Perspectives: The only human distinction that matters

OPINION – A look at the headlines of the past couple of weeks should confirm the obvious – inhumanity is not limited to any particular national border, ethnicity or belief system.

This reality seems to take some people by surprise.

After all, we’ve been conditioned to think in collective rather than individual terms when explaining the cruelty of humans towards one another.

This is why many find it easier to blame the Paris attacks on all Muslims rather than on the murderous individuals who carried them out.

It’s why a mad man shooting people at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs is falsely portrayed as representative of Christian pro-life activists.

Both are recent examples of how people who are anxious to promote ideology will eagerly blur the lines of distinction between the individual and the collective.

The true measure of people’s blindness is found in their deliberate indifference to any suffering and destruction that results from their own ideology.

Whatever they claim to believe in, their goal is to obtain power over their fellow man.

It’s why Americans who are outraged over the senseless murder of dozens of innocents in Paris can find no wrong in the needless deaths of hundreds of innocent Middle Easterners mistakenly killed by U.S. drone strikes.

Likewise, those howling loudest about the carnage wrought by the Planned Parenthood shooter are strangely accepting of the destruction of millions of innocent lives each year through abortion.

In both cases, invoking a nebulous “greater good” is sufficient to justify the deaths of other individual human beings who had wronged no one. This is why it is very dangerous to value our attachment to various “isms” over our commitment to good character.

A person’s skin color, religion or ethnicity are irrelevant abstractions. The only real distinction that matters among mankind is whether one is decent or indecent.

Whatever scientific grouping of humanity we choose to examine, both character types will be present.

Every single person on earth is born as an individual. No matter what artificial groups or classifications some try to separate us into, no perfectly identical individuals can be found to exist.

Because of this, the only fair way to judge anyone, if some judgment is needed, is by his or her individual actions and words. Those who strictly judge others according to what group they belong to are substituting prejudice for observation.

Unfortunately, group or identity politics has proven to be very effective in dividing society up into little tribes that are constantly pitted against one another.

The only antidote to this malevolent type of social engineering is found in regarding one another as individuals and resisting the urge to make group judgments.

Authentic tolerance is rooted in the recognition of individual differences whether in ourselves or in others.

Charley Reese explains:

There are no perfect groups and no perfect people. We all, as individuals, have our own mix of strengths and weaknesses, of talents and proclivities. The only way America can work is if we remember that we are bound together not by blood or country of origin, but by common courtesy, mutual respect and a shared belief in individual liberty.

The times during which humanity has made its greatest advances in freedom, dignity, and protection from exploitation have stemmed from this recognition of the value of the individual.

By contrast, the darkest and bloodiest moments that humankind has experienced have been when the blind hatred of groups pitted against other groups is the norm. It’s no exaggeration to state that predatory human beings exist and cannot be trusted with unchecked power over their fellow man.

As ugly as it may be to consider, the indecency that gave us the genocides of the 20th century is still alive and well in the hearts of some. It is not limited to shadowy terror groups that resort to very gruesome and public executions to draw attention to themselves.

It can be found in the words and actions of men and women who salute the flag, go to church on Sunday and yet who fail to recognize when they are surrendering to groupthink.

All that would be required to unleash this indecency is for someone, presumably in government authority, to persuade people that whatever atrocity they’re doing is being carried out for the “greater good.”

Such tactics have clearly worked before whenever people were persuaded to view others as less than human.

This places a significant moral burden upon each of us as individuals to ensure, as Solzhenitsyn counseled, that if evil is find a way into this world, it must do so through someone other than us.

Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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  • NotSoFast November 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Good article Mr. Hyde. I have a few friends who need to consider the input. (me too on occasions)

  • Rainbow Dash November 30, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Another good article Brian. Fascism like we saw in Monarchies throughout history, Germany in the early to mid 20th century and the Mormon cult from the time it began to now is not a hard thing to accomplish. Just ask Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, or Adolf Hitler. In 1967 a teacher in Palo Alto California decided to teach his class about what happened in Germany by recreating certain aspects in class as an experiment. What began as a simple teaching idea involving maybe 2 dozen high school students evolved to hundreds of people according to wikipedia by day 5. The experiment had resounding affects on the world of teaching and some states, according to my mother who got her teaching degree in the 90s, actually imposed rules for teachers that specifically outlawed that style of teaching in the classroom although my 20 second Google search didnt yield anything to back that up.

    • Brian December 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Seriously, what happened to you that you spout such vitriol against the LDS Church? Fortunately only the most uninformed and malleable will buy into your extreme viewpoint. How ironic that you post about “The Third Wave” experiment since you seem to be knee deep in the same level of delusion.

      • Rainbow Dash December 1, 2015 at 6:54 pm

        Fortunately the majority of the world is smart enough to recognize Mormonism for what it is; A cult started by a grown man who married a 14 year old girl “for eternity alone”.

        Now since we’re on the topic of The Third Wave and fascism, tell me, what group in 2008 wrote a letter to all of it’s members in California that stated, in part:

        “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage”?

        Oh that’s right, it was the Mormons. No Im not saying they were the only “church ” to do that either.

        Oh and speaking of “the sacred institution of marriage”, if it’s so sacred, why allow divorce? Divorce is clearly outlawed in the bible just like homosexuality is.
        Here are some verses from the bible

        Just, you know, some things to think about.

        • Rainbow Dash December 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm

          Will you please add a 🙂 to the end of my last reply please?

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