One October day in 1844, thousands of followers of William Miller awaited the return of Jesus in glory and their own glorious ascension to heaven. The non-event that followed became known as The Great Disappointment.
It didn’t help that the whole non-believing world was laughing their asses off while the devastated Millerites grieved and tried to recoup.
You’d think something called The Great Disappointment would have been the end of the Millerite cult. But only if you underestimate the self-justifying irrationality of human beings.
Sure, some walked away. But many who walked simply became True Believers in a different sect (the Shakers, whose adherents advertised that their founder, Mother Ann Lee, was already the second coming of Christ). Yet others stayed faithful, but just figured there’d been a slight miscalculation and projected various near-future dates for the miraculous event. Many remained devout Millerites, but with dozens of individual beliefs about what had really happened on October 22. As the Jehovah’s Witnesses would do 70 years later (when their world didn’t end on schedule in 1914), some of the Millerites would basically say that the prophesy proved 100% true — just not in the way everybody expected.
I’m particularly fond of the faction that decided that Jesus had decreed a permanent Sabbath as of his no-show day and that no believer ever had to work again. Nice
work leisure if you can get it.
Everything became very, very complicated for a while (as Wikipedia explains), but the upshot was that the Millerites (today called Seventh-Day Adventists) grew more numerous and stronger than ever.
George R. Knight made this story famous 28 years ago in his 1993 study, Millennial Fever and the End of the World. But it’s hardly a new development in human history.
No matter what the belief system, no matter how spectacular its failure, True Believers will not only find a way to go on believing — they will believe harder and stronger than ever. Disappointments will not disappoint them. Facts will not sway them. Logical argument will be damned as the words of the devil. Opposition of the world will merely unite them more deeply in their fanaticism.
Whatever new conviction they may settle on after a “disappointment” will likely be a super-duper hardcore variation on the same-old same-old broken belief system and the same old actions.
If they gain, or already hold, power over others (which the Millerites blessedly did not), they will use that power more and more ruthlessly to demonize, control, and crush all who fail to bend the knee.
Yeah. You know that drill.
Others have noted that the packs of seeming lunatics now trying to rule the globe either are religious cultists or so much like cultists as to make no nevermind.
But it’s the kind of religious believers we’re facing that’s most vital to understand. Knowing that will help us cope with what comes next.
The woke demand that we believe in the historically unlikely and the biologically impossible or face demonization and unpersoning. Those awaiting the climate-change apocalypse are utterly undeterred by its repeated failure to arrive and insist more loudly than ever that the rest of us — those not in their crowd — will eat soy, give up our cars, own nothing, and like it.
And — as omicron madness rises from the ashes of the dying COVID panic to sweep the global “public health” establishment — we can expect the True Believers (who in this case have the added incentives of billions of dollars, increased political power, and media fame) to hit us, harder than ever, with the same-old same-old of their broken “expertise,” their failed prophesies, and their useless (and cruel) “solutions.”
Never mind that we know very little about omicron at this point. Never mind that what we do know hints that the new variant follows the standard pattern for mutating viruses: more contagious but milder.
The True Believers of Public Health faced their own Great Disappointment. Millions were beginning either to ignore or strike back at the best panic they’d ginned up in their bureaucratic little lifetimes (a real and nasty disease, but eminently survivable even for 98+ percent of its most vulnerable victims).
So — GLOBAL CATASTROPHE, Part umpty-ump! Whoohoo!
And if previous tools didn’t “slow the spread” or sufficiently cow the peasants, then let’s use the same tools, only more and harder! Lockdowns! Shutdowns! Masks and more masks! Firings! Travel bans! Closed borders! Closed schools! Vaxx passports! Above all, more and more NEW JABS! And for the unbelievers, increasingly stringent punishments to
save their souls force compliance.
Heck, even before the excuse of omicron, one country in Europe had already banned the dirty unvaxxed from buying gasoline. (I also thought this was fake news until I checked beyond the original link I received.)
In Greece, where the average monthly pension is 730 Euros, every filthy unvaccinated resident over 60 will be forced to pay a 100 Euro monthly fine. (But never fear, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis assured us he was “tormented,” the poor dear, by his decision to smack the most vulnerable. Also he wants us all to understand “It is not a punishment.” That should make everybody, especially all the newly poor, feel better.)
And as Noah Rothman noted in the second half of one of the links above, despite omicron giving, as yet, no sign that panic is called for, panic swiftly ensued around the globe and on the shores of our very own burgeoning banana republic. Or at least it did in the minds of officials and “experts” for whom panic (in Rothman’s words) is a lifestyle brand.
Boston University School of Public Health Associate Professor Dr. Ellie Murray must have been chortling with glee when she recommended “solutions” for this new variant we know almost nothing about: more jabs, more tests, more mask mandates, more business closures, PLUS paid pandemic furloughs, new eviction moratoriums, forcing airlines to absorb the costs of socially distanced flights, requiring (this is my favorite) ALL winter gatherings to take place outdoors (have fun, you Minnesotans and Canadians!), and being ready to close (again) whatever schools may have managed to open.
That sort of thing worked SO well before, you know.
Of course, whoever’s actually running the Biden administration responded instantly with bans on travel from various African nations. (NOTE to readers: Bans on travel from various nations are racist only when issued by Republican presidents.)
Japan slammed its borders shut entirely (as it is historically wont to do).
And all around the world True Believing governments behaved like True Believing governments. They panicked and hoped we’d all panic right along with them. And they did the same-old same-old, then more of the same.
And Anthony Fauci, in true Anthony Fauci style, once again declared himself to be the
second coming of Christ living embodiment of capital-S Science, the ultimate, infallible authority. The Pope (as the Babylon Bee so insightfully put it) of Science, speaking ex-cathedra to the senatorial heretics, Paul and Cruz.
These aren’t just fanatics in their own new globe-spanning religion. They’re the sort of True Believers who — as if the Millerites weren’t mere flawed humans, but radiated, mutated monsters out of some really bad, but really scary 1950s sci-fi flick — gain determination and power from every screwup they make, every failed prophesy they promulgate, every destructive policy they impose by fiat. The worse they make the world, the worse they’re determined to make the world.
That’s what we need to understand about them. The worse they get, the worse they’re going to get. The worse they’re determined to get.
Back in the day some disappointed Millerites really did walk away and get a life rather than joining the mob in seeking ways to be right when they’d been proven so wrong.
It’s a bit harder for us to slip away from the sect, given that our delusional mobs are bigger, richer, infinitely more politically powerful, and increasingly ruthless.
But it’s as Princess Leia said:
They tighten their fists, more of us slip through their grasp.
So as true as it is that we’re being faced down by lunatic True Believers who have money, position, political power — and the will to use every bit of it against we who refuse to bend the knee, that’s one good thing.
You can bet that, right this very minute, in Slovenia, many of the vaxxed are busy buying extra gasoline and selling it the the unvaxxed at black market prices. (And the less scrupulous of the unvaxxed are busy siphoning gas tanks.) You can bet that more parents everywhere will be pulling their children out of more closed (or so bad they ought to be closed) schools. You can bet that tomorrow a few thousand more will be throwing away their masks or slipping their masks down below their nose and mouth. You can know that more “peasants” will quit their jobs rather than waiting to be fired — and that newer, freer markets will rise up to absorb their service. You can bet quiet anger will grow, and — more importantly — that quiet contempt will arise for old regimes and all who take part in them.
And pretty soon, as Arlo Guthrie sang, you’ve got a movement.
The True Believers may become more committed and more ruthless every day. But those who do slip out of their grasp are out for good.
You can operate within a delusional system, particularly if you’re in a position of power or influence, and never have to face reality. You can live powerlessly under a delusional system by keeping your head down and choosing to ignore that the system is delusional.
But once you recognize the delusion … well, you may submit again because you don’t have the courage or knowhow to resist or step away. But you can’t pretend you don’t see the crazy. You can’t pretend you don’t see the futility and the cruelty and the self-will of the authoritarians desperately trying to impose their ever-increasing delusions on you. You no longer belong, and even if you don’t openly reject your New Masters, at the very least you quietly hate or mock them.
The term “redpilled” has become sadly disreputable. The new iteration of The Matrix even portrays a somehow bluepilled and middle-aged Thomas Anderson struggling to regain his identity and power as Neo — The One. Some “progressives” see this upcoming film as a slap in the face to
us heretics people who no longer follow the narrative. But that’s the movies (and that’s the Wachowskis, who aren’t really great at understanding their own plots).
Whatever you call yourself or your state once you’ve stepped outside and seen the delusion for what it is, the change in you is permanent.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,” as said Voltaire.
There are still plenty enough who believe the current global absurdities to create havoc upon command. Even to go on destroying economies. Even to perpetrate genocides. Those people are always with us.
But with us — more and more these days — are those who perceive the delusion and create with us an actual reality-based Reality.