As things heat up in the Middle East, news of evil is shouted on every airwave and resistance of it gets no press. The Arabs / Muslims are showing supposedly showing their true colors in seeking Caliphate domination, yet the millions more sharing that exact demographic who have risen up to fight this menace don’t count. Why can’t there just be peace? The whole people must be inferior in some palpable, definitive way. You know, unlike almost all other places and time such strife has occurred among more Northern-skinned tribes.
No, these issues have nothing to do with how backwards we deem some culture to be. Hitler’s Germany was the epitome of the modern, civilized world, targeted cruelties and curtailed liberties notwithstanding. The reason these things happen is because we are human, and BECAUSE we see barbarism as belonging to some special group. Instead we put evil into nice, net categories to insulate ourselves from thinking under other circumstances they could be us.
Being complicit in evil is rarely apathy, but more often and dangerously a zeal to fight it blindly. People think the Nazis ruled Germany because the people defaulted on their civic duties, when in fact they VOTED FOR THEM. The crowds in support of a glorious new Reich were not prodded to attend at gunpoint. The KNEW that other “races” would be their downfall, and the reason for their impoverished state after the Great War. If they didn’t get rid of such people, they would be outbred and outvoted among their true countrymen. The Germans were inflamed by the will to survive, reducing all actions to a binary choosing of fight over flight.
Nope, nothing to learn here … move along …
My point is that people who are violently extremist are not psychotic because the are “backward”, though it may be reasonable to believe that the lack of some social structures may allow for such people to thrive in groups more easily. What we are seeing in the Middle East is these days because of rapidly fluctuating political vacuums. Every conflict there has a basis other than some endemic, collective personal moral fault. They are pushed into a corner and expected never to bite, and when some do, the rest can be conveniently condemned as the core of a stereotype. But surely the masses around them can’t condone such evil, so they must be complicit, right?
What of us in America? Are we not better? We heralded genocide on our own Great Plains, and justified it on the grounds we were “civilized” and others were not. Right to “survive” through expansion and eradication of all those who would threaten us (in defense or retaliation of our ethnic cleansing) is no different then than now, where Israel is just “defending itself”, bringing a shoah upon the Palestinians in light of a constant fear of inevitability that they must prevent their own.
We are reduced to two choices, two camps, and the ends of dehumanizing and then eliminating others justifying the means of being no less than that which we fear.
Our reptilian brains do not serve us well in this way.