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3 aphorisms

1 / 3   Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

Spoken in the House of Commons (18-Nov-1783). Based on the original lines in John Milton's Paradise Lost (Book IV, Line 393): "And with necessity, / The tyrant's plea, / excus'd his devilish deeds"


2 / 3   Scapegoating (according to Girard)

Whereas the philosophers of the 18th century would have agreed that communal violence comes to an end due to a social contract, Girard believes that, paradoxically, the problem of violence is frequently solved with a lesser dose of violence. When mimetic rivalries accumulate, tensions grow ever greater. But, that tension eventually reaches a paroxysm. When violence is at the point of threatening the existence of the community, very frequently a bizarre psychosocial mechanism arises: communal violence is all of the sudden projected upon a single individual. Thus, people that were formerly struggling, now unite efforts against someone chosen as a scapegoat. Former enemies now become friends, as they communally participate in the execution of violence against a specified enemy.

Girard calls this process scapegoating - an allusion to the ancient religious ritual where communal sins were metaphorically imposed upon a he-goat, and this beast was eventually abandoned in the desert, or sacrificed to the gods (in the Hebrew Bible, this is especially prescribed in Leviticus 16). The person that receives the communal violence is a ‘scapegoat’ in this sense: her death or expulsion is useful as a regeneration of communal peace and restoration of relationships.

However, Girard considers it crucial that this process be unconscious in order to work. The victim must never be recognized as an innocent scapegoat (indeed, Girard considers that, prior to the rise of Christianity, ‘innocent scapegoat’ was virtually an oxymoron; see section 4.b below); rather, the victim must be thought of as a monstrous creature that transgressed some prohibition and deserved to be punished. In such a manner, the community deceives itself into believing that the victim is the culprit of the communal crisis, and that the elimination of the victim will eventually restore peace.



3 / 3   What are the root motives of the American Conservative movement?

It's important to separate the goals of a Conservative movement versus the tools used by Conservatives to get to those goals.

Some will say: "Conservatives at the very top, they're racist, they're anti black, they're anti semitic, they're white supremacists." And so their goal is an all white world. Voter suppression is not a goal, as such, but a tool they happen to be using, motivated by racism, to achieve the white supremacist goal. Likewise opposing a rise to minimum wage: motivated by racism, a tool to keep non-white Americans poor. "Everything in American Conservative ideology is motivated by racism."

Another camp will say: "We live in an oligarchy. The elites are driven to protect their financial interests. And since the dawn of America, race has been weaponized as an underclass signifier even when it's no longer the de jure basis for the nation's economic prosperity (i.e. slavery)." From this perspective, to protect and perpetuate elite power (and wealth), the American Conservatives opportunistically exploit factions along racial lines - along a whole range of ingroup-outgroup signifiers - even going so far as to create and teach lower class people to Balkanize themselves by perceiving an outgroup as an enemy threat. This opportunism is the tool of the enrichment goal and while white versus nonwhite details are conditioned into the plebs as all-important, the Conservative elites care about wealth and power, not race. Race exists - along with many other group profiles - to carve out an Untermensch to be exploited into precarity (without backlash) and to misdirect the rest of the lower classes so they serve as footsoldiers for the exploitation and don't noticing (or resist) the reality of their own exploitation; and who's responsible.