(7-minute read) – Segregation of societies is on the rise. People want to isolate themselves from perceived foreign cultures, religions and ways of life. Political support is moving to the right. Where do you stand?
The prejudiced argument goes that we have a right to live with our own kind to the exclusion of others. The prejudiced say it’s not about dislike of others, but simply a desire to be with our own.
This argument may seem realistic and benign at first glance. Why shouldn’t we prefer to be with our own kind? Surely it is fine for people to choose not to integrate with others. Surely we can choose those who share the same culture, religion, values and socio-political standing as ourselves. Why shouldn’t we even want these divisions to be enforced by our governments?
The argument even goes that enforced segregation is prudent. The segregators say it is the only realistic way for humankind to exist.
They usually prop up the case for segregation by fear mongering about the other. Or they use clever anti-establishment tactics, dumping all the so-called liberal problems on the common enemy’s doorstep. It’s the classic conspiracy tactic of taking one or two facts and tacking a whole lot of alternative facts onto them to sell one confused schema of life.
Many right wing politicians in Europe and America in particular point at the mess the word is in as evidence that we cannot co-exist. The global liberals have tried and failed, they preach. Now it’s time for the realists. There is a backlash against global liberalism. The so-called realists tell the liberals to stop their idealistic rubbish… or they will stop it for them.
A vital distinction
First we must make a vital distinction. There is a difference between a) segregation in society based on multicultural differences and b) removal of criminals from society.
I will argue that the former is a scourge on good community values and individual psyches. Further, that the latter is absolutely essential in an enlightened civilisation and that without it the rise of segregation is inevitable.
I am against segregation. Isolating myself from anything or anyone that is different to me in opinion, lifestyle, culture or religion leaves me no opportunity to grow. I invite maximum diversity of good, loving people into my space as I believe that is good for community and individual energy.
However, I am in favour of justice and law enforcement that segregates crime, hate and corruption out of peaceful society. Society should not compromise on anti-love – on violence and destruction of society. Civil society must root out anti-love through the regulated confines of a non-corrupt legal system and law enforcement agency.
The damning desire for segregation arises when justice systems fail to protect good people from criminal elements. So the fundamental problem is a failed justice system and law enforcement agency.
Now that I’ve made the distinction, the rest of this article focusses on segregation and why it is bad for us.
The right has gained popularity
Much of the first world seems to like the rising right-wing argument for segregation.
Britain voted to leave the European Union on the back of this desire for self-determination of their island people. They wanted to segregate themselves from the rising Islamic culture in Europe, amongst other things, and particularly the influx of refugees. The people voted in favour of British exit – a nice term for segregation.
America voted for Donald Trump based on a campaign of exclusivist American national interests. His campaign tag line was “Make America Great Again”. He promised to build a wall on the Mexican border, bomb ISIS, and prohibit Muslim immigrants. He upholds a whole host of Republican conservative views that stand on the premise of conservative values upholding segregation rather than integration, motivated by a whole host of perceived positions of superiority. Trump punts the American, Judeo-Christian conservative worldview over every other interpretation of society and reality.
Is it okay?
Segregation is not okay. It is a slippery slope to dehumanisation.
Picture a person standing on a long painted line stretching into the distance in both directions. Far in the distance in one direction is love. And far in the other direction is hate. The person lives on this line and moves up and down it during the day in small waves, and further up and down it in bigger waves, drifting one way or the other during the duration of life.
Some people’s lives may play out further down the line to love and others further towards hate.
Once we have a taste for right-wing segregation ideology or a spirit of integration, we are drawn further to that end. Our lives gain momentum towards one pole. One pole draws us to closed anti-love. The other to open, trusting love.
At hate’s end of the line
At hate’s end there’s segregation.
Just right of centre there may be strong views for heavy jail sentences for criminals. A bit further right you find people who don’t want their children mixing with gays and lesbians. Then you get to the ones who’d prefer to stay away from the pro-choice advocates, atheists and spiritual seekers. They distrust multiculturalism and they discard doubt for the comfort of certainty.
Further along the line you get the out and out religious bigots, sexists, racists, nationalists and all the others who have decided they want nothing to do with anyone who doesn’t share their values.
The noose of segregation gets tighter. The world of what you accept as your kind gets smaller.
You start to dislike certain traits even in your own kind. Your neighbour who goes to the same church as you still seems to be a sinner and you feel the need for more segregation. You struggle to tolerate your own family. In fact, now you can’t tolerate any deviation at all from the voice in your head. Opinions that are not exactly matched to yours raise a red flag. Anger and fear well up at the drop of a hat.
Eventually the little bits of segregation you started out thinking were realistic and benign extrapolate out to the worst hatred – self-hatred. You are segregated from everything and everyone, including yourself. You have lost the ability to feel connection, love and compassion. You’re isolated and depressed. You are dissociated from your behaviour, so your hatred plays out in violence – violence against yourself, others and the natural world.
At love’s end of the line
At love’s end of the line there’s integration in society.
If you step left towards love, you experience more integration. You experience an opening of self. Here there is an acceptance of various opinions, cultures and religions. There is a sense of love and connection to the person despite diversity. Senses of superiority and animosity are replaced by intuitive understanding of our commonality. Oneness is the abiding experience as you move further left.
But true balance on the line to the left knows the requirement for justice. The journey along this line is not all teary-eyed, joyful compassion. There is darkness and light on a process of communal and individual evolution. There is constant struggle to discern justice and constant weighing up of your particular values and paradigms against others.
The line to love is a commitment. It is the road less travelled because it is more difficult than the line to hatred.
But the end of the line is rewarding. It is a place of peace where we find great ease with self and with others. Ultimately, no matter what happens to the world, this end of the line is joyous.
Are you on the line to hatred or love?