Monday, February 18, 2008


Most family therapists are familiar with the "conspiracy of silence" that occurs in families desperate to avoid an unpleasant realty or painful truth. For example, it can be seen in the unwillingness to talk about a catastrophe or death; to pretend even, that the traumatic event never occurred. The movie Ordinary People showed the destructive power of this kind of silence on one member of a family, which eventually split apart the entire family. The conspiracy can descend when there is sexual abuse going on within the family and other members look away and act like everything is normal, ignoring even the most blatant warning signs. The phrase has also been used to describe the indifference of onlookers when some terrible event is happening to others (e.g., Darfur) and they lift no finger to help.

Elie Wiesel wrote passionately about this sort of conspiracy during the Holocaust. He said, talking about the victims in the concentration camps, "The worse sort of cruelty would have been incapable of breaking the prisoner; it was the silence of those he believed to be his friends—cruelty more cowardly, more subtle—which broke his heart.There was no longer anyone on whom to count … It … poisoned the desire to live… If this is the human society we come from—and are now abandoned by—why seek to return?"

That is why Wiesel believed, " remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all...". Yet it is an all too human defense brought to bear when the consequences of facing reality would be overwhelming.

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud wrote about an "obtuseness of mind, a gradual stupefying process" that occurs when people desperately try to avoid a reality with which they cannot or do not want to cope. Sometimes it is accompanied by real hysterical blindness; or sometimes just an incredible indifference to truth.

This obtuseness perfectly describes the state of mind of the MSM as they try to come to grips with something that goes counter to their multicultural template; a template where all the left's 'approved' victim groups--such as the poor, oppressed Palestinians and other Islamic terrorist groups--are NEVER the perpetrators of violence, but are always the victims of it.

On any given day, we can scan the latest headlines to find examples of this silent conspiracy that ignores reality. From Mark Steyn at The Corner:

Global warming enflames Danish mob

Not content with killing off the poor Loch Ness Monster, the Global Warming scourge has now crossed from Scotland to Denmark and fired up legions of - what's the word again? - ah, yes, "youth":

Scores of cars and several schools have been vandalized or burned in the past week. Police could give no reason, but said that unusually mild weather and the closure of schools for a winter break might have contributed.

Gotcha. Global warming, and lack of opportunity to sit in classrooms watching An Inconvenient Truth for the umpteenth time. Anything else going on in Denmark?

Police arrested two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan descent on Tuesday for planning to kill a cartoonist who drew one of the cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper two years ago that roused a storm of protest in Muslim countries.

Whoops, how did that get into a story about globally overheated "youth"?

Whoops, indeed. "Global warming" is an MSM-approved template within which stories can be framed and good and evil sorted out. It is aThese days, it is useful and multipurpose cause of pretty much anything bad--from killer tornadoes in the US south, to offing the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. Why, it is even a much more serious and imminent threat to humanity than terrorism. Why? Because blame can be placed for it on the designated 'scapegoat' within the human family--the United States and the Bush Administration.

Or, how about this headline, where "vandals" destroyed the Gaza YMCA and burned all the Christian books, setting off explosives (what? you thought they TP'd or spraypainted the structure?). This is the image portrayed by the media's choice of words, even as
Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza, told WND the YMCA had Muslim children in its nursery program.

"Gaza is Muslim, more than 99 percent are Muslim," he said. "We don't need any of these missionary institutions. They have only one goal – to convert our sons and daughter to Christianity."

Islamic 'outreach' as in: reach out and bomb someone. That's the kind of tolerance and compassion we've come to expect from the religion of peace.

But still, the code of the conspiracy of silence only permits the MSM to call them "vandals", "militants", "fighters", "activists" or "youths"--any term of endearment that allows them to conceal from awareness the true nature of the terrorist enemy we fight.

Just as in the conspiracy of silence seen in dysfunctional families, these "family secrets" are obvious to everyone outside the family, but never discussed or talked about inside. The evasions and circumspection of the MSM serve the purpose of preventing conscious awareness or acknowledgement of any unacceptable reality that might threaten the family of the political left and its carefully constructed postmodern world of cards.

What happens next is the 'scapegoating' or psychological displacement that therapists often have to deal withh when treating families.

There is almost always an identified family 'scapegoat' on whom all the problems of the family can be blamed (and who can be the recipient of all that intense affect and emotion which rightfully should be directed elsewhere were it not for the conspiracy of silence).

In the case of the unspoken conspiracy between the poitical left and those in the media when it come to the issue of terrorism, it has been fairly clear for some time that America and the Bush Administration receive the full force of all the anger, rage, and fear they feel.

Psychologically and personally, the separation of affect and emotion from the real issue and its redirection toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid the real threat and to maintain the cherished multicultural dogma they are so invested in is quite comforting for a while. The family members can pretend that they are 'loyal' and good people; especially when they persecute and torment the scapegoat.

On a larger scale, this is, of course, the same type of psychodynamic that lead to genocide. And it all begins with a conspiracy of silence and the obsessive avoidance of an uncomfortable truth.

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