Divide and Fall

I’ve never understood the tendency for cultures, nations, and religions to systematically demean, exclude, marginalize, and otherize targeted groups within their own spheres.

No doubt it is an extension of our human need to hate in order to get things done. And to some extent, I can understand leveraging that unfortunate tendency to unite your people (however they might be defined) against some outside people to expand, grow, or conquer.

But to systematically declare as less-than great swaths of your own society, and by extension to then deny your society all the ideas, innovation, creativity, and leadership — to say nothing of the simple human capital: the workers, earners, and consumers – that those uncountable masses represent is incomprehensible.

To squash the potential of half your society because they happen to be female, or the double-digit percentages of those who are the wrong religion, or race, or national origin, or sexuality, or gender identity is self-defeating and self-destructive.

It is to condemn your culture in general – and the society you worked so hard to create, in particular — to a long, slow suicide. And it is so much work to do it. It is an insanely difficult thing to keep down 20 or 40 or 50 percent of your population.

Because even the most repressed people yearn for at least some form of freedom. And they will resist, and rise, and throw off the chains of the oppression that you spent so much energy and time and money enforcing. Quietly, perhaps … at first, anyway … but inevitably.

It makes no sense at all to try to build a nation, or culture, or religion upon the idea of suppressing large portions of itself. You cripple yourself all the way along through the loss of all that those oppressed ones could add, while crippling your ability to move your group upward and outward by expending so many resources oppressing them.

All while the simple, obvious, and most beneficial way for everyone in the group to rise is by simply embracing all elements of the group and reaping the exponential rewards that come when everyone’s potential is realizable.  

If your girls can’t go to school or vote or do certain jobs, if your citizens are treated differently because of the color of their skin or the love in their hearts or the god they choose to worship or the money they do or do not have, then there is a rot in your group — be it nation, culture, or religion – that will fester and weaken and decay from within until it finally, inevitably, and deservedly falls to pieces.

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