Next time there’s a terrorist atrocity in Britain, here’s one of the things that will happen in the immediate aftermath: the mob will look for a scapegoat, someone wholly innocent of the actual crime but who must nonetheless bear the burden of its impotent rage.
Perhaps it will be a politician, usually Nigel Farage, though sometimes Donald Trump. More likely it will be Katie Hopkins or Tommy Robinson. They’ll say something robust and honest, most likely on Twitter. And instead of congratulating them on their courage in telling it like it is, the twitchfork mob will furiously brandish them as its Exhibit A — the hatemonger who created the atmosphere which made this terrible act possible. Meanwhile, the true perpetrators — at least in terms of moral responsibility — will be permitted to get off scot-free.
Quite why people behave this way, I find mystifying. But, as Ben Irvine describes in his fascinating book Scapegoated Capitalism, we’ve been doing it in different forms since time immemorial.
Read the rest at the Spectator.