Monday, June 15, 2009

Talking to Demons, Living With Humans

Throughout history there have been occasions where one group of humans would demonize another group of humans. This happens most prevalently during times of war. It is, after all, easier for most to kill a foul beast than it is to kill a fellow human being. It is also easier to justify inhumane treatment of people using the same criteria. If a certain group of people are just beasts, or partial beasts, or demons, or some other lower form of life, or are in any way not as “good” or as “human” as the group of people you are affiliated with, it becomes easier for an individual to justify killing, or imprisoning, or torturing, or enslaving, or otherwise denying those people of their freedom and their ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

In order to help gain the support of the common people, the backbone of society, governments throughout the ages have employed propagandists. These men have been only too happy to paint their enemies as demons or monsters in order to line their pockets with a few pieces of gold. They find it easy to obfuscate, misrepresent or even outright lie in order to present the most inhuman face of the enemy possible. They would say things like “those guys eat babies,” or “they enslave their women,” or “they spread disease,” or some other nonsense that may have a grain of truth but is not totally honest. Politicians would then use these propagandists’ statements as talking points to whip the populace into a nationalist frenzy and promote the promulgation of war and the oppression of entire races of people.

You would think that by the first decade of the twenty first century, mankind would have learned to ignore this kind of propaganda. You would think that by this point in our evolution we would have come to the understanding that people are people and that within every group there are good people, there are bad people, and that there are mostly average people. Perhaps inside most of us do realize this, yet we are loath to admit it. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. There is a perception issue here, and the perception is usually that if the group doing the oppressing doesn’t continue to oppress than bad things will happen to them. The perception is that the “demons” will be unleashed upon the world. The perception is that the very fabric of society will be shredded and woe be unto those who were the oppressors. It usually proves out, however, that reality is quite a bit different than perception.

Now, I’ve never personally met a demon that I know of, but I have read about them and I believe I have a basic understanding of their psychology and what they are all about. It seems to me that demons are all about control. They covet human souls. Apparently, by capturing the human soul, they gain power. Often times they appear to be purely human. They use charm and promises to achieve their goals and their victims don’t realize they are dealing with an unspeakable evil until it is too late. Often times the victim of a demon will come to the frightening understanding that he has been ensnared in a web of deceit only when there is absolutely nothing that can be done to escape. Sometimes, however, an intelligent victim is able to discover the demon’s weakness or a loophole and free himself from the demon’s grasp.

Politicians are usually charming. They use promises to get votes. They have a tendency to promise things they cannot deliver. They promise to give people entitlements that were not earned. They use other people’s money to buy the allegiance of the souls who end up voting for them. They deceive many into believing they will be represented and then they represent no one save themselves and those special interests and lobbyists who provide more money to buy the allegiance of more souls. These men and women seeking power and positions in government may not exactly be demons, but they certainly seem to have learned from demons. They seem to employ the same methods to gain power. And so it is that these power lusting zealots manage to impose themselves upon a people, call themselves government, and authorize themselves to speak to other power lusting zealots in the name of large swaths of ordinary human beings and claim to represent them all or their interests. It’s as if one group of demons were talking to another group of demons.

These men and women, acting in the way many demons do, often times make decisions that, like it or not, we all have to live with. They may even make some outrageous decisions, depending on their wants and needs or those of their friends, like the decision to start killing others in an aggressive war or to try to oppress others simply because they live on a plot of land coveted but not controlled by those seeking power. They force, coerce or seek to convince those who they already exercise power over to go along with the plan. Those who believe they will profit or benefit in some way from such a venture will agree to go along even if they see the inherent wrong of such an action.

I believe that the vast majority of people just want to be left alone to live their lives as best they can. Most people are quite satisfied living a peaceful life. Most simply want the ability to work for themselves and their family and to trade with others on a voluntary basis without government bureaucrats, agencies and regulations getting in the way. I would venture a guess that most people understand that most regulations are put in place just to create revenue, a sort of legalized extortion to support the privileged political class and keep them in power. Still, most remain silent on such issues simply because most people don’t want to create waves. They are peaceful and so they are willing to go along to get along. They are willing to tolerate such theft in order to keep the men with guns from coming to their door, arresting them, dragging them in front of an imposing man in black robes, and perhaps imprisoning them or worse. Yet these peaceful, ordinary people have shown that they are willing to pick up a gun, go to a foreign land and kill people they have never met if these same extortionists tell them that those people are different, that they are demons in human guise.

I would hope that the time has come for ordinary, average people would begin to think about such things. I would like to think that more and more people are beginning to see through the propaganda. I would like to believe that the common folk of this world have become smart enough to realize that in order to live with each other we need to stop believing that whole groups of people are demons and start recognizing each individual’s humanity and respecting it. We may have to deal with the demons in government on occasion, but I would have hoped that by now we would have stopped believing in all their lies. It seems as if, worldwide, too many of the common folk still accept the prejudice they were indoctrinated with and the propaganda they hear as fact. It seems that perhaps too many people believe the powerful elite and will still march off to war against a much weaker foe who poses less of a threat than their leaders would have them believe. Or, just perhaps, many of the common folk do know better and simply keep quiet out of fear of ostracism and retribution.

The time has come to speak up. Silence will no longer protect anyone. In fact, I would venture a guess that the silence of so many has contributed to the state of affairs the world finds itself in. Those in power, the same ones using the tactics of demons to enrich themselves and their friends, depend on your silence. To them, your silence is equivalent to passive acceptance of their rule. The political elite everywhere will continue to represent the rich and powerful until enough of the common folk raise their voices and demand the freedom they deserve. Let those in power know we no longer simply accept the premises they use to launch wars of aggression, pass laws creating victimless crimes and trample upon the natural rights we are born with. Let them know we wish to live together in peace and prosperity, not struggle together in war and poverty. To borrow and paraphrase an often misquoted statement attributed to Edmund Burke, all it takes for the demons to triumph is for good people to remain silent.

It doesn’t matter who one is dealing with or what opinion one may have of a certain group of people, the moment the doors of communication close disaster is inevitable. Talking leads to understanding. Understanding leads to solutions. If we are to ever realize a world where peace and prosperity is the norm, then it will be necessary to talk to the perceived demons of our minds and to understand that in reality we are living only with other genuine humans not much different than you and I.

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