Burn the witch !

Fearfully burning scapegoats at the stake or hanging them on the cross in order to assuage the evils of the Universe is one of the primary amusements of panem et circenses states. Why ? Because it’s what the people need. To quote :

As ever, “the people” are happy to be along for the ride, so susceptible are they to emotional arguments and so confused are they by the magical dragon powers of the true 0.01% (and others that are close enough, namely the other 0.99% at the top), that financiers, jooz, etc. are perfectly acceptable scapegoats when the kitty runs dry and a little more squeeze need be applied. Hey, anything works as long as the masses don’t have to address their own failures or those of their corrupt leaders.

Ultimately, however, in swallowing the nonsense spouted off by your government, it’s you and your children who will pay the price. It’s your currency that will be debased at the altar of your easy credit, your consumerist impulses, and your ignorance of political gamesmanship.

As the decline of western religions and the ascension of secular nation states did little to change the nature of belief and human necessity to believe – be it applied towards the after-life or merely in something greater than oneself – the state’s only recourse to maintaining its logically and morally dubious grasp on power is to ape the divine incantations of its priestly forebears. In praxis, this means much hand-waving, many statistically fallacious prayers, and a considerable amount of finger-pointing at the same boogeymen who’ve always played the bad guy. The Swiss have a centuries-old history of using witches for this purpose.i

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Witches’ Sabbath : 1560-1571 by Johann Jakob Wick : Rumour had it that “witches” celebrated demonic orgies with the devil. Behind the chief devil on the throne, a witch is stirring a cauldron – she is casting a spell for bad weather.

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Acts of black magic : before 1500 by Ulrich Molitor : “Witches” were accused because they allegedly made people and animals ill or even killed them with the help of the devil. They were also made responsible for storm damage.

The evildoers manipulating the weather today, those reckless carbon emitters and their voodoo “greenhouse effect” magic, are the reason that your country’s economy sucks, right ?ii  It’s not your fault. It’s not your parents’ fault. It’s not the fault of the folks you voted into office.

It’s the fault of people who drive pick-up trucks, the people who fly in airplanes, and the people who have more material control than you. Witch ! Witch ! Witch !!!1iii

It’s not your fault that you were taught the alphabet without also being taught how to think, because that just wouldn’t be the modern way, y’know ?

The “dizzying onset of modernity” is something that happened in the ’60s alright. Except they were the 1860s. That guy on the right there [Baudelaire], who you’ve likely read but don’t recognise, came up with the term, to describe the fleeting quality of life in an urban setting, and even wrote an essay on the topic. You spend all your time on retardpedia anyway, but you’ve not yet read La Modernite, have you. This would be a chief reason of why it’s the retardpedia in the first place, by the way : your failure to have read La Modernite. And other things. And your inability to speak languages. As in plural. As in having learned to fluency at least a couple on top of whatever your stupid mother passed on to you by virtue of automatic functioning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGoing back even before Baudelaire to 1831 but not so far geographically, pre-modern Switzerland gives us this exquisite “Premier livre scolaire de lecture pour la jeunesse des [Canton] Grisons, Coire.” That is, the first school book for young children, which espoused a new educational approach based on the liberal critique against the “droning stupidity” of the time : learn to think first, then write and then read.iv I shit you not. These guys had it figured out.

So be it in witch-burning or education or banking, the Swiss have an impressive track record of being ahead of the curve. It’s little wonder they’ve been such a successful confederacy for over 700 years.

It’s just too bad they keep signing the papers.

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  1. Photos taken at the Landesmuseum in Zurich. []
  2. This is not to say that environmental pollution and the wanton destruction of biodiversity don’t have adverse effects on human health as well as our planet’s, they do, and the effects are both unpredictable and possibly irreversible. It’s just that “carbon” is not in and of itself evil, it’s just an element, and the photosynthetic process readily converts CO2 to O2, making CO2 levels nowhere near the top of the list of environmental toxins you should be worried about. You’ve been taught the controversy. And now you’re fussing about GHGs instead of poisons with no environmental sink other than your bones and blood, like LMOs and plastics. []
  3. VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
    CROWD: Burn her! Burn!

    BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch?
    VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.

    BEDEVERE: Bring her forward.
    WITCH: I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.

    BEDEVERE: But you are dressed as one.
    WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
    CROWD: No, we didn’t — no.

    WITCH: And this isn’t my nose, it’s a false one.
    BEDEVERE: Well?

    VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
    BEDEVERE: The nose?

    VILLAGER #1: And the hat — but she is a witch!
    CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!

    BEDEVERE: Did you dress her up like this?
    CROWD: No, no… no… yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
    VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.

    BEDEVERE: What makes you think she is a witch?
    VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.

    BEDEVERE: A newt?
    VILLAGER #3: I got better.

    VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
    CROWD: Burn! Burn her!

    BEDEVERE: Quiet! quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
    CROWD: Are there? What are they?
    VILLAGER #2: Do they hurt?

    BEDEVERE: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
    VILLAGER #2: Burn!
    CROWD: Burn, burn them up!

    BEDEVERE: And what do you burn apart from witches?
    VILLAGER #1: More witches!
    VILLAGER #2: Wood!

    BEDEVERE: So, why do witches burn?

    [pause]

    VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood?
    BEDEVERE: Good!
    CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah.

    BEDEVERE: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
    VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.

    BEDEVERE: Aah, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
    VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.

    BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
    VILLAGER #1: No, no.
    VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
    VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
    CROWD: The pond!

    BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?
    VILLAGER #1: Bread!
    VILLAGER #2: Apples!
    VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
    VILLAGER #1: Cider!
    VILLAGER #2: Uhhh, gravy!
    VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
    VILLAGER #2: Mud!
    VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!
    VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!

    ARTHUR: A duck.
    CROWD: Oooh.

    BEDEVERE: Exactly! So, logically…
    VILLAGER #1: If… she… weighs the same as a duck.. she’s made of wood.

    BEDEVERE: And therefore?
    VILLAGER #1: A witch!
    CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch!

    via Monty Python and the Holy Grail. []

  4. Photo caption from exhibit : Comprendre les textes : La critique libérale contre l’ânonnement stupide entraîne une nouvelle approche : apprendre à penser d’abord, puis à écrire et à lire ensuite. []

7 thoughts on “Burn the witch !

  1. […] to the fullness of human flourishing” so much as “designed to give idiots resources without also teaching them how to think well enough to distribute said resources with a view towards the long-term.” This is as […]

  2. […] Apparently, some shit has to be spelled out extra slow and twice as methodically as anyone with half a brain would expect because some idiots on the Internet have been given access to words they have no business even smelling, much less publishing on a public venue. Such are the follies of expectations, it seems, and of this not being Switzerland circa 1830.i […]

  3. […] hardly fringe. Hearing propositions such as Ridley’s opening remarks would’ve been witch-burning blasphemy not five years ago, and yet here they are, very much in the open. But if you think that’s […]

  4. […] USistan has old white males. You’re no better than the rest of them, you know. In fact, the witch you choose to burn is highly indicative of what you’re willing to live with. Did you know that your choice to […]

  5. […] grass and chewing cud is a full-time occupation, you see, so please don’t disturb them with letters without also teaching them what words mean – it’s no service to […]

  6. […] any people ever did or could achieve actual literacy at scale. It’s biologically impossible, even in Switzerland, but the Americans take special pride in their No Child Left Behind nonsense so it’s them […]

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