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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/1/10

Right is Wrong

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Humanity learned at least one important lesson from the Second World War: that the seminal act for creating an earthly Hell is the debasement of human beings, turning them into things. The Nazis had no empathy for any of their concentration camp victims, or the population of the nations they had conquered, or even the German people themselves. Hitler and his followers had only one consideration: "How can I use the faceless masses to increase my power and prestige?"

The dehumanization of one group of human beings by another to justify acts of degradation and oppression is as old as humankind itself. Together with the closely related act of putting things ahead of people, it is the first step towards evil. Murder, theft, perjury, rape: all of these involve either the mental transformation of the victim into a thing in the mind of the perpetrator, or the decision that a thing is more important than the human being who possesses it. The latter decision on the part of the perpetrator involves believing, unconsciously perhaps, that a human being is only a concept, and not a reality, without understanding that a concept is a thing! An everyday example of this is drunk driving, when the drunk decides that his drink is more important than the conceptual people he might kill or injure when driving drunk.

Unfortunately for our nation, the "cheap labor conservatives" of the Radical Right are demonstrating these malicious and unprincipled patterns of behavior.

The essential belief of the Radical Right is that wealth, its acquisition, and its protection once acquired, are God given rights, and the only reasons for the existence of government. The rest of humanity and its future well-being matters to the Radical Right only as far as they can exploit these "lesser" human beings in order to procure ever greater wealth for themselves. For the "cheap labor conservatives," the rest of humankind's rights and liberties end where the Radical Right's quest for wealth begins.

The essential difference between the world-views of conservatives and those of progressives is that the conservatives believe that humankind in general--and conservatives in particular--are best served by an established and carefully delineated, primarily hereditary, social and economic hierarchy. The elite at the top of the hierarchy (the aristocrats) are the only ones capable of making rational decisions for the rest of humankind (the peasants).

Progressives believe that they, and the rest of humankind, are best served by the disestablishment of the social and economic hierarchy as the source of authority. The progressive advocates the establishment of a system where, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--." For the progressive, the Declaration of Independence is the apotheosis of the idea of the innate value of every human being espoused centuries before by Jesus and Buddha, brought to post-enlightenment fruition by Jefferson.

The 2003 article "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin, provides a stunning insight into the Radical Right's preference for a hierarchical paradigm, rather than the more modern paradigm of equality.

The first pillar underlying the conservative world view, is the intolerance of ambiguity and the avoidance of uncertainty that all conservatives seek. Uncertainty of your position in, and your relationship with, the rest of society was the order of the day in our society's evolving system of equality and community beginning with FDR's New Deal. Not knowing where you stand at any given time with respect to the rest of humanity is a daunting type of existence. A conservative hates and fears the continuous change inherent in such a system, preferring the easy, certain comfort of the status quo.

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Richard Girard is a polymath and autodidact whose greatest desire in life is to be his generations' Thomas Paine. He is an FDR Democrat, which probably puts him with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the current political spectrum. His answer to (more...)

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