Monday, September 23, 2013

Thin Veneer 

It is hard to remember that civility is a veneer on the psyche of humans, an accepted and acceptable body of rules we voluntarily follow.  It takes only one terrorist invasion of a fancy shopping mall in Nairobi to drive the truth home.  PR depends on civility for efficacy.  Its assumption is that one can persuade another through  ideas and presentation. Civility vanishes in the muzzle of a gun and then, only force is sufficient to counter force.  One could argue that physical power is a vital part of persuasion, and it is, but when a group vows to fight to death, there is no relationship. Only might is sufficient to extinguish the will of a fighter. We could be tempted to think that what happens in Nairobi can't happen in the US or other First World countries.  We would be wrong, if we do. It is easy for gunmen to invade a shopping mall with multiple entrances and unguarded floors.  It hasn't happened here because no one has attempted it.  When it does, we will feel the fear that Kenya's citizens have awakened with today.

"When it does" is ominously fatalistic. How about "If it does" or are you saying it will happen for certain?

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