The following article is the second installment in a new series of guest articles we will be featuring from our esteemed colleagues around industry. They are intended to stimulate constructive conversations in our perpetual effort to unify and strengthen the Republic we all love...the place we call home. Enjoy!
///START GUEST ARTICLE///
By Duane Buckner, (Buck)
Egalitarianism is one of those words that you say…and then wonder if you used right. Today, you would be forgiven of that faux pas because the modern egalitarian is far from the common definition. Here it is, courtesy of the fabulous and diversity minded folks over at Google.
Egalitarianism- the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
This seems so simple. People are endowed with this power to be self-actual. To define themselves as they would like and set about pursuing happiness. History is bulging with examples of this philosophy not being applied. Our own wonderful country is not immune and has…like every other country that is more than a year old…had dark periods. Slavery left a scar, the way the various indigenous tribes were treated left another, the Irish, the Chinese…the list goes on.
These were terrible periods. Horrible crimes were committed, atrocities were widespread. This is not in dispute by thinking people. Let’s consider why these things happened. Why were sub-Saharan Africans singled out for slavery (by… ahem…Europeans)? Why were the Chinese treated like a commodity in the Western U.S.? Why did any of those things happen?
Because they were different. They looked and acted different. It isn’t easy to persecute someone that looks just like you. In fact, regimes that made a practice of destroying a group of people…first changed their perception, that is…the way others saw them. They pointed out physical features and then exaggerated them. They attached behaviors to them and made great fare of how bad they were. They vilified them with images and language.
By the time “normal” people would have questioned why they hated these groups…the coup was complete. The image, drawn on their psyche by repetition and social pressure became their own. These people helped to create a new and terrible…normal. This is social conditioning. I think this can happen in two ways. The first is highly organized and directed. We’ll take the most obvious example of this: Germany under Hitler.
If Hitler played chess, he would play brutally. Very little finesse would accompany his tactics. He would assault forward burning everything as he went in an all-out gambit for the opponent’s throat. This is exactly what he did in Germany prior to declaring war on the rickety European structure of the day. He organized a de-facto army and directed them at public opinion. It worked…to terrible effect. Before most of the country knew what happened, this maniacal man had turned the country’s misfortunes (inflation, unemployment etc.) into a mobilized indifference to one of the most egregious crimes in history.
The second way is less concentrated, less overt. This is the chess player that painstakingly builds a trap over the course of the game. Their opponent is likely to think that they are winning…right up to the moment that their king is taken by a pawn. It begins with the subtle turn of language. A campaign of whispers directed at a philosophy or group of people targeted by a loose affiliation of power brokers.
Those in “control” are likely self-interested and are motivated not by some grand scheme…but by a thousand lesser ones. Here are the news writers, delivering copy that attacks an ideology that isn’t fully understood. They need a foil and something that looks sufficiently different will do. This is subtle and moves with the weight of an unwitting populace. Of the two, I believe this to be the most likely in modern society and therefore the most dangerous.
In fact, I think its happening in our society, possibly our civilization as I write this.
The modern egalitarian is identified by their need to oppose injustice. They comb through the pages of contemporary societies looking for opportunities to voice their opposition. This seems on the surface to be a good thing; equality needs a champion, doesn’t it? The oppressed need a savior don’t they?
The problem comes when there aren’t enough “savior” slots to go around. When the worlds oppressed won’t support the bulk of those that want to save them. We then begin to change the definition of the oppressed and therefore also, the oppressor. This is language changing. This is creating a crime so that we can convict.
This…is the modern egalitarian. They attach themselves to every cause with the fervor of a freedom fighter even if it isn’t required. In and of itself, this is harmless if a bit annoying. But it isn’t limited to the confines of the overly enthusiastic. This use of language and re-definition spills over to the intellectually casual. These are the people that take what they read and hear and apply it as their opinion without any further consideration. This…is gasoline on the small fire. This is the power of the widely circulated rumor.
This is tyranny. This is the refusal to accept any dissenting voice unless it dresses in the proper garb. This isn’t about equality, its about self-gratification, its about aggrandizing the person that holds the popularized opinion.
This is the first echo of terrible social shifts that lead, almost always, to violence. History preaches this caution if we read with a critical eye…but we so often don’t.
Dissent is valuable. Diversity of thought…of consideration is a necessity for a successful society.
Even if it looks different…
Buck is a Firearms Instructor for a major defense manufacturer, and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran.
///END GUEST ARTICLE///