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The "Tar Baby Principle"

My first encounter with the ‘Tar Baby” was as a small child growing up - when I first read the Brer Rabbit stories.

I just read that story again – I always thought it was Brer Rabbit who tricked Brer Fox with the Tar Baby – funny how you remember things.

It wasn’t until Wilson & Shea wrote about the “Tar Baby Principle” in the Illuminatus Trilogy many years later that I really understood what the “Tar Baby Principle” was:

You are attached to what you attack

But what does that mean?

It means if you hate something, I mean really hate something, you spend all your time – the whole of your life even – thinking about what you hate.

You have to live with what you hate every day – it is an obsession to you – and you can think of nothing else.

The object of hate becomes like a lover – you can’t eat, sleep or do anything without thinking about it – it dominates the whole of your being.

How can people stand it? Always thinking about what they hate the most?

How can people become “Tar Baby Junkies”?

I prefer to be a “Jelly Baby Junky” and take a more chilled out approach to life.

Here’s a few “Tar Baby Junkies” who spend their entire lives attached to their “Tar Babies” – thinking about what they hate most – and some of my “Jelly Baby Junky” solutions.

White Power Racists

Tar Baby Beliefs: People with white skin people are superior to people who are black, oriental, or Indian – solely because of their skin colour. This notion can even extend to people who are “whiter than white” because they have the “correct” genes.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people with different skin colours and ethnic origins and they are not very different from me. Why should I discriminate on the basis of skin colour?

If I meet someone with a different skin colour to me who I don’t like – then the chances are I’ve met many more people with the same skin colour as me that I didn’t like as well.

Who cares anyhow? It’s about people - not skin colour – and I don’t lay awake at night worrying about racial purity.


Tar Baby Beliefs: The Jewish people are collectively involved in a huge conspiracy that involves media, politics, banking, Hollywood, newspapers, book publishing and covering up the lie of the Holocaust.

Jelly Baby Beliefs; I keep meeting people who are Jewish and they are not very different to me. Why should I discriminate on the basis that they are Jewish?

It seems to make no odds what somebody’s religion is as long as they are good people.

If anyone comes to me ranting on about ZOG and tries to convince me the holocaust was a hoax they will get very short shrift from me.

Who cares? It’s about people – not religion – and I don’t lay awake in bed at night worrying about ZOG and their plans for world annihilation and/or dominance.


Tar Baby Beliefs: Homosexuals are creatures of filth and evil that will be condemned to the fiery pits of hell, hanging and/or the wrath of God in the form of AIDS.

Strangely enough - homophobics seem to spend more time than of any “Tar Baby Junkies” dwelling on the exact details of what gay people do – go figure.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people who are homosexual and they are not very different to me. Why should I discriminate on the basis of their gender identity and sexual preferences?

Consensual sexual acts between adults over the age of consent are fine – whatever the gender of the parties involved - and I really don’t care what other people do in bed together – as long as I can choose what I want to do.

Who cares? It’s about people – not sexuality – and I don’t lay awake at night worrying what gay people are doing in private – unlike many well known homophobic columnists who think about nothing else before going to sleep.


Tar Baby Beliefs: All Moslems are plotting to take over the world by being involved in terrorism, suicide bombings and a nuclear arms race.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people who are Islamic and they are not very different to me. Why should I discriminate on the basis that they are Islamic?

I have met enough Islamic people in my life to know that they are not all fundamentalists who want to live under Sharia law – many of them are more than happy to integrate into secular democratic societies all over the world.

Who cares? It’s about people – not religion - and I don’t lay awake in my bed at night worrying about Islamic world domination - but I do wonder about a future dominated by the USAxis and the IslamAxis during the coming arms race in the New Cold War.


Tar Baby Beliefs: Nuclear weapons are evil and unless we unilaterally disarm the nuclear holocaust is coming to a city near you. We should destroy all our nuclear weapons now – or maybe just sell them to Iran - to ensure world security for decades to come.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people who are unilateralists and they are not very different to me. Why should I discriminate on the basis that they are stupid?

The whole unilateral disarmament theory is a crock of doo-doo proposed by appeasement monkeys who have no grasp of history coupled with a huge left-wing anti-US bias that helps to feed their Tar Baby habit.

Who cares? It’s about people – not myopia – and I don’t lay awake in my bed at night worrying whether CND are going to force the nuclear powers to disarm – most people are far too sensible for that – and I learned to “stop worrying and love the bomb” a long time ago.

Skeptic Atheists

Tar Baby Beliefs: God doesn’t exist and anyone who believes God exists is anti-scientific, superstitious or stupid. Gullible people who read their horoscopes everyday should be re-educated in the theory of science until unreason is banished from the planet.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting scientists, atheists and skeptics and they are not very different from me. Why should I discriminate because they are skeptical atheists?

You’d think these guys had something better to do than worry about the existence of God – saving the world from global warming, discovering the cure for cancer, creating sources of unlimited free energy and exploring the universe – but they seem to have time on their hands.

If you want to know the truth then put a dozen scientists in a room together and they will all agree – right? So the next time you read an article that proves God doesn’t exist – ask another scientist for a second opinion.

Who cares? It’s about people – not religion – and I don’t lay awake at night worrying that the skeptical atheists will find proof that God does not exist – but I do worry sometimes that some immoral scumbag will use their arguments to justify using some of their nastier scientific discoveries.


Tar Baby Beliefs: The USA is part of the satanic axis designed to subjugate the world and imprint the stamp of the boot on the face – forever.

The mindset that goes with this is staggering – according to the Anti-US “Tar Baby Junkie” - anything the US says is a lie, anything they do is wrong and the USA is the “evil empire”.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people who are American and they are not very different to me. Why should I discriminate on the basis that I sometime disagree with their government?

Who cares? It’s about people – not knee-jerk anti-American bigotry – and I don’t lay awake in bed at night worrying about the “American Hegemony” – but I do worry about how NeoCon ideas about the Middle East are sowing the seeds for the “New Cold War” and decades of hardship to come.

Appeasement Monkeys

Tar Baby Beliefs: The Iranian nuclear program is entirely peaceful because they need to develop an alternative energy source and they don’t have any intention of developing nuclear weapons with any of the reprocessed material.

It is far more important to prevent war in the Middle East than prevent the Iranians having nuclear weapons, so if the price of preventing war is allowing the Iranians to acquire nuclear weapons then we should allow it in the name of peace.

Jelly Baby Beliefs: I keep meeting people who really believe this and they are very different to me. I will try not to discriminate against them - but instead I will engage them in conversations at every chance I get – to try and convince them that appeasement doesn’t work, has never worked and won’t work this time either.

Right now the New Cold War is entering a major propaganda offensive – everyone is lying to everybody else and trying to mask their true intentions – while all the time arming to the teeth.

The wildcards are the steadily growing number of terrorist factions – they aren’t accountable to anybody – who could upset any fragile arrangements made by the appeasement monkey factions who are quite happy to hand over major concessions to ensure “peace in our time”.

Meanwhile the threat of homeland terrorism never recedes – we are in danger of settling into the routine of the New Cold War – with threat and counter-threat, alerts, propaganda and terrorist attacks.

Once we settle into that routine - all of us will take for granted the security checks, the compulsory use of identity cards, increased surveillance and monitoring - because government propaganda will convince us that, without these measures, we will not win.

Who cares?

I do.

It’s about people – not power - and about the future of us, our children and our grandchildren.

I worry about how the New Cold War is slowly eroding democratic freedoms, and making old laws and civil rights obsolete.

I worry that the New Cold War will make this erosion of widely held rights and privileges permanent

I worry that the necessity of perpetual counter insurgency against the terrorist threat means that we will all be under increased surveillance and decreased civil liberties.

I worry that the boundaries between “terrorism” and “peaceful” protest are being eroded daily in the name of the “war on terror” – an act that could potentially criminalize legitimate protest and create internal dissent – a new “enemy within”.

I worry that monitoring the “enemy within” - when everyone is perpetually watched to see if they are a potential security threat - ensures that everyone will be a potential security threat – forever.

Most of all I worry that the measures we need to take to overcome the threat of terrorism might destroy that fragile thing we call western secular liberal democracy – ensuring that the terrorists win after all.



Well said. On all points.

I've been keeping up with your New Cold War posts and I agree wholeheartedly with you.

I have heard of the "Tar Baby Principle" before, but not by that name.

I have to admit that the "Big Lie" post changed my viewpoint on Iran and nukes. I was totally for giving them the power but now I realize that they need to prove that they are responsible human beings before we give them anything that can be used to do harm.

I know that the whole situation is a very serious matter but I would just like to take a step back and say that the whole thing reminds me of Canadian Bacon. (See Link)


Or maybe it's more like The Mouse That Roared.

A small country declares war on the USA in the expectation of losing and winning grants for "post-war reconstruction".