We should all use recent visits by some “Sons of Olympia” to the comments section on this recent posting as a learning moment.
In one sense, it would be easy to dismiss one commenter’s throwing Rachel Corrie’s corpse in our faces and another commenter’s accusations of racism and Apartheid (coupled with an abject refusal to reply to responses to those accusations) as simply part of the deeply cynical strategy of “Accuse, Accuse, Accuse. Never Reply, Never Respond, Never Acknowledge Another Opinion,” with which we are all familiar from BDS-land. But, in this case, I believe assumptions of cynicism to be a mistake.
Rather, the motivation I see in this type of behavior is not cynicism, but fantasy, notably the fantasy these two people and their “movement” hold that they (and they alone) represent the Alpha and Omega of righteousness. Under this interpretation, our Olympian friends begin with but a single premise: their own unquestionable virtue. And while most of us would respond to evidence, claims and counter-claims by listening to that evidence and turning those claims into premises which can be evaluated for truth or falsehood, the fantasist uses logic that goes something like this:
A. I am a person of infinite virtue
B. Someone is describing what I said or believe in a way that implies those positions could not be held by someone of infinite virtue.
C. Therefore, whatever is being said in response to my statements and accusations must be false
Indeed, if you look at these recent exchanges, it is clear that this fantasy logic has been so internalized that it would never even dawn on the fantasist to listen to, much less think about, much less respond to anything anyone else has to say.
Much of what we have seen come out of Olympia (including the selfish desire to gain political advantage at the expense of one’s neighbors) makes perfect sense once you realize how fantasy fits into the equation. For while one Olympian visitor may come off as hysterical and the other as oafish, both are linked by a political identity motivated not by a desire for peace, not by a concern for others (including Palestinians, Israelis or fellow Olympians) but the all-consuming, all-critical, all-devouring “ME.”