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Babeling about Nations
Almost immediately after the release of my last installment, several things happened that are useful real-life examples of the topic concerning hospitality and dog-headed men. The first was a conflict where a progressive activist was stabbed to death as his girlfriend looked on dispassionately. One of the pictures going around about the incident was caught in such a way so that the true nature of the dog-headed attacker was revealed to all. This is an example of the peril of extending hospitality to dog-headed men instead of assuming that violence will result from contact.
The second incident, was the attack on Israel by Hamas. After the attack, anti-Palestinian propaganda flooded the airways. They were depicted as ruthless savages targeting women and children; rabid dogs that needed to be put down. If you listened to people like Ben Shapiro, you would have discovered that even nuclear war might not be off the table to accomplish this. Israel retaliated against Hamas by flattening swaths of the Gaza strip and targeting fleeing civilians, killing women and children in the process. Both sides behaved in similar fashion, but only one was dehumanized. This is an example of the longstanding practice of labeling a people as dog-headed to justify violence. Yes this situation is more complicated because, at times, the labeling has gone the other way. I will not go into more detail about these events, or state my opinion of them. They merely serve as a good backdrop for the next layer of this topic to be examined. Notably, the reason why people even need to worry about intercultural mediation. Nations (or if you prefer: people group, culture, ethnicity or race) exist, are distinct and are by and large incompatible with one another. To give this some more context a look at where the nations come from is in order. After the flood, Noah and his family were commanded to multiply on the earth and fill it. The people of the earth refused to obey God and instead constructed the Tower of Babel to their own glory in defiance of God. They sought to make a name for themselves, to self-identify on their own terms. God caused the people to disperse by confusing their language. After that confusion of language the people go on to fill the earth. What we can gather from this is that aside from blood lineage, language is foundational to ethnicity. This is profound in that it reveals the truth that ethnicity isn’t just physical characteristics but also coded into the very way that people think, communicate and behave. Let’s explore this. What we call ethnicity is a unique result of a people being shaped by the feedback loop between genetics and environment. Post-Babel, people naturally separated from one another and grouped up into families and tribes, based around shared language and lineage. Over time they began to become distinct from other groups. Their language shaped the way they approached the act of dominion over their environment. After more time, certain characteristics both physical and mental begin to diverge dramatically yet certain general characteristics remained the same, based on the original son of Noah they descended from. The more time a people spent together in a place the more unique they became. Geographical barriers kept peoples physically separate and all manner of cultural barriers kept peoples socially separate. All along the way peoples were not just separated from one another but also bound together in ways that range from the simplicity of familial love to the complexity of culture rooted in the feedback process itself. Appearance, abilities and faculties were refined and ingrained within one another, so as to be synonymous in many cases, and in this way all the unique people groups of the world came into being. This process continues to this day and it is the mechanism that God has built into humanity to ensure the world is filled and subdued but also so that thick human relationships can form. While this seems benign enough there are some more uncomfortable truths that come with it. Not that these truths are uncomfortable in and of themselves but rather that learning of them irritates the sensibilities of post-modern man who takes it as a given that humans are infinitely malleable. This could not be farther from the truth. To highlight this I’ll touch on psychometrics for a bit. Psychometrics are the measure of a person’s mental qualities and capabilities. They include the big 5 personality traits (agreeableness, openness, neuroticism, conscientiousness and extroversion) and general intelligence (IQ). To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t any other measurable attribute that falls outside of one of these six categories. What we have learned about all of these things is that: they are basically fixed (very resistant to change), they influence behavior (shape how a person will think and act) and they are heritable (i.e. genetic). Most folks don’t have a problem with this when it comes to talking about individual people. However, these things don’t just apply to individual people they also apply to people groups. People within an ethnicity not only tend to look alike they tend to behave and think alike too and it isn’t arbitrary. When people of similar culture, personality and intelligence exist in an area they tend to self-segregate not just based on preferences but also aversions. This is an aspect of the same mechanism at play that created the various people groups to begin with. The important thing to note is that depending on the size and number of people groups that live next to, each other there can either be a functioning society and a hellscape of interracial violence. After all, some people are actually dog-headed men; and depending on the company you are in, it might just be you that is the dog-headed one, but people don’t like to think that way. One of the things that the people of The West, have largely come to believe is that everyone is essentially the same and any differences are superficial in nature. That things like food preference, language and skin color are the extent of what makes an ethnicity and since these things are arbitrary, ethnicity isn’t real. “We all bleed red”, "One race the human race", "content of character not color of skin". In the broadest sense these sentiments are true. If we are talking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, The Great Commission, loving one’s neighbor or living in harmony with fellow brothers in Christ, this is a good place to start. However, when dealing with the interaction of different peoples and different civilizations or furthermore determining what constitutes a functional civitas, these sentiments are almost entirely useless if not destructive. The urge of Christians to adopt this tabula rasa egalitarianism is in my view an attempt to be charitable so as not to dehumanize and stifle the spread of the Gospel. However, at the root of this sentiment is the same kind of error present at Babel, namely the desire to legitimize self-identification and circumvent the God-given mechanisms for producing identity. This sentiment can also be seen with two other homogenizing forces that seek to have people make a name for themselves, namely Sodomy and Feminism. All three come together as a Satanic twisting of Galatians 3:28, which should give the Christian pause so as to reflect on these things. To bring this back into the frame of hospitality, this homogenizing impulse is a form of indiscriminate inclusion. “You will be assimilated. Your distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.” In the attempt to establish hospitable peace, people’s differences are downplayed to facilitate an all-inclusive sense of belonging. This belonging is fostered not through shared commonalities but by an enforced unspecialness. The end result of this is that everyone who succumbs becomes an atomized deracinated individual. People subjected to this have no connection to the past and their future is determined by the consumer choices they make, which are ultimately indistinct. To be more pointed, to cut a person off from their ethnos is to cut them off from what makes them uniquely themselves. This severance affects their sense of identity and crushes their spirit which impacts their ability to function in the world (though even then, certain impulses and preferences are present but no memory remains of why they are present causing dissonance within a person). To expand out for a moment back to things touched on in my first piece, one way to undermine a center is through severance of the constituent parts. The extent to which a center can hold and provide stability to an entity depends entirely on the real cohesiveness of the constituent parts. If there is too much otherness present in an entity, it ceases to be itself. Likewise, if every part has no connection to any other part there is nothing to be held together and all that remains is chaos or perhaps "white noise" is a better term. To add another layer to this, and it is an important one, people have been given a time and place by God, in no small part for the sake of their soul. Acts 17:26 and following lays out the case pretty well. We must aof course acknowledge that sin and Satan corrupt this good and godly thing. There is war when there should be peace, there is hatred when there should be respect; but pining for what should be in the face of what is makes for disastrous civic policy and shows love to no-one. One day there will be the unity Christians crave, but it will not be on this Earth and it will not be due to erasing of differences. The unity The World and Satan craves will exist one day as well but it will be accompanied by weeping and gnashing of teeth. Make no mistake my friends, we are in a land at the edge of the world, the end of an age, an in-between shadowy place where chaos abounds, and monsters dwell. In this strange and uninhabitable place, the stakes are high, and the days are evil. Our civilization is on the brink of destruction, yet with the end of a thing something new can come forth, if God wills it. The next and final installment, I will be covering the interactions between peoples and some options for managing peace and mitigating destruction. Until we meet again. ~Unbiasedmike
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