Chain of Destruction

Cribs 2015.09.14 13:30

Richard Miller: I was reading the work of Raul Hilberg, who wrote about the destruction of the European Jews in the Holocaust: "We've long known that the process of destruction was an undertaking step by step."

I realized that there was a chain of destruction, that what he was talking about could be expressed by links in a chain. Around the worldin more than one societypeople do the same things again and again, decade after decade, century after century.

Now this chain of destruction begins with the phase we can call identification in which a group of people is identified as a cause for problems in society. People start to perceive their fellow citizens as bad; they're evil. They used to be worthwhile people, but now all of a sudden for some reason their lives are worthless.

The second link in the chain of destruction is ostracism by which we learn how to hate these people and how to take their jobs away, how to make it harder for them to survive. People lose their place to live. Often they're forced into ghettos where they're physically isolated, separate from the rest of society.

The third link is confiscation. People lose their rights, civil liberties. The laws themselves change so it's made easier for people to be stopped on the street, patted down, searched, and for their property to be confiscated. Now once you start taking people's property away, you can start taking the people themselves away.

And the fourth link is concentrationconcentrate them into facilities such as prisons, camps. People lose their rights. They can't vote anymore, have children anymore. Often, their labor is exploited and in a very systematic form.

The final link in the chain of destruction is annihilation. Now this might be indirect, by say, withholding medical care, withholding food, preventing further birth. Or it might be direct, where death is inflicted, where people are deliberately killed.

These steps tend to happen of their own momentum without anybody forcing them to happen.

—The House I Live In

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