ritual defamation

Coined by Laird Wilcox in 1990, under the pretext of how values, opinions, and beliefs are controlled in democratic societies – and very, very applicable today:

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 unfair, wrongful, 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 or 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.

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

Edited characteristics:

1) victim must have violated a societal taboo, usually by identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion or belief.

2)The method of attack is character assassination, not criticism of the particular attitude, opinion, or belief.

3)The goal of ritual defamation is censorship and repression, and not a discussion of the merits of the the beliefs.

4)The target of ritual defamation is someone in the public eye, who is most vulnerable through public exposure.

5)Others are often urged to join in the attack to denounce the offender.

6)The victim must be dehumanized/objectified as being identical with the attitude, opinion, or belief.

7)The victim must suffer from as many parts of society as possible, to make it appear as a threat to the whole community.

8)Ritual defamation is not about being right or wrong on merits, but is perceived to be a failure to observe societal taboos.

The Glenn Becks of the world are the witch doctors of ritual defamation.

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