You might’ve thought that ‘Witch Hunts’ belonged to, and ended with, the Middle Ages, but it appears that you’re wrong! First Donald Trump, and now Boris Johnson, are declared by themselves and their vociferously insuppressible devotees, to be the victims of ‘Witch Hunts’. Although, in these gender-sensitive days of ours, perhaps we should talk about ‘Warlock Hunts’ instead! Better safe than sorry.
It seems somewhat ironic to me, that the victims in past times were those who suddenly and unforeseeably suffered when a deadly plague struck, or a much needed harvest failed, or a prized cattle beast sickened and died. That couldn’t possibly have been caused by the reliably Good Lord above. Some malevolent hireling of the Devil must surely have been responsible. As an obvious offshoot from the poisonous tree of patriarchal misogyny, who would be a more likely perpetrator than that solitary, taciturn old crone with her raucous colony of miaowing, spitting, biting cats?
So in the old days, the witch was regarded as the perpetrator of mischief, and the hunters were none other than the ‘goodies’ who sought reparation for the suffering victims. The irony lies in the fact that it’s now the ‘witch’, the ‘outed’ miscreant, who’s to be regarded as the victim. The perpetrators of mischief, the ‘baddies’, are that gang of politically motivated busybodies who are portrayed as hunting their innocent quarry in an unremitting, baying pursuit. This is a most convenient reversal of the previously allotted roles.
So let’s now understand the cry of ‘Witch Hunt’ for what it is. If there’s muck lying about in your life, that others who’re poking around are beginning to uncover, you start chucking muck in their direction. If enough of it sticks, that’ll divert attention onto them, and put them into the bad light instead of you. You must fight fire with fire, even if your fire has no more solid substance than a smoke screen. The plain fact of the matter is, that people start shouting ‘witch hunt’ when they’ve been found out, and when they know full well that any denials, justifications and excuses are paper thin, lacking in persuasive weight, and easily able to be seen through.
It’s not just “patriotism”, but also cries of ‘witch hunt’ that are “the last refuge of scoundrels”.
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