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Failed Conservative Values: Jeeni Criscenzo on Scapegoating

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Edwin Rutsch
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Individual Responsibility A detachable burden easily shifted by conservatives to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck, one's neighbor or other Scapegoats.  In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
Modified Devils Dictionary

I interviewed Jeeni Criscenzo in Sacramento, California. Jeeni brought up the prevalent use of scapegoating by conservatives.  I find it curios how a Conservative Movement that preaches individual responsibility is so adept at finding scapegoats and not taking true responsibility. I think it has to do with the type of responsibility they preach. It is not the unqualified progressive sense of responsibility, where you feel responsible for yourself and the society around you, but rather conservatives always talk about a qualified 'individual responsibility' which actually is really no longer true responsibility, but rather a value of selfish self-centeredness. It's like taking the value of love or caring and saying we're for 'individual love' or 'individual caring'.  The values lose their meaning and are turned into nothing but the Failed Conservative Value of individual selfishness and greed.

Failed Conservative Values: Jeeni Criscenzo on Scapegoating

Jeeni Criscenzo: I think conservatives have lost their way,  they don’t realize that.  I recently saw a video of the Minutemen movement who were out there giving the finger to people, and being obnoxious and rude.  There was also something with them being at a church where they were interrupting the communion and screaming about not letting immigrants into this country.

If they could see themselves, what they look like and how they sound.  I think that they would be repulsed by what they saw.

They are trying to protect themselves.  They see themselves as being activists who feel helpless with the way things are going in this country, and they need to blame someone.  And a scapegoat is being delivered to them.  And they don’t realize they are being used.

The goat shall be used for making atonement  by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Leviticus 16:10
(Cartoon: The Secret of Success is knowing who to Blame.)

The rightwing in this country and beyond the rightwing, the corporatocracy, the military-industrial complex is trying to take over our world.  It’s using two techniques:  it’s called divide and distract.  And too many of the people in this country who are frustrated because they are losing jobs, because life is not turning out the way they thought it would be. 

(Cartoon: 'I was a failure as CEO because my scapegoats were inferior.')


Our children don’t have the same opportunities and hopes that their parents had.  And they need to blame someone.   So they’re falling right into this trap – of divide and distract.  And unfortunately, I think, the immigration is all about that.

Yeah, they make you find somehow who is at fault for the fact that their lives are not – that they are not happy.  There is a great emptiness in a lot of people that comes from thinking that you can feel whole by having enough stuff.  And we are bombarded by this message all the time.  You need more stuff.  You need a bigger car.  You need a bigger house.  You need more and more and more. 

And they keep trying to fill up this hole in them that can’t be filled with that.  And then there is delivered a message by people that they trust, by politicians, by church people, that says that the reason that you don’t have enough is because of them, because of the other.  And it’s so easy to fall into that trap.  And they become so dispirited and angry, that they don’t realize that they’ve been manipulated. 

One thing they are trying to say is that we want to give away the store.  That we want the government to take care of us.  That we want the government to pay for everything.  That we’re socialists or communists. 

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. http://cultureofempathy.com The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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