Bad guy history

According to Gregory J. E. Rawlins

Once again, and as usual, we relabeled our past, turning the question of why the war happened into a quest to find the bad guy. Once again we found ways to blame it on someone—and thereby disown it. That instinct to blame helps us cope. It helps us distance ourselves from any of our swarm’s actions that we don’t like. It also helps us credit ourselves for anything we like. We thus get to attach causal labels to everything that happens to us. When it’s something we like, then ‘we’ did it. When it’s something we don’t like, then ‘war-mongers’ did it. If not them, then imperialists did it, corporations did it, scientists did it, whites did it, men did it.

Perhaps we think that way because it’s too emotionally hard for us to accept a swarm view. Maybe we reject a swarm view not because it’s too farfetched or too complicated, but because it’s too cold, too unsatisfying. It clothes itself in no flag; it offers no point of solace; it neither praises nor blames anyone in particular.

More …

 (Sorry that link no longer works. It was a chapter from an almost complete book draft, offline because in submission to the publishers.)

More blog entries about Evil.


1 Comment

  1. Maybe “it’s hard to accept a swarm view” because there is nothing natural about collectivism. Maybe individual humans choose their actions and are ultimately responsible for them. Quite contrary to Gregory J. E. Rawlins’ hypothesis, what allows people to cope with the evil they do is the soothing swarmy thinking that says “Everybody is doing it”, and the neo-conservative theory that the mythical construct of this higher purpose somehow permits the collective to take actions which would never be permitted to individuals acting on their own authority.


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