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View Diary: Eyes on Egypt & Region Liveblog #122 - Libya (325 comments)

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  •  Dehumanization (8+ / 0-)

    Dangerous precedents.

    During times of conflict or war, conventional moral and ethical codes concerning the treatment of others are often challenged. Political leaders often seek out methods to override their citizens' objections in order to gain support for their cause. One such method of public manipulation is called dehumanization. Dehumanization is the deliberate removal of sympathetic human traits when referring to members of an opposing ideology, race, political party or other source of conflict. Adolf Hitler's references to Jews as 'vermin' or 'rats' is one example of dehumanization in action.

    Convincing an average citizen to commit a violent act or to murder a fellow human being is extremely difficult. Our moral code tells us that such acts are immoral and indefensible. However, through the skillful use of dehumanization, leaders throughout history have succeeded in doing just that. Once the enemy has been stripped of humanity and becomes an object worthy of punishment, the idea of mistreating or even destroying this threat becomes morally justifiable.

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