Buckle up, kids, Uncle Rubbish is going to ramble a bit.
So I’ve been excercised recently over the behaviour of a significant number of Brexitteers and Trumpistas. I’m sure you’ve seen the reports, the abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in particular, the particular tone of not just hostility, but a desperation to establish dominance.
And at first I thought it was like that quote from “Dusk till Dawn” ; “Are you such a loser that you don’t recognise when you win?” They’re so used to feeling impotent and mocked by experts that they’re lashing out with a new feeling of licence…
But that’s not quite it, it doesn’t capture the neediness at the heart of the behaviour, the desperation to prove dominance in each situation.
Then I remembered a book called “When Prophecy Fails,” about what happened in a millennial ufo cult when, despite waiting in the right place, on the right night, wearing the right robes and saying the right words, the space brothers didn’t land and take them away. And some left the cult feeling betrayed, and some stayed struggling with the contradiction of their situation, believers who have been shown their faith as empty.
And those guys could get awfully testy if that was brought up. The book is where the phrase cognitive dissonance comes from.
But what if… What if the space brothers came? And they were beautiful, and magnificent, and wise… And then they just left? Or they thanked the cult, and decided to take the wisest unbelievers instead? What if, bluntly, the cult were right, but it didn’t change anything? If they had to face going back to everyone who thought them fools, and knowing they were right, but it would profit them nothing?
What if enough people voted for a Brexit that could never succeed?
What if enough people voted for a wall that could never be built?
What if you are on the winning side, but you’re still not taken seriously, if people still don’t like you, if the people you beat won’t just shut up, shut up, shut up, what if you want winning a vote to mean winning the argument, what if you said the right words and wore the right robes and stood in the right place on the right night, and nothing changed?
What if you won a vote and the world didn’t change?
Even worse, what if the space brothers turned out to be Nyarlathotep and the Cthulhu crew and you’d been told so?
And there’s the anger. There’s the will to dominance, to get the “losers” to shut up, to go away, to just not BE.
To stop them reminding the winners that you can win… And still be wrong.