Law of the henhouse

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Chicken coops and society. In a hen house (chicken coop), chickens set a "pecking order" (who is the king of the roost), and who is beneath them. They also can get weird, and will see any "difference" from the norm as a "bad" thing. Weakness not only means attack by one, but sometimes by many. And any weakness or uniqueness is often responded to by a gang attack. Often chickens will not stop until the "deformed" or injured are killed, and genetic normalcy is safeguarded.

Humans are not so different.

Tolerance

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One only has to look at how we treat those who are different in race, culture, gender, political views, religion and so on, to see the law of the hen house in human culture.

Any of these ring a bell?

  • "Burn the Witches"
  • "Find the Commies"
  • "Punish the <<insert favorite vice here>>"
  • "Punch a Nazi in the face".

How about genocide, which has been common long before, and since the Holocaust? What is popularity or social "cliques" in High School? Peer pressure is the pressure to conform under the threat of ostracization or worse.

It is all the same thing. Conform to societal norms, or pay the consequences.

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Social Animals will turn on their own as readily as they will turn on others. Most animals will prey on the weak of their own species, or exploit and exterminate them. They will consider it for anything which is too different, as that is a threat - just the ones that are healthy are too big a risk. This is just a byproduct of evolution; and last I checked - humans were social animals that aren't nearly as above other animals as they sometimes like to think.

There are some that feel they are the safeguards of genetic purity or normalcy, and seem to think anything they do to protect it is justified. Eugenics anyone? How about the Crusades? The Inquisition? All dictators and despots? How about almost all hate groups? They have an ideal on how others should be, and they are going to enforce it for the good of all, and destroy that which is different.

I keep hoping that humanity will evolve beyond that, and reach true tolerance. Not the pseudo-intellectual hypocritical tolerance that is political correctness. Not the mind-numbed conformity that we teach in most large companies or in our schools and universities; but true diversity of thought, ideas, socialization, and race.

I have seen very mixed results. For each success, there are many failures. And it is hard to say whether overall we are winning in evolving socially, or just caving to our predestined evolutionary urges that are the law of the henhouse; destroy the one (and true diversity) for the good of the many.

References

1998.03.28