September 06, 2011

Choose a weaker enemy

It is a sad fact of social and political life that people often suffer outrageous oppression or exploitation from the very powerful but end up taking their frustrations out on some powerless group that is easy to scapegoat.

It's way safer...

I've been in a medieval mood since visiting Italy this summer and one book on my current pile is Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose. There's a great illustration of the above point in that novel when the young monk Adso converses with the whacked out Salvatore, who resides at the monastery where the action takes place.

Salvatore grew up in extreme poverty and was swept up in radical and heretical movements. Although the "horde of shepherds and humble folk" he joined dreamed of bringing down the overlords, they mostly wound up massacring defenseless Jews instead. Adso then asks why the Jews were attacked when their main oppressors were greedy lords and bishops. To quote from the book,

He replied that when your true enemies are too strong, you have to choose weaker enemies. I reflected that this is why the simple are so called. Only the powerful always know with great clarity who their true enemies are.

Gee whiz, it's a good thing that nothing like that can happen any more, huh?

A MODEST PROPOSAL. Here's a suggestion that this country needs some good jobs.

POLITICS TODAY is getting pretty weird. On all sides.

STAY COOL. Fiddler crabs chill out with their big claws.


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