Satan is eating your babies! Well, not Satan himself. The Beautiful Red Master is obviously too busy for such detail, so the work has been farmed out to his willing minions, who as we know, by the very definition of the word, are a dedicated bunch. Why dedicated? Lucifer is the wisest of the angels, and he starts minion training early; most recruiting efforts are focused on nursery schools, girl scout packs and the like.
Don’t laugh. A not dissimilar version of this story was widely believed in the States back in the 1990s. A very large—a disturbingly large—proportion of people convinced themselves that Satanic rituals were being conducted right under their noses, by their quiet neighbors, by the seemingly diligent people who ran preschools, by even themselves!, though they couldn’t remember partaking. Bodies, and lots of them, were not just being eaten, but they were being sacrificed by nude covens and the bones buried under full moons. Sheriffs were dispatched, indictments were issued, sentences were passed. People actually went to jail! The Satanic Panic, it was later dubbed.
It was brought about by the highly dubious medical theory of recovered memories. Advocates (they never called themselves anything less) assured the public that traumatic memories, such as roasting an infant alive, were routinely repressed, but never lost. Horrors were tucked away in deep recesses of the mind, but they could be dislodged by the application of hypnosis, or through chatting with an earnest therapist trained for the work.
Legions of women trudged to their therapist to discover the evils in which they participated but couldn’t remember. Others wondered if they were victims of the foul play—because who doesn’t want to be a victim? The perquisites are endless. Anyway, these adventurous women were rewarded with tantalizingly lurid memories by the boat load. Tellingly, the longer the contact with the therapist, the more spectacular the recollections.
Blood rituals were a common theme, but the bulk of the memories were accounts of abuse, paederasty, and rape. Untold numbers of women discovered that they had repressed how old dad regularly had his way with them. Not a few females were encouraged to confront and accuse their now aged relatives, to cut off all contact if the family refused to ‘fess up, and, this being America, to sue, sue, sue. Others…
But it’s too depressing to continue. Luckily, however, one bright Spring morning, people began to wake and told themselves that widespread Satanic worship couldn’t be as likely as they had, just yesterday, thought. Besides, it was exhausting having to believe and track all those rumors! Sure, they said to themselves, all this was nonsense, but it was done with the best intent. Children were involved! We must do anything we can to protect the children, and since we went a little loopy in their holy name, everything is copacetic.
I retell the sad story of this epoch to admit that America has, at times, lost its mind. It has of course done so more than once, and will surely do so again: bouts of insanity are well known symptoms of democracies. We’ve already demonized (and resanctified) alcohol, and the Enlightened now equate smoking as being on the same moral plane as being a conservative, but since smoking has not yet been made illegal, there is still room left for some solid excoriation. So it is difficult to say what mania is next at bat, but be assured that the masses will fix on something.
At least we can take pride that we have exported the thrilling fear of child molestation to England, where it has been embraced by a grateful public who were tired of discussing the consequences of the European Union. Much more fun to point and whisper at a neighbor who was seen to smile at a child who wasn’t his. Laws and custom are being modified rapidly, all under the theory that anybody could be a child molester! That, incidentally, is a true statement: anybody might be, but hardly anybody is. No matter. It is the truth that counts—anything for the children!—and all the signs and marks of insanity can be found in that once great nation.
For example, there is now a legal requirement that adults who drive kids to soccer (football) games, or to boys outings and the like, must be registered and undergo a criminal check. Want to shuttle your neighbor’s kid to school? Don’t get caught! “Unregistered adults could be fined up to Â£5,000 under scheme to prevent paedophiles getting access to children” (link). Sobbing articles are being written in the best papers about how adults are pathologically frightened of kids; not scared of the pre-adults themselves, but of the lunatic grownup who is ready and perversely happy to infer the worst.
My advice: buck up, England. This insanity will pass: these manias only last a decade or so. That’s the outer limit of the mob’s patience, after which it will retire exhausted, lie dormant for a year or so, whence it will emerge, recharged and on the prowl for something new to fret over.