June 8, 2009
Below is link sent to me by an acquaintance of over 45 years. By way of background this person was a high-school friend. We drifted apart a few years after college but during the 2000 election we began exchanging emails. The tone became so unhealthy that I stopped responding. I still from time to time receive emails from him and the perspective remains pretty much the same.
I have recently come to believe that there is a difference between that small (but substantial) minority and the rest of humanity. This difference is not one that can be explained by differences in values or experiences and I now believe can never be resolved to any meaningful degree by logical discourse or coercion. There is little common ground in the concepts of basic human rights and responsibilities. Agreement on basic facts pretty much stops at arithmetic. This minority has always existed but in the larger context of civil societies they were muffled and considered “strange”. Of course, over the last 30 years the well-financed media echo chamber on the extreme right has emboldened this minority. With recent discoveries in mapping brain function we may be near to identifying the organic source of this anomaly. Now I realize finding a physical structure to explain behavior has been proposed almost from the beginning of the study of anatomy. These current studies may come to no more than the witch hunt efforts in the past but there does seem to be a certain logic to resistance to known facts being more than some cognitive failure. Those who believe torture is effective and justified for “national security” reasons are among this minority.