04 december 2006

Bevingade ord 13

How often have we heard the mindless voice of the bigot standing behind that slogan, standing under that banner, holding up as a kind of what finally is that perilous trio of words: "They're all alike". "They're all alike."

And the first thing we discover in utterances of that kind, which indeed the utterance is seeking to establish, is the eliminiation of the individual. The great, grave moral offense, is that prejudice taking that form is at the expense of human individuality itself. "They're all alike" means there isn't any need to make any careful distinctions within that group at all, you can treat the individual as a fiction, it's only the group that has bonafide ontological standing.

And then of course you can just pick your group, so they can be blacks, or jews, or women, and the list I should say, historically, the list is gruesomely long.

It is sometimes said that the first step in commiting an act of aggression, unjustly and wantonly, is to de-humanize the other. Well, I think very often the language of propaganda is a de-humanizing language. But it doesn't have to be de-humanizing; it can simply be collectivizing. I would say that the first act of injustice against the individual, is the absorption of the individual into a collective, and the elimination of that individual's defining features. It is the formal denial, that there is in the ontological domain something we can properly regard as an individual; un-duplicated, not like any other, never before achieved in the entire history of the cosmos, never to be seen again, and thus authentic, original, special, precious, properly demanding of treatment based on his or her individual merits.

— Dr. Daniel Robinson


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