Perspectives: Mass hysteria won’t fix racism in America

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OPINION – One of the most difficult aspects of mass hysteria is recognizing that it’s happening. What’s even more difficult is convincing others they’ve been caught up in it.

The creator of the “Dilbert” cartoon, Scott Adams, recently penned a marvelous explanation of mass hysteria events and why those caught in the mass hysteria bubble can be so confused. You can read it here.

His essay couldn’t have been more timely.

Right now, a portion of American society appears caught up in a “War of the Worlds” level of mass hysteria over race and racism. So-called social justice protestors, politicians and members of the mass media are convinced that an epidemic of bigotry is – pardon the pun – racing across the nation like a wildfire.

To this end, they are engaged in a grotesque overreaction that accuses everyone who doesn’t agree with them in exactly the right way of being a Nazi. To everyone inside that mass hysteria bubble, Adams says, those of us outside all look like Nazi collaborators.

Watch this video to witness a shocking example of what this hysteria looks and sounds like. Be warned, it contains gutter language. If the words and actions of these alleged “protestors for free speech” don’t constitute mass hysteria, I don’t know what would.

The fact that politicians, pundits and other leaders are complying with these slingers of guilt is a good indicator that they’re caught up in the hysteria bubble too.

Whenever someone insists that you join their group or be damned, you can be certain you’re dealing with weaponized guilt.

Paul Rosenberg brilliantly explains why guilt is the preferred weapon of those who wish to remake our society in their own revolutionary image. He points out that the Judeo-Christian traditions of compassion for the outsider, forgiveness and loving your neighbor were imperatives for enlightened and righteous action.

If you want to subvert people in a culture built on righteous action, you must make them feel guilty enough to give you power over them.

Rosenberg writes:

Please remember that guilt plus politics is a toxic mixture. It serves to dethrone reason and transfer power to clever abusers. Don’t concede good intentions to people who wield this weapon against you. They aim to chop things down, not to repair them.

Rosenberg’s observation doesn’t seek to absolve us from errors we’ve actually made. In fact, he counsels, once we’ve faced our errors and fixed them, we should stop complying with those who deal in guilt.

That’s not a blank check to try to assign blame for someone else’s errors to people who never committed the wrong or had any say in the matter. It’s about what you can do in the here and now to be one who makes a difference rather than one who mindlessly tears down.

The world we live in needs problem solvers more so than it needs violent, chanting mobs seeking power over one another.

If you’re serious about making a difference in combating authentic hatred, here’s an example you might consider following. Blues musician Daryl Davis has persuaded no less than 200 individuals to leave the Ku Klux Klan.

One or two might have been an aberration. Scores of successes represents a lesson for anyone who is paying attention.

He didn’t do it by violently protesting in the streets. He didn’t go around assaulting or threatening other people or shouting them down and trying to prevent them from speaking. Davis convinced these former Klan members to abandon their ideology by befriending them.

Once they got to know him, they found that they simply could not hold on to their hatred any longer.

Davis didn’t set out to reform these men; he started by simply asking the question, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” Such a question requires a combination of courage, humility and a desire to build rather than tear down.

Davis gave them a chance to get to know him personally, and most importantly, he treated them the way he would want to be treated. What a concept.

Resisting the temptation to dehumanize them for their beliefs, he instead helped them to see him as an individual and became humanized in their eyes. There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

When a black man can win over 200 of the supposedly most uncompromising racists around, doesn’t that speak to the power of his approach?

The approach taken by Davis relied on enlightened and righteous action rather than guilt, anger and violence. Instead of focusing on group identity and mob-driven solutions, he approached the problem on an individual basis and won the trust of his former opponents.

Davis’ positive results stemmed from an individual who consciously decided that he wouldn’t allow further evil to enter the world through him.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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26 Comments

  • theone August 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

    That is the best obituary I’ve ever read: Rest in peace reality……………………………………………………………………

    • ladybugavenger August 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Love your neighbors and change the world one person at a time.

      It’s easy to love someone that’s easy to love but the test is loving the hard hearted annoying mean neighbor and breaking through the hard heart ❤️

      Love you Theone!

  • comments August 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I’m not even sure what the leftists are trying to accomplish anymore besides chaos. I think they’re a product of a decaying civilization. Gen Z may end up being more left-leaning and confused that millennials, so I don’t hold out much hope for them. The degeneracy of zionism’s stranglehold on our culture will eventually bring the US as we know it to an end. The multi-cult hell hole that they have planned for us is not a good future. Dark dark times ahead.

  • DRT August 28, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Good article Bryan. I often disagree with your column. In fact, there are times that I find your columns to be out in lala land.
    But this is one that I have to agree with.

  • bikeandfish August 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Bryan is getting closer to a productive tone and content but still uses the techniques and language he is critiquing. While at one praising the strategy of taking the “problem on an individual basis and won the trust of his former opponents” he himself employs exaggeration and gross generalization like “violent, chanting mobs seeking power over one another” to dehumanize those he disagrees with.

    Its a shame as it would be easy to name the “groups” who are responsible for the bulk of the violence and destruction in protests the last year. They are “anti-fa” and the like who employ “black-bloc” techniques that inherently look to disrupt peaceful protest. They are worth discussing but it means not projecting their style and philosophy onto the bulk of those in the streets protesting. Many in the “left” have been trying to prevent them from hijacking the content of their protests for months (actually years and decades). One just has to dig a little deeper than headlines to see that even in liberal strongholds like Berkeley the average citizen has seen the harm and destruction those techniques have done to property, protest and political goals. But make no mistake, that is the aim of the anarchist philosophy that drives those groups. When they don’t happen to have neo-nazis, a group they fought since inception, to fight then they turn their tactics against police, journalist and peaceful protestors on all sides. They want chaos and to usurp government at every step.

    Its a shame that a person with Hyde’s position choices to ignore these distinctions and deals in gross generalizations. It is no better than the actions of those he condemns. Yep, there are those engaging in inflammatory and irrational slogans and ideas. But its our job to name those individuals and organizations explicitely and challenge their actual statements. That is what Daryl Davis did and that is even what the author praises. Why do the exact opposite when you have the chance to help make a difference?

    And make no mistake, racial prejudice exists in our society. A distinction gets lost in the wash though. It always has existed even after the major political victories of the Civil Rights era. The KKK and white nationalist never went away but they do flare up at moments when they feel they can safely recruit. That is what Spencer has explicitly stated as he knows he needs more members. And this is the man who started the “alt-right” as an unfortunate rebranding of extremist ideology. But its not just them. On this very forum we see serious racial prejudice justified under the banner of white flight. We see people openly advocating for white suburbia and projecting the worst racial stereotypes of our time. Those are just the most obtuse of the ways racism exists in our society. How will our region deal with that reality?

    • comments August 28, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      Didn’t you get the memo? Apparently, “all white people are racist and should all be killed!”

      • ladybugavenger August 28, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Quite the irony there…

        • ladybugavenger August 28, 2017 at 6:57 pm

          P.S. I’ve never owned a slave and I didn’t steal the Native American’s land

          • comments August 28, 2017 at 7:45 pm

            i never killed indians or owned any slaves, but once again, “all white people are racist and should all be killed!”. I don’t make the rules LBA

      • bikeandfish August 28, 2017 at 9:59 pm

        Curious what organization or individual stated that? Black separatist groups have been tracked and observed for a long time, just look to SPLC hate map to verify. Their organizational and individual discrimination can be extreme and violent in rhetoric. There members have been known to kill people because of their beliefs.

    • Henry August 28, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      “Many in the ‘left’ have been trying to prevent them from hijacking the content of their protests for months (actually years and decades). One just has to dig a little deeper than headlines to see that even in liberal strongholds like Berkeley the average citizen has seen the harm and destruction those techniques have done to property, protest and political goals.”

      From a recent Atlantic magazine article: “Antifa’s violent tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left.”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/the-rise-of-the-violent-left/534192/

      • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        You do realize you are quoting that is criticizing the left for aligning with Antifa and supports my hypothesis, correct? The final statements conclude their hypothesis:

        “The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.”

        And you did pull a quote from the article but its an example (not on your part) as those insets are normally direct quotes from the article but the one you pulled is an anomaly as the sentence in the article states:

        “Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left”

        The “tactics” are a reference to the previous sentences:

        “They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.”

        Be careful cherry picking sentences in such complex articles. The Atlantic article actually does a good job at reporting the rising support of some in the left for Antifa while also highlighting the dangers of such associations. It’s exactly what I support: members of a group holding themselves to higher standards or at least the same ones they expect of their opposition.

        To be clear, I never denied some left-leaning citizens support Antifa. That reality can and does exist alongside my statement about “many in the ‘left’ have been trying to prevent them from hijacking the content of their protests”. Support for my statement from the article:

        “Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.”

        Remember my statement that the attempt to marginalize Antifa has been going on for years and decades? Yep, supported above.

        Extremist in any party can be appealing to a portion of a political base when the values they harbor are threatened. The expectation is that those within the mainstream can hold the line against such fanaticism to maintain the integrity of their values. That is happening even though Antifa is gaining members.

        http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Antifa-radicals-aren-t-good-because-they-11882595.php

        https://www.google.com/amp/www.newsweek.com/berkeley-mayor-calls-antifa-be-classified-crime-gang-after-clashes-sunday-656286%3famp=1

        Berkeley:

        “I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well,” said the mayor.

        “We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” said Arreguin.”

        San Fran:

        “But many liberals, particularly in the media, are victims of the same kind of confusion that vexed so much of American liberalism in the 20th century. Because antifa suddenly has the (alt-)right enemies, they must be the good guys. They’re not.

        And that’s why this debate is so toxically stupid. Fine, antifa isn’t as bad as the KKK. Who cares? Since when is being less bad than the Klan a major moral accomplishment?

        In these tribal times, the impulse to support anyone who shares your enemies is powerful. But it is a morally stunted reflex. This is America. You’re free to denounce totalitarians wherever you find them — even if they might hate the right people.”

        This is why having a moderate middle in any political party is key. The “far”-wings of any party push to extremism and fundamentalism which can undermine a groups own values. In this case, the moderates of the DNC, which has always been the majority, are clearly fighting the alliance with Antifa. I mean, when the Mayor of Berkeley, what the right considers the bastion of liberalism, is explicitly calling out Antifa then you know its truly fanaticism.

        And I’ll defend conservatives the same way as I think the majority base is against extremism in their own party. That is why I think insults like RINO and DINO are so problematic as they eat the parties alive from the inside and shame the very people needed to find solutions that don’t resort to extremism and force.

        • Henry August 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm

          Why are you being so defensive? The Atlantic article added depth to your extracted quote, it doesn’t contradict it.

          As you pointed out, Mainstream Democrats have been trying to separate themselves from the far left since the 1960s. The new troubling trend that the Atlantic article points out is that now publications considered mainstream left, such as The Nation and Slate, are not separating themselves from the far left Antifa but in fact are justifying their tactics.

          The other troubling new trend is that police are no longer keeping the protesters and counter-protestors separated. Although the Antifa elements are but a fraction of the total number of counter-protesters, they still number in the hundreds and outnumber the protesters. The cops just stepping aside and allowing Antifa people to violently attack the protesters is just inviting a retaliatory escalation at future gatherings.

          • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

            Your point and quote seemed to be contradictory to my point. Thx for clarification.

            The policing has been problematic in regards to separating groups, which is a well established tool to reduce violent confrontations. The video circulating of the man firing his sidearm in Charlottesville highlights that well given you can see the Antifa member with a flame in the background.

            I remember when the video of Spencer getting punched circulated and getting shutdown for offering constructive criticism about supporting such violence. My experience showed most people jubilantly encouraging such tactics were admittedly Antifa and had been for a long time. But clearly Slate’s and the Nation’s responses to that event were problematic. But the Atlantic’s response only highlighted their articles on that particular event, not the broader violence seen in Berkeley and other locations. I wouldn’t be shocked if they supported such catharsis but I am not aware of any articles from them supporting those violent moments of Antifa. I am.also bummed there wasn’t more condemnation for the DJ20 antics from the left when we saw such prime examples of peaceful resistance that very day.

            Thanks for clarifying and sorry we seem to misunderstand each other.

  • youcandoit August 28, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Where do we draw the line? I come from a mixed family we like everyone. However I don’t like drug addicts what does that make me?

  • commonsense August 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Racism quieted down during the period 1970-2008. Obama became president largely because Whites voted for him, but ironically, in his first few days in office he started with the “Blacks are victims” rhetoric . A Black professor was stopped by a cop and Obama started playing the race card. Michelle Obama was embarrassed by her country. A couple of Black men were killed by cops and this lit the torch. The DOJ became very political, headed by a Black man, Eric Holter and later a Black woman, Loretta Lynch.

    So here we are back in the 60s but without Martin Luther King. Now we have Antifa, BLM, Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others stirring social unrest for a variety of selfish reasons. The latest reasons being political and aimed at the right who currently hold political power.

    I don’t see this ending well. Do violent leftists really want open warfare against the party in power? If I read the situation correctly, the left is on the wrong side when it comes to law enforcement and the military. I think law and order will be enforced perhaps by martial law. This may galvanize productive Americans to the defense of Trump. I see sympathy moving toward Trump if citizens feel threatened by anarchy or see Trump overtly persecuted by masked punks, bottom feeders and the media.

    • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 12:32 am

      I think the phrase “quieted down” is telling. The large targets of the Civil Rights Era, like poll taxes and segregation, were definitely falling by the late 60s. But the 70s onward were only quiet in comparison to the noise of violence on the street of the previous era. Racist hazing rituals existed across society in major ways through the 90s, and remnants continue today. At the government level racial discrimination continues to haunt the country. The Dept of Ag was found to have discriminated against black farmers until 1997. Black Lives Matter may be the target du jour for right-wing pundits but minorities have been talking about police violence and racism through every decade you have mentioned. This is especially true for the racism exposed in the NY Stop and Frisk campaign between 2003-2011. Post-9/11 violence on Muslims and anyone appearing to have middle eastern ancestry rose drastically. But even before then gross stereotypes haunted anyone of that faith or heritage for decades. Lynching definitely decreased after Jim Crow was dismantled but continued nonetheless. Nothing about the lynching of James Byrd in 1999 was quiet. Red-lining, the practice of racial discrimination in financial lending, continues to this day as evidenced by successful lawsuits against banks.

      Racism didn’t end overnight nor was its presence quiet or even peaceful from the 70s onward. If you are trying to say a majority of Americans slowly improved at racial integration and supporting equality then I would agree. But improved is a nebulous idea and can often lead to complacency. Its funny that you fault Michelle Obama’s alleged embarrassment statement, which if we are talking about the first election she never said, but don’t mention anything about how the horrendous racial slurs that have been leveled against her by elected officials, nonetheless the public. Obama didn’t use a race card when Henry Luis Gates was racially profiled for allegedly breaking into his own home (charges dropped). Discussing the history of racial profiling isn’t playing the race card, another meaningless term, but simply being honest about facts supported by studies and widespread personal experiences of citizens through the decades Ironically, the officer and Gates are amicable now and even interacted on his show only to find out that DNA showed they had shared Irish ancestors.

      The reality is that racial inequality has been talked about and fought over continuously the last few decades. The boiling over right now isn’t caused by people “stirring social unrest” for “selfish reasons”. History has shown that the realities that cause racism and racial inequality do enough of the stirring themselves.

      • comments August 29, 2017 at 11:41 am

        People simply naturally prefer to interact with others who look like themselves. Racially homogeneous societies I think are a much more natural order of things. Even in black Africa the slight differences in black ethnic groups is reason enough for them to kill each other. In the US, blacks, whites, mexicans they all tend to “self segregate” and mingle with their own groups. Like I’ve said, in general, they really only come together for work or schooling. I believe the more the leftists try and push this idea of some “multi-cult utopia” the worse things will get in this country. There will be no easy solutions for racial divides in this country. Leftist denial of human nature will only end in failure and violence.

        • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

          The social science term is subjective tribalism or neotribalism. And it is a theoretical phenomena but not in the deterministic way you describe. The founding values of this country, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, is the universal standard by which we measure action in this country. Writing off racism as a determined outcome of “human nature” is unscientific and ahistoric. Society has challenged citizens to always do better than the justification of “human nature” and appealed to the “better angels” that guide the values I mentioned.
          And the “multi-cult utopia” meme is nonsense. Its sloppy attempts to ridicule ideas and values that aren’t truly held by the majority on the left. And talking about the complex realities of de-facto segregation in no way aligns with condoning racism in its many current forms.

          • comments August 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            Well then, all these wealthy white leftist elitists pushing this multi-cult agenda politically should actually live around more blacks and mexicans and not in their wealthy gated all-white suburbs. Practice what they preach, ya know?

        • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm

          You keep talking about “multi-cult” agenda or utopia like it’s actually a stated agenda of the mainstream left. Its not. It’s about as useful as calling anything the “alt-left” as it doesn’t exist. Both are terms invented by opponents on the right. They are distractions.

          If you want to be taken seriously then name real agendas or goals of real people or organizations not fabricated red herrings or straw men. Expecting people to uphold ideas they never stated or claim is nonsensical.

          • comments August 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

            It is an agenda. Have you been keeping up on what’s happening to europe because of all the millions of 3rd migrants that have flooded in over the last few years? THE MULTI-CULT IS AN AGENDA AND THERE ARE GROUPS THAT PLAN AND ORCHESTRATE IT. If you think otherwise, you’re naive. Until you educate yourself more about it there is no use discussing with you. I don’t like such a generalized term as “the left”, either. It’s more sinister than that. Go research, buddy. I can’t do it for you.

        • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 3:40 pm

          You are expected to support your own ideas. It’s not my job to do that work for you. Calling me naive (multiple times now) is useless at best.

          Your example of immigrants into Europe problematic and ignores context. They are largely refugees seeking asylum from Africa and the Middle East. Its a crisis caused by war and famine not some conspiratorial agenda.

          The multi-cult is a fabrication. Show me evidence of anyone who supports immigration for refugees seeking asylum using the term. Show me organizations that support equality and diversity using the term. My guess is you can’t because they don’t. Let me give you a hint, its pejorative slang used by those who oppose folks who either value multiculturalism or at least are willing to talk about it in relationship to the founding ideals of the country.

  • commonsense August 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Reality is that only African blacks seem to feel victimized. Indians, Fijians, Melanesians just seem to be fine. Blacks of all cultures including African seem to get along when they act responsibly. I don’t see Ben Carson, Herman Cain, and Morgan Freeman feeling uncomfortable.

    The mercinary recruitment of punks to stir racial unrest is very much intended to destabilize our society and destroy America as we know it. Fortunately a strong leader stands at the helm and wants America great again after a decade of sever decline.

    Many African blacks have benefited from affirmative action and other programs designed to increase equality. Those that choose to be victims and rely on handouts will likely always be unhappy, not because of discrimination but because of failure to accept responsility.

    • bikeandfish August 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Clear to support your ideas? You didn’t in the other thread when I showed concrete examples of how black Americans have been and continue to be victimized by individual and institutional racism.

      From your comments it sounds like you fear that “punks” are trying to “destroy” and “destabilize” America as you “know it”. Tell me how individuals and organizations demanding equal treatment under the law (police violence, racial discrimination for services, etc) is a threat to anything enshrined in American law or doctrine. Tell me how demanding agencies not gerrymander your districts to suppress the influence of minority votes is inconsistent with “all men are created” and the inalienable rights our country honors.

      And don’t give me examples of the documented radicals who the majority oppose. The don’t represent most people on the street protesting anymore than the KKK or Richard Spencer represents the core of conservative beliefs.

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