Sunday, January 2, 2011

Making it Easier to Hate

There is a line in one of my favorite Broadway Musicals, South Pacific, that says, "You've got to be taught to hate and fear...,".  Indeed, that's how we make it easier for our soldiers to kill. Part of the technique is to remove ambiguity. By creating a one dimensional image of the enemy it is much easier to encourage the desired behavior toward them. "Japs", "gooks", "chinks", "krauts", all words designed to dehumanize, to remove individualism, to make it easier to hate.

In a recent Commentary in the Providence Journal on January 2, 2011, the author makes the case that "some interpretations of Islam" are responsible for 9/11.  While this might be strictly true, the implication, the unsaid words, coupled with our need for unambiguous direction, clearly point an accusing finger at the 'enemy' - Muslims and Islam.

"Conservative wing-nuts", "Pinko liberals", "Commie progressives", "Tea-bagger Nazis". Makes it so much easier doesn't it?

This apparent need to make one's point by painting with too broad a brush, by demonizing the "other", by trying to reduce the complexity of issues to the fewest elements, by trying to eliminate or at least reduce ambiguity, is evident everywhere, from local politics all the way to Washington and the results are painfully obvious.

Worried about huge deficits and spending? You're anti-worker, anti-union.
Want to assure fair wages for workers? You must be a Socialist or a Communist.

Wake up before we do something really stupid.  Nuclear war anyone?

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