When do you feel there could be satanic or demonic cruelty in this world? While there are various psychopathic, sociopathic incidents reported nowadays, we can see a lot from our bloody human history. We call these incidents genocide or crimes against humanity.
Each of us can never think of killing anyone in our everyday lives. Perhaps, some would think of it due to their extreme rages, depressions, abnormalities, etc. Still, such things as murders and homicides are significantly abnormal.
Once the situation becomes collective, however, the terrible incidents seem to become normal. In the series of warfare from tribes to nation-states, we kill one another, thinking that a group of people we fight against should be our “enemy of the people.” In any warfare, people believe that there is so-called justice on their side. Thus, killing is justifiable even on the scale of genocide and massacre.
Why do we become so cruel?
Studying our human history, we can see how our societies and civilizations have developed thus far. A list of human rights we value in the present day is far better than that of decades and centuries ago. On the other hand, even in recent history, like the twenty century alone, we can easily recall many incidents to prove that we are extremely cruel, brutal by killing millions of innocent people collectively without any sense of guilt.
Why do we become so cruel?
In our collective cruelty, we often use the term “enemy of the people.” Who is our enemy? As long as our history is concerned, it could be on the mindset of all kinds of religious, political, or ideological fanaticism.
Perhaps, we call them “ideology” in general. Or, there is the moment when any ideology becomes fanatic; we become satanic and demonic.
We said yes to Satan and Devil.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.Matthew 4:8-9
For example, in the twenty century alone, one of the ideologies we can see is the communist regimes based on dialectical materialism. Especially in terms of the number of people killed innocently, this specific ideology is an outlier. All of us must study these historical incidents and face the magnitude of unbelievable human brutality.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Stalin took the leader’s role from Lenin, and he became a dictator. He often used the term “the enemy of the people.” It was so convenient to justify their killing activities. Anyone not aligned with the path of the communist revolution becomes the enemy of the people. And the authority at that time had no hesitation in killing them, including their family members and relatives. Eventually, there could be almost 20 million innocent people executed as the enemy of the people.
Under the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, one of the most notorious incidents is the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. In this case, anyone who was seemingly against the path of Maoism became the enemy of the people. And the authority assigned a group of young people called Red Guards to do the job. They are brainwashed and don’t know anything about the value of good Chinese traditions. They caught their grandparents and brought them even to execution. This insane movement damaged China’s economy and traditional culture, with an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million.
And one of the latest incidents was the Cambodian genocide by the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot’s dictatorship. He also believed in the communist revolution and fanatically implemented his ideology from 1975 to 1979. In his case, with the belief in so-called agrarian socialism, he tried to convert all citizens (literally all of them) to become farmers. Even education was the obstacle for this ideology. And any intellectuals and knowledge workers became the target for execution. Even wearing eyeglasses was the reason for arrest and execution. Like Red Guards, the authority used a group of young people to conduct this insane activity. It resulted in the deaths of 2 million for three years, nearly a quarter of the entire population.
These are only a few examples of our bloody human history, though they are the worst. Indeed, the killing fields could be everywhere. And another terrifying fact is that both Cultural Revolution and Khmer Rouge happened only a few decades ago. If you visit the Killing Fields Museum in Cambodia, you can see the reality of these incidents. And the political party of the Cultural Revolution is still active.
Probably, all the intentions were not insane in the beginning. Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital because he intended to improve the working environment in the nineteenth-century London. Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto for the same reason. And the theory and practice of this ideology appealed to many people worldwide who had good intentions to solve severe social disparities.
The intention is the intention. It can never be the reason for justifying all the genocides and massacres committed to humanity. All we could do is remember that the demonic pathology makes us insane to the incredible magnitude. We are never perfect to be free from it. History teaches us. We need to study it. Any ideology becomes fanatic and insane with self-righteousness. And it even becomes extremely brutal to the extent of executing 20 million innocent people. We must never forget this fact. Never.