Friday, November 20, 2015

Salem Witch Trials

Stacy Schiff has just published a history of the Salem witch trials of 1692. Incited by hysterical teen-aged girls, the townspeople hanged 14 women and five men; another was crushed to death by stones. The trauma ended in less than a year.

Today, hypocritical politicians stand in for teenage-girls in the incitement of mass hysteria and fear. No, there were no witches. Yes, there are radical Islamic terrorists. There are no easy answers to combating terrorism while helping to bring stability to the Mid-East and Africa. Today's response - from both fear-mongering Republicans and spineless Democrats - doesn't come close to getting on the list of possible solutions.

Human nature hasn't changed in at least 40,000 years. We are more alike than we are different. And one way we are alike is in our propensity to see real and imagined differences in others as existential threats.

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