The original blood libel was the claim that Jews killed Christian babies to use their blood in rituals. It was spread to incite pogroms and ethnic cleansings.
Nowadays you see the same sort of claims taking place both in social media and on news networks, where people will stoke hatred and outrage at a target demographic. Sometimes they do this for political reasons, sometimes it’s just for popularity/ratings. But the primary effect, the intended effect, is always to inflame hatred of a group by spreading the belief that all members of the group are vile monsters without conscience, who are a danger to everyone else.
The current defense for such actions is that “Every single thing I’m saying is true, every single example I give is real.”
To repeat an example I’ve used before, this is why TERF communities are awful places that should be avoided.
If you ever visit a racist internet forum or user group or whatever, you’ll notice that they do the same thing. They talk about every single gruesome crime committed by a black person or an immigrant or a Muslim, anywhere in the world. They seek these out, and they find them, because there are millions of people in these groups and in any group of millions of people you can find something gruesome and horrible. They make a sensationalist post about it, and they pass it around. If you spend any time on the forum, you will be bombarded with hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts about horrible crimes committed by black people and Muslims and immigrants.
This is, of course, really clever. Even if you know that a group of millions of people will have some bad ones, hearing in detail about the bad ones all the time will slowly rewire your intuitions. You’ll start to expect, when you see a member of the group, bad things, because your brain has thousands of examples of bad things. You can try to consciously correct for this, but in my experience it’s actually nearly impossible to consciously correct enough; when you’re getting tons of “data” your intuitions will be shaped by it, even when it’s a lie and you know it.
I categorically reject any group of people which does this. If a group does this, I block them all and leave and never come back. It is a fundamentally wrong thing to do. It can be done against any target; it does not teach truth; all it does is rewire your brain towards suspicion and hatred, and it works just as well whether the targeted group has a higher rate of violence of various types or not. I strongly encourage anyone who recognizes this pattern in groups they’re part of to leave those groups, because this is a horrid tactic.
TERF communities do this constantly. When I’ve tried reading TERF blogs, a large share of the content is – yep – circulating gruesome, horrifying, and detailed accounts of random crimes or acts of bullying committed by specific trans people. You recommended a specific radical feminist blogger in your followup ask. I read through the most recent two pages of posts on her blog, and six of them were either screenshots of a random trans person saying something objectionable or, the classic, breathlessly reported and incredibly detailed account of a single violent crime committed by a trans person.
This is straight-up blood libel, using only true examples that actually happened.
III. Libs of TikTok & Weak-Man Jews
This can happen in a less blatant but still mentally-deranging way, especially when used as humor. Libs of TikTok is prime example.
It primarily just retweets videos that actual people have posted in seriousness. Some of them are perfectly fine videos that LoTT doesn’t realize are unobjectionable, but many of them really are crazy people acting in bizarre ways. They use this to say that all liberals are deranged and must be stopped.
One can claim that LoTT isn’t doing anything wrong, since they’re just retweeting things that real liberals have posted. But LoTT is a hate account. The whole point of the account is amplifying objectionable stuff. It’s like an account that just retweets every violent crime committed by a trans person. Or every violent crime committed by a Jew…
imagining yourself in the shoes of a Jew in czarist Russia. The big news story is about a Jewish man who killed a Christian child. As far as you can tell the story is true. It’s just disappointing that everyone who tells it is describing it as “A Jew killed a Christian kid today”. You don’t want to make a big deal over this, because no one is saying anything objectionable like “And so all Jews are evil”. Besides you’d hate to inject identity politics into this obvious tragedy. It just sort of makes you uncomfortable.
The next day you hear that the local priest is giving a sermon on how the Jews killed Christ. This statement seems historically plausible, and it’s part of the Christian religion, and no one is implying it says anything about the Jews today. You’d hate to be the guy who barges in and tries to tell the Christians what Biblical facts they can and can’t include in their sermons just because they offend you. It would make you an annoying busybody. So again you just get uncomfortable.
The next day you hear people complain about the greedy Jewish bankers who are ruining the world economy. And really a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish, and bankers really do seem to be the source of a lot of economic problems. It seems kind of pedantic to interrupt every conversation with “But also some bankers are Christian, or Muslim, and even though a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish that doesn’t mean the Jewish bankers are disproportionately active in ruining the world economy compared to their numbers.” So again you stay uncomfortable.
Then the next day you hear people complain about Israeli atrocities in Palestine (what, you thought this was past czarist Russia? This is future czarist Russia, after Putin finally gets the guts to crown himself). You understand that the Israelis really do commit some terrible acts. On the other hand, when people start talking about “Jewish atrocities” and “the need to protect Gentiles from Jewish rapacity” and “laws to stop all this horrible stuff the Jews are doing”, you just feel worried, even though you personally are not doing any horrible stuff and maybe they even have good reasons for phrasing it that way.
Then the next day you get in a business dispute with your neighbor. Maybe you loaned him some money and he doesn’t feel like paying you back. He tells you you’d better just give up, admit he is in the right, and apologize to him – because if the conflict escalated everyone would take his side because he is a Christian and you are a Jew. And everyone knows that Jews victimize Christians and are basically child-murdering Christ-killing economy-ruining atrocity-committing scum.
You have been boxed in by a serious of individually harmless but collectively dangerous statements. None of them individually referred to you – you weren’t murdering children or killing Christ or owning a bank. But they ended up getting you in the end anyway.
I haven’t bothered with Vaush for ages, because he is a piece of shit that loves doing this sort of thing. But someone who knows how strongly I feel about abortion linked me a Vaush video recently, so I had his crap in my eyeballs again for a few seconds, and now I’m here writing this.
The title says they want you to suffer. The title card has “They hate you” across the top. This is blatant blood libel. It’s as bad a Libs of TikTok, it’s as bad as the TERF anti-trans blood libel.
Don’t watch Vaush’s stuff. Don’t watch anything that says a large group of people want you to suffer, or want to murder babies, or want to rape children. It’s designed to derange you. It’s eliminationist rhetoric. If you see your parents watching this sort of thing, speak up. If you see your friends sharing this sort of thing, speak up.
We’re stuck in a Culture War right now. But even culture wars have culture War Crimes, and I prefer to stay aware of them and avoid them. Accounts that do nothing but stoke hate by amplifying worst-actors are in that category. One can do war-reporting without going to that extreme.
Well you just convinced me Vaush is based.
I had not idea who “Vaush” is (and still don’t really), but I was really concerned this was going ‘in the other direction’.
I still don’t like what you wrote in this post about TERFs, i.e. ” TERF communities are awful places that should be avoided”. That sure seems to me like the the very thing you’re criticizing. I suspect you’re right about them in general, but it still seems like – at least – an unexplained exception to the very principle you’re promoting in this post!
But I’m very much with you on not promoting, and criticizing “culture War Crimes”. (I really think tho that it might be better to aim for something beyond ‘culture war‘. That just seems like a really terrible frame for these kinds of disagreements.)
> I still don’t like what you wrote in this post about TERFs, i.e. ” TERF communities are awful places that should be avoided”. That sure seems to me like the the very thing you’re criticizing.
I agree, but it’s hard to argue with observed evidence. TERF became associated with so much toxicity that the reasonable faction consider it a slur and split off, calling themselves “Gender Critical” to differentiate the groups. I was happy about this at first. But soon the Gender Critical groups filled up with people who do this same awful thing, constantly spreading every bit of terrible news they can find about trans people. Now those groups seem to be just as bad. It feels like enforcement of anti-blood-libel has to be extremely strict or these things degenerate, and I assume that’s because it’s such a hot battle in the culture wars.
Right now I don’t know if there’s any terms for liberals who are sane on trans stuff. That’s a damn shame, but it seems like as soon as a label is picked, it’ll be taken over by hate-spreading extremists.
I guess maybe caveating every statement with “Many sane liberals exist that accept trans people but acknowledge that woke extremists are nuts, and these people are often called TERFs, but are actually just being maligned by the woke fringe” would work. Eventually maybe this will become common knowledge and can be dropped. Much like no one has to bother saying “Many sane liberals exist that don’t support every crazy wokeist policy, and these people are often called Nazis, but are actually just being maligned by the woke fring” anymore, since everyone knows it now.