White Conservatives and Human Sacrifice

Wall painting in blues and reds showing a young nude woman being carried against her will by two women, while her father turns away and weeps
Sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulus by her father Agamemnon, Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. has always been multicultural with an E Pluribus Unum idea that the country forms one nation out of the multiplicity of ethnicities, races, cultures, and traditions. Of course, It never really worked. Even among the white population, the white South was separate from the national culture and the legacies of the Lost Cause, segregation, and white racial violence were ignored by those like Samuel Huntington who postulated a unitary culture.

However, the situation has changed dramatically since the earthquake of Obama’s election as the first black president in 2008 and the follow-up shock of Trump’s election eight years later. What’s happened in the U.S. is the onset of two “integrative” or common cultures that are both changing so rapidly that the country can be said to be undergoing SIMULTANEOUS cultural transformations while also at the same time developing into a dual national culture nation–“E Pluribus Duo” according to Garrison Keilor.

Sacrifice as Working Principle.

In response to the pandemic, white conservatives have made sacrifice into an important part of Trump-centric identity. What does this mean? The Covid pandemic entails the risk of catching the disease and dying for every part of the American population. Within the multicultural and socially liberal part of the population, the disposition has been to reduce the risk through masks, social distancing, and vaccination and support government efforts to mandate these practices. To the contrary, Trump-centric conservatism has made “refusal” to reduce Covid risk and “defiance” of public health efforts into principles of conservative identity and have been willing to see large numbers of people be infected and die from Covid rather than cooperate (or “obey” as conservatives say). And it’s not an abstract principle either. In practice, conservatives have been seriously ill themselves and still refused to cooperate with mitigation and vaccines, seen their friends and co-workers die and still refuse cooperation, and also seen their parents, spouses, and children die and still refuse cooperation. To Trump-concentric conservatives, the most important priority is maintaining the refusal to cooperate that they view as crucial to white conservative identity. If those closest to them die from Covid, that’s a sacrifice they are willing to make. In this sense, an acceptance of human sacrifice has become a working principle of Trump-centric conservatism in the U.S.

One example of the extent of the acceptance of human sacrifice can be seen below. Conservative Montana cartoonist Ben Garrison not only refused to be vaccinated but also refused to go to the hospital after coming down with Covid. The same was the case with his wife and two children. Garrison believes he and his family caught Covid while going out to dinner with another couple. Refusing to cooperate with public health, Garrison (and evidently his family) were unvaccinated while also engaging in no mitigation themselves and accompany at least one infected person. This is one of the realities of Covid. Once someone is infected, the disease is likely to knife through families because symptoms don’t emerge for a couple weeks. With CovidIn this sense, Garrison was willing to risk his family as well as himself in going out to a restaurant with a couple who probably weren’t either vaccinated or masked. Given that there have been 42.9 million cases and 688,000 Covid deaths in the United States, the risk was real but Garrison was willing to risk himself, his wife, and his two kids in the name of his conservative beliefs about Covid.

White Conservatism and Child Sacrifice

White conservatives in the State of Tennessee are now triggering a large-scale, ritualistic sacrifice of their own children. The relevant event is an edict by the Tennessee Department of Health to suspend communications concerning childhood and adolescent vaccines. From the Tennessean:

The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases – amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers, according to an internal report and agency emails obtained by the Tennessean. If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents.

The rationalizations from the Department of Health seem to be that Tennessee wants to stress the authority of (white conservative) parents in relation to vaccinations and that the public health authorities avoid attacks from the right-wing media apparatus.

But there’s something more archaic going on. Republican state lawmakers, conservative media types, and religious leaders are all aware of the statistics on Covid and equally aware that a percentage of children would become seriously ill or die from diseases like hepatitis, rubella, whooping cough, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and polio.

The areas of concern span much farther than just the COVID-19 vaccine, though. The new TDH policy applies to all vaccines — even common childhood vaccines such as Chicken Pox, Measles, Mumps, Polio, and even hepatitis.

What it gets down to is that white conservatives in Tennessee are not only willing but INSIST on a percentage of their children being sacrificed. Of course, human sacrifice has a long history in Western culture. Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia to change the winds was part of the Homeric saga of the Trojan War, written anew in Classical Greece by poets like Euripides, and re-staged recently in “Troy: Fall of a City.” However, the champions of child sacrifice around the ancient Mediterranean appear to be the Carthaginians who practiced child sacrifice on a massive scale right up to the final conquest by Rome in 146bce.

There was a peculiar dualism in Carthage . . . in which the thrust for commerce, prosperity and the good life were blended with a religion so intense that the richest Carthaginian could cheerfully consign a son or daughter to the flames of the sacrificial pit to redeem a pledge to the gods.”

What’s different about Tennessee conservatives (really white conservatives in general) is that the Carthaginians sacrificed their children to propitiate the gods while Tennessee conservatives are setting up the sacrifice more as a PROTEST against public health as am emblem of science as an element of the emergence of the United States as a multicultural, socially liberal, and secular society. Conservatives in Tennessee are so deeply offended by all of these developments that they’re willing to see their kids die rather than cooperate in science-based vaccination.