Fear mongering by conservative white evangelical pastors with followers in the millions is known as stochastic terrorism. Dr. James Dobson and other popular conservative white evangelical pastors engage in it on a regular basis. In this case, Dr. Dobson’s unfounded and hyperbolic fear mongering of his white listening audience presaged the August 3, 2019 mass killing of 22 Latinx citizens in El Paso, Texas a month and three days later.
What is Stochastic Terrorism?
Stochastic terrorism is “the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted.”
Here’s the idea behind stochastic terrorism:
- A leader or organization such as Dr. James Dobson uses rhetoric in the mass media against a group of people.
- This rhetoric, while hostile or hateful, doesn’t explicitly tell someone to carry out an act of violence against that group, but a person, feeling threatened, is motivated to do so as a result.
- That individual act of violence can’t be predicted as such, but that violence will happen is much more probable thanks to the rhetoric.
- This rhetoric is thus called stochastic terrorism because of the way it incites random violence.
While nearly every sentence in Dr. Dobson’s podcast and its written transcripts demonized immigrants and engendered fear in his conservative white listeners, the following quotes are among the most egregious.
“Please believe me when I tell you that the media and leftist politicians have not been truthful about what is going on there.”Dr. James Dobson https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/77000-dr-james-dobson-sets-the-record-straight-about-the-border-crisis
To blame spiking refugee numbers on “leftist politicians” who have “not been truthful” also demonizes our own congressmen and women unfairly, and further fuels anti-government white nationalist conspiracy theories, thus putting politician’s lives in danger.
Then, there’s the following rant which feeds the “hardened criminals and drug dealers are invading “our” country trope:
“Last year, 382,000 aliens were apprehended… Many of them carry lice, scabies or other diseases… They are the lowest rung of many societies. An unknown number of these men are hardened criminals and drug runners Then they will be released on American soil “Dr. James Dobson
Not finished yet, however, Dr. Dobson continues to rage against legal immigration, with the following statement:
In addition to this influx of people from places around the world steeped in poverty and despair, Senator Chuck Schumer authored and helped pass a “lottery” system, whereby winners are brought to the United States. They become permanent residents, who then begin bringing their families to our shores. Thank you, Senator.
He then pivots back to instill fear in his primarily conservative white evangelical listeners and others with white supremacist bents that “lawless gangs” “such as MS-13” are “pouring into the culture” and “making violence for inner cities a way of life.” His rhetoric is at a fever pitch when he continues that “millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land,” and stating that “many of them have no marketable skills… they are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals.”
Lawless gangs, such as MS-13, are also pouring into the culture, making violence for inner cities a way of life… millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land from around the world. Many of them have no marketable skills. They are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals.
And finally, he drops a literary bomb on his listeners, already paralyzed by fear, and giving them their implicit marching orders:
Their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it, and it could bankrupt the nation. we have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long
In Response the Shooter – Turned Out by Rhetoric Consisting of Stochastic Terrorism was (Quoting):
“In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
Dr. Dobson is a child pshchologist, and it should not elude him that his rhetoric and the expressed fear of the shooter of a “Hispanic invasion” and an overwhelmed “culture” are identical.
Dr. Dobson’s final rant against the disabled, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, Jews, Native Americans, women, children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, those who were abused as children and “even white males”:
“Have you ever felt like the whole world was stacked against you, that you never quite get a fair shake? Have you ever said to yourself after a loss or failure, “Well, what’d you expect? Nothing ever goes right for me anyway.” Actually, this defeatist attitude is very common today, especially among people with a disability or those who don’t like the way they look or those who were abused as children and so on. It’s natural, but it’s not helpful for such individuals to feel victimized by the circumstances of life.”Dr. James Dobson
“Unfortunately, our society is now telling all of us that we’re victims of some sort of unfairness. Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, Jews, native Americans, women, children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, and now even white males are supposed to feel discriminated against. It’s what I call the victimization of everybody. Now, obviously, discrimination and racism and sexism and ageism are still very serious problems in this culture. We need to resolve them, but it doesn’t help for people to conclude that they’re being had in one way or another. That mindset is demoralizing. It paralyzes us emotionally and it leads us to throw up our hands and say, “What’s the use? I can’t win.” Eleanor Roosevelt, who had some very serious handicaps in life, once said, “No one can make a fool out of you without your permission.” Well, it’s true and no one can victimize you but yourself.”
Dr. Dobson then asserts his believe that those who are oppressed or suffer from injustice or just natural misfortune are to blame for any consequent demoralization, and further states that they, rather than oppression, are to blame for any emotional consequences, up to and including paralysis, and rather than the oppression causing them to throw their hands up and say “what’s the use? I can’t win?” it is their lack of the ability to laugh it off that is to blame. So to Dr. Dobson, the oppressors get to go away blameless, while the victims are put down as injuring their own selves. Finally, he drives in the final nail by stating “No one can victimize you but yourself.” Please, dear American under-caste, remember that, and stop victimizing yourselves. From your favorite conservative white evangelical, Dr. James Dobson.
And if those burdens weren’t enough to heap on America’s systemically poor Black, Hispanic and, yes, poor white communities, the LGBTQ community, Jewish people, the disabled and other groups marginalized by the conservative white evangelical preachers, the following should tell you just how deluded they are — these comments were brought to you by Charismanews.com, who boasts that through it, you can:
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We at Racial Sin in the Church – A Call To Repentance call on brother Dr. James Dobson to seek counseling from one or more mature Christian pastors of color, and to diligently seek the Lord in His Word and by prayer and fasting regarding his egregious statements, and to issue an apology to his Hispanic, Black, refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters without delay.