Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century In his book Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, Jonathan Glover tries to define psychological motivations for the acts of genocide, that took place during the course of 20th century. According to the author, the reason why people were able to indulge in genocidal practices, without experiencing an emotional discomfort, is that they were able to distance themselves mentally from their victims. We can say that Glovers book is nothing but a description of the methods of social alienation. The book begins with description of genocide against Armenians, committed by Turks in 1915, when approximately 5 million Armenians were being slaughtered, within a matter of one year. Author explains this genocide by Turks allegiance to the tribal worldview, which caused them to begin considering Armenians as their worst enemies, regardless of age or gender. After this, Glover discusses the methods of enemys psychological dehumanization that were deployed during the course of WW1, on the part of Germans and Allies. Glover suggests that killing another human being, on the part of the soldier, always constituted a great moral dilemma.
This is why soldiers were being ideologically indoctrinated to consider their enemies as an embodiment of evil. It was the WW1, when the horror stories of Germans using the bodies of dead Allied soldiers to make soap were being composed for the first time. Glover shows the sheer absurdity of German and Allied soldiers being pushed to kill each other, even though they used to exchange Christmas gifts, at the time when it was comparatively quiet at the front line. Glover would not be able to publish his book without mentioning that it is Jews who suffered the most, during WW2. One third of Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century is dedicated to discussion of Holocaust. Author did not bother to actually rely on hard facts, while making his point. Six million dead Jews, who had fallen victims to evil Nazis, are being used by Glover as a fetish, representing human cruelty. For some unknown reason, author suggests that resettlement of Jews was euphemism for their murder. It might very well be the case; however, Glover does not think that killing of Jews on mass scale in gas chambers can be a subject of additional research.
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Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century promotes the idea that the whole Western civilization should be held accountable for Jews being exterminated. Glover never gets tired of citing eyewitness accounts of German cruelty towards chosen people. However, he forgets to mention that these accounts are highly controversial. He does not mention the fact that almost every town in U.S. has its own survived victims of Holocaust, who extort Swiss banks for millions of dollars, while describing the horrors of being forced to engage in physical activity, such as digging trenches for German troops etc. The number of these witnesses exceeds the total number of Jews who resided in Europe, before outbreak of WW2. In his book, Glover does not even mention the millions of people killed by Communists, because it would make citizens to start asking questions why Roosevelt did not think that there was anything wrong about shaking hand with the greatest murderer in the history of humankind Stalin.
Author only briefly mentions the artificially organized famine in Ukraine in 1933, which claimed the lives of 10 million people. The explanation for this is very simple 95% of Bolshevik commissars, who were responsible for implementing genocidal policies against Ukrainians, were Jews. For some unknown reason, Glover does not mention Ukrainian holocaust as one of the greatest crimes against humanity in his book. Apparently, the lives of 10 million Ukrainians do not have the same value in authors eyes as lives of 6 million Jews, which is quite explainable, given authors ethnic background. This does not prevent him from coming up with rhetorical questions as to why some people are unable to recognize a basic humanity of their opponents, who happened to be on the other side of barricades, during the war. In the second part of his book, Glover discusses genocides that took place after the end of WW2.
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He needs to be given a credit for spending a great amount of time, while focusing on this issue; given the fact that post-war genocides are closely associated with promotion of Communist ideology. For example, author discusses the genocide of Cambodians by Pol Pot in great details. Today, many people think that ideas of Communism were being wrongly interpreted and that they are essentially good for humankind. This points out to the fact that they obviously do not know the story of Cambodian genocide, which took place between 1975 and 1978. This genocide came as a direct result of practical implementation of Communist philosophy in its purest form. The name of Pol Pot is associated with indescribable horror. Yet, Marx would have been proud of this bloody dictator, for exactly following his recipes that were written in 19th century: abolition of family as social institution, work for 12 hours a day without holidays, requirement to wear the same grey ropes, regardless of gender or age.
It is estimated that 5 million people were being murdered in Cambodia, during the reign of Pol Pot, because they simply happened to belong to a wrong social class. Cambodian towns were raised to the ground, because Commies believed that urban living corrupts people. Those who did not work were being shot. Khmers operated a secret prison S-21 in the city of Phnom Penh, were citizens were tortured and killed. Today, every town in Cambodia displays pyramids made out of human skulls, as the tourist attraction. Glover also considers events in Yugoslavia in 1992 1998, as such that prove that Serbs used to exterminate Albanians wholesale. He thinks that this was a result of Serbians being innerly wicked. Author applies the theory of irrational hatred, as such that explains the outbreaks of violence that took place around the world in second part of 20th century.
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This points out to the fact that author is whether being totally naive, or being on the payroll of certain political lobby in Western countries, which strives hard to describe just about anybody who questions Israelis genocidal policies in Palestine, as anti-Semite or hater. This is exactly the reason why Glover does not think that there is anything wrong with Israelis soldiers shooting at Palestinian children for the sake of fun. He does not mention the fact that Israeli children are being taught in schools to refer to non-Jews as goyims, which translates as cattle. Author prefers to engage in abstract philosophizing, such as would it be morally justifiable to kill one man, in order to save the lives of five people? This prompts many critics to refer to Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century as very sophisticated book, even though author does not re-invent bicycle, when he says that killing people is wrong. (2) The main logical fallacy of Glovers arguments consists of his insistence that human life has universal value. Author promotes the notion of sanctity of human life, without bothering to come up with objective proofs that would substantiate his point of view. This reveals him as being advocate of Christian morality, which in its turn, is nothing but modernized Judaism.
There is no doubt that every religion in the world has the right to promote its own agenda. However, since Glover was born and raised in multicultural society, his assumption that Christian ethics have universal value is ignorant at best. The history shows that the value of human life is a relative category. In his book Sea Wolf, Jack London comes up with a very good point, which exposes the absurdity of those claims that insist on sanctity of human life: I held that life was a ferment, a yeasty something which devoured life that it might live, and that living was merely successful piggishness. Why, if there is anything in supply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only so much water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless (London, Chapter 6).
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We might like it or not, but it is a fact that Earth is already being overpopulated.
There is simply not enough room under the sun for all. The population of Ethiopia has tripled within the matter of last 25 years, while being constantly subjected to never-ending famine and civil war. The population of China is going to reach 1.5 billion, by year 2033. This is the reason why earthquakes that take place in China or Indonesia, which are associated with deaths of thousands of people, are being only briefly mentioned on the news. It is understood that acts of God benefit overpopulated countries, because they help to reduce the number of people who do not have tickets to sail in spaceship Earth. Can we really believe that the cannibal from Papua New Guinea, whose vocabulary consists of 100 words, has the same social value as European intellectual, who just had invented the principle of space traveling? The fact is – general evilness of acts of genocide had been discussed for as long as world exists, yet, more and more people are being killed as result of ethnic cleansing.
The most progressive 20th century turned out to be the bloodiest one, if we compare it to previous centuries. Glover failed to recognize the objective reasons for human cruelty religion, racial affiliation and geopolitical inconsistency. If we look at the history of Europe, it will appear that the first instance of genocide, in this part of the world, is associated with introduction of Christianity. Charlemagne used to baptize people with cross and fire, which meant that anyone who would refuse to accept the good news was going to be put to death. What is Christianity? It is a masochistic Semitic cult that was being originated in the desert and then brought over to Europe. The reason why Christianity is associated with so many deaths of heretics is that its essence is utterly intolerant, as it promotes the tribal worldview. Jehovah is nothing but bloodthirsty Jewish deity who specifically insists that he will only be helping Jews, as his chosen people, while everybody else is nothing but human waste to him. Thus, the reason why European history saw so much religious intolerance is because of spiritual poison of Christianity and not because White people simply like to kill each other in big numbers, as Glover suggests.
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When author discuses tribal animosity, as the cause of violence, he also omits to mention that people of European background were never subjected to it in modern times. The tribal period of European history has ended in fifth century A.D. and it never affected the socio-political realities in Europe ever since. At the same time, there are nations like Iraq and Turkey, where people are simply unable to think of the world outside the context of their family or tribe. Throughout the history, it was a widespread practice in Europe to elect monarchs in democratic manner, whereas it would be thought of as something utterly unacceptable in Asia or Middle East. It does not matter whether country in Asia refers to itself as peoples republic or progressive monarchy, blessed by Allah, the essence of the government in such country is going to remain the same Asiatic despotism.
On the other hand, Britain has historically been considered as one of the most democratic countries in the world, despite its monarchic form of government. Peoples racial affiliation defines their social attitudes and nothing else. This is why it is inappropriate to talk about humanity as some abstract concept, as author does. It is also does not make much of a sense to apply principle of morality to history, because history is simply a reflection of evolution. In its turn, evolution has it own ethical code, which corresponds to organisms adaptability and functionality. Evolution does not attach a biggest value to the life of single organism, because it views it within a context of specie, this organism belongs to.
Man is only an intermediary link between ape and super-man; therefore, we cannot refer to it as the final product of evolution that has an objective value. The nation or race that lacks in quality makes up in quantity. Therefore, it is wrong to compare the genocide of tutsi in Rwanda and killing Ukrainians in 1933, for example, because these two events had a different impact on history. In fact, Rwandan genocide did not have any political consequences at all, because citizens of this country were never able to progress beyond a Stone Age for thousands of years, before White colonists introduced them to the concept of culture. Once European settlers had left, Rwanda began to regress back into savagery. Can we blame the outbreaks of violence in this country on the ignorance of developed nations as Glover does? This question is rhetorical, of course, because the answer is self-evident. (2) There can be no doubt that high school teacher can incorporate Glovers ideas into the process of studying.
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For example, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century can be presented to students as book that shows the dangers associated with using racial slur. Glover thinks that racial jokes are meant to dehumanize the targets of joking, which, in his mind, might lead straight to genocide. However, high school students are known for their negative attitude towards political correctness, regardless of their cultural background. For example, the more they are being told that N word cannot be used, because of its offensive connotation, the more students tend to say it aloud. Black students refer to themselves as niggas and they do not think that there is anything wrong about it. Thus, it would be only logical to conclude that, once we begin instilling students with the thought that using racial slur creates preconditions for genocide, they will ridicule this idea. This again proves Glover as author who is not being in touch with reality. There can be no doubt that teaching students about metaphysical evilness of totalitarian ideologies needs to be a part of educational process. However, once we begin to tell them about Holocaust, they might point out to the fact that genocide of Palestinian people is an official policy of Israel as a sovereign state.
Why should we be concerned about dead Jews more than about people who are being killed by the descendants of Holocaust survivors on daily basis? They might also point out to the fact that it does not make a whole lot of sense that there seem to be more and more Holocaust survivors, as time goes by, even though that it should be other way around. This might create a controversy, with teacher being fired as result. Todays high school students are quite aware of the fact that it is money that make world go round and not the compassion or morality. Therefore, our promotion of ideas of tolerance might be viewed by students as proof of teachers hypocrisy. Glover spends a great amount of time discussing different psychological aspects of genocides that took place throughout twentieth century. However, he forgets to mention that these genocides allow many people to make a lot of money, by claiming that they are entitled to monetary reward, because of their affiliation with victims. This is why in many countries of the world, doing research on particular genocides, is punishable by the law.
Students might begin to wonder why it is so important for the political establishment to keep the historical truth suppressed, which will endanger their professional careers in the future. Moreover, I am not entirely sure whether students will benefit a lot from being convinced that dehumanizing other people cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. What if these students dream of becoming soldiers? It is exactly their ability to kill people in cold blood that will be appreciated the most, once they are in the army. It would be wrong to teach them tolerance, when army will teach them something entirely opposite. The truth is history is not a fairy tale. Glover does not seem to understand this simple fact, which is why he comes up with conclusion that there will be no wars in the future, as world will finally embrace the ideals of multiculturalism and there will be nothing else for us to do but to hug and kiss each other.
This portrays author as utopist of the worst kind and we all know what happens when people try to build utopias. Teachers should be mentioning Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century to students, because book contains many productive ideas. However, students should be encouraged to use their own mind, when it would come to discussing the ideological properties of Glovers book..