Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions. – Albert Einstein
So, where did all that fear and hate come from? For a nation of “good, God-fearing people,” we have certainly become prolific when it comes to intolerance and single-mindedness. It is not inherently wrong or bad to be intolerant or single-minded. It depends on what or who we are being that way about.
However, if the month of August showed us anything, it showed us just how easily and recklessly we can be incited to rage, driven by groundless fears, promoted by those who not only do not wish us well, but rather wish us to serve them well. Ignorance encourages prejudice. Prejudice promotes fear. Fear forces us to our extremes and in extremism we act without conscious; a mob.
Where it becomes dangerous is when the insidious manipulates the ignorant to unknowingly fulfill their hidden agenda that ultimately serves to the detriment of the whole, including the ignorant. We take innocent language and color it with extremism and then splash it about painting noble purpose with derision and contempt. Suddenly, the promise of the rising river raising all boats becomes a socialist plot to take from or force upon the masses something that, while they cannot define, they will fight to prevent, even if it is that which they need most.
Take the story of the poor ignorant bastard that was injured at one of the “Tea Parties” he was attending. There he raged against healthcare reform as a socialist plot to ration healthcare. Ironically enough, due to his inability to afford healthcare, he was unable to seek medical attention or hospitalization and was reduced to seeking contributions so that he might get the help he needed for his “Tea Party” related injuries. God forbid you “socialize” healthcare, but don’t you dare touch my medicare… Hummmmm.
It indeed makes one wonder.