Banishing The Evil Spirits: why Americans want to believe Assange is a dangerous criminal

Banishing The Evil Spirits

by digby

Some people seem to be surprised at this, but I'm not:

The American public is highly critical of the recent release of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks Web site and would support the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by U.S. authorities, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

Most of those polled - 68 percent - say the WikiLeaks' exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many - 59 percent - say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables.

Why wouldn't they think this since virtually everyone on TV, including journalists, is acting as if telling the truth about the US Government, even when it's done in league with reputable newspapers, is going to kill us all in our beds? It's not as if they are being told the truth --- even about that.

And frankly, it's clear that under the stress of rapid social change and economic insecurity, America is morphing itself quite comfortably into a police state, yearning to believe that it is under the most serious threats mankind has ever known (well, except for the real ones like climate change, which they increasingly believe is a hoax)in order to justify putting themselves into the hands of people who say they are protecting them. Like those lab rats who repeatedly shock themselves for rewards, they are so overstimulated that they are excitedly eating up the fearmongering and demagoguery, just so they can watch the authorities use their power to make it stop.

It helps them feel safe to believe that these allegedly mortal threats can be banished when the police incarcerate and punish a single "evil" man. It also means protecting the very people who are really making them so terrified --- but that's how authoritarians roll.