There’s little offends the prejudiced more than seeing people from their hate-group doing ok. Whoever the prejudice is against, be it based on religion, skin colour, gender, gender preference… it usually comes with an assumption that the hate object is inferior. So if they’re getting ahead, or even staying afloat, there must be some kind of unfairness or cheating going on. It’s the next ‘logical’ step to imagine a conspiracy. So there’s the gay conspiracy, the Jewish conspiracy, there’s the feminist conspiracy to destroy men, there’s the conspiracy between members of any ethnic minority anywhere to help each other and exclude everyone else, and of course there’s the pagan conspiracy. I expect there are more.
Of course, one of the things about a conspiracy theory is that you can’t disprove it.
I wonder about the psychology of people who go in for prejudice and conspiracy theory belief in this way. I know they exist, I’ve seen their posts online, their hysterical newspaper columns, and other odious expressions. They get very worked up about some ‘other’ who they perceive as a coherent, organised group, all the same, and all guilty of some terrible thing. Currently, undermining traditional values, family values and Christian values are popular foci, but there are others. Always, always there’s this sense of the hater being better than the hate-object. Superiority is the name of the game. But superior in whose eyes? Who are they trying to convince?
Alongside the hatred is the fear of what would happen if (insert name of hate-object here) got into power. Fear that they in turn would become the abused victim. Fear that the hate-object group would treat them very badly indeed. So, apparently it’s better to get in there and do unto others before they have chance to do unto you. Remind me about those Christian values we were supposed to be upholding… I don’t remember anything about Jesus preaching hate and intolerance. I do recall him quoted as saying things like ‘love thy neighbour’ and telling stories that cast folk who were at the time suspect foreigners (the Samaritan) in a good light. Every time someone talks about defending Christian values, whilst using hate-language against another group, I wince. They clearly haven’t read the book at all.
So the fear mongers think there is a pagan conspiracy. We won’t fight it by saying it isn’t so. I’ve been active on the pagan scene for a good decade. I’ve run moots and rituals. Pagans are unspeakably difficult to organise, because we all have our own ideas and subtly different beliefs. It’s quite a feat getting enough pagans organised to have a camp or a conference. We manage it, there are great camps and conferences out there, but I’ll bet anyone running one would not rate the chances of organising a full blown conspiracy. It’s a joke. But the people who are afraid of us do not see the joke. Nor do they see the regular humanity of us, or any other group they fixate upon to detest. Which is tragic.
People should be freethinking individuals. We should none of us be easily herded like sheep by some elite who wants to drive us in one direction or another. Conspiracies led by leaders who want to bring down the world… evil powers bent on destruction, careless of humanity… is it me, or does this start to sound more like government and big business than ever it does like most minority groups?
Hate is not the answer. Not ever. We might not like or trust each other – the gods know I do not trust my current government, nor any of the ones before it. But to hate, vilify, and rage noisily against them (or anyone else for that matter) is not to solve anything. To treat people as groups, clichés and assumptions does not enable us to do anything. We are all individual people. The more we believe in the idea of there being ‘others’ conspiring against us, the more powerless and divided we become.
I’ve spent a lot of time this last year posting reactionary pieces about things I see as wrong. Next year, I am going to start figuring out how things ought to be. The great conspiracy to have good and sustainable lives. Let’s become a shockingly benevolent conspiracy and take over the world 🙂