'Others' are the same as 'us'
All my life there has been some group, either from another "country", of a different "religion", or even in a different "lifestyle", that the consensus of people surrounding me has held as dangerous and "not like us". This reviled "other" has, at various times in my life, been the Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Mexicans, and now Muslims. It has even included domestic "out-groups" such as Democrats, atheists, rock musicians, homosexuals, or other "Christian denominations". Some people must be really desperate for an "enemy". The "other" encompasses whoever seems different enough to serve as the boogeyman for a while.
When I was too young to really think it through I accepted the common "wisdom". After all, back then it was "known" that all Russians wanted all Americans nuked dead- if we wouldn't switch to communism, that is. The Soviet government, no doubt, would not have worried about killing a few million people, just like the US government wouldn't have shed a tear over doing the same. The point is, it wasn't the Russians; it was all governments who were, and still are, the threat. Back then I was also told that all homosexuals were just waiting for the chance to trick me into becoming gay. So, where did the "threats" go? Could it be that they were never really threats to begin with?
As I got older I began to see that the "other" shifted to whatever group was expedient for convincing people to give up their freedoms as a way to be "safe". Then I began to see a pattern: I was never actually harmed by any of these scary "other" people, but instead was always harmed by those "protecting" me. It's a lesson I have taken to heart.
Every time I have made the unpopular assumption that the people in other parts of the world (or who are "different" in some other way) are basically the same as everyone I personally knew, it has borne out sooner or later. The outdated boogeyman is swept under the rug in favor of the new "threat" that is so much more "dangerous and real" than the last one (which we will now pretend we never really worried about anyway).
People everywhere really just want to pursue their own life in their own way according to what is important to them. Some of those may think that forcing others to go along is a good idea. You and I must stay strong enough that our "No!" is understood to be the final word. Disarming due to government edicts doesn't fit well with self-preservation and should never be allowed to happen. If you wonder why, look at the second sentence in this paragraph for clarification.
Of course, the main lesson should be that setting up a government that any real "others" could take over for their own agenda is a really stupid idea. No one seems to get that, though. Even in the face of clear evidence that is has already happened.
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