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April 06, 2016

A Panic Sweeps Across Indiana University as Ghostly Klansman Carrying a Whip Glides Across the Campus Grounds

From Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, as part of that site's helpful updates about which colleges you should under no circumstances send your children to.


The klansman in question was actually a priest wearing the traditional white robes, and the "whip" was probably his rosary beads.

The situation reminds me of the Great Fear that shook France just before the Revolution:

The "Great Fear" occurred from July 20 to August 5, 1789 in France at the start of the French Revolution. Rural unrest had been present in France since the worsening grain shortage of the spring, and the grain supplies were now guarded by local militias as bands of vagrants roamed the countryside. Rumors spread among the peasantry that nobles had hired these vagrants to prey on villages and protect the new harvest from the peasants.

In response, fearful peasants armed themselves in self-defense against the imaginary marauders by robbing the jail Bastille and attacked manor houses. Aristocratic property was ransacked, and documentation recording feudal obligations was destroyed. There were isolated incidents of violence against the aristocrats, but the peasants mostly wanted to destroy the records in which the feudal dues were recorded. Grain supplies were attacked and merchants suffered serious losses as peasants helped themselves to much needed supplies. The revolt spread across the country but gradually burned itself out as militias imposed law and order.

Simon Schama postulated that the Great Fear worked like this: A village heard rumors of vagrants and marauders abroad. They quickly grabbed their staffs and pikes and went out on the road searching for these brigands.

Far down the road, they saw an armed group of men shambling towards them.

They ran back to the village and told their fellow villagers to board up the houses and get ready for the siege by bandits.

But the bandits never came.

Because, in all likelihood, the armed men they had seen on the road was just the villagers of the next village down, who themselves had heard rumors of bandits pillaging the countryside, and had themselves gotten their weapons and went out to patrol for these boogeymen who did not exist.

Fearful, stupid people are afraid because they're fearful, and they're afraid particularly of everything because they're stupid and can't tell the difference between a klansman and a priest.

Of course, the trembling peasants of 1789 might have had a better excuse than today's Special Education Snowflakes do:

Historian Mary K. Matossian argued that one of the causes of the Great Fear was consumption of ergot, a hallucinogenic fungus. In years of good harvests, wheat with ergot was thrown away, but when the harvest was poor, the peasants could not afford to be so choosy

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posted by Ace at 03:22 PM

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