fairy stories generated by the feeble-minded, which they present as some sort of reality – as opposed to the fiction a rational person might. But there is surely something further to be said about the ‘health’ and nature of the fantasies that people generate and embrace?
There are lines which, if crossed, indicate that the subject might be a danger to other people even if they are expressed as ‘just fantasies’.
For example, some years ago there was an individual – a computer expert – caught ‘PhotoShopping’ the heads of his friends and neighbours’ children onto images of children being abused, with his own face superimposed in the position of abuser. There is no evidence he actually physically harmed any child himself; and that was his argument in defence both online and in court. Of course, it didn’t wash and rightly so, he done time and lost his position in society. This individual was by no means unintelligent or uneducated, in fact the position they held in life was not only one of trust but required an advanced graduate level education.
Elsewhere, consider the self righteous claptrap of Nigel Leigh Oldfield as he (ab)uses his intellect to justify his disgusting and harmful agenda. The ‘tack’ taken by him being in many ways very similar to my first example. – Both claim to be ‘mere fantasists’ who had never actually harmed a child.
…And there’s the issue; fantasising about sexually abusing children; that’s the line.
We can easily find evidence of how those who do that thing seek to circumvent the law which prevents them making or possessing images of child abuse. These include the production of ‘textual’ material featuring child abuse. And, as noted by the judge in the Hampstead case, video material of these two children repeating these sick sexual fantasies is likely to have been found ‘stimulating’ to those of that particular bent.
Outside of law enforcement or clinical study, I can think of no legitimate situation where someone might dwell at length on the minutia of sexual abuse.
Therefore, rather than being any kind of ‘good person’ exhibiting sheep-like compliance with the party line of ‘good’, these people are far more likely to be wallowing in and obtaining ‘satisfaction’ from the fantasy itself. Which is one reason why they are so resistant to it being ‘killed off’ and so desperate to keep the pot boiling.
– This is their ‘pornography’.
This is absolutely correct: for many of the True Believers who’ve latched onto the Hampstead SRA hoax, the vivid descriptions of child sexual abuse do seem to represent a kind of pornography, from which they derive an illicit thrill. We’ve stated that on this blog many times in the past, and we still believe it’s true.
Rather than seeing the “Hoaxtead videos/textual material equals pornography” argument as in opposition to the “need to believe themselves to be what they think righteousness looks like” one, though, it’s entirely possible to see them as two sides of the same coin.
Those who get an illicit thrill from the descriptions of anal rape and child torture described in the Hoaxtead videos are arguably more in need of a compensatory sense of moral superiority than the rest of us. In old-fashioned Freudian terms, we could see this as a simple case of denial or compensation: a conscious or unconscious psychological strategy whereby one denies and covers up unacceptable desires and urges, substituting self-righteous indignation for fascination with child abuse images, for example.
As conspiracy theories proliferate online, we think it’s becoming increasingly important to understand the mindset of those who, for example, would choose to align with people like Abraham Christie and Ella Draper or their ilk. Those of us who continue to stand on the side of evidence, rationality, and reality can only continue to do so if we have some kind of working theory of what motivates those on the other side. Otherwise, we will continue to find ourselves attempting to reason with a metaphorical brick wall.