For Posterity: Troy Duster’s “Conditions For Guilt-Free Massacre”

December 17, 2007

[reposted from my old (now-deleted) LiveJournal account]

“The most general condition for guilt-free massacre is the denial of the humanity of the victims.”

The essay below by Troy Duster is something of a buried classic in social science, as is its forerunner by Harold Garfinkel. This is a relatively brief exploration of some of the dynamics whereby individuals and whole populations are routinely manipulated into a position of consensus in favor of their own government’s participation in any atrocity, up to and including genocide. While it is obviously a bit dated, and was never intended to be an in-depth treatment of the subject matter, I know you’ll find its relevance to present-day geopolitics to be unmistakable.

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