Appeared in the News Graphic - September 16, 2021
We in the United States have a highly evolved culture. A first rate, first world civilization. Our economy is the envy of the world. Technology provides us with comforts and entertainment, amenities unknown to any civilized population since the start of time. We are smart, educated. And most especially, undeniably, hubristic.
Hardly seems possible that half the population believes the other half to be evil when only a few years ago, yes there were disagreements but, we heard each other out. We worked towards acceptable compromises and solutions. Now, if you don't believe as I do, you're backwards, you're dangerous, you're evil.
Ask yourself this: how did we come to this point? How is it we're comfortable characterizing huge swaths of the population as "deniers", "homophobes", "transphobes", "racists", "white supremacists", "domestic terrorists", "insurrectionists"? How is it we're not embarrassed by our complete lack of perspective, our total suspension of reason or at the very least our absolute certainty in our beliefs that nothing will shake our certitude. That alone should provoke introspection.
But it doesn't now any more than it did in 1600s Salem, or late 70s Cambodia, early 2000s Venezuela, and the obligatory yet valid 30's/40s Germany. Large populations have been known to fall under delusions they mistake for reality.
Hubris prevents us from seeing the obvious. That and the fact that traditional, legacy information sources broadcast willful taunts of governing authorities creating rifts between all of us in order to secure power and position for them.
What nonsense! Conspiracy theories! No reasonable person would believe that!
No reasonable people would build mass crematoriums. A reasonable people wouldn't murder a near quarter of the Cambodian population or purposefully starve millions of your own citizens in Soviet Russia. Certainly burning people at the stake goes well beyond rational thought.
But those people were not as sophisticated as we today. Our demonizing of the other is fully justified. Just listen to the experts. Pay heed to the hearings. Believe in the science. You'll see we are right.
What we see is a population manipulated by fear generated by believers in a certain worldview having characteristics no different than any religious order but one built on the beliefs of a Jim Jones or Karl Marx. Suicidal and destructive in every sense.
Power and control by a ruling elite is at least as probable a theory for our present state of affairs , the current mindless chaos, as half the population is racist, sexist, homophobic, and you get the picture.
And that should give you pause. But your religiosity precludes honest, unprejudiced thought. Something you'd think an advanced civilization would have.
If we're not going to talk dispassionately and reasonably with each other in order to bridge divides there are only bad options. Forced compliance. No fault divorce. Civil war.
So. When you find others demonizing people they don't know personally and never met, stop them, shun them, call them out, ostracize them.
When you find yourself demonizing people you don't know personally and never met, resist the temptation to feed your ego and treat the other as you would want to be treated. Sounds familiar.
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