Rabbi Jonathan Sacks studied the dynamics that fed the totalitarian up risings in Europe in the 1930s and warns of the dangers of division in our societies. He is especially concerned with the dynamics which might lead to ‘sibling rivalries’ or the social equivalents of these. I think we are seeing this happening again in our time.
This week I’ve noticed three different arrests of men who posed a threat, according to authorities, because of their postings of “white nationalist” propaganda on social media( Reuters, August 16,2019). Why they feel that they have the responsibility or right to such postings in a pluralistic society is anybody’s opinion. That their postings run a danger of in division of our society is without doubt. They may feel threatened or afraid that they are being crowded out and that they no longer have a place in this society. Jobs, income, immigration, politics, education, opportunity, housing, and a host of other problems plague these folks.
Not the least of their problems is how to take in and how to love the stranger that they do not know!
That, after all, is one of our two overriding commandments–right up there with: Love God! How do you love someone you do not know? You spend the time to get to know them! Otherwise we are not likely to form a relationship of any sort with a stranger. If we cannot find a way to love the other, the stranger, when we have a group of strangers we form social groups called “us” and “them” or the “insider” and the “outsider.”
We have a division in society based on fear. That runs the risk of division of society and violence developing.