Lesson 122: Falsely de-humanizing the enemy
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 6/11 ('Chain of Command Part II')


Capt. Picard is taken as a prisoner-of-war by the Federation's adversary, the Cardassian's.

While being questioned by a Cardassian, the interrogator's Cardassian child asks, upon seeing the human Capt. Picard, if humans have mothers and fathers.

The Cardassian interrogator replies that the humans do have parents, however, the human parents do not love their children as Cardassian parents do.


How often has man taken the same path when looking upon our own (human) kind as enemies?

Depriving the enemy of all basic human qualities is quite often seen as a quick way to gain support for a cause. In making the enemy appear evil or incompetent or just plain inhuman, we elevate ourselves in righteousness to justify everything we do.

At one time or another, we all suffer from political or religious jingoism. Does that make us evil? If we do not believe we are wrong in following this path, then are our foes any the less guilty in thinking the same way of themselves?

We need to see our enemies for where and why they oppose us and not belittle them and turn them into cartoon-like, buffoonish caricatures.

Enemies are real and should always be opposed. However, opposing by indoctrinating the masses into believing the enemy is inhuman is to perpetuate a one-sided lie and eventually leads to disaster and historical shame.

As the Cardassian child will grow up believing that human parents do not love their own children and are inferior to Cardassians, so a human child will grow up with the prejudice that other humans who are considered as enemies, painted with brush strokes of evil, are also inferior and lesser human beings.

If we cannot see the wrong in dismissing our enemies with such belligerency only to promote ourselves, then perhaps the Cardassians are correct in their assessment of us humans after all.

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