Sunday, July 6, 2014

The three types of humanity in the early 1940s --- at least as people 'at the top' saw it

In 1940, those people with all the cultural hegemony and economic power found it intellectually easy to divide the world into just three groups.

Type A (themselves) were the smallest group : male and middle aged (generously if vaguely defined as lying between the immature young adult and the senile/impoverished elderly) and from their culture's dominant (and usually majority) ethnicity & religion and middle class or well educated and physically, mentally and morally 'fit' .

Type C , always a poor and repressed minority (and forming a majority only of history's victims of witch-hunts and scapegoating), were all those who fitted in none of these five categories.

Members of Type B , by far the largest group, fitted in at least one of these five categories and so could share , at times, the feeling that they were some small way part of Type A's in-group --- this is how the tiny Type A group maintained its social hegemony over the vast majority of people outside it.

Ie all whites, no matter how poor and uneducated, were in some sense were usually judged superior to even well educated blacks.

But equally , some in Group B could possess three or four of the five characteristics of the the top group and thus possess considerable social and economic power but because they failed in one or two categories could chose to side, at times , with Type C.

I label these people as "inside agitators".

I have pointed to five of The Seven who led the battle to rescue "Penicillin-for-All" as being "inside agitators" --- because I think their physical handicap heightened their innate sensitivity to the plight of the handicapped in a time of utilitarian Total War.

I hope my definition is broad enough to include societies like Japan where the in-group was not white but still found ways to lord it over the small Japanese minorities , along with Koreans, Chinese et al.

And that it adequately covers societies like the USSR where being from the old middle class society was a bad thing but where the educated new middle class of party bureaucrats (or engineering graduates) from working class families ruled the roost over the poorer less educated working class in practise, if not in official rhetoric.

The Type A people were united world wide in treating Type C people badly - basing their actions upon the popular belief in scientific eugenics as their justification for ignoring age old religious beliefs in the essential equality of humanity.

But various people in the Type A group differed widely in just how badly to mistreat them.

So that WWII was not at all a battle between absolutely opposing philosophies but rather a matter of various sides differing over the degrees of their discrimination against 'the unfit'.

Everyone agreed there were already too many Jewish in their nation's universities and professions.

But America tended to merely limit their numbers by formal or informal quotas while Germany started by firing them all , then denied them any other form of work or education, next forced them to emigrate and finally determined to kill them all in gas chambers.

Similarly Germany and America both disliked blacks but while the Nazis killed them, only some in America killed blacks and then only sometimes.

The rest were content to merely treat them as second class in a vast varieties of ways , sometimes even unconsciously while consciously feeling prejudice free.

FDR's 1941 Four Freedoms speech and the subsequent Atlantic Charter tended to queer this pitch - because those documents did (albeit in vague terms) set the Allies absolutely against both Axis rhetoric and practise and much of the Allies' current practise.

(For example, FDR's Freedom from Want included 'the right to adequate medical care' -  something that Dr Dawson welcomed even as the Anglo-American medical-scientific elite opposed it.)

So now the Allied leadership were pointing to The Four Freedoms as the cause for which they wanted the ordinary people of the world to go off to die to defend - at the same time that they themselves were not practising those high-sounding ideals.

No playwright of fiction could have better designed the conditions to ensure the resulting grand dramatic moral conflict.

Enter now Dr Martin Henry Dawson, stage left , to set that moral conflict into play ...

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