Why have the cruelest of tyrants been able to amass a loyal following? The tyrant convinces people that their plan will thwart an external threat. Tyrants will promote waves of terror against society. These waves of terror are like being killed by a thousand cuts. It’s like the repetition of a battering ram to break through a door. These waves of terror weaken people’s defenses and make them eager to support the cabal of conspirators. The ritual of combating an external threat becomes the tie that binds people together. This ritual weakens people’s defenses and allows the conspirators to gain total control. People can lose themselves in a crowd and expect a leader to tell them what to do. Authoritarian leaders who impose absurd demands will gain popular support.
A key ingredient to this ritual is people’s sacrifice to adhere to the plan. Sacrifices become a part of an initiation process. The sacrifice of giving up the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family and not visiting grown children or parents during the holidays is a part of the initiation process. These sacrifices increase the sense of a social bond. All the Corona measures, the lockdowns, the social distancing, the mask-wearing are the ties that bind. The less practical the behavior, the less meaningful the actions, the more absurd the demands, the better they serve the plot. The greater the sacrifices, the better the sacrifices function as a ritual to bring about solidarity. At this point, the collective becomes more important than the individual.
A common trait of totalitarianism is to deny that the rituals are meaningless. Even if they have some purpose, even if they have a degree of worth, the psychological harm, the loss of freedom, the financial loss, and the crumbling economy take a toll on society. What are the psychological and economic costs? Psychologists and sociologists are raising alarms because the ritual is causing irreparable damage to young people’s mental, physical, and social health. Economists are concerned that the pattern will end in Depression. In Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, people were afraid to gather together, to speak out for fear of being accused of conspiring against the state. All totalitarian states end in cannibalism, they all end in devouring their children, but we should not wait for the worst to happen. The more people speak out against this psychological process, against this mass psychosis causing so much harm, the sooner we can gain back our freedom.