In part though, don’t you think the tragedies of the past, combined with increased knowledge of ourselves, make that possible in the present?
Just some food for thought; Hitler’s first plan wasn’t to exterminate the Jews, he had simpler dreams to send them of somewhere, such as Madagascar. The final solution came in part from him not giving a shit to carry that out logistically and in part from American influence. The first portion of the American 20th century saw a huge rise in the eugenics movement, which basically gave “scientific” justification to castrate the dumb people as well as non-Aryan races. Many states had mandatory sterilizations of those deemed “unfit.” Here’s a synopsis of what I’m talking about. The next link is to a recent monograph discussing American influence in Nazi racial policy..
Well before our armies set foot in German territory, American businesses were inside interment camps, providing and maintaining filing software punch cards on the people “processed” by those locations.
All this to say, at the time, Germany didn’t have a monopoly on “evil.”
Even in today’s world, we play into viscous mechanisms, not necessarily of our choosing, but of the way the past has shaped us. For example, the computer I’m typing on right now, the cell phone I use, even the fabrics I clothe myself in, all come from slave labor. Sure, the people who make my goods might not be owned by someone, and they do make a wage ($45/month probably), but these people aren’t people the way you or I are. They have no time to let their mind wander, they have no time to create, they have no time to enjoy the fruits created by past generations. They simply work, always obeying a master. I realize my purchase fuels this. I understand that my heaven is someone else’s hell, yet I continue to because my culture promotes and even mandates such behavior. It’d be ludicrous for me to try to be a part of society if I didn’t have a cell phone, or a computer for that matter. I need this stuff.
To end on a positive though, despite our nation’s history of slavery and racism, we’ve managed to elect a Black president. Europe is far more unified with itself. Japan isn’t raping China… Human’s really seem to be going somewhere. My overall point though, is that sometimes we fall into patterns of thinking that we’re already at some benevolent level of being where the world is in harmony and people are “civilized.” In truth, we’re barely getting there. The more we’re familiar with struggles of the past, the clearer our understanding of the present becomes. What I see is that all people want to be good and contribute, however the “unbalanced” ways of the past shape our understandings of good which might throw us of course, when we feel we’re going in the right direction.