People and monsters
It is really easy to imagine enemies as monsters, inhumans, stupid animals who devoid of all human virtues and embody all vices. But this is an erroneous approach. It’s not because the dehumanization of the enemy can lead to excessive cruelty (but it is actually, Nazi crimes were possible precisely because they were sure their opponents weren’t looking the same, racist ideologies have ample opportunity for this in general).
The point is, is that a racist, a religious fanatic or conspiracy theorist, who base their faith on irrational or quasi-scientific calculations will never come to a contradiction. They will fit any empirical experience in persuasion but not vice versa. It’s more difficult for people with a critical worldview: they are forced to look at the world with a less blinkered attitude and what they see confuses them. If you have a closer look at the enemy, whether it’s a cop, a fascist or an official, you can also see the humans in them. And if you were waiting for a monster from hell — it will bewilder you.
Cops are tired people who do bad and ungrateful work; the far-right, exception is for some soulless homicidal maniacs, they are often like our friends till the subject of politics comes up; officials with all their dirty work can love their families and pets tenderly; a number of people come to religious fanaticism because of personal drama and a difficult life. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
If you only create an enemy’s image from some primitive black and white slogans, a person can be confused seeing all the variety of colors and shades. It’s easy to hate monsters and much harder to hate people of flesh and blood. Apparently, the reality doesn’t fully comply with terrible agitational pictures and we feel frustrated and disappointed.
«We thought that the Nazis had their dogs’ heads, but they are actually absolutely normal guys. So maybe they are not Nazis? Maybe they are on the way of their rehabilitation or they’ve already straightened up? The heads are definitely not dogs’, look at these lovely faces. Well, the slogan ACAB is gross, there are wonderful policemen, I saw them myself. My aunt goes to church so do not talk badly about Orthodox christianity in public».
The other side of the enemy’s dehumanization is a philanthropy heresy, sometimes it bumps into the Stockholm syndrome. It comes over when the enemy’s painted image gives way to the present. All these stories about «normal right-wingers» and «good cops» appear because of the inability to understand what’s real and what’s not. As soon as we stop seeing the monster, we begin to sympathize with the person who has been hiding under the mask we painted.
And this is the main mistake. Because monsters do not exist in principle.
All crimes and abominations are committed by «normal guys» who are «a bit wrong». There are not only monsters to hate. Good, honest, sincere, kind people sometimes deserved all this hate. When we say «all cops are bastards», we do not indicate their personal qualities. We point to the repressive function that they perform. And it doesn’t matter how good a person i,s doesn’t matter how much this person loves his mother and kittens. He will be an enemy, because of his main activity. When we oppose the nazis, we are not against zombies in the Third Reich military uniform, but against our neighborhood, classmates or colleagues.
We understand that not only a pair of fat bourgeois from the caricatures of the early 20th century will beneath the rubble of the state and capital when we say we want to destroy them. Many junior ranked people are fed by the state machinery whose lives we are about to bring down. Not because we are evil. Just because they live off the power over us.
Yes, it’s really sad. Of course it would have been much easier with monsters. But monsters aren’t real.