Collateral Damage

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”  A participant’s self-justification about a Vietnam War atrocity (or many), rejected by society. 

“You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”  An adherent’s metaphoric self-justification for the atrocities committed in pursuit of New Enlightenment human perfection, still favorably accepted by many in “progressive” society despite the horrors perpetuated by adherents who reached power in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Those who perpetrate the horrors and catastrophes caused by this approach — whether limited to one individual or to a whole people — is attempted by the perpetrators to be cleansed away by using a very impersonal term for the losses –“Collateral Damage”.

A similar attempt to wash the blood of a person’s hands, to deny and cleanse from guilt for a “collateral” damage action, in order to expediently maintain status and control, was made by one Pontius Pilate in the case of the innocent Jesus Christ.  Things did not turn out too well for Pontius Pilate.

Never allow anyone from any “camp” – yours or others – demonize or even denigrate their opposition as “not smart”, “braindead”, “hopeless”, “trash” or any other judgmentalism that reduces real people to a sub-human level.  That first step begins to assuage the conscience of those who take such steps – and definitely of those who lead them – to where subsequent steps are very easy:

Social and institutional discrimination;

Limitation on free speech to that which is “politically correct”;

Limitation on freedom of association, if only by “guilty by association”;

Restrictions on freedom of movement, if only to “avoid affronting others by the presence of those who disagree with them”;

Remove other liberties and civil rights since, “if you can’t follow our line you must be abusing your rights and must be protected”;

Find simple opposition or even mere questioning and asking for accountability to be reprehensible behavior, and then eventually penalized;

Detention “for your own best interest and protection”; 

Eventually, “If a few…then many…of those who disagree perish in the name of gaining the instigators’ goal, for the perfection of mankind, well, they weren’t really fully human after all, were they”.  The history of mankind!  It has not led a step closer to perfection, has it?

Everyone has a personal stake in this “problem”.  Never be afraid to step up and take exception to the statements of those who would demonize others.  Always demand that differences be debated based upon facts, responsibility and accountability.  One way or another, you may be next in line.  Never forget, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Never forget that,

“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.”        

Edmund Burke


About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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