The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.
Damn, I'm glad I'm not Jewish. That is one complicated religion.
I think one of the things being overlooked in this is the kinship angle. Since in theory the "group" seems to trace it's ancestry to one specific
person, then it would be very natural to feel this kinship with one's "cousins". It is a therefore a part of evolution itself that the bond of
kinship be stronger than the ties toward strangers. This seems to apply to all groups from geeks to cops to pirates.
Among my own ethnicity, tribal ties are an underlying part of the "trust value" one unconsciously has in any meeting with people, social or
otherwise. (We also see the bad side of that in places of ethnic cleansing such as Bosnia and parts of Africa.) A greater trust value is placed on
those towards whom we have a greater understanding. And conversely, greater distrust towards those for whom we have less understanding (contact).
Nationalism, which is just an artificial tribe, is an outgrowth of this attitude. When prehistoric cultures went hungry due to over hunting in an
area, I'm sure they blamed the tribe across the valley for taking all the game. When nations have economic troubles, there is a natural tendency to
blame wealthier nations for the problem. When ethnic groups feel hardships, then it is natural to not only blame other groups, but to actively work to
"defend" their own gains by a variety of means.
This idea seems to work on levels from the individual to whole countries. (If Germany had been prospering enough after WWI, I doubt Hitler would have
been more than a blip on the radar screen of history.) Leaders become leaders by choosing either a negative or positive idea and then expanding on it
to harness the energy of those of the herd, in whatever form that may be.
Therefore, it seems logical to me that the higher one goes in any field, be it politics or business, one is likely to find a shrinking field of
"otherness" within the group. (Sometimes this is ideological/religious rather than racial.)
It says much for the progress of the human condition that we are finally starting to recognize and address this. To realize that we are all humans,
related to each other in every way possible. To realize that the faults of others are usually just things we ourselves haven't gotten around to, (or
have willfully forgotten). A part of what Ronald Reagan said in that oft quoted speech about a threat from space is the underlying idea that man would
then have some bug eyed monster to blame, instead of another group of humans.
These types of feelings, fear of those other than our own familiar (root word here is "family") type, is a social problem that is being dealt with
very well by current man. Such things can't be dealt with by laws, (such as those in Germany) any more than wealth can be created by a government
printing more money. It has to be confronted in the social arena, at places like ATS.
Such social changes take time. Our ancestors didn't ingrain these feelings overnight, therefore it isn't logical to expect that we can now change
them in a twinkling. And often these feelings are communicated from one generation to the next in non verbal ways, so that the child learns to trust
what the parent trusts, and fear what the parent fears. (Have you ever noticed how fear of storms run in families? Even when the parent verbally tells
the child it will be OK, they still communicate the fear in a stronger non verbal subtext.The child will then grow up, and if questioned will
truthfully say that their parents never told them storms were scary.)
Yes, we have miles to go before we sleep, but even in this thread, I see hope that we are on the right road. That I
am on the right road. And I
hope the OP returns one day to see how much thought he has generated by his post.
As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.