Collective Irresponsibility – Hiding Behind the Mass



By: TLB contributor Steve Cook

When a crime or harmful act is committed, it is always committed by one or more specific human beings.

One of the habits that gets us into wars and guarantees that we won’t get justice is to fail to recognize this and hold responsible for some crime or other some hazy, generalized mass of people, all of whom are individuals and most of whom had nothing to do with the crime we accuse “them” of.

Justice works on specifics and is based on the principle that when some harmful act is committed, it is committed by specific individuals. It is those specific individuals and their actions that justice seeks to identify, with the purpose of getting those individuals to knock off their harmful acts or remove them from the environment so that they are unable to do further harm to others.

It is a vital action for any society because, to the degree that this is not done, the small minority of men that make a career out of harming their fellows are left free to do more harm and thus the harm to innocent people can proliferate unchecked.

By the same token, justice MUST NOT target people who did not do the harmful act. If the purpose of justice can be considered to prevent the criminally inclined from harming good people, then making innocent people the target for retribution actually proliferates the harm done to good people and very often leaves the actual criminal free to do more harm.

It suits the purposes of the criminal very nicely when justice is not done or rendered ineffective. One way to render justice impotent is to persuade us, when we seek to assign blame for some crime that someone has committed, to target the wrong people or some amorphous mass of people because while we are all busy doing that, we are not targeting the actual perpetrator.

When a murder is committed by some gangster who happens to operate out of New York, it is obviously nonsensical to blame “New Yorkers” and we cannot bring “New York” to justice by sending a SWAT team into the Bronx to shoot the place up a bit on the basis that if we shot enough New Yorkers we might also shoot the gangster as well. But it would suit the gangster very nicely if we did.

By the same token, when the IRA blew up a pub in England, nobody sane blamed or hated “The Irish” because several million Irishmen did not build, plant and detonate the bomb and, all but half a dozen of them knew anything about it, or would have wanted any part of it had they known. It would have made no sense then to carpet bomb Dublin. But it made every sense to bring the bombers to justice and prosecute them as murderers – but that assumes of course the ACTUAL perpetrators were caught and tried.

To take a neutral example, let’s imagine a religion called “The Holy Followers” that believes something or other. Let’s imagine too it has a following of millions of people all over the world. In any such group you will find that the majority of those people are, well, just people. They are taxi drivers, school teachers, children, mums, checkout girls, artists, musicians and so forth. Very few of them are killers, or have any inclination to travel half across the planet to murder perfect strangers, whether by high altitude bombers or packs of explosives hidden under their anoraks. The vast majority of them are honest people trying to make their way in the world. It takes a considerable effort to persuade them otherwise. It can be done of course: if you lie to them enough, frighten them enough or get them confused or upset enough or murder their kids, they can be persuaded to hate you. Not you personally of course: they have never met you. But they can be duped into hating or even attacking  the mass of people to which you belong, whether that vague mass be called “The Christians,” “The Muslims”, “The Americans”, “The Westerners” “The Easterners, “The Southerners” or whatever.  When the broad mass to which you happen to belong gets attacked, you get attacked as well even though you were minding your own business and did no harmful act.

Once you have suffered some harm at the hands of the broad mass known as the “Holy Followers” you can now be persuaded that the reason for the harm is “The Holy Followers”.  You now hate the Holy Followers as an indistinct mass, an idea, and the bombers are cheered when they are sent in to “punish” the Holy Followers by blowing up a market place or some such thing. Unfortunately when lots of Holy Followers are blown up, the people who are blown up are invariably NOT the people who committed the harmful act against you.

The actual perpetrators are still free to commit more harm against you and it is now easier for those criminals to whip up all the other Holy Followers into vengeance against YOUR broad group. In so doing, a lot of people in your group are killed who did no wrong and would just as soon get along with other people if it’s all the same to you and so it is easier for criminals in your own group to whip up more hatred against the broad, non-specific mass called the Holy Followers. And so it goes.

Once this confused juggernaut of crime-misplaced blame –justification-crime starts rolling and everyone is nicely upset, with true justice nowhere in sight, it then becomes easy for unscrupulous men to stir up further hatred of the Holy Followers by committing a crime, saying the Holy Followers did it and persuading everybody it would be a fine idea to skip justice yet again and bomb the bejeezus out of more Holy Followers. At the same time and in the same way unscrupulous men among the Holy Followers can whip up support for their own agenda against YOUR group. Or perhaps there are unscrupulous men who make a lot of money, for example from arms sales or lending money to both warring sides, by keeping your people and the Holy Followers gainfully employed in tit-for-tat carnage from now until Doomsday.

At each stage what does not occur is the understanding that specific persons did the harmful act. A terrorist bomb goes off in one of your market places. That bomb was made, placed and detonated by specific persons – NOT the entire mass of millions of people who are Holy Followers and when you seek to “bring to justice” millions of people who were minding their own business you do not get justice because executing the person who didn’t do it isn’t justice, it’s actually a proliferation of harm.

But, oh boy, does the criminal love this! While good men are busy wrong-targeting other broad masses of good men, while hatred is directed at “The Holy Followers” or “The Christians,” “The Muslims,” “The Whatever,” one absolutely guarantees there will not be justice and justice is the primary foe of the criminal.

Closeup of human hands pointing towards business man

We see this same phenomenon at a corporate level, too. Let’s imagine a fictitious food manufacturer called “Monsatan.” Monsatan is busy developing GMOs, playing Russian Roulette with the food chain, bribing politicians, etc, so as to make lots of money for its executives and shareholders. But whatever it is that it is doing, whatever strategies or policies it is pursuing, its actions are the actions of specific men, its policies were devised and are enforced by specific people: ultimately, the members of its board. Yet whilst everybody is blaming or seeking to prosecute “Monsatan” as a generality, an entity that only exists in the minds of lawyers, the specific people who commit its crimes remain free from justice. The idea of “corporate responsibility” enables the individuals who devise, plot, enact and aid and abet schemes to make money from selling contaminated or inferior “food” to escape responsibility for their actions. They hide, in other words, behind an idea, the insubstantial mass known as “The Corporation” and thus they avoid being brought to justice.

The arch criminals, the banking/corporate elites of planet Earth just love all this. While broad groups of men are duped into blaming, hating and fighting one another, whilst they themselves can hide behind the irresponsibility of this or that corporate entity, they escape justice. They escape being indentified as individuals and held accountable for the harm they do.

These men and their tame psychiatrists are very, very good at destroying any group that might oppose them. At the Tavistock psychological warfare institute in London, during WWII and afterwards, a great deal of know-how was accumulated on how a targeted group can be destroyed. These men cannot build anything decent and worthwhile but they sure know how to destroy the efforts of other to do so.

They know how to infiltrate groups and tear then apart from within, to persuade good men to not look upon crimes as the specific acts of specific persons but dupe them instead, through the manufacture and spread of falsehoods, to blaming broad indistinct masses of people as if those masses were thinking entities rather than composed of individual human beings each with his own mind and goals and purposes, only a few of which are innately hostile to their fellow men.

Of course, I myself am saying “the elite” as a generality. It begs the question: WHO are they specifically as individuals, who are the specific persons who formulate and instigate their plans and dictate their policies? And which people specifically aid and abet them? The truth of the matter is I do not yet know who those individuals are and am of necessity confined to using “the elite” as a convenient term. But it would sure be good to know who these people are.

However, the term at least narrows it down to a particular breed of cat. Implicit in the term is the recognition that “The Elite” comprises individual human beings who are responsible for their own actions and nothing will avail from blaming “businessmen” because they represent their actions as “business” or, because they happen to be based in Washington (or wherever), seeking to bring “Washington” to justice.

What I’m advocating here is a change in our thinking, the recognition that behind every ill every inflicted by men upon men are the actions of specific individuals and it is these individuals who must be brought under the law, held responsible for what they do and brought to justice. And every time we fall into blaming or seeking vengeance upon broad masses of people, we are being played.

In our minds the next time some wrong is blamed upon and vengeance sought upon “terrorists,” “capitalism,”  “foreigners,”  “politicians,” “the cops,” “the government” and so forth, the next question should be: WHO specifically?

Let’s hone in on the target and end this comedy of errors in which good men are persuaded to fight one another instead of their real enemy.



Steve Cook

Steve Cook publishes the online satirical newspaper, The Daily Scare (

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3 Comments on Collective Irresponsibility – Hiding Behind the Mass

  1. Great article…I will share this..
    full of easy to understand information…because people really just do not get it or worse do not want to try….but it is true, there is a person responsible and I would guess that if a corporation does bad stuff then we should start at the top and grab a boss rather that blame the guy at the bottom who is merely carrying out orders…..
    Great writing..”Monsatan” and “Gainfully employed in Tit for Tat carnage”
    good article!

  2. Have you seen the people who sneer when they say “conspiracy theory,” as if conspiracies don’t exist all over the place? All it takes to create a conspiracy is for two or more people to come up with a plan that they envision will benefit them at the expense of others. It happens ALL THE TIME!!

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