Conspiracy Thinking and Racism Go Hand in Hand
Pastor Peter Krey, Ph.D.
The 21st of August, 2019
My piece about Eric Neumann on ethics having to be related to the unconscious can explain how personal racism (as opposed to institutional racism) is related to conspiracy thinking. Carl Gustav Jung explains how each one of us has a sunshiny side and a shadow side. We like to identify with our sunshiny side and usually we drive down our shadow side into our unconscious. Unless we are in touch with our unconscious (via mature self-knowledge), from where we nailed him, Jesus of old, every new Christ still has to pray, ”Father, forgive them they know not what they do!”
Prejudice or bigotry is a pathology of the soul and because of it we project our shadow side onto the different other, whether it be women, Gays, Blacks, Jews, Trans. Along the same lines, we are now being indoctrinated to scapegoat immigrants by projecting our shadow side upon them. Thus they are called criminals, rapists, animals, invaders, dehumanizing them in the process, and that makes violence against them possible. (After 22 Mexican and Mexican-American people were shot and many wounded by a shooter who used the words of Pres. Trump for a rationale, ICE rounded up 680 hard-working undocumented immigrants in Forest, Mississippi, with their children left in the lurch, that is, no parent to pick them up from school, Kindergarten, and day-care. That round-up was not an empathetic response to the blood-bath that took place in El Paso.)
Of course, because we are self-righteous, identifying completely with our sunshiny side, we can condemn immigrants and perpetrate violence on them, because we see our own evil in them, because we projected it onto them. Thus we want to see them punished and our false catharsis becomes satisfied, but our pathology remains rampant and continues with impunity. How else can we explain six million Jews gassed in concentration camps by Germans in World war II?
Now militias of White Nationalism, really believe the conspiracy theory that they will be replaced by Black and Brown people. In their anti-Semitism, the Jew becomes their symbol. Thus in Charlottesville they chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” They see themselves as the victims and even believe they will experience White genocide in their paranoia. So the violence and genocide in their shadow side is what they have projected onto the groups they persecute and they proceed to perpetrate violence upon them. Especially the militias. They see the violence that they themselves are preparing in the victims they want to attack. So conspiracy thinking is merely prejudice and bigotry collectively projected upon the group they will scapegoat. Thus the conspiracy thinking of the NAZI’s about the “Protocol of the Elders of Zion,” played hand in hand with the anti-Semitism rampant in the Third Reich.
That means the rampant conspiracy theories of today are the collectivization of the pathology of prejudice and bigotry searching for scapegoats. In both cases, projection of the shadow side, the evil in ourselves that we don’t want to become aware of and don’t want to take responsibility for, plays its role in our personal racism and conspiracy thinking. If we become truthful about ourselves, if we face the truth, if we do not want to continue living a lie, if we take Socrates dictum and try to know ourselves, we will have to deal with our shadow side as well as feeling good about our sunshiny side. Like Luther said, we are sinners and saints at one and the same time. Self-righteousness fuels untold harm that we can unconsciously inflict on others. Right now, in the present situation, however, I believe it is a ploy for political power and it is not unconscious, but completely intentional, making it even more evil. Hitler rode anti-Semitism to his totalitarian power. Trump rode racism and xenophobia with his false birther charge to his power in the White House.
From Psychological Paranoia to Reality in Politics:
Look at Ferguson, MO, where the whole population had become Black and the government and police force remained completely White. If voter suppression is overcome, then the White people will really be replaced by Black and Brown people in such places where that is the case. The backlash we are now experiencing demonstrates the fear of Whites about that scenario, because Barack Obama was the president. A post-racial society, indeed! But look at how fairly his administration dealt with all the people, while most often White administrations have been very unfair to minority populations.
Forget the color of our skin and join in the celebration of our diversity. It is so enriching to get out of our comfort zones and join with people different from ourselves. Doing so not only improves our soul, in the words of old Socrates, but gives us a far greater coping power, so that we can deal with big problems as though they were nothing. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “True unity differentiates, it does not confound.” True unity is internal, under the skin, where we become one heart and soul. Meanwhile uniformity is external, where everyone has to be the same in some way, like wearing a uniform, and no one ends up knowing where the heart of the other is. Uniformity is an external thing and some uniforms give those wearing them the right to kill. True unity is internal, provides trust for better relationships, and allows us to be as different as we want to be, even, can you imagine? We can be our real selves!