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Hullabaloo


Monday, June 25, 2018

 
Stop the institutionalization of cruelty

By Spocko

Below Digby highlighted a comment from Mike Godwin of "Godwin's Law"
From the last paragraph:

"But Godwin’s Law was never meant to block us from challenging the institutionalization of cruelty or the callousness of officials who claim to be just following the law."
Yes, we must challenge the institutionalization of cruelty. Now is the time to condemn the callousness of officials who claim to be just following the law. Let's rebuke the people who support cruelty. It's time to remove from office the officials who put cruelty in place in our country.

the WARMED CHICKPEA CAULIFLOWER MANGO SALAD, was great!

I had dinner with some wonderful old friends this evening. One wanted to understand why a certain group of people were supporting what he called "meanness."  He wasn't talking about the 30 some percent of white men and women who have been marginalized or left behind. Nor the racists or bigots. What was behind the additional 15 to 18 percent of people who still support Trump?  These people didn't fit the "economic insecurity" box.  They had money and were smart people.

We discussed people who fit this  category. Why were they still supporting Trump? I had some thoughts, I quoted from Altemeyer's The Authoritarians  I talked about the need to be seen as "tough" some men have. I covered the right wing aggrievement that Sam Seder and Digby talk about and the way the conservatives like to "piss off the liberals" that Atrios covers.

But none of those reasons seem to fit this group of people that he and his wife had encountered.

My very smart friend Sara Robinson often directs me to pieces that help explain how conservatives think, like this one. ( Why Trump country is unfazed by the child separation crisis ) The desire to understand is good because we hope understanding will lead to the changing of minds.

Explanations for behaviors are good too. It's useful to learn that some people believe in cruelty because of X, Y and Z. But even if I can't understand why someone believes in meanness or cruelty, and I haven't figured out the process to change them, I CAN still work to stop the implementation of it.

We can try to understand people and also say.

"We as Americans should not be cruel."

That people believe cruelty is acceptable is a tragedy and a failure of our institutions of education, religion and culture.  Today in our country people are working to bring more cruelty into the world.  This is tragic.

Cruelty rejects the best values of our country as codified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.


Acceptance of cruelty is morally repugnant and is rejected by the major religions that people profess to be part of.
You're telling me his name is Hey Zeus? 
This meanness and cruelty will lead to future economic pain for our country. It crushes human advancement in areas as diverse as science and art. (Just look at the benefits we have gotten from intellectual and artistic refugees for years.)


Culturally the institutionalization of cruelty is horrifying and ugly.

I could go into the myth of the effectiveness of cruelty as a deterrent to immigration, but that's like discussing  the utility of torture.  I can point to all the ways that torture doesn't work, but then we are arguing about something else. It is the institutionalization of cruelty that we are doing now that is horrific.  (My friend Dr. Rebecca Gordon, has a lot to say about state sponsored torture and what it means)

One of Dr. Gordon's many points is that torture has terrible effects to all involved, not just on the person being tortured, but to the person doing the torture. 

My friend Interrobang pointed out to me that Americans never put themselves in the position of the person being tortured, just the ones doing the torture.

Americans who support cruel policies and the people who implement them don't put themselves in the position of the refugee. They see themselves as the one in power in control who can help or not help.  I wish these people didn't feel this way, I'd like to change their minds, but if I can't I'm not going to start supporting cruelty.

Watch this clip from the Majority Report by CNN at a diner in Arizona talking to supporters of Trump's policy of state sponsorsed child abuse and cruelty.

You can  see three of the ways that the people justify their cruelty.

1) They are bad guys who break the law
2) They are coming here to get our stuff
3)  "Stop picking on me for supporting cruel policies!"




I can argue with these people, point out the incorrect and incomplete facts they are holding onto. The truth doesn't always work for them, though. "I don't care if you can prove it to me, I still won't believe you!"
What we need to do at the same time is to take steps to stop the institutionalization of cruelty. Some people aren't going to come around, so we move forward away from their views into a better human and humane future.