Mass Hys­te­ria in Amer­ica

The Covington News - - OPINION -

In the 1400s, a nun in a French con­vent started mak­ing sounds like a cat. Other nuns be­gan to do the same. Even­tu­ally, they started bit­ing one another. As word of the bit­ings spread, so, too, did the bit­ings. They swept through other con­vents all the way to Rome.

In July of 1518, peo­ple in Stras­bourg, then part of the Holy Ro­man Em­pire, be­gan danc­ing. It started with Frau Trof­fea. Oth­ers be­gan to join in, and soon there were 400 dancers. Some died as a re­sult of the non­stop danc­ing that went on for a month. They could not stop.

In 1692, colonists in New Eng­land be­gan hav­ing fits. De­monic pos­ses­sion was a sug­ges­tion. The epilep­tic-like fits led to the Salem witch tri­als. In 2008 in Tan­za­nia, fe­male stu­dents started faint­ing for no rea­son. In 2011, stu­dents in Le Roy, N.Y., de­vel­oped Tourette's-like symp­toms that went un­ex­plained.

History is rid­dled with episodes of mass hys­te­ria. Some­times those episodes of mass hys­te­ria lead to evil. Some­times they lead to merely bizarre sto­ries. But so­ci­ety, on oc­ca­sion, has fits of hys­te­ria and in­san­ity burn­ing like wild­fire through it. The wild­fire even­tu­ally burns out, but it of­ten leaves de­struc­tion in its wake.

The United States of Amer­ica and much of the West are cur­rently in a fit of hys­te­ria. A wild­fire is burn­ing through it. Up is down. Down is up. Good is evil. Evil is good. Wrong is right, and right is wrong. Boys can sud­denly be girls. Sex and gen­der are sud­denly dif­fer­ent things. And Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy be­lieves that be­cause some­one may look at the hori­zon and find lone­li­ness, the Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees him the right to marry another man. Leave aside the fact that any judge who can re­de­fine a multi-thou­sandyear-old in­sti­tu­tion on a whim has more power than our Founders would want. Our so­ci­ety is go­ing through a round of hys­te­ria.

For many in the coun­try, they feel com­pelled to board up the win­dows, batten down the hatches and wait for this latest round of col­lec­tive hys­te­ria to run its course. Wild­fires al­ways run out of fuel. Na­ture or God, which­ever your pref­er­ence, sorts these things out.

Along the way, so­ci­ety is for­get­ting why we are or­ga­nized as we are. G.K. Chesterton wrote of the "democ­racy of the dead." He wrote, "Tra­di­tion re­fuses to sub­mit to the small and ar­ro­gant oli­garchy of those who merely hap­pen to be walk­ing about. All democrats ob­ject to men be­ing dis­qual­i­fied by the ac­ci­dent of birth; tra­di­tion ob­jects to their be­ing dis­qual­i­fied by the ac­ci­dent of death. Democ­racy tells us not to ne­glect a good man's opin­ion, even if he is our groom; tra­di­tion asks us not to ne­glect a good man's opin­ion, even if he is our fa­ther."

Mar­riage ar­rived at what it has been through ei­ther di­vine fiat or trial and er­ror. In the same way, our an­ces­tors struc­tured so­ci­ety to have peo­ple rely on them­selves, each other, their lo­cal churches and their lo­cal gov­ern­ments for help. Now, the same mad­ness sweep­ing through on mar­riage de­mands we get right to polyamory and scrap tax breaks for re­li­gious non­prof­its. It is not a war on mar­riage, but a war on a way of life it­self. If one dares bring fact into the mix, they are shouted down, boy­cotted and driven from the town square.

There is also a re­lent­less de­sire to make those who rec­og­nize the mad­ness think they are alone. Voices of dis­sent must be si­lenced. You must think you are all alone so that you might de­cide to go along to get along. The media elite are in ca­hoots with the cen­sors, hav­ing picked a side now de­clared a "fun­da­men­tal right," and you are not to know oth­ers dis­agree with elite con­sen­sus.

But you are not alone. Wild­fires even­tu­ally burn out. The ques­tion for you is not whether you take a break from it all and step back to pro­tect your fam­ily. The ques­tion for you is whether, af­ter you do step back, you pre­pare your­self to step for­ward into the rub­ble, smoke and char to help re­build civ­i­liza­tion once the fire burns it­self out.

To find out more about Erick Erick­son, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate Web page at www.cre­ators.com.

ERICK ERICK­SON

COLUM­NIST

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.