Most people have heard of the holocaust even if they know nothing else about history. But what do we really know about genocide? Dr. Jordan Peterson gave an excellent lecture on the psychological drives of genocide and how it manifested in the Soviet Union.
"When we were writing this paper we were looking at the discourse that precedes genocide in genocidal states. The enhancemnt of a sense of victimization on the part of one of the groups, usually the group that is going to commit the genocide. First of all their sense of being victims is much heightened by the demagogues who are trying to stir up this sort of hatred. So they basically say, look you've been oppressed in a variety of ways, and these are the people who did it, and they're not going to stop doing it, and this time we're going to get them before they get us. It's something like that. So there's something very pathologiocal about the enhancement of victimization."
There's a point that's being made, and the point is that people have been oppressed and they suffer. And that's true, that point, but then the proper framework from within which to interpret that I believe is that, that's characteristic of life. You can't take it personally in some sense, and you can't divide the world neatly into perpretraters and victims and you certainly can't divide the world neatly into perpetrators and victims and then assume that you're only in the victim class and then assume that gives you...like access to certain forms of redress let's say. It gets dangerous very rapidly."
"For example, one of the things that characterized the soviet union, and this was particulary true of the 1920s, but afterwards...The Soviets were very much enamored of the idea of class guilt, so for example, although it was only about 40 years previously that the serfs had been emancipated, they weren't much more than slaves and that was the bulk of the russian populaiton. They were bought and sold along with the land. So they had been emancipated and some of them, many of them had turned into independent farmers. And some of them had become reasonably prosperous because - at least in principle I pressume a certain proportion of them from being crooked, but I presume a larger proportion from actually being able to raise food. Of course at that time, the bulk of the Russian food population was produced by these relatively successful peasant farmers and relatively successful would mean maybe they had a brick house or something and maybe they had a couple of cows and maybe they were able to hire a few people. So it wasn't like they were massive land owners or anything."
"They produced most of Russia's food. When the communists came in, they described those land holders as parasites essentially predicated on the Marxist idea that if someone had extracted profit from an enterprise that the had basically stolen that profit from the people say that they had employed or otherwise oppressed. So you could be a member of the kulak class and then because you were a member
of that class you were automatically guilty.
"So what happened was the intellectual communists were sent out in cadres out into these little towns to find people who would help them round up the Kulaks. Now you gotta think what a small town is like because..so imagine you're in a town and there's 3 or 4 people or maybe 10 people or something like that who are a little more successful than everyone else... There's gonna be some people who are not happy about it at all who are going to be very resentful about that and jealous.
So when the intellectuals came in and described the reason that these people should be treated as parasites and profiteers. Then it was the resentful minorities in those towns - and that would be the kind of guy that hangs around in the bar all the time and is completely unconscientious and fails at everything and then blames everyone else for it - the intellectuals came in and said 'here, this is unfair that this has happened to you, you've actually been victimized and now it's your opportunity to go have your revenge'. And so that's exactly what happened."
"Now in some of the villages, sometimes the peasants would actually surround the farmsteads of these more successful people and tried to defend them, but that never worked out for very long. So then these angry mobs would go into the farmhouses and strip the place right down to nothing, and they packed these people up and sent them on trains with no food out to Siberia where there was no place to live. So they were packed into houses, maybe they had a square metre to live in and all the children died of typhoid and many them froze to death. Many many people died, millions of people died as a consequence of the dekulakization."
"There wasn't any food produced. And so then 6 million Ukranians starved to death in the 1920s which is something you never hear about, right. You never hear about that. Why do you never hear about that? That's a question worth asking. It was an absolute catastrophe. So these people were starving right to the point of cannibalism, right, I mean it was ugly, as ugly as anything you could possibly imagine. You're supposed to hand all your grain into the central committee, mostly for distribution into the cities, you didn't get to keep any for yourself. And so maybe then afterwards if you were a mother you'd go out into the fields that had already been harvested and you'd pick up individual grains of wheat, and if you didn't turn those in, that was death for you. And that's how far it was pushed. "
"So that's a little story about ... how the idea of victimization and perpetration can get out of hand extraordinarily rapidly. So whenever people are beating the victim drum, you know they'll cover that up with empathy roughly speaking, 'we're speaking on behalf of the oppressed' It's like maybe you are but maybe you're no saint because you're so sure you're a saint and you're only speaking from a position of good...highly unlikely."