Paulus Catena: The Psychology Of An Accuser And The Anatomy Of A Witch-Hunt

Witch-hunts and persecutions thrive in environments where certain conditions are met.  There must be some driving motivation, such as greed, envy, ideology, or hate; there must be willing accomplices who spread accusations and create new ones; and there must exist some tolerance of the persecution, whether from the leadership at the top or from the affected group at large.  When these conditions are met, witch-hunts can seize hold of a group and spread as quickly as a wildfire.  They are sustained by fear and hysteria; the affected group is made to feel as if hidden enemies are lurking around every corner and hiding behind every curtain.

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