Some people are wary of
"a philosophy of government that advocates or exercises a  dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism."
...and some people eagerly embrace it.
"One reason the U.N. was founded after the Second World War was to confront aggressive dictators actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace."
Some people understand abstractions to which others are blind.

"Uns über alles"
Herpes simpletonisus
"America first!"
In the languages of "primitive" societies, the word for "human" often meant only those who spoke that language, and maybe only some of those.  Outsiders weren't included.

In "advanced" societies, a concept of "human rights" often develops which retains much of that pinched, primitive sense of humanness.

"We must kill as many of them as we can, because they don't respect human life."

"We must kill them in as frightful a way as possible, because they are terrorists."

"We must maintain world peace with agressive military action."

"We must take preemptive action for self protection."

"We must eliminate all potential enemys' weapons of mass destruction."

"No one of US must ever be tried by a court of foreigners."

"The United Nations must face reality and do as they are told."

"Our industries must not be hobbled by bleeding-heart, so-called 'human rights'."

"We kill and destroy only in self-defense; they kill and destroy in blind hate of us."

"All of US are good; all of THEM are evil."

"Evil must not be allowed to triumph!"


Ethnocentrism + Punitive Morality: Ethnic Cleansing

mid-20th century:
"We must kill all the Jews because they forced us to start this war."

In the 19th century, killing Native Americans was a popular sport in the American West.
"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

Quo vadis?

We are born with little ability to understand anything outside our skin.  But we quickly recognize that things around us can give us comfort.  At first, that comfort is all we understand about the outside world.  We are solipsistic.

We grow from infancy to childhood, and on that journey we become egocentric.  At first, even drawing a picture from someone else's viewpoint is beyond our comprehension.  But we soon become enabled, and then we begin to realize that we are part of a family and we begin to understand a few mutually reciprocal relationships within our social world.

Growing up is a process of ever expanding our senses of the complexity that we are a part of.  But it gets harder and harder as our personal awareness reaches farther and farther out—as our scope of understanding expands out from our original solipsistic seeing.

Understanding that humamity includes everyone—not just ourselves, our family, our religious compatriots, our national compatriots, our racial look-alikes, etc—is apparently a deep and difficult understanding.  Human rights is a concept that for many seems to be fuzzy mist with no real substance—like the difference between orange and grass green is to a man with no red-sensitive light detectors in his eyes.  In many languages the word for "human" is used to refer only to those who speak that same language...and maybe even no more than a subset of those people.  (During the days after September 11, 2001, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan repeatedly tried to remind America that the attack was "an attack on humanity" and not just "an attack on America."  The Bush Administration and the compliant American media remained deaf to that message and blind to its significance.)

The human being who declared, "We must kill as many of them as we can because they don't respect human life," sounds wise, resolute, and heroic to many who speak his language.  "That's right," they say, "they don't."

To many, however, he sounds a bit deranged: something seems very wrong with what he said.

To an outsider—or to an insider who understands the logical imperative of human rights—he strikes terror to the heart.  He especially strikes terror if he has great power to kill as he chooses, and kill with impunity.  He dehumanizes and apparently is unaware of what that means.  He fails to sense the abstract meanings in "human" and "human rights," and so his understanding is too shallow to include all that he would interact with.

When he then says,  "We must kill them in the most frightful way we can because they are evil; they are terrorists," those who see into the depths of his declarations see the true meaning of "terrorist."

We must fight terrorism...but:

First we must wise up
continue on our journey out from solipsism

Don't dumb down.

Dumbing down is dangerous.  Dumbing down in a democracy is doubly dangerous. Dumb can be fatal...

Keep it coming, comforting and conforming.
(The first principle of news as a media commodity.)

Media literacy is a first step in dodging dumbing down.