Holding The Line

Journalists Against Censorship

Were we hypnotised by Desmet? Part III: Critiquing the critics

By Rusere Shoniwa

You can read more of Rusere’s work at https://plagueonbothhouses.com

In Part I, I discussed why I thought Desmet’s arguments in his book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, fall apart. I deconstructed the mechanistic worldview as a simple diagnosis for all that is wrong with the world. I tried to reposition our thinking about the mechanistic worldview by realigning it with what I believe is the true guiding ideology of today’s masters of the universe.

In Part II, I discussed woke discourses, their origin and their relationship to the real ruling ideology. I examined Desmet’s disappointing dismissal of conspiracy theory as a pejorative. I then explained why I think it’s important to unpick Desmet’s incorrect diagnosis.

In Part III, I now critique the critics as a way of understanding the meaning of the Desmet brouhaha.

Aldous Huxley

What the critics have to say

I have never been sold on Desmet’s insistence that the ultimate cause of mass formation was an obsession with an ideology which posits a reductionist view of the natural world. But Desmet does get one thing right – a mass delusion about a virus gripped the world, causing the adoption of cult-like beliefs and behaviour. The minority who didn’t share the delusion were left feeling alienated and fearful – not of the virus but of their fellow citizens who had lost their minds. Desmet’s framing of the problem is what puts him at loggerheads with his critics because it de-emphasises the culpability of government and other leaders. To what extent is he justified in doing this? 

Being amenable to a psychological theory, however flawed, which sought to explain this mass delusion as the product of mass hypnosis (of both leaders and the masses) by an ideology, did not change my, and many others’, belief that a primary cause of the biomedical fascism which ensued was the nexus of a global corporatocracy, its captured supranational agencies and national governments which had manufactured the crisis and was exploiting it. I’ve chosen to unpack this paradox by critiquing the critics – both in terms what they do say and don’t say.

The three critics I’m interested in don’t say exactly the same thing when disagreeing with Desmet, but, except for C J Hopkins, they take exception to what they perceive as Desmet’s victim-blaming. That’s a thorny issue which also encapsulates the whole meaning of the Desmet brouhaha – how much blame, if any, for this mess should be apportioned to the Covidian Cult followers whose critical faculties shut down from day one and who seemed incapable of applying the most basic logic to issues that weren’t rocket science? 

I want to qualify that last observation by admitting that the scam was complex in the sense that it invited everyone to believe they did not have the requisite medical qualifications to make an informed decision and that they would therefore have to defer to the authorities within the establishment. However, this façade of scientific impenetrability could easily have been unveiled by some very straightforward risk assessments and the application of some old-fashioned scepticism – a basic tool of life that seems to have been discarded by those with the most formal education. 

I think it’s fair to say that Desmet’s theory is marmite within the resistance movement. Those who hate it hate it because it lets the venal rulers off the hook. But, as I’ve hinted, the curious paradox of his theory lies in the fact that even some of his most ardent supporters never truly agreed with him from the get-go. Love or hate Desmet’s theory, if you read between the critics’ lines for what they don’t say, what they don’t want to face up to, you realise there is a deeper, almost unconscious debate about how democracy is supposed to work and why it’s failing. Against the backdrop of crumbling democracies, it’s a debate about the possibility of a revolution; whose revolution it is and who will win. But first, let’s look at what they do say about Desmet’s thinking.

To the extent that it’s possible for a psychiatrist to be a shock jock, then Peter Breggin is one. His verdict is cut and dried: Desmet is “a leading apologist for political mass murderers”. I get the impression that Breggin believes the world is divided into three types – predators, the prey and the Breggins of the world whose job is to scream at the predators to cease their wicked ways. I give you Exhibit A to support that: Breggin’s book – COVID-19 and the Global Predators: We are the Prey. All the world’s a stage, a pantomime at that, and let’s all play our bits to the best of our ability. Now, there’s no cosmic law that requires all arguments to be nuanced, but in this case, I do think some nuance is lacking. At any rate, Breggin’s black-and-white worldview lends itself very handily to a black-and-white analysis of his stance, so I’m pretty much done with the Breggin argument. It also seems to make him susceptible to libel suits from people who ought to be his friends. Enough said.

C J Hopkins has a more interesting but nevertheless straightforward take on Desmet’s theory. He believes, as I do now, that there is no mystical mass hypnosis going on, although we’ve arrived at that conclusion via different roads. My route has come via a better understanding of hypnosis and, armed with that knowledge, I am certain that Covidians are no more hypnotised by an ideology than Boris Johnson is hypnotised by monogamy or a tireless dedication to truth. Hopkins’ dismissal of hypnosis is based on a view of totalitarianism working as a blunt cudgel – a view I don’t share because I think that’s how totalitarianism used to work.

Hopkins confidently claims that it’s really all quite simple: once the transition to totalitarianism begins, “you can count on roughly two thirds of the society either embracing it or acquiescing to it … because they correctly perceive which way the wind is blowing and they don’t want to challenge the totalitarian regime and be punished for doing so … It’s pure survival instinct … most people are either perfectly content to conform to whatever type of society those in power impose on them as long as their basic needs are met, or they are not content to do so, but they are cowards, so they stand by in silence.”

He makes clear that his label of ‘coward’ is not judgemental. Everyone has their breaking point and totalitarianism is designed to test that point by breaking as many eggs as possible.

I just don’t think it’s as simple as this, but I would love to be wrong. I see both Desmet and Hopkins pasting yesterday’s totalitarianism onto today’s landscape, albeit for different ends – Desmet to prove mass hypnosis and Hopkins to prove totalitarianism is a cosh. Hopkins’ presentation of the way the psychology of totalitarianism works today seems to me to be the way totalitarianism would have worked in 1930s Italy and Germany. Back then, people understood that the state had turned into a full-on terrorist organisation because there was plenty of context to support that understanding. The wisdom of complying with the totalitarian regime required no underpinning with a philosophical treatise. Economic catastrophe and suffering followed in the wake of the first global conflagration of WWI; strongmen promised solutions, provided you did as you were told; their thugs, armies and militias went door to door enforcing ‘order’. None of that is present today, and that should prompt us to ask whether the psychology of totalitarianism is different today than it was in the early 20th  century.

In stark contrast, today’s totalitarianism has very little tangible context for the average citizen of the West. For most people, there is no palpable cause of totalitarianism, ergo it can’t exist. Sadly, because of the sheer scale, audacity and complexity of the scam Bastards Inc. have pulled off, most people perversely mistook state fascism under covid for a paternalistic, protective embrace. The cancer of statism has metastasised to the point where an infantilised populace fully expected its health risks to be managed by Big Brother, with some degree of force seen as necessary to make the ‘good’ medicine go down. Which is why biomedical fascism was such a successful opening gambit for 21st century totalitarianism. 

Charismatic strongmen have been replaced by the banal evil of effete, hollow men and women who kill to the soothing slogans of ‘safe and effective’ and under cover of legislation and palliative care protocols. They shed crocodile tears for public entertainment and then sign up for reality celebrity TV. It doesn’t look like fascism, but that’s why it’s so effective. That’s why woke is effective. Woke doesn’t look fascist, but, as Simon Elmer rightly declared, it is fascist. 

What proportion of the population understands the insidious and fascist intertwining of global corporates, supranational entities and national governments? How many people comprehend that the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was just the beginning of the end of capitalism as we know it and that all the current ‘crises’ are being manufactured or exploited to shore up The System as it is replaced with a techno-totalitarian control grid? People have not yet grasped the scale of the crisis the capitalist ponzi scheme is in right now. They believe that ‘pandemics’ and the ‘climate crisis’ are calamities from which governments are trying to save us rather than complex deceptions deployed to leech the lifeblood of humanity as Rome burns. 

20th century fascism was powered by brute force and was stopped by brute force. As civilisation today collapses under the weight of its own frivolity and stupidity, 21st century totalitarianism is being powered by ignorance and will only be stopped by knowledge.   

For Hopkins’ explanation to work, the two thirds of people who are supposedly cowed by a tyrannical state would have to know that a totalitarian state had arrived, and that democracy had left the station. The reality of public awareness is much closer to the blissfully ignorant protagonist of the Truman Show and not a red-pilled, albeit cowed, populace who have spotted the glitch in the Matrix. People are not begrudgingly submitting to state terrorism. Not seeing it for what it really is, they have embraced it. That’s because they have no context for this kind of state terrorism. The hidden context for this global coup d’état is that global capital is in crisis and totalitarianism is its self-preservation mode. The pretext provided to mask this reality was that of a ‘medical emergency’.

This is the diabolical genius of the covid response and 21st century fascism. There has been very little conscious submission to the fascist state, which makes it all the more effective. This is understood by the instigators of the new reign of terror and it is why they have been able to repeatedly plunge a butcher’s knife into the public’s back and declare the act of brutality to be a professional surgical intervention.

The third and final Desmet critique I want to review is by David Hughes, Valerie Kyrie and Daniel Broudy, who have forensically deconstructed Desmet’s arguments. Their thoroughness in detail and logic makes it easy to agree with almost every point they make. Their critique in fact doubles up as a comprehensive explanation of Desmet’s missteps while also serving as a compendium of the covid atrocity. The title of their piece invites the reader to ponder a binary choice – Covid-19 – Mass Formation or Mass Atrocity? In the almost 15,000 words which follow, the concept of mass formation is eviscerated by the authors’ central argument: “ ‘Mass Formation’ paradoxically serves to legitimize the mass atrocity perpetrated during the Covid-19 era.”

They explain the concept of mass atrocity as the legal basis for holding political leaders and other perpetrators to account. Western governments today are, by any objective measure (including in particular bodycount) the most successful terrorist entities humanity has ever known, and if you need reminding or convincing of that, then read the Hughes et al critique.

Hughes et al get a lot right. Yes, they’re right to point out that the mother of all global propaganda hurricanes was unleashed on the planet causing “an arrested development in the public understanding of Covid-19 ”. Yes, the reality of what happened is that “citizens were effectively placed under house arrest, their societies and economies taken hostage, and offered only one path out: the ‘vaccine’… Covid countermeasures had to be forcibly imposed upon citizens.” Yes, they make a compelling case for a psychology of atrocity which sets out a hierarchy of participants from instigators at the top, to perpetrators who do their bidding, and victims who suffer harm. And yes, I fully support an end to the arc of impunity by bringing the instigators and perpetrators to account by acknowledging a principle set out by Saira Mohamed, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley:

“The law of mass atrocity readily recognizes that responsibility and punishment for the world’s worst horrors… ought to fall primarily on the political, military, or community leaders who bring about these systematic crimes … Moral persuasion should be acknowledged as culpable criminal conduct on the part of leaders as a matter of both law and morality”. 

Yes, the real lesson from Nazi Germany should be that “mass delusion can be induced” [emphasis added] by techniques of “isolation, monopolization of perception, fear-mongering, etc”. Yes, Hughes et al’s demolition of Desmet’s dismissal of ‘conspiracy theory’ is a joy to read:

“Desmet’s chapter on “conspiracy and ideology” is profoundly confused. On the one hand, Desmet claims that the Holocaust involved “an intentional plan … There were approximately five people who neatly and systematically prepared the entire Holocaust destruction apparatus, and they managed to make all the rest of the system cooperate with it in total blindness for a long time” (p. 136). To be clear, it was possible, in Desmet’s view, for just five people to mastermind the Holocaust and to get everyone else to go along with the Final Solution (a term used, incidentally, by Bill Gates to describe Covid-19 “vaccines”). Yet, when it comes to Covid-19, “The ‘plans’ do not precede the developments, as a conspiracy logic likes to suggest. They rather follow them” (p. 134). In other words, nothing was planned, and any alleged plans have been read backwards into events which occurred spontaneously. This is despite reference to the “transition from a democracy to a totalitarian technocracy, in which the coronavirus crisis was a Great Leap forward” (2022, p. 132) – the “Great Leap” metaphor indicating both political intention and disastrous large-scale social engineering. How, then, can an academic of such rank not see the patterns of planned events?” [emphasis added]

What the critics aren’t saying

But! In substituting the concept of mass atrocity for mass formation, blame is effectively moved wholesale from the masses onto the leaders. An unintended and significant consequence of Hughes et al’s intellectual and moral sledgehammer on Desmet’s ode to hypnosis is to render the masses a passive blob of helpless victims. Everything was done to them. The portrait that emerges from Hughes et al’s canvas is of a population that has no agency and no power. They are blameless victims. We are left in no doubt that Hughes et al take issue with Desmet’s over-emphasis of the populace’s “auto-oppressive impulses”. They sardonically eschew his preoccupation with encouraging “the victims of mass deception” to come to terms with “[their] own foolish naïveté”.

The main problem I have with the Hughes et al critique of Desmet is that it under-emphasises the populace’s “auto-oppressive impulses” and “foolish naïveté”.

As disappointed as I am with Desmet’s overly simplistic psychological analysis, I do not buy into the helpless victim narrative, because Breggin, Hughes et al, myself, and others who form a significant minority, were not and are not helpless victims. It is one thing to expose the gaping holes in Desmet’s arguments but that should not excuse us from trying to explain why our bullshit antennae is working when everyone else’s is not. By not saying anything about thisor certainly not enough, the critics are effectively saying something and perhaps what they’re saying is: “we, the people with functional bullshit antennae, are special and the majority are, well … not special. But we mustn’t grumble at them because it’s not their fault. As the gifted ones, it’s our job to attack the baddies and save the victims.” And that is bullshit I can’t accept.

And if we can’t accept that, there must be some as yet mysterious psychological component to 21st century totalitarianism. Now, in fairness to Hughes et al, they touch on the problem tangentially, when they ask this very important question:

“What does it take for a heavily propagandized population to allow its leadership to commit crimes against humanity?” [emphasis added]    

Their answer:

“According to Steven Bartlett, “Nothing needs to happen in order for psychologically normal, average, everyday people to accept and comply with a callous and cruel government intent upon a program of systematic dehumanization and murder […]” (2005, p. 185). If true, totalitarian societies, run by psychopaths, criminals, and mass murderers, with the passive acquiescence of the indoctrinated masses, are inherently pathological. Finding a cure for that pathology should be the primary aim of any book about the psychology of totalitarianism, yet in Desmet’s book such problems simply do not arise.”

Hang on! That requires unpacking. “Nothing needs to happen in order for psychologically normal” people to comply with this terror? I’m sorry, but there is nothing psychologically normal about voluntarily or passively complying with terror, and Hughes et al seem to agree by acknowledging that if the population is acquiescing to the shenanigans of “psychopaths, criminals, and mass murderers” then our societies are in fact “inherently pathological”. Which means there is a mass psychological component to totalitarianism, which in turn implies that the mess cannot simply be laid at the feet of the psychopaths ostensibly at the helm. 

Desmet may not have found the exact psychological mechanism of mass formation, but let’s give him some credit for going in search of it. Which brings us to the meaning of the brouhaha – he is being simultaneously credited by some for trying to solve the mystery and vilified by others for failing to solve the mystery. But this debate is ultimately about democracy and how it works.

The meaning of the brouhaha – democracy is a collective undertaking

We must be brutally honest. Desmet is right about something: There is a puzzling psychological element to the lemming-like way in which huge swathes of the public followed orders issued by a criminal political class. Notwithstanding all the propaganda and military-grade psyops, I remain gravely disturbed by the degree of willingness displayed by ‘ordinary’ people to participate in their own destruction. Emanuel Pastreich points out how the participation in one’s own destruction through compliance with rituals (masks and social distancing) known by the complier to be meaningless and fraudulent further degrades the ability to resist by inducing a state of passivity – instructions are unthinkingly obeyed – while also inducing a narcissistic, self-indulgent decadence that then engenders a perceived right to enforce this foolishness on the whole of society. 

It’s as if the compliers understood that it was insane to comply with such degrading stupidity but, lacking conviction, they complied anyway. And, having complied, there was no choice left but to force others to join in the madness in order to ameliorate their sense of shame. Sane bystanders or non-compliers serve as an embarrassing reminder to those who have admitted themselves into the asylum that they are mad. Getting others to join in is a desperate psychological bid to deny their own humiliation and insanity by recruiting bystanders into the bedlam. And make no mistake, when unmasked passengers on a Eurostar train dutifully don their masks as the train approaches the border of a country that enforces masking on public transport, we can be sure that the compliers are aware of the meaninglessness of the ritual and therefore of their self-imposed and humiliating madness. This is the power of the ritual of mindless obedience.

How does one begin to explain Noam Chomsky, one of the 20th century’s most lauded intellectuals and social justice warriors, advocating for the exclusion and starvation of people because they have rejected medical experimentation? How does one explain the enthusiasm with which so-called intellectuals and self-declared propaganda experts like Media Lens swallowed whole the monstrous covid propaganda and attacked their enemies on the right who didn’t? How do you explain accounts, relayed by pupils, of teachers standing in front of a classroom of young teenagers and emotionally blackmailing them into receiving experimental injections to honour the memory of those who died with covid? How do you explain journalists in local regional offices refusing to do their jobs by airing credible dissenting voices because they sincerely believe, contrary to their professional ethical duty, that they have some hitherto unheard of ‘ethical’ obligation to censor anything they think is ‘dangerous misinformation’? How to you explain doctors denigrating their colleagues for airing thoroughly researched doubts about the safety and efficacy of the experimental injections?

I cannot dismiss all of this as simply the product of a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign. Nor can all of this be dismissed as willing perpetrators obeying the siren calls of instigators in a mass atrocity, though there was certainly a lot of that. 

Having raised these disturbing questions, let’s ponder an extremely important point raised by Hughes et al. “At the heart of civilization is the rule of law – under which we are all equally accountable for our actions. If those who govern us are free to break the law and commit atrocities with impunity, there is no rule of law”. I agree, but let’s also agree that the absence of genuine rule of law predates covid fascism. The really big State Crimes Against Democracy – the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; countless CIA orchestrated coups; the assassinations of Malcolm X, MLK, Patrice Lumumba, and the Kennedys, to name just a few assassinations; the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the disembowelling of Libya, Syria and Yemen, the entire War of Terror, to name just a few criminal wars – have gone unpunished in order to preserve The System that perpetuates state terror against the public. 

In the case of covid atrocities, the judicial systems across the West rubberstamped the fascist state of emergencies that gave government perpetrators carte blanche to terrorise us. So, we must ask whether the judicial system which is supposed to deliver ‘rule of law’ is packed to the rafters with “psychologically normal, average, everyday people” who are, to use Hughes et al’s words, “accept[ing] and comply[ing] with a callous and cruel government intent upon a program of systematic dehumanization and murder.”

And if so, we are faced with a problem of enormous scale – a problem far greater than just rotten rulers. If the system is indeed rotten to the core, should we not ask whether it is being propped up by rotten but “normal, average, everyday people”? And, if so, does that not shift the dynamic of a potential solution from a single-pronged pursuance of rotten leaders within a rule-of-law framework to a two-pronged approach in which we also call to account ‘normal’, run-of-the mill, rotten people? This must be the case because the legal system can’t successfully place the heads of leaders under the rule-of-law guillotine until the populace in general, and the legal administrators specifically, acquire the requisite integrity to turn this possibility into reality. Isn’t that why the Nuremberg Code sought to establish the principle that taking orders from above was not a defence against crimes against humanity? No-one, regardless of rank, is exempt from the responsibility to obey their conscience. That principle is the last remaining salvation for a system that is rotting from the top down.

Focusing exclusively on corrupt leaders is futile if we ignore the masses who silently endorse them and the system that produces them. The juggernaut will grind to a halt with mass non-compliance, which can only be brought about by knowledge and an acceptance of what we collectively have done.

There is a serious problem with the formulation of one-sided responsibility, and it has grave implications for how we define democracies and a free society. If everything is the leaders’ fault and the masses are never to blame, then the masses are by implication relieved of moral conscience and the duty to act on it. Why develop a conscience if you can never be held to account for failing to act on it? If we grant leaders moral jurisdiction over the masses, then the masses are demoted from the position of the owners of a democracy to an obedient flock of sheep. 

On the other hand, if the electorate is expected to hold the leaders to account, the performance of that role requires both a moral compass and a duty of care to be vigilant for abuses of power. We have a responsibility to inform ourselves about the state of our ‘democracy’ and to act on weakness and delinquency. There is a joint responsibility, but a real democracy functions properly only when we expect more from the masses than from the leaders. That is why the government is, in theory, our servant. (After all, we refer to them as public or civil servants.) And yet the reality is that they are our masters, and savagely cruel ones at that. Let’s make up our minds – do we own the government, or does it own us? If the former, let’s behave like owners and not slaves. 

If any section of the masses is to be granted a free pass from performing the duty of the Demos described above, it is because they are so oppressed by the system that they have no time to devote to the civic duty demanded by democracy. (But that would imply a serious deficiency in the democracy itself.) And yet we find that those most oppressed by the system – the working class living below the poverty line – are the class of people who have disproportionately shouldered the burden of resistance to covid fascism. That is because they are innately better equipped than the Zoomocracy to smell a rat. The people most abused by The System have an intimate understanding of its inherent criminality – they are at the business end of it on a daily basis. The Zoomocracy has the time and other resources to fathom their government’s deception and yet has no incentive or inclination to do so.

There is good reason for this, which comes down to conflict of interest. The professional middle classes have historically been the buffer between the ruling oligarchy and the long-suffering working class. The middle class administers the systems of working-class oppression – the legal system, academia, civil service bureaucracies and so on. They are far better rewarded for this dirty work than the working class are for doing the real work of creating value. The ruling class can pretty much bank on the professional managerial class being on the wrong side of history provided they are rewarded for their treachery. And they generally are – they have good pensions and second/third/fourth houses to watch over. Take that away and the buffer collapses.

Democracy and liberty are not handed to us on a plate. They must first be taken and then defended ferociously. The ‘buffer’ role of the professional middle class is one enduring historical reason for the success of status quo or pro-establishment politics. Perhaps another reason applicable today is that it’s no longer possible to defend the concept of liberty if it is no longer understood at a visceral level by virtue of the middle class having had it too good for too long. Is this where the middle class of managerial professionals in the West are right now – sick from having gorged too long at the trough of liberty?

Democracy and liberty are also values, not commodities. What we are willing to tolerate as a society depends on the values we hold dear. Buckling under the weight of a military psyops campaign and falling for a pack of fantastic lies is bad enough but still forgivable. However, the real source of despair is that these lies should have then warranted the suspension of the core of the democratic values embodied in bodily autonomy and freedom of speech. This is the real problem – the abandonment of values in the face of lies and not the lies themselves. The values are our buffer against corruption. No values, no buffer. 

So, Desmet’s work is vital to appreciating the fact that the wickedness of covid tyranny and the totalitarianism for which it is laying the foundation require a dance between the leaders and their followers, and that the ceaseless deceptions perpetrated by the former cannot continue to release citizens indefinitely from their duty to play an active role in shaping our destiny.

The ultimate conundrum of real societal change – consciousness and rebellion

We are facing an eternal conundrum articulated by one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. And it is a conundrum not addressed by Desmet’s critics. 

The protagonist in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four sums up the conundrum that plagues many, if not most, in today’s resistance movement: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” Herein lies the seduction of Desmet’s theory – the invitation to vent frustration with the masses. Concentrated power will crumble when enough people say ‘No’ to it, and Hughes et al also acknowledge this at the end of their brilliant critique of Desmet’s denialism: “it simply takes a critical mass to see what is happening and to refuse to comply with its own enslavement”. True enough. But can we realistically expect the process of arriving at a critical mass to be a simple one if we do not understand the barriers, both psychological and political, that are impeding it?

If Orwell first succinctly summarised the conundrum of perpetual misrule, it was Aldous Huxley who prophetically provided the answer to what would propel 21st century totalitarianism and the very thing that Desmet’s critics seem not to want to face up to: a technological slavery borne out of ignorance, in which people not only accept their slavery but embrace it. A public fed on idiotic woke discourses that profess to end all anxiety and mental anguish, to banish colds and all other illnesses with magical ‘vaccines’ that are so good they must be forced into people’s veins, and to save the planet from carbon dioxide. A public that is at the mercy of a venal corporatocracy who will stop at nothing to implement the final revolution – a world in which there can be no more revolution against corrupt power.

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” (From a speech by Huxley in 1961)

What I am willing to credit Desmet with is the assignment of some responsibility to the masses. A more discomforting framing of today’s totalitarianism is that elites rule with the authority of the masses but it is an authority granted by apathy and, in many cases, wilful ignorance. For those not overpowered by the emotional pull of identity politics in the form of woke discourses, the information to unravel idiotic discourses is there if you’re prepared to take the time to delve into it. 

Of course, we should be angry with the instigators and perpetrators of mass atrocities. But I am also angry with those who continue to unconsciously support atrocities, and I am angry with all the symbols of unconscious support for 21stcentury fascism, from masks to blue and yellow flags and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods enforced by little Hitlers posing as conscientious do-gooders. I can’t even claim to be angry at them for choosing comfort over freedom because they do not even know that is the false choice they are making. And that is what makes me angry! I feel deeply alienated from these people, and when Desmet offered a seemingly plausible theory to explain why otherwise rational people would participate in their own destruction, I grabbed it with both hands. 

Robert Malone had been enthusing about Desmet’s theory for months before he single-handedly helped it to go platinum on the Joe Rogan podcast in December 2021. And yet Malone has never stopped expounding his view of what is really going on:

“ … over the last three years it has become apparent that there is a deep evil acting via many forces which seeks to tear apart our society, our friendships, our families, and our very souls. And this evil has employed the most profoundly pervasive propaganda and psychological operations campaign to bend and distort thought, emotion, and the fabric of reality to serve its ends … And it seeks to consolidate its gains to yield a permanent state of anger, conflict, and division … we will be well served to keep in mind that your friends, family and daily associates have been subjected to an intentional process specifically designed to coerce and compel compliance with the desires of the state.” [emphasis added]

It’s clear to me that he is not talking about a co-dependent hypnotic relationship between two groups of people at the opposite ends of the hierarchy. He is talking about the calculated and evil machinations of a criminal ruling class. As Malone explains the initial receptiveness to Desmet’s theory – “grown men with tears streaming down” – it becomes clear that the theory provided a way for people to begin to understand that their fellow citizens had literally lost their minds. Psychological warfare would not work otherwise. The flaws in Desmet’s theory did not matter at that juncture because the theory provided people with a way to make sense of something that seemed completely unfathomable. 

Robert Malone’s support for Desmet’s flawed theory combined with his enduring recognition of the reality of covid atrocities reveals a sad paradox about the initial success of Desmet’s theory of mass hypnosis and the subsequent barrage of criticism directed at it. The theory, however flawed, was needed so that people could begin to comprehend and come to terms with the zombie nation they had suddenly been thrust into, but no-one actually bought into the whole theory in the first place – not even his most ardent supporters. What they actually bought into was the proposition that their previously sane friends, families and co-workers had played a role in this mess and that complex psychological forces had mediated their behaviour. They never lost sight of the bigger picture. They were given a new, albeit flawed, narrative that enabled them to humanise what seemed like a threatening and inscrutable mob.

We also needed that theory because it kickstarted the process of acknowledging that the route out of 21st century totalitarianism would be knowledge and awakening, not force. We can catalogue the crimes and the evil genius of the instigators until the cows come home, but we will get nowhere without an acknowledgement that, if we have collectively been fooled, it is time to collectively get wise. It is not a binary choice between mass formation and mass atrocity. Both are co-existing. The one thing Desmet is right about is that there is mass formation. I actually don’t like the term ‘formation’ because it is a euphemism for delusion. Unlike Desmet, I prefer the term ‘mass psychosis’ because it admits illness, and that our societies are sick. I see merit in pointing out the flaws in Desmet’s thinking since to do so may bring us closer to a solution to what I believe is a very real problem of mass psychosis. But I see little merit in getting angry with him to the point that we go into denial about the sickness in our societies. There is a baby in Desmet’s bathwater, and we must not throw it out.

You can read more of Rusere’s work at https://plagueonbothhouses.com


  1. I do believe, with some grounding in evidence, that contrary to the Comic Book Version, totalitarianism in Germany and Italy wasn’t enforced by squads of terror gangs going door to door. CJ Hopkins does seem to believe British wartime propaganda about Germany at that time. Probably because Germany itself now parrots it and has made belief in it as mandatory as belief in the virgin birth was in 16fh century England. Germany, Italy and Japan went to extraordinary lengths to create stability and raise the population’s living standard. So they tended to rule by a kind of consent that seems familiar to us today. Or ought to. Even when the war was going on, protests were often met by the government giving in to avoid a messy scene that would shake the public’s faith in The System. (https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/german-wives-win-release-their-jewish-husbands-rosenstrasse-protest-1943)

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