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But restraint is not a natural human instinct. Nor is it easy. As soon as you erode the cultural underpinnings that teach each generation the history, myths, and principles required to maintain this culture of restraint, the raw herd instinct reasserts itself and steamrolls the rights and freedoms of individuals who stand in the herd’s way. Once you remove the notion of the individual as the foundational building block of society, the competition that exists between individuals in a society based on individual rights immediately shifts to a competition between herds, tribes, and subtribes, each competing with one another, each fixated on maximizing the benefit for their preferred in-group. And in the blink of an eye the rationalization begins in order to justify the horrific cost imposed on others and to absolve ourselves from the moral dilemmas posed by utilitarian policymaking. It begins with indifference and a lack of empathy, escalates to dehumanization, morphs into persecution, and, if the moral panic is sufficiently extreme, eventually formerly decent citizens are nodding along to two-tiered rights, internment camps, and worse, fully convinced that those in the crosshairs deserve the calamity that’s imposed on them by the dominant herd. Collateral damage? Human rights violations? If only those individuals hadn’t selfishly put their own interests ahead of the herd’s greater good. “We’re all in this together,” so get on board or suffer the consequences. Sound familiar? It's been the rallying cry behind lockdowns and other mandatory public health measures throughout COVID.
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formerly decent citizens are nodding along to two-tiered rights, internment camps, and worse, fully convinced that those in the crosshairs deserve the calamity that’s imposed on them by the dominant herd