“All liberals are atheists” said Ann Coulter. To be sure, some are, but “all”? This is just like all saying all conservatives are racists. Following that logic, all Italians are Mafioso, all Southern Baptists are Klan, all Germans are Nazi’s, all African Americans are gangbangers, all Jews are shysters, all ____ are ____. You fill in the blanks so the hate can continue.
Why not? It’s been going on a long time. It seems that we need to hate someone. And one of the best ways to do that is to catch one of “them” doing something bad and then generalize that “they” are all like that. That way we can demonize a whole group of people on the strength of real evidence – the facts – so to speak.
On the face of it, what I’ve just written seems ridiculous. But the only thing ridiculous about it is that once assimilated, we forget that our own ancestors were probably treated this way when they tried to assimilate. We have such short memories when we think we’ve arrived and have been accepted by the majority.
It’s a like the Stockholm Syndrome, a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages identify with their captors. In this case, where assimilated minorities identify with the majority that tried to keep them marginalized.
So when a few of the demonized-of-choice do something bad, which invariably they will, that makes them all bad. In psychological terms that’s called generalizing. The definition works something like this; take a small bit of experience and generalize it by projecting it onto all future experiences. For example; you had the misfortune of a bad marriage. That experience can then be used to condemn all marriages.
Don’t despair. There is a simple remedy. It’s simple but not easy. Every time you hear yourself, or someone else, saying the word “all”, get suspicious. That’s it! The word all is the culprit. It simplifies the world. It makes life easier to contend with. It gets you out of all kinds of traps where critical thinking is required. Alas, it also makes the world a difficult place to find any intelligent dialogue.
After all, it’s just so much easier when you don’t like an individual, to generalize about him or her based on their group identity. Because that’s where you find the evidence for your judgment. And we want to be fair in our judgments, don’t we? Or is it that we just want to be right?
I think the latter is true. We want to be subjectively right even at the expense of being objectively wrong. Because affiliation is more important than accuracy. We want to feel like we belong to the influential group. The best way to do that is to separate ourselves from those who don’t belong. And the very best way to do that is to demonize “them”.
Make them really bad and we can feel better about ourselves and the group we belong to.
This is particularly true when a group’s influence is coming to its end. That is, when the group no longer holds the power that it once had that outsiders ascribed to it. That’s when the real demonizing fulminates. It literally explodes with intensity.
Don’t take my word for it. Check the news and see who’s demonizing who. It’s a sure way to find out what group you don’t want to join because they’re coming into their end stage.
In an effort to sound unbiased, I’ll refrain from mentioning news organizations, political parties or religious groups. But who’s making the most noise about the loss of the American way of life? Who’s the group making the most outlandish claims about the “others?” That’s the group that’s approaching the end of its relevance.
History is full of examples that prove this theory. Don’t take my word for it; read about it under the topic: social evolution.