It’s all fun and games until it is YOUR kind of people that start getting processed.
The Twentieth Century is often considered to be THE Century of Genocide. But it seems that that revered, ancient tradition is far from dead as we near the end of the first quarter of the Twenty-first Century.
The charge is flung freely. By the entire diamond grid of political factions and positions.
But genocide, like “fascist” and “Nazi” and “racist” – and even antisemitism and social-justice warrior, has MANY definitions. Some of which make little sense, especially as compared to the dictionary definition (American Heritage 5th Edition):
- The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group.
- The systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.
- The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.
A great many things are claimed to be “genocide” today. For example, Russia is accused of genocide in Ukraine, according to such an exalted authority as Premier Trudeau of Ottawa. Others (especially various media) claim that it is just “cultural” genocide.
In the Fifty States, many have called abortion since Row v Wade genocide, including such people as Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. This is particularly based on the much higher rate of abortion among black Americans, going back to the 1970s but continuing today. As recently as 2017, with blacks being 14% of US population, equal numbers of black and white babies were aborted, and the abortion percentage (relative to total live births and abortions) was about 35% for blacks and only 12% for whites.
Oddly enough there are even some Marxists who claim that American abortions amount to genocide – despite the record of the Chinese Communists and other Marxists. However, this claim is pooh-poohed by so-called “Liberal” Jews. They reject comparing 50-60 million dead babies over 50 years to 12 million Jews and undesirables in twelve years of the Third Reich. (Statistically, it looks like about the same.)
At the same time, many woke and other activists argue exactly the opposite. They claim that restricting abortion (such as the anticipated rejection of Roe v Wade by SCOTUS) IS actually genocide. A fairly prominent Apache woman made this claim the day of the leak, and has doubled down on it, as discussed in an article claiming that ending abortion is just another action in the centuries-long genocide of AmerInd people by whites and the American governments. The argument seems totally without merit: being denied the “right” to kill your own children is part of systemic killing of your people?
Of course, abortion is not the only “genocide” claimed in this century. Police in the Fifty States are committing genocide daily, according to some organizations, both against black people and AmerInd and other minorities. The data seems to contradict that, but when has that ever stopped anyone.
Attempting to control immigration along the US southern border – particularly in Arizona – is equated to genocide on a Hitlerian scale, according to many. Including a nationally-famous political cartoonist. If I understand the logic, because some immigrants are fleeing “genocide” then refusing to accept them is itself genocidal. At the same time, there are many who claim that massive immigration ITSELF is a form of genocide: that migration of many ethnic and racial groups is intended to overwhelm and destroy “native” groups and cultures and wipe out those people already there in a land: whether it is Greece or other parts of Europe or the Americas.
Closely tied to this is the claim that African-Brazilians are victims of genocide, according to one group, and Brazil itself is built on genocide. An accusation laid on the States as well. “Illegal” immigration of Europeans (and presumably blacks and Asians) into what became the United States was and is intentional genocide.
Personal opinion here: prejudice and higher rates of fatalities or intentional deaths do NOT constitute grounds for screaming “genocide.” Nor do policies that favor (or seem to favor) certain groups of people over OTHER groups of people.
If we accept the modern use of the word “genocide” then (whether you be a young-earth creationist or an evolutionary ancient-earth believer) the human race has ALWAYS been in the genocide business. From the ancient lands of Anatolia, Egypt, Arabia, Korea, India and more. To the way Brits, French, Americans and Russians dealt with the defeated Germany in 1945, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the late 20th Century Balkan Wars. To both the multiple invasions of Israel by Arabs, and the Israelis occupation of Judea and Samaria there in Canaan. All of these things may very well – by modern definition – be “genocide.”
Just as we can call several dynasties of Ancient Egypt, the Assyrian and Hittite and neo-Chaldean Empires “fascist” millennia before the term was coined.
But we should also note that for the most part – certainly a majority of the time – GENOCIDE FAILED. Those people, those cultures, those ethnic groups were NOT exterminated. Other things besides human hatred and prejudice and aggression based on those things resulted in the disappearance of cultures and separate and distinct groups (ethnicities, nationalities, etc.) And unless you believe the “science” about the Neanderthals and Hobbits, no distinct RACE has ever been wiped out. For example, the supposed “genocide” of 500 years by whites perpetrated against the AmerInd of North America? Those AmerInd today have millions and millions of descendants. Many who are still culturally distinct – even though most have “integrated” into American, Canadian, and Mexican society and mainstream cultures. Even Uncle Adolf’s decade-plus of genocide really failed: we still have Jews and Romany and even Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern Europe!
Let us stop over-reacting to things we don’t like by claiming the actions we deplore are not just evil, but so evil that they demand assigning names that are therefore made meaningless.
Well-done article, and perhaps you might find the work of the late scholar Dr. R.J. Rummel of interest. Dr. Rummel, a political scientist, spent his long career studying mass murder, genocide and democide in human history with an emphasis on the late 19th and 20th centuries going forward.
Dr. Rummel and his colleagues uncovered a number of important characteristics of genocide, including the following:
1. Premeditated mass murders do not as a rule just happen; they come about from a set of pre-existing conditions.
2. The steps leading to many such events can be categorized and are somewhat predictable from one act of genocide to another.
3. Prior to the actual act(s) of violence, the dominant or aggressive group almost always attempts to stigmatize and scapegoat the group targeted.
4. Also prior to the actual act(s) of violence, it is typical for the government or other entity intent upon mass murder/violence to attempt to disarm its intended victims first.
5. Genocidal acts often break down along racial, ethnic, sectarian, or other fault lines within societies and human relations. During times of economic privation and hardship, the search for scapegoats is often heightened. The stigmatized group is then blamed for the ills of society, whether real or imagined.
6. The “fault” of the targeted group is then used as a pretext for the aggressor to depriving them of their rights and privileges and ultimately their lives.
Thanks for an excellent reference! Readers can learn more about Dr. Rummel at this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_Rummel.
He coined the term “democide” and estimated that governments had killed more than 272 million of their own people in the 20th Century..