Blame The Victims
One of the glories of the human intellect is its inability to cope with more than one simple concept at a time. As our brains evolved to cope with the relatively basic challenges of living on the African savannah and within the primordial forests of Eurasia, we are adapted to see the world in easy binary terms: good/bad, up/down, black/white, yes/no. Our emotions, which drive the entirety of our behaviors, are likewise adapted for existence within relatively small bands of hunter-gatherers in which the good guys were us and the bad guys were always everyone else.
Our modern complex inter-connected world, naturally, presents us with challenges we are entirely unable to handle. This is especially true when we imagine ourselves to be under threat. The magnificent triumphs of Brexit and Trump, for example, were enabled by the simple expedient of charlatans telling empty-headed people (always the majority of any population anywhere) that wicked foreigners are to blame for everything. The sad fact is that the vast majority of ordinary people will believe whatever they are told by purported authority figures provided the message is wrapped up in a simple soundbite that is easy for their miniscule intellects to encompass.
This is why the vast majority of ordinary Russians today believe the Kremlin’s infantile propaganda campaign and disbelieve terrified friends and relatives in Ukraine. Attempting to integrate reality with the funhouse mirror world the Kremlin presents would be too difficult, and so it is much easier — and therefore the default course of action — simply to accept lies as truth and truth as lies. We can no more blame ordinary Russians for their folly than we can blame ourselves for consistently voting for morons, incompetents, imbeciles, liars, and frauds. We are always the good people and bad things are always the fault of someone else (ideally the victim, because if they hadn’t done X then they wouldn’t have suffered Y).
The same psychological phenomenon is behind people blaming women for being raped (“she shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt”) and behind blaming black people for being lynched (“he shouldn’t have been walking down that street”). This soothing formulation enables us to avoid feeling any need to do…