RE: teaching appropriate values to the young: singularity

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Mon Feb 21 2000 - 13:34:42 MST

Stirling Westrup wrote:
> 3) An enemy is someone you don't understand. Once you know an "enemy's"
> motivations, their loves, their hates, their demons and their hopes,
> are an ally. You may not like them, and they may be trying to harm you,
> once you understand them, you can turn their ill will to your own
> You may even discover that you can help them, and turn an enemy into a
> friend.

A very trendy, seductive, nice-sounding meme, but it does not accurately
reflect reality. I'd say this is part of the "all conflicts occur for no
real reason, everything bad is just a misunderstanding" memeplex that
infects the modern social sciences. I suppose it would be nice if it were
really that easy, but it isn't.

Quite often, conflicts occur because of real, deeply ingrained differences.
Quite often they are the result of conflicts of interest that are actually
insoluble at the time, regardless of how much good will everyone has for
each other. Perhaps the classic example will make things clear:

If I'm a Jew in Nazi Germany, the Nazis are my enemies. No amount of
tolerance or understanding on my part will change the fact that they want to
kill me, and nothing I do is going to magically turn their genocide into a
good thing. In fact, I would say that I have a moral obligation to do
everything in my power to oppose them, in as active a fashion as I can
manage. If, instead, I preach tolerance and understanding to my fellow
Jews, I am either insane, stupid or evil.

Billy Brown

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