Thanks so much for sending this. It is very valuable.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gustl Steiner-Zehender [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2004 7:54 AM
To: Biofuel
Subject: Re[2]: [biofuel] Re: Oil and Israel - Keith


A  bit ago MM asked about the *no comment* silence from the list and I
replied as best as I was able.  My reply was basically that anyone who
has  the audacity to question any act of Israel regardless of how evil
and  heinous the act would be smeared as an anti-semite.  Here is MM's
last paragraph of that mail:

m> As I am not a scholar on this document, but was more offended, as I
m> said, by the manner in which the topic of the document was raised,
m> like to ask if anyone here has any response to this "analysis" of
m> Luc's.  If Luc is to be praised so mightily for raising topics that
m> take some analysis and effort and (arguably) courage in the face of
m> established arguments, then I wonder that there is *no comment* from
m> the all-of-a-sudden too-busy gallery when he brings forth a statement
m> such as the above.

m> MM

When  I  woke up this morning I found the piece below in my mailbox at
my  university  account.   Seems  fortuitous  given this thread and it
explains things much more eloquently than I have.
-  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The  Practice  of  Ritual Defamation: How Values, Opinions and Beliefs
are controlled in Democratic Societies
By Laird Wilcox


Defamation   is  the  destruction  or  attempted  destruction  of  the
reputation,  status,  character  or  standing  in  the  community of a
person,  or group of persons, by wrongful, unfair, or malicious speech
or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is
defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions
or  beliefs  of the victim, with the intention of silencing [him], and
neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so
as   to   discourage   similar  independence  and  "insensitivity"  or
non-observance  of  taboos.  It is different in nature and degree from
simple  criticism  or disagreement in that it is aggressive, organized
and  skillfully applied, often by an organization or representative of
a  special  interest  group,  and  in  that  it  consists  of  several
characteristic elements.

"Ritual"   defamation  is  not  ritualistic  because  it  follows  any
prescribed  religious  or mystical doctrine, nor is it embraced in any
particular  scripture.  Rather, it is ritualistic because it follows a
predictable,  stereotyped  pattern  which embraces a number of typical
elements, as in a ritual.

In  a  ritual  defamation  the  victim must have violated a particular
taboo  in  some  way,  usually  by  expressing  or  identifying with a
forbidden  attitude,  opinion  or  belief. It is not necessary that he
"do" anything about it or undertake any course of action, only that he
engage in some form of communication or expression.

The method of attack in a ritual defamation is to assail the character
of the victim, and never to offer more than a perfunctory challenge to
the  particular  attitudes, opinions or beliefs  expressed or implied.
Character assassination is its primary tool.

An  important  rule  is  to  avoid  engaging in honest debate over the
truthfulness  or  reasonableness  of  what  has  been  expressed, only
condemn it. A debate opens the issue up for examination and discussion
on  its  merits,  which  is  just what the ritual defamer is trying to
avoid. The primary goal is censorship or repression.

The  victim  is very often someone in the public eye, although perhaps
only  in  a  modest  way.  It  could  be a school teacher, a writer, a
businessman,  a  minor  official,  or  merely  an  outspoken  citizen.
Visibility enhances vulnerability to ritual defamation.

An  attempt,  often  successful,  is  made  to  involve  others in the
defamation.  In  the case of a public official, other public officials
will  be  urged  to  denounce  the offender. In the case of a student,
other students will be called upon, and so on.

In  order  for a ritual defamation to be effective, the victim must be
dehumanized to the extent that he becomes identical with the offending
attitude,  opinion or belief, and in a manner which distorts it to the
point  where it appears at its most extreme. For example, a victim who
is  defamed as a "subversive" will be identified with the worst images
of  subversion,  such  as  espionage or treason. A victim defamed as a
"pervert"  will  be  identified  with  the worst images of perversion,
including  child  molestation.  A  victim  defamed  as  a  "racist" or
"anti-Semitic"  will  be identified with the worst images of racism or
anti-Semitism, such as lynchings or gas chambers, and so on.

Also,  to  be  successful, a ritual defamation must bring pressure and
humiliation  from every quarter, including family and friends, who may
begin  to  shun  him.  If  the victim has school children, they may be
taunted  and ridiculed as a consequence of adverse publicity. If he is
employed, he may be fired from his job.

Anyone who defends a victim runs the risk of being associated with him
and  similarly  defamed.  Even  if  their  own  reputation  is  beyond
question, their judgment and involvement with the victim may become an
issue.  Often,  the victim of a ritual defamation becomes isolated and

Any  explanation  the  victim  may offer, including the claim of being
misunderstood,  is  considered irrelevant. To claim truth as a defense
is interpreted as unrepentance, and only compounds the problem. Ritual
defamation  is not necessarily an offense of being wrong or incorrect,
but rather "insensitivity" and failing to observe social taboos.

Many  victims  succumb  early  on,  and go on through a "confessional"
stage,  complete  with  apologies  and remorse. They may even denounce
friends associated with the forbidden values, opinions and beliefs, or
claim  that  they  were  "duped",  as was the case with many suspected
"subversives"  during  the  McCarthy  era. If the charges against them
involve  "morals,"  they  may  claim  stress  or  mental  illness as a

The  viciousness  of  ritual  defamation  is  inspired  not  merely by
revenge,  although  that is an important factor, but also to create an
example  so  others  will  know  of  the  savaging they can expect for
stepping  out  of  line.  Ritual  defamation  is an important means of
social control.

An  Interesting aspect of ritual defamation is its universality. It is
not  specific  to  any particular value, opinion, or belief, or to any
group  or  subculture.  It  may  be  used  either  for  or against any
political,  ethnic  or  religious  minority and also by any political,
ethnic or religious minority.

Ritual  defamation  often appears in paradoxical forms, as in the case
of  organizations claiming to oppose defamation itself, even using the
term  "anti-defamation"  in  their  name.  Psychologically,  this  may
represent  a  projective mechanism, in which the organization attempts
to  camouflage its own propensities in the form of an official myth, a
kind of agreed-upon fiction that perfumes its actual activities, which
are often transparently evident from its publications.

The  power  of  ritual  defamation  lies  entirely  in its capacity to
intimidate.  It  embraces  some  elements  of  primitive superstitious
belief,  as  in  a "curse" or "hex." it also plays on the subconscious
fear  most  people have of being rejected by the "tribe" and being cut
off  from  social  and  psychological  support systems. Only the truly
courageous  and  independent  person can withstand the full force of a
ritual  defamation,  and  occasionally  they  may even survive such an
attempt relatively unscathed.

The  weak  points  of  ritual  defamation  lie  in its tendency toward
overkill  and  its  rather  transparent maliciousness. Occasionally, a
ritual defamation will fail because of inadequate planning and failure
to correctly estimate the vulnerability of the victim. Ritual defamers
often   exhibit  extensive  projective  mechanisms  and  delusions  of
persecution  themselves.  Although  it  may  appear to be an offensive
maneuver,  it's  actually  quite  defensive  in nature. As Eric Hoffer
said:  "You  can  discover what your enemy fears most by observing the
means he uses to frighten you." (The True Believer, 1951).

Paradoxically, a ritual defamation often brings about the very values,
opinions  and  beliefs  that  it  condemns,  as  in  a self-fulfilling
prophecy.  It  enhances  paranoia  and hatred, and generally serves to
divide and alienate. It hardens positions and polarizes a situation as
nothing  else  can. A person accused of supporting a particular belief
may  find  himself  propelled  into  that  position.  Politically, for
example,  it's  quite  effective in creating rebels and dissidents. It
has  been  used  in  various  forms  by dictatorships and totalitarian
systems  all throughout history. In democratic societies it has become
a  favorite  tool  of special interest groups to vilify and neutralize
their critics and opponents.

Happy Happy,

Je mehr wir haben, desto mehr fordert Gott von uns.
Mitglied-Team AMIGA
ICQ: 22211253-Gustli
The safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, 
soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, 
without signposts.  
C. S. Lewis, "The Screwtape Letters"
Es gibt Wahrheiten, die so sehr auf der Straže liegen, 
daž sie gerade deshalb von der gewÜhnlichen Welt nicht 
gesehen oder wenigstens nicht erkannt werden.
Those who dance are considered insane by those who can't
hear the music.  
George Carlin

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