‘Look back at some of the most tragic episodes in human history and you will find words and images that stripped people of their basic human traits. In the Nazi era, the film The Eternal Jew depicted Jews as rats. During the Rwandan genocide, Hutu officials called Tutsis “cockroaches” that needed to be cleared out.
In the wake of World War II, psychologists wanted to understand how the genocide had happened. And we got Stanley Milgram’s infamous electroshock experiment, which showed how quickly people cave to authority. There was also Philip Zimbardo’s “prison experiment,” which showed how easily people in positions of power can abuse others. At Stanford, Albert Bandura, showed that when participants overhear an experimenter call another study subject “an animal,” they’re more likely to give that subject a painful shock. If you think of murder and torture as universally taboo, then dehumanization of the “other” is a psychological loophole that can justify them.’
“They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.
But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible…
…Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less…Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly-fed animal. He should decline to live like that, and should go on the rates, which is considered by many to be a form of stealing. As for begging, it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg. No: a poor man who is ungrateful, unthrifty, discontented, and rebellious is probably a real personality, and has much in him. He is at any rate a healthy protest. As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage…
…They have to be told of [their misfortune] by other people, and they often entirely disbelieve them…That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary.
…Slavery was put down in America, not in consequence of any action on the part of the slaves, or even any express desire on their part that they should be free. It was put down entirely through the grossly illegal conduct of certain agitators in Boston and elsewhere, who were not slaves themselves, nor owners of slaves, nor had anything to do with the question really. It was, undoubtedly, the Abolitionists who set the torch alight, who began the whole thing…”
-Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man under Socialism.”
[BLA and GB Gabbler (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]
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