Reflecting on Independence Day

world map with flag designs


If I had a goal to lead astray a whole lot of basically decent people, I would certainly not do it by trying to convince them to come over to the dark side. Instead, I would take some noble value and pervert it so that it could be used for evil purposes. I would take that corrupted value, my looks-a-little-like-a-good-thing, and figure out a way that people could wrap themselves up in it and feel cosy, enjoying the comfort of their in-group while they demonize anyone in the out-group. I might try pasting the banner of Patriotism across the framework of nationalism, and see if anyone noticed.


Good and evil simply explained


And I would pay particular attention to the language I used, and be thankful that the human brain has a hard time distinguishing between what is true and what sounds familiar—which makes getting people to believe you often simply a matter of repeating yourself for long enough.

Since I’m not trying to lead anyone astray, and have no desire for anyone to be evil at all, I’ll just say that I honor the universal desire to seek freedom, and deeply hope that at some point we can get past a zero-sum view of life on this small planet.


[Images: modelunsummer.wikispaces, Tom Gauld via Wikimannia]


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