Are Our Opponents Demons?

My friend calls the Antifa-BLM block and those who support them “demons.” I disagree. I think these people are just as motivated by doing what is right as I am, they just experience the world differently from me. When Antifa and BLM riot, they feel like they are on the side of the angels. They are having fun, feeling powerful, and destroying things that either represent the enemy or have no meaning to them.

By calling your opponents demons, you make them huge and the center of your life. You make them supernatural beings you can’t control. You can’t help but be miserable with this mindset. On the other hand, if you focus on your own life and the things you can control, you will be happier and more effective.

When you think of your opponents as demons, is that empowering or dispiriting? I don’t see how that perspective makes you feel more powerful. How could a human being defeat a demon?

Also, all talk of “evil” and “demons” depends upon a subjective leap of faith to a transcendent moral code. If you are talking with people who share your faith, that rhetoric makes sense. If you are speaking to a wider audience, it usually doesn’t.

I’d think that believing your opponents are demons would fuel feelings of rage and impotence while understanding your opponents are as desirous of good as yourself, but just are made differently and experience the world differently, that would allow for calm, happiness, and effectiveness.

What is there to understand about people who platform a killer and torturer such as Donna Hylton? That they are a people who put a premium on rehabilitation.

Friend: “America is so polarized because we have mutually incompatible moral systems. They have a new religion, a godless one. Our conflict is essentially a religious one. There is no middle ground in a holy war. It’s us vs them and the us is by definition good and the them is evil. To think otherwise is to fencesit. Now most Americans are fencesitters but they’re coming off the fence as it becomes increasingly clear that they cannot avoid this conflict. We need to understand their enemies as mortal enemies. Our enemies. And also dehumanize them. Otherwise we’re going to get picked off.”

First, less than five percent of Americans have a coherent politics. Most Americans don’t think much about politics. So I don’t believe that America is completely and irremediably polarized. Second. If there is no middle ground in a holy war, I don’t see how it serves us to think of labeling our current conflict a “holy war.” Third. People change if you give them room to change. New York elected Rudy Giuliani as mayor twice and Michael Bloomberg twice and Brazil voted in a right winger.

There are advantages to the demon view: clarity, energy, you don’t waste time understanding, incentivizes you to seek out God. You feel yourself part of a cosmic battle between good and evil. There are also disadvantages to this mindset: It might induce a feeling of helplessness, might promote a self-righteous assurance, reduces your ability to get along with others who have a demonic view. I would think that the demon view would give one shots of adrenaline which usually don’t serve one, we’re better off a notch above boring.

If you frame things in religious terms, people who don’t share your faith will be less likely to relate, also, you will be more likely to get caught in arguments about faith rather than the problem at hand. A secular argument is accessible to everybody, a religious argument only works on those who share your leap of faith.

The more you blame others, the less effective you will be in life, and the more health problems you will have. The more you understand, the more you have an internal locus of control, the more peace you will have, the more effective you will be, and the better you will get along with others and yourself.

Making other people the enemy to deal with one’s own feelings of discomfort and impotence is not a winning strategy.

Fred Luskin: “If we were cows at a cow conference, everyone who hate meat would be worse than Hitler because they ate cows and Hitler was a vegetarian.”

Friend: “These things aren’t mutually exclusive. I can say Democrats are actually demons and primarily concern myself with my own life.”

How exactly can you regard Democrats as demons and then primarily focus on your own life? How does that work? Demons control the world around you but you focus on your own life?

Friend: “Scott Adams understands rhetoric. Do you want to win? Or do you want to be genocided by people who don’t view you as worthy of life.”

Jim Goad: “What if they declared a race war and one side didn’t even realize it?”

Friend: “I have nothing to do with politics. It’s not my job. I’m just sitting around waiting to here the muster call for my state militia. It’s actually freeing. I wrote off Joe* yesterday and it doesn’t feel like a loss. He started talking some shit about orange man bad after admitting that his son has a nervous tic and anxiety over coronavirus.”

Talk of demons give you a temporary burst of resolution, power and agency. And then it wears off and leaves you filled with rage and impotence.

Friend: “We need to feel powerful if we are going resist the demons. We are currently demoralized. Loss after loss after loss. And we’re going to keep losing as long as we think we’re competing with fellow Americans worthy of dignity and equal respect while they spit on our graves.”

“This is losing. This is respecting the rule of law when demon judges hand down shit judgments. The judge should’ve been burned at the stake along with the mother.”

LF: “You are writing checks you can’t cash.”

Friend: “Oh I can’t but maybe one day we’ll have a leader who will. We all write checks we can’t cash with our opinions. Last time I checked, no one here commands an army.”

Anger serves you when it gives you the power to get something done immediately, but anger that hangs around does one no good. For example, if somebody disrespects you and you get angry and you let them know that is not appropriate, you may well have stood up appropriately for yourself. But if you say nothing at the time and then hang on to the slight for months afterward, that type of anger does not serve you. Getting angry about events you can’t control does not serve you. A steady state of rage does not serve you.

A key element to a grievance story is “story.” Story is the way we interpret and relate a set of facts. By describing our opponents as demons, we are building a grievance story that will distort our understanding of reality and deepen our feelings of rage.

Friend: “Serious question: is there a natural revulsion by jews to Christians invoking Satan/demons/evil in politics? Does it feel like that barrel will get pointed at jews eventually?”

American Jews are mainly secular and they don’t like religion and the supernatural given serious sway in politics. To the extent that Jews are religious, they don’t believe in any entity with power outside of God and the freedom He has given people. The turn to the irrational frightens Jews.

Once you understand that most people’s behavior is based in their genetics and their upbringing, you lose your need to demonize the different.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in America. Bookmark the permalink.