Abstractions and Mass Murder

Mowing the Lawn Means People

Israeli ground operations in Gaza, November 1, 2023. Photo: IDF. CC BY-SA 3.0

There is nothing new under the sun in terms of incitement to war methods or the dehumanization techniques necessary to create compliant and bloodthirsty populations. The only thing that is new are the shifting and doomed populations who find themselves in the way of empire. Students of history, generally without a shred of self-examination, congratulate themselves for being born to a more enlightened time knowing that even if they were transported to those historical events, they would never have participated. They would have been the principled objector. It's a comforting thought with absolutely no skin in the game. But when given present-day examples of such horror, and an opportunity to, if nothing else, be on the right side of history, they fall prey to the techniques that always worked in the past. They believe the current troubles are simply too complicated to unravel; that it's all completely different from historical precedents. Unless a chink in the armor of this thinking takes place, we are doomed to move from genocide to genocide, whenever a population or group is deemed unfavorable or simply in the way. The words may not be exactly the same, but they always bear a striking similarity. That is, they dehumanize the other and make any and all attempts to rid themselves of the so-called savages part of a greater good. You still have to behave in a certain non-murderous ways within your in-group, but all bets are off when combating “the other”. It's like quantum mechanics don't seem to apply to everyday macro interactions. You get to murder and annihilate others, but still tuck your kids in at night like you aren't a monster.

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Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.

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