The Power of the Scapegoat



In the aftermath of every horrific historical event remarks abound suggesting the people and the world will never forget, that this will never happen again. But, history has a tendency to repeat itself. They say that those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it, but those who do learn history are doomed to watch others repeat it. Germany has definitely learned its history but does simply being informed have any bearing on future actions? If we look at the results of the recent election we have to ask this question. If we look at the results of the recent U.S. election we have to ask this question. Though times have changed and the world has industrialized, the politics of fear and the power of scapegoating are stronger than ever. We look at the Holocaust and think to ourselves, "How could someone let this happen?" The answer to that is simple, most people didn't realize what they were allowing to go on. The Nazis rose to power because they had the democratic support to. They spread fear and offered hope of a bright future, provided you were on the right side of politics. In the aftermath of the refugee crisis we see the politics of fear and power of scapegoating once again, and now we realize maybe that it never went away in the first place. The Jews, the political dissenters, the homosexuals, the homeless are now the Muslims, the migrants, the refugees, the outsiders.  History may repeat itself simply because of another saying, hindsight is 20/20.

Comments

  1. "The answer to that is simple, most people didn't realize what they were allowing to go on." - That is the message I took away from our experience at Dachau. Could anyone really say that now though? Especially after this election, I'm too entirely convinced they could and they will. Fear is so paralyzing and it sells too well - makes too much money for it to fade into history. This fear, has never fully left. How are we going to help? What lessons did we learn from our experiences?

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