In 1841, Charles Mackay wrote the classic psychological study, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. He observed: “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it.”
Holland’s Tulip mania and the Salem witch trials are history’s most notable examples of mass hysteria. The pathology relies on an emotional loop. The delusion feeds the crowd and the crowd feeds the delusion until the whole thing becomes large and unwieldy.
The election of Donald Trump whipped a segment of American culture into a frenzy. Their hashtag – #TheResistance – is emblematically absurd, suggesting cultural marginalization that simply does not exist.
If you are an uncritical sap who wishes to be affirmed in news programs, movies, and late-night comedy bits, you are showing pliancy, not resistance.
Their self-deception would be mildly entertaining except for one thing: the deluded get to use the institutions of government and media to indulge their fantasies. They can fixate attention upon any claim, however far-fetched, of Trump-atrocity.
It does not matter that Trump-atrocity was Obama policy just 20 months before with no attendant outrage. The claim of Trump-atrocity feeds the emotional loop.
Consider, for example, the recent illegal immigration fury. The resistance refused to consider any factual distinction that would disrupt their self-indulgent moral pose.
Fact: President Trump was simply enforcing the laws Congress passed.
Fact: The “cages” as they were called were hastily constructed detention centers in use during the Obama administration for the same purpose.
Fact: The process of administering immigration laws requires such an intermediate place for processing applications and denying entry to the unworthy.
Fact: Ellis Island was a detention center surrounded by water with buildings to medically quarantine any child showing signs of disease before putting him or her on the next ship home.
By ignoring these facts and inventing others, the hysterical left managed to turn a modern version of Ellis Island into Auschwitz.
Then there is this Russian collusion fantasy. The left’s self-regard had always been rooted in the idea that they are champions of the common man. When the common man rejected them, Bruce Springsteen himself could not explain it except as a fraud.
They responded by fabricating an alternative reality where they were unfairly denied the presidency. Putin did it!
There is no evidence of Russian collusion, nor could any of its devotees describe, if pressed, just how Trump and Putin stole the election. The facts that have been uncovered about the investigation’s reasons and sources are beyond compromising. Any of them alone should be enough to discredit the whole thing.
To those outside of the emotional loop, the resistance’s slavish devotion to Russian collusion is as if producers set out to make a flop only to have the audience cheer every linear plot failure.
Nobody is laughing, though. The 65 million who voted for Trump feel unfairly marginalized. The deplorables rightly conclude that these fantasies are given undue credence to protect the establishment from an outsider.
In the end, only one thing can shatter mass hysteria and that is an intervention. The rest of America must sit the resistance down and show them how they are wrong. Criminally prosecuting the fabricators of the principal delusion would do the trick.
The person who started the Russian collusion investigation, FBI counterintelligence expert Peter Strzok, sent his lover a text one week later assuring her that “we’ll stop” Trump. That is conclusive evidence that the investigation was a scheme to tamper with the presidential election.
Adding to the weight of this evidence is that the FBI tried to bury it. The incriminating text was not turned over to the inspector general or to Congress and was only discovered by accident last month attached to a cell phone app where it did not belong.
Usually in legal proceedings, any attempt to hide a document raises an adverse inference that it is devastating to the entity doing the hiding, here the FBI.
There is abundant documentary support to prosecute Strzok. Admittedly, first they must fire him, and even that is proving unusually difficult.
What is needed is a prosecutor with enough gumption to defy the hysterical left. That leaves out Sessions and Rosenstein, sure, but there is plenty of time left. People really must go to jail for this. Maybe a strong dose of reality would restore national sanity.