If you see the pleading humanity in the eyes of someone who simply wants to live, you will have a harder time driving a bayonet into him, even selecting his home for a remote controlled missile strike. Thus, in order to have successful war, and an effective army, you must dehumanize the persons you are about to kill. Those you are about to wipe out must be seen as an inhuman enemy, if you are to kill them without hesitation. Without the crucial step of dehumanizing the enemy, you are going to have an army with a lot of fucking qualms. It is common sense to make them hate the dehumanized enemy first, War 101.
This dynamic of dehumanization is not limited to physical war, of course. It applies, in an increasingly visceral way, to politics in our divided world. The humanity of the opposing side is amazingly easy to dismiss, particularly when tempers flare. We believe it is a human right, in a wealthy, industrialized country, to have enough food to eat, sufficient clothing and a place inside to sleep every night. You believe that people with mental problems, living in poverty, isolated and unable to thrive for one reason or another, are not quite as human as those of us who are not homeless. We believe that care must be taken to protect the weakest among us. You believe the weak should learn to be as strong as the rest of us, it is a matter of principle, liberty and life choices.
We can go on and on with the examples. The fossilized fucking Koch brothers, Charles and David, can smile their grotesque rictus grins now as they prepare for eternal life, to see how far to the merciless side they and their privileged ilk have swung the public discussion about rights and humanity in America. Tax is equated with murder, liberty trumps every other value — to a man like Charles, born to great wealth who then went out and earned billions of dollars. I cannot see the humanity of these two motherfuckers, no matter how many philanthropic endowments David seems to make.
Yet, even these two prime pieces of shit are as human as you or I, presumably. They have things they love and care about deeply, people and places they are very attached to. They feel pride and shame, fear and boldness, happiness, sorrow; sometimes they must feel humility, gratitude.
Like the rapists who keep surging over our borders, in search of young girls and boys to rape. Like the vicious murderers who mass along the Gaza border with Israel, surging toward the fences and screaming the most hateful things, expressing their deadly wishes with molotov cocktails on kites. Like those who support Trump/Hillary and all they represent.
If you think calmly, for even a moment, you will see the sickeningly idiotic fallacy of each of the examples in the paragraph above.
For every Mexican rapist who comes to the U.S. border there are many thousands of people, humans, merely seeking a less desperate life. The vast majority never rape, would never think of doing such a thing. Yet, they can be painted as rapists, drug smugglers, killers, wetbacks, Spics, Beaners, ass-dickers, what have you. See? Then any reasonable person would support using any force necessary to keep these sick fucks out of our great nation.
Same with the Palestinians who are being shot with live ammunition for massing along the Gaza/Israel border every week. They are not desperate, not living in isolation and generations of poverty– they are all hate-filled terrorists that Israeli snipers may take out with impunity. The Israeli defense minister proclaimed as much when he approved the use of live ammunition against the masses of Gazans who come to the border fence to rail against Israel’s policies. All terrorists, not a single one a human being with any human need like any of ours!
Same with those who support a rather angry, harsh president who lies publicly many times every day. It’s hard for someone like me to remember that these people are as human as I am, as human as people I love and care about. Every one of them has a compelling reason to overlook the man’s many flaws, see only the greatness he promises to deliver. Which is a very human thing to do, see the best in somebody, in the face of their large and glaring flaws.
I can’t see the good in Trump, I think of him as a very dangerous, supremely damaged and self-serving man-child. I have to look hard to see the humanity of those support him, those who come forward to sing his praises. I can’t often do it, all I want to do is make them shut up when they open their mouths to explain why a greed-driven, unapologetic, compulsive liar president is actually a great thing for American democracy.
Same with those who voted for Hillary. I held my nose to vote for her, as did many I knew, but there were people who truly thought she’d make a great president. Human hopes were placed on her by other humans. The whole process, very human.
But, fair is fair, it is truly hard to hate if you constantly see the humanity of the person you are supposed to destroy. Dehumanization is the only humanly possible way to do that. The enemy must always be nothing like us, he must be motivated only by vicious, inhuman desires. Otherwise, we’d be constantly killing ourselves and members of our own tribe, and how much would that suck?