Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How Violence Works

The terrible events in Mumbai caught the attention of the whole world. Those who were slaughtered were picked randomly, almost blindly, except that the butchers actually did see them, mostly face-to-face. The victims were treated as less than animals going for slaughter. At least the animals are eaten afterwards and they are valued as food.

Welcome to human violence on the mass scale. It's not better to slaughter innocents with bombs from a distance, of course. But there is something added, something sadistic or even meta-sadistic about picking out victims in person in this manner. The butcher looks humanity in the face and does not see it.

Then the reactions to all this from American conservative pundits:

On The War Room, Jim Quinn said: "We either wipe this scourge from the face of the Earth -- 'Well, you just can't say that, because there's a lot of peaceful Muslims out there.' Well, there was a lot of Germans that weren't Nazis either, but we still bombed Dresden. We either wipe this scourge from the face of the Earth, or we will be doomed to live under it."


Michael Savage said: "Should the tribal areas of Pakistan be wiped out and the rats killed in there once and for all? Should we nuke the tribal areas in Pakistan's wild-man region and wipe out the terrorists once and for all?"

The same dehumanization taking place: scourges and rats. That's always the first step in changing human psychology towards the direction which allows massacres to take place: Learn to see the enemy as subhuman, learn to see the innocent as either unimportant or actually not innocent. And the second round of killings commence.

I'm glad that neither Quinn nor Savage are controlling the events in India and Pakistan, because at least we can hope that those who are in control are wiser than these pundits.