John Demos's The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the PDF

By John Demos

A cultural heritage of witch-hunting, from the Romans via McCarthy

The time period "witch-hunt" is used this present day to explain every thing from political scandals to college board shake-ups. yet its origins are faraway from trivial. lengthy earlier than the Salem witch trials, men and women have been rounded up by means of associates, accused of committing awful crimes utilizing supernatural powers, scrutinized via monks and juries, and briskly finished. the idea in witchcraft--and the deep worry of evil it instilled in communities--led to a cycle of accusation, anger, and purging that has happened again and again within the West for centuries.

Award-winning historian John Demos places this cultural paranoia in context. he is taking readers from the early Christians persecuted in Rome in the course of the Salem witch trials, McCarthy's hunt for communists, and the hysteria round baby sex-abuse situations and satanic cults within the Nineteen Eighties.

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He causes the worthy to display their talents, and he employs them accordingly; hence his own worth never comes to an end. ’ • ‘Be empty, still, and idle, and from your place of darkness observe the defects of others. ’ • And finally: ‘This is the way to listen to the words of others: be silent as though in a drunken stupor. Say to yourself: Lips! teeth! Do not be the first to move; lips! teeth! Be thicker, be clumsier than ever! ’ Other writers have independently come to similar conclusions about the nature of kingship.

In came a triumvirate of powers: a professional army; farm labourers who supplied food; and the Law, applied uniformly and without exception to everyone, high and low, except of course the king himself, for he personified the Law and administered it by whatever means he could, moral or immoral, and was above such distinctions. Shang even persuaded the Qin ruler to punish the crown prince. As you might imagine, he was not popular, nor did he go out of his way to cultivate allies. As his follower Han Fei recorded, ‘when he came and went at court, he was guarded by iron spears and heavy shields to prevent sudden attack’.

This was the man who was soon to become the focus of his attention, and the unwitting cause of his tragedy. 3 It was not a big force for so ambitious a 3 Noyan Uul, 50 km north of the present-day capital, Ulaanbaatar. I give an account of the Xiongnu and Noyan Uul in Attila: A Barbarian King and the Fall of Rome (Bantam Press, 2005). 21 ORIGINS project. Perhaps Li Ling was confident that his repeating crossbows, with arrows carried by the hundred thousand in his wagons, would sweep him to victory.

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The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World by John Demos

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