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Why Do People Demonize People?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Sunstone, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    Everyone knows that people sometimes demonize other people. That is, they portray them as entirely or almost entirely evil and certainly as less than fully human.

    Sometimes it seems to me that nearly every group in human history has at one time or another been victims of attempts to demonize them. Perhaps the most famous example is the Nazi demonization of the Jews during the 1930s and 40s. But in addition to the Jews, you could also easily point to the efforts of various people and groups to demonize Westerners, Muslims, gays, Christians, Arabs, Liberals, Conservatives, Blacks, Irish, and on and on and on....

    One odd thing about demonizing people is it is never really accurate or fair, but it is nevertheless a powerful means of stiring up animosity and hatred towards the targetted group. Put differently, for demonization to work -- and it does indeed work --- people must be willing and able to be made fools. They must be willing and able to believe what is manifestly untrue -- that someone -- such as a Jew, a Gay, an Arab, or a Black -- is less than human. But what makes people so susceptible to such nonsense? Why are people so easily made fools? Why are they so easily duped about other people?

    More over, what does it say about the potential for humans to get along peacefully with each other that they are so easily turned against each other?

    And last, given the ease with which people can be turned against other people through demonization, should demonization -- or at least should hate crimes -- be prosecuted with greater severity than other crimes?
     
    Wandered Off likes this.
  2. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Well-Known Member

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    The human ego is unbiased when it comes to choosing an identity. Happy, miserable, hateful, helpful, critical. All of these qualities are equal and up for grabs to the ego. If I can't know who I am through happiness, maybe I can know who I am through unhappiness or conflict with others.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  3. EtuMalku

    EtuMalku HH☿D

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    Satan is a personification of the Judaic word al-satan or ha-satan (who borrowed it from the Persians' Shaiten) meaning adversary. The word is used more as a descriptive noun or pronoun. A fallen tree preventing a husband from getting to his injured wife would be considered a tree of shaiten, more or less.

    Shaiten did not become Satan until much later where Jewish sects / tribes particularly the Essenes who began referring to anyone not an Essene as the Shaiten. Still further on the Roman Christian church decided it was time to personify Shaiten into Satan and have Him become the scapegoat for all evil in the Christian world.
     
  4. monta

    monta .

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    There is an old Irish poem that describes an incident where a Irish woman is accosted by English soldiers and her child is killed in front of her for sport.

    When I read this I was about 11, and I thought it was just another metaphor for how evil the Sassana are. Then a few years later I read about a Jewish woman who was accosted by Nazi officers and had her child brutally and gleefully murdered in front of her, I was struck by the coincidence but put it down to just that.

    Then the same in Bosnia, Rwanda, South Africa and on and on. Easy to demonise the soldiers, but why the same thing over and over again?

    The only answer I have is that in order to commit an atrocity on a people an live with yourself you need to dehumanise them.

    On a smaller scale (which I know is what you meant) It is easier to be hateful towards someone if they are evil , hating evil is a good thing so if someone is evil and you hate them, then you are the good guy aren't you.
     
  5. whereismynotecard

    whereismynotecard There's no room on here!

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    Humans are just another species of stupid animal. What do you expect?
     
  6. monta

    monta .

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    Better.
     
    Jaiket likes this.
  7. 3.14

    3.14 New Member

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    its very simple,

    1 and 2 live together in same land 1 wants to be the ruler there but so does 2,
    but they both know that you can't just start killing people to take there land..... but what if you make them seem less human, than it would be ok, because you wouldn't be killing humans you would just be terminating the life's of those "abominations"

    without creating the illusion that 1 set of human's is lesser there would be no war
     
    TurkeyOnRye likes this.
  8. Arkholt

    Arkholt Non-vessel

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    Using the Nazis and Jews as an example again, the way it was accomplished was blaming the Jews and holding them responsible for all the bad things that were happening in Germany. People always want someone to blame for their problems. Demonizing people becomes easier when you can blame them for atrocities. It allows you to commit new atrocities against them.
     
  9. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    People love to be self-righteous and they love drama. Put the two together.
     
  10. monta

    monta .

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    And you get Seventh Heaven :biglaugh:
     
    Kilgore Trout and Quagmire like this.
  11. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Nice!
     
    monta likes this.
  12. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    Have you read Evil, by Roy Baumeister? I found this a very helpful book. He explains how our tendency to see other people, especially groups of people, as evil, causes us in turn to commit evil acts against them, which causes them to see us as evil.
     
  13. linwood

    linwood New Member

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    That doesn`t sound encouraging.

    It even sounds logical, rational, and evidenced which makes it even less encouraging.

    :(
     
  14. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    Well yes, but understanding is good, and it fits in with Tibetan Buddhist teaching. When you understand that other people are just trying to achieve happiness and avoid suffering, and that while they may be mistaken, they're not evil, it help you to be more compassionate toward them, and not react with the same knee-jerk response.

    It's like our desire to fight evil tricks us into committing evil.

    Truth to tell, that's probably why I go so apoplectic about the Ot Israelite atrocities--they're perfect examples of this natural, primitive thinking. The Amalekites probably just knew that the Israelites were obviously truly evil, because the Israelites killed their babies! So the Amalekites attacked the Israelites (because they were evil), thus proving to the Israelites that they were evil, so therefore it was moral to destroy them, including their babies. The only way to get out of this cycle is to understand what's really going on, and realize that neither the Amalekites nor the Israelites (nor the Germans nor the French, nor the Bosnians nor the Serbs, nor the Sunnis nor the Shiaa....) are evil.
     
  15. Yes Man

    Yes Man New Member

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    Because Bill O'Reilly would be out of a job.
     
  16. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Living Dead Girl

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    Because people fear what they don't understand. And since the other tribe acts weird, they can be scary.
     
    Quagmire likes this.
  17. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey Staff Member Premium Member

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    yup.:yes: If you scare me then either A) I'm insecure or B) you're evil.

    therefore , you must be evil.
     
  18. Goblin

    Goblin Sorcerer

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    its super simple if you make something "worse" than you.
    then that means you are better than them...
     
  19. godnotgod

    godnotgod not born, not dead

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    It's all about Persona and Shadow and Scapegoating. More on this later....
     
  20. Deidre

    Deidre Stay true to you

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    Lots of times, it's due to herd mentality. (which I loathe)
    The head of the herd charges someone with a horrible offense, and whether it's true or not...the herd wants to dutifully follow the herd master...so...they run with it...and the demonizing begins.
     
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