We see fanatics as some crazed people who will do whatever it takes to further their cause, yet we have placed the worst of them at the centre of our societies.
We picture fanatics as those willing to die for their cause, taking as many of those who they consider their enemies with them. We see them as the enemies of our way of life and a threat to our liberty. Their leaders plot to overthrow our governments while sowing seeds of resentment and anger among their followers. They manipulate whomever they can in service of their own aggrandisement, making themselves out to be the saviours of their followers while eliminating anyone who gets in their way.
They use lies and disinformation in their propaganda to subvert their followers' ability to see the truth about their real intent. They create fear and doubt so that people can be manipulated to allow them to further their plans. They don't care about their followers or what happens to them, as long as they prove useful to them. They leave corruption and instability in their wake, so that they can subvert any attempts at stopping their quest for power. Their goal is to put themselves at the centre of power so that they can rule over others.
We should rightly fear them, yet we have allowed them to be at the centre of our societies, pulling the levers of power. Some we have even put on pedestals as if they are the model whom we should aspire to emulate. Yet they work to undermine our democracies to further their wealth and power. They fund thinktanks to spread misinformation and write legislation to be voted for by politicians whom they have funded. Their propaganda is aimed at keeping the rest of us pursuing useless selfish goals so that we cannot join forces to challenge them.
They seek to take control of all levels of governments. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has shown how a few of them conspired in a $400 million plan to subvert the US Supreme Court to make judgements that favour their plans to keep themselves in power. Through their success in their plan, they are restricting voting rights, undoing environmental protections, and destroying citizens' privacy. While they have tried to obscure the funding arrangements that led to their coup, many of their identities are not hidden, just because they are so confident of the ultimate success of their long-term plans.
In the past, such people were monarchs, ruling with absolute power and authority, but in modern Western societies, they tend to be white male billionaires. Elsewhere, they are the ones who have benefitted from the corruption that followed in the wake of colonialism and revolutions as their countries sought to economically compete with the West. Regardless of how they got their money, they use every means to keep it, while finding more ways to increase it, even if it bankrupts their governments and consigns their citizens to hardship and despair.
These are the true fanatics, as they progressively seek to take over our societies regardless of the harm to people or the planet. They just don't care about anyone but themselves, yet they will conspire with others like them to ensure that there are no challenges to their class status. It is their ruthless devotion to accumulating wealth and power far in excess of what they actually need that makes them the worst and most dangerous fanatics. While other fanatics may blow up a building, they create mass suffering, hardship and death.
We saw that during the pandemic, where they were so bent on keeping their money machines running that they persuaded millions that their freedom was so threatened by masks and lockdowns that they were willing to put many more at risk, leading to the deaths of millions. We cannot trust our societies to these fanatics. They promise us that we can be like them, but persuade us to ride on stress treadmills that lead most to despair while they destroy our ability to change our lives for the better.
We mostly want a better life for ourselves, and so want to believe in ways that we can do that, which makes us ripe picking for those that want to manipulate us for their own ends. However, we have to beware that our desires are really our own, because these true fanatics actually have hordes that persuade us to tacitly support them. While advertising seems fairly innocuous, it keeps us focusing on trivial pursuits while they fund politicians and influencers to peddle their propaganda which blinds us to their progressive corruption of our systems of government.
To counter these fanatics, we have to choose to be thinking clearly about what we support, and about whether what we are being sold on is actually helping us to be free. That requires us to undo the programming that the constant stream of propaganda is feeding us. We can do this by being open to other ideas about how we can live our lives and run our societies. We can collectively find ways of challenging the attempts at hijacking our societies so that we have actual freedom to ensure we get what we need to live happy lives, free of fake stresses.