November 20, 2020
What makes world history so fascinating is the mystery of human behavior. We are communal creatures (few of us can really survive as hermits), yet most of us are endowed with a certain amount of freedom of choice. Our behavior is not governed as much by instinct, built-in wiring, as most other creatures lower on the evolutionary scale.
For our earliest humanoid ancestors to survive, their communities were more important than the individuals within them. Leaders led by having both mental and physical strength, and were replaced when either capability waned. Members of the community who were outliers, either by their nature or their behavior, were either weeded out or became leaders.
We are so far removed from our origins that we forget how uneven human development is. Compassion, for example, was always a human capability as proven by primeval communities caring for their elderly and their mentally impaired. But cruelty was also with us, with even tribal women engaging in the torture of enemies. Furthermore, even compassion had its limits when survival was at stake. Elderly Inuit couples voluntarily froze to death when hunger faced the rest.
Most human beings today live with values only a couple of centuries old. We live in increasingly large urban societies that require rule of law, norms of civility, and practices of courtesy to each other. We also practice participatory governance, at least in towns and cities, which even autocrats cannot totally stamp out.
Despite the growth of humane and lawful behavior of most people living today, freedom of choice still produces an underbelly of cruel, lawless outliers: cults and rebels against what has become "our better angels." All demonstrate scorn for the perceived "weakness" of modern civilized norms. They particularly scorn the notion that women, mostly physically weaker than men, should be regarded as equal in value and power. The ancient mantra of the "big fist" governs their outrage.
The "militia" movement currently attacking government are militant cults of armed, violent White men. White Supremacy bullies actually planned to kidnap, put on trial, and execute the woman governor of Michigan for her perceived sins: being a female telling them what to do, and mandating mask wearing to protect the population from Coronavirus.
These cults are moving in on civilized society from the backwoods where they had retreated, stockpiling weapons, home schooling (brainwashing) their children, and keeping their womenfolk subservient. Wife- and child-beating are considered validated by their interpretations of religion (spare the rod?.and rule of thumb, both encouraging sticks for beatings). We would not care about them if they stayed in the backwoods, but they have emerged, encouraged by our defeated president who considers them "fine people" whom he refused to criticize.
Other self-identified White Supremacists have revived Nazism?s rant that Jews should be exterminated. One true believer was arrested before he could bomb a Pueblo, Colorado, Jewish temple. Others of his ilk have done the same to mosques, community centers, and resorted to murdering individuals who condemned their violent stupidity.
We are not alone in facing violent outliers of long-gone ideologies. One such in Norway murdered scores of children at a summer camp a few years ago because they were "children of the elites."
France has been attempting to integrate Muslims who fled to France from tyrannical countries, or those seeking the economic benefits of modern societies. France, as the United States and the UK, have largely succeeded in transforming Muslim communities into practicing the benign beliefs of modernity.
Most Muslims living in the west no longer beat their wives, murder their daughters for dishonoring the family, nor decapitate people who "insult" the Prophet Mohammad. (You might check out Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a champion of those who now practice Islam through the lens of liberty and enlightenment.)
Unfortunately, there are still outliers who do these things. An 18-year-old Chechen living in France decapitated a school teacher who had been teaching Civics, telling children that freedom of speech is a French value. Fortunately, the majority of French Muslims are increasingly French, not Fatwa Muslims, rejecting this idiocy.
Our own underbellies refuse to recognize that their Conspiracy Chief has lost the election.
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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of "How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.