We are not in accord with those, exasperated, fellow Americans, who feel that all possible questions have been asked, regarding the unprecedented, “storming of the Bastille,” on January 6, at the Washington Capitol Building. Popularly known inquiry has dealt with: the invitation to the violent protesters by the defeated Trump, the manufactured belief in purported election fraud, the eternal pathology of ignorant reductionism and racial and religious prejudice, the perennial existence of an ignorant, poorly educated and discontented citizen underbelly, the bizarre inclination to indulge in paranoidal and irrational conspiracy theory, the subject of the neurotic need for participation in tribalism and “groupthink,” religious and political extremism, personal self-interest, the inspired illusion of faux patriotism, general disappointment with personal life, hooliganism and anti-social motivations, and conceivably, other personally nuanced subjects, presently in the realm of popular discussion.
The matters listed above are worthy of consideration and comprehension to the extent that they address the various possibile motivations of the insurrectionists. However, we do apprehend useful, but unraised, questions relating to the reactive private impact on the individual participants, of the mob’s adoption of “The Big Lie,” its avowed disrespect for demonstrated and objective truth and its ready inclination to easy acceptance of paranoidal conspiracy theories. The miscreant mob, itself, has been the subject of socio-political study since the violent event; nevertheless, we have fundamental, unexplored questions on the routine life and daily social relationships, of its unruly participants.
In our view, the most intriguing questions relate to the accepted, existentially important element of “truth.” Early human society could not have survived without truthful communication, and neither can contemporary society. Paleolithic reliance upon accurate information, concerning danger, food and water sources and, as well, on newly developing skills, has historically kept man singly, and as a conjoined tribe, both alive and progressive. It is an empirical fact that the implied assumption of truthfulness, has eternally and universally, been a fundamental axiom in the dynamics of society and an existential ingredient of its interpersonal speech.
General societal mores, like “truthfulness,” have been traditionally reinforced by tales and legend. The following are summaries of two such tales, on the vital significance of truthfulness and moral behavior:
[American] “The Cherry Tree.” [Truth] This apocryphal legend concerned our first President, George Washington. The story is that G.W., when but a youngster, impulsively, committed the egregious act of chopping down his family’s beloved cherry tree. Despite his expectation of a sound thrashing and perhaps other punitive treatment, he fearfully, and honestly approached his father and said: “Father, I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree.” The tale relates that, rather than being punished for his thoughtless deed, his father rewarded him for his honesty.
[International] Pinocchio [ Falsehood]. The wooden protagonist, a puppet named Pinocchio, as retribution for the venal sin of telling an intentional falsehood, to his puppet-making father, Geppetto, suffers the ignominious punishment of a greatly extended wooden nose.
There is little question but that the bearers of the directional, avion-like title, “The Right Wing,” known and acknowledged to be apt practitioners of false conspiracy theories and “alternate facts,” are familiar with such traditional children’s morality tales and their expressions of societal reproval of mendacity. Yet, any generous measure of rationality, militates against credibility in their irrational constructs and faith in conspiracies, such as: that Israel is shooting laser beams at Planet Earth from Outer Space, that both American latitudinal coasts are inhabited by socialistic hippies, that the Founders intended to create a ”Christian” Democracy, that Columbus first discovered America, that Jews, funded by Soros, are out to dominate the world, that Chinese people are responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak, that liberals are in the child slave trade and are child molesters, that[ like Hitler] the pure white race is being “mongrelized” by darker skin races, that immigration is a dangerous invasion of disreputable people,[ despite the fact that our successful Nation is composed 100% of immigrants and their descendants] that the Trump elective loss to Biden was fraudulent, despite several accredited audit reports to the contrary, that Anglo Saxon citizens and their descendants are the American elite [despite the fact that relatively few, if any,“ Anglo-Saxons” populate our Nation], that government programs of assistance and compassionate capitalism are in actuality, “dreaded socialism,” [despite the fact that they, happily, accept the benefits of such programs], that the entire population of coastal America is elitist, left-wing intellectual snobs, that the teaching of American History, should expunge its past history of cruel treatment of Black People and Native Americans, that the popular American vote should be racially culled, and so on, ad nauseum, into the dense mist of bedlam-grade lunacy.
What, thematically, puzzles us, is the query as to what extent, far right Trump sycophants, readily inclined to displace empirical reality with “alternative facts,” and to construe “sci-fi” conspiracies to serve their personal dogma, utilize such tactical practices in their private lives? Or, alternatively, do they have a compartmental mindset or some non-computerized “App.” to switch to standards of societal acceptability, at home, with their family and friends. The most intriguing of all the unasked questions, referred to, is: are such phenomena, the product of innate nuance of the persona, or is it a volitional dynamic of convenient choice?
If we were permitted to hazard a guess, our best assumption would be that, at instances when these practitioners of “alt facts ” and far-fetched conspiracy delusions, are at home, en famille, or with relatives and friends, there is an intentional morphing, or transmogrification of [elsewhere] avowed delusional belief and tactical portrayal of persona, which, in a non-political context, is more centered and credibly, mainstream. One assumes that family members do not programmatically exchange intentionally false, alternate facts, nor expect the same of other family members, co-workers, or friends. A self-indulgent child is expected to honestly own up to having eaten all the chocolate donuts, the mother’s information concerning the price of seafood or her new dress is accepted as truthful. No fictional conspiracy theories are necessary to maintain that teachers are underpaid, or professional athletes, by comparison, overpaid, or explain a sudden change in the local school bus route, a new admission cost of movies, or the rising price of good bread. When complete reliance is not possible, family and civilized society are empirically impossible.
Upon the practical, but generous, assumption that many Republican legislators and citizens have sufficient personal sanity, to privately, recognize the acceptability of three professional audits certifying the accuracy and propriety of Biden’s win [or more to the point, Trump’s loss] or that inconvenient facts, in reality, do not become, ipso facto, false, decry the pathological inaccuracy of assertions that Israel is shooting laser beams from outer space down at Earth, that liberals are child abusers and engage in the child slave trade.
The unaddressed questions refer to the arcane dynamics of individual Jekyll-Hyde transformation, when in non-public, familial, or mundane setting. Does one change theatrical masks, as in ancient Greek or Japanese drama, or, as in Marvel comics, remove the Super-Hero costume in a telephone booth when not pursuing villains in Gotham City, or conveniently shed his skin like a snake? If our supposition of duality is correct, the schizophrenic morphing must be inconvenient and injurious to the self- image of the tactical “shape shifter.” Questions as to its dynamics and the extent of its cost to the persona of this tactical duality have yet to be raised and pursued.