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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Doppers: The Psychology of Killing

Unless you're a psychopath, completely devoid of empathy, there's really just one way to validate doing inhumane things to other people.  You dehumanize them.  Even that's not enough; to be a proactive hunter, you need the proper motivation, the hunger, to actively seek opportunities to cause harm to others.

You have to feel a certain level of entitlement, of superiority.

This is how the polarization sets in; you think more and more highly of yourself, and look at those you would attack with an increasing level of distaste.

High-level political people tend to view themselves as rational actors, powerful, in control of themselves and their environments.  Politics is all just a game - they can work happily with someone in one campaign, then viscerally attack them on the next, and then work together again the one after that, because it's just business and they're just playing the game.  Nothing personal.

Can you turn on and off hate like a switch, though?  What happens when you train young recruits in the art of hate, using the language of war and violence as a frame?  Is anger a good skill to be sharpening?

In politics, I have seen high-level staff refer to their opponents as animals, and then blatantly lie about some tactic said opponent has used as a way to get their teams angry, too.  I've seen swag made that compared competition to terrorists, or worse.  Later, in more high-level conversations, they'll throw out snide comments about their own teams.

Then there's the litany of attack ads, smears in Legislatures, self-promotion at all turns.  The message is clear - we are righteous and deserving, they are dangerous and must be destroyed.  In political terms, mind you; we're talking character assassination and votes, not extermination camps.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - being inhuman is a spectrum and it's far less of a stretch from dehumanizing your political foes so as to be brutal in verbal attacks or dehumanizing new Canadians so as to protest against them as job-stealers to rounding up undesirables and putting a bullet through their heads.

Unless the actual elimination of your foes is your goal - and you have the means to do it - hate is not the answer.  

You cannot dehumanizing others without destroying your own humanity as well, which is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

Not the model I think we want to follow.  If we're not careful, though, we very well could.

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