Gaslighting’s Real, and Secularists Do It

By Anthony Esolen Published on December 26, 2018

The gaslighter wants to persuade you that you are not in your right mind. He’ll call you mad if you believe in God, saying that you are no different from a psychotic with an invisible friend, perhaps a very tall rabbit named Harvey. He’ll act as if anyone with a brain would immediately see that not all people who menstruate are women and that a biological female can become a male.

The word “gaslighting” usually describes what an abusive husband does to his wife to destroy her confidence and independence. It’s got more uses than that, though — because a lot of abusive people want to make you think you’re mad for not believing the crazy things they tell you. They want to take away your ability to disagree with them.

It’s not just abusive husbands. It’s heads of television networks and professors at major universities.

Four Antidotes, One Vaccination

This word gaslight comes from the 1944 movie by that name, in which a suave and sinister husband tries to persuade his wife that she is going mad, and that she needs to be kept away from society, locked up in her mansion. What he’s really after are some priceless jewels, hidden away somewhere.

Influential people want you to believe you’re crazy for thinking what people have pretty much always thought, like males being men and females being women.

We run into his descendants all the time. Influential people want you to believe you’re crazy for thinking what people have pretty much always thought, like males being men and females being women. And they want to get something from you, if they can only get you to believe you’re crazy.

But you can protect yourself from being gaslighted. There are four antidotes to gaslighting. There is also a vaccination.

One antidote is sheer cussedness. You simply insist upon your observations, and you don’t care what anybody thinks. Two and two make four. That emperor is buck nekkid. Until they make lady fires, lady firemen are going to be rare, and often of really limited usefulness.

The Word Gaslight

The word “gaslight” refers, of course, to lamps lit by inflammable gas. (Inflammable, not flammable, is the correct word, because it can be inflamed.)

The first part of the word was coined by a Dutch scientist in the late Renaissance, from the Greek chaos. Think of unorganized matter. The second part is from Anglo Saxon leoght or light. It’s cognate with words all over the Indo-European map, such as Latin lux and Greek leukos, meaning clear, bright. That’s where we get the word “leukemia,” for example, meaning “white blood.”

A second antidote is to ask the question, “Cui bono?” Who profits? Charles Boyer wanted the jewels. What do today’s gaslighters want?

If somebody says, “Nobody believes what you do,” ask why is he saying this? Why does he care? Why that veiled threat, of the lunatic asylum, or ostracism, or loss of employment? What is in it for gaslighters? What are the jewels they seek? They always want something they shouldn’t have.

The Other Antidotes

A third antidote is to hang around sane people, or to stop hanging around insane people. We are a mimetic species. We imitate. If we hang around with mad people, we will share in their madness.

So get away from them. Hang around with normal, sane people. People who won’t tell you that are many genders because sex isn’t a biological reality but a “cultural construct.” You may be surprised by how quickly your head will clear up. It is like waking up from a nightmare.

A fourth antidote is to do normal things. Go outdoors, for example. Animals are not insane. Trees are their own sweet selves. The setting sun is not “social constructed.” You will never stumble upon a postmodernist rock. The rock knows nothing about political fads. If you apply a certain force to it, it will move. If you don’t, it won’t.

The vaccination is this. Read history. Know something about the madnesses that have seized whole populations in the past: the Bolshevik madness, the Nazi madness, the LSD madness, the witch madness at Salem.

The Gaslighter

Don’t believe anything the gaslighter tells you. Trust the truths you know.  Remember that he only wants to steal the jewels. And he’s probably quite mad himself.

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