Murder and Elimination

Members of the targeted group are killed, systematically denied access to food, water, shelter, or life-saving medicines, or prevented from having children. 

There are innumerable ways that individuals or groups are killed by those in power, but the clear pattern is that the murders serve the purpose of preserving and/or strengthening the oppressive power structure. 

  1. Individuals: 
  1. Mass Murder: 

Given that murder is morally abhorrent and the vast majority of humans see themselves as good, ethical people, oppressive killings requires major rationalizations: 

  1. The violence is often masked with euphemism. Instead of calling these deaths murder, that are called “collateral damage,” “pacification,” “ethnic cleansing, or “elimination of unreliable elements.” According to Steven Pinker, euphemism works “not by triggering reactions to the words themselves but by engaging different conceptual interpretations of the state of the world.” (The Better Angels of Our Nature, pg. 566). 
  1. A narrative is created that imagines the targeted group as a corrupting or polluting force in the society, and killing them will attain a fantasy of “purity.” (See Tragic Application of Values.) In these narratives, it is common for the targeted group is often dehumanized and compared to vermin (usually rats and cockroaches). 
  1. The targeted group is blamed for various social ills and calamities. Historically, targeted groups were often blamed and punished for famines and plagues. In the modern world, targeted groups are more likely to be blamed for high crime rates and economic recessions. The mechanism of how the targeted group could cause these things is never clear, so attackers turn to magical thinking (“God is punishing us for mixing with them”), and/or conspiratorial thinking (“Members of targeted group have secret meetings and they have secret power over society.”)