Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reactionary Evil

On a personality basis alone, some 25 percent of the population will be reactionary and limited in the people they care about; they treat people according to their “gut” emotional response to them. If they feel a resonance with someone’s rhetoric and general approach to life, they will generally agree with the person. Someone they have a negative response to will either be avoided or be considered an enemy (especially if they feel threatened).

Roughly half of these people will be incurious about their world, unwilling to challenge their assumptions about the world. These people will follow the lead of people they like, loving who their leaders love, and hating who their leaders hate, as long as they can continue to identify emotionally with those leaders.

The kind of objectifying that is practiced by people who operate primarily on emotional response, care about a limited number of people, and do not challenge their assumptions, can lead to the most horrendous evil, exemplified by the persecution and genocide of the Jews by Hitler’s Nazis. In the United States, we see a similar trend beginning to develop relative to the Muslims in the Middle East, and the Mexicans entering our country illegally, who are perceived as a threat based on very limited evidence.

Of course, I am speaking statistically here. Every individual is different, and should be judged by what they do. Those who advocate killing people sharing some obvious characteristics with a small group of demonstrated murderers should not, themselves, be judged as murderers.

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