The Escalation from Polarization to War


War is not the macho fantasy of insecure conservative men. It is the reality of children being burned alive.

Reasonable people have long lamented the increasing polarization of politics, an escalation from disagreement to outright division largely fueled by a few extremists who refuse to accept diversity, and the masses of gullible idiots who buy into the latest outrage on their “side”. It can be seen in the botched reconstruction after the Civil War, the mass exodus of racist white southerners from the Democratic party during the civil rights movement, the “pro-life” movement which was manufactured for political gain and has done more to harm and kill than to protect life, and so on.

Our current problems have their roots in an ancient and ongoing struggle with our own animal natures. But this phenomenon of bitter polarization, with different “facts” on both sides and no room for compromise, is far more extreme and dangerous in the modern world of social media and nuclear bombs.

Today I read one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen all year, even counting Trump’s offer to destroy the career of a Democratic politician for opposing the practice of “civil asset forfeiture” (police stealing private property from citizens who haven’t been convicted of a crime). The article is so disturbing that I will not link to it, because I don’t want to have any part in spreading it further. Instead, I’ll address a few quotes and talk about the overall issues with it.

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How Conservative and Religious Public Policies Kill People

14smrtThroughout recent centuries, conservatives (people who fight to maintain tradition and oppose progress) have been responsible for public policies in governments around the world that cause many deaths.

Of course, when people think of conservative religious governments they tend to focus on the Islamic ones, countries where simply being gay or atheist can earn a death sentence. There are similar cases in countries that aren’t dominated by Islam, a recent example being the American pastor who imported his hatred of gay people to Uganda. But there are less visible effects to be found even in more secular western democracies.

Consider war, for example. During much of human history, violence has been a common method of dealing with international disputes. Retaining this tradition is completely illogical in a world armed with nuclear bombs, yet conservative parties in America and around the world tend to be much more eager for war than diplomacy. Several of the Republican candidates for president this year expressed a desire to use nuclear and/or conventional bombs on Middle Eastern nations they perceive as a threat (and Trump went as far as advocating the murder of innocent women and children to get back at the terrorists). Obama’s efforts to make peace with other nations are derided as weakness, an “apology tour”, while our needless use of two atomic bombs on Japan is enthusiastically defended, despite the huge and inexcusable loss of civilian life they caused.

For supposedly pro-life people, these warmongering policies are hypocritical and insane. In fact, our indiscriminate bombing of Middle Eastern people is one of the main reasons terrorist groups like ISIS even exist. America gave them a unifying hatred of the west by murdering their civilians.

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