The Danger of Disbelief

by Josiah Bancroft


In recent days, I've heard many people express the sentiment that they can't believe we as a society are still grappling with neo-nazism and white supremacy in 2017. Some are surprised by current events and the resurgence of fascism's popularity in the US and Europe. We want to know how it's possible that we have not yet evolved beyond such petty, transparent evil.

The danger of civilization is that it begins to feel like a natural state, a permanent thing. It feels like we have ascended to the next plateau in human progress, and though we may stumble, we as a whole will continue to ascend. (After all, technology develops and improves, and isn't technology a reflection of the human condition?) But if history has taught us anything it is that civilization swings rather than ascends. Regression dogs enlightenment; tyranny chases after freedom; and technology increases our ability to destroy as well as create.

When we are surprised that the same monsters that terrorized our grandparents and our great-great grandparents continue to terrorize us, our incredulity makes it easier to fall into a state of denial. And denial makes us inactive and unaccountable. I am angered, heart-broken, and repulsed by the embolden neo-nazi movement in America, but I am not surprised. Fighting violence and bigotry with indignation in ineffective. We must fight the bastards with deeds.