Once again, after the massacres in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, we are having our noses rubbed in "American exceptionalism" in the worst sense of the term. Where else, in the world's more developed countries, do things like this happen so often?
The obvious remedy would be to ban possession of weapons that can kill so many people in such a short period of time. Laws to this effect have had excellent results in democratic countries like England and Australia where personal alienation and hatred are presumably no less common than they are here.
But there are formidable political obstacles to doing this in the United States, despite the fact that a substantial majority of voters would support it.
If we don't regulate gun ownership more effectively, it will be impossible to eliminate massacres. But we can still cut down on their number. A number of strategies for doing this are already being tried, and they are all worthwhile.
I would like to propose one more such strategy, one that government might or might not encourage, but that in any event could be employed by interested individuals and groups: encouraging people to think differently. It would not be a panacea, but every little bit counts.
The most important thing people can think about is themselves. As Socrates said long ago, to live well you must "know thyself." And of great importance in how we think about ourselves is with whom we "identify."
Although white replacement theory — implicated in the Buffalo massacre — attracts some right wingers, it is only one manifestation of a more general problem, another example of which involves the liberal-left end of the spectrum.
We often hear that minority children cannot learn well if their teachers aren't people of their own race, people with whom they can identify. The assumption underlying this claim is that it is normal and healthy to identify oneself primarily as a member of a race and therefore to be unable to feel anything in common with people of other races, including teachers.
But we should certainly not try to fix this problem by creating separate schools for different races again. Instead, we need to start teaching children (and encourage adults) of all races to think of themselves primarily as members of the human race, rather than as members of a particular religious tradition or sub-race.
This would allow all children to find role models in teachers of all creeds and colors. And children enrolled in a school with few or no other students of their religion or sub-race would not feel lonely. If they think of themselves primarily as human beings, they will always be surrounded by similar people.
Liberals could also abandon their mania for forcing schools or other institutions to be "racially balanced."
Likewise, people who think of themselves primarily as human beings would not panic if their particular sub-race or religion becomes a smaller part of the total population. The change would not be a matter of cosmic significance to them, let alone a reason to go out and massacre people of other sub-races.
The problem of course is that children must be taught by adults, many of whom, even though they may be decent people, do not think of themselves first as members of the human race. But those who do see themselves this way should do what they can.
"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,"
Crossposted from NewsMax