There is a passionate need on the part of many people with power to inflict immaculate cruelty on those with less power to preserve their own power. Most of us have known it in our personal lives in one way or another. Many of us have known it because of the social group or categories we are placed in. Some of us know it every day of our lives. It is the poison that would have us settle for nothing and be grateful.
On whatever level and to whatever degree you experience it the pattern is usually similar.
1. Something mean or cruel or nasty is done to someone….
2. The person who does it says they brought it on themselves and besides that it really is for their good.
3. Any protest by those hurt is viewed as a symptom of the kind of people they are and as justification or even cause of the original cruelty.
4. Cruelty is packaged by the cruel as virtuous and responsible behavior.
5. The hope is to get others to agree and have them buy into the idea that “those kind of people” bring it on themselves, that they leave good people with no choice.
6. To the degree this happens the power and control of the original actor is confirmed and expanded.
It is immaculate cruelty. Cruelty as ethical and responsible behavior. Cruelty caused by the victim. Cruelty in the best interests of the victim. Cruelty that preserves the power and control of the cruel.
Some cruelty is more private than others and some of this steps may not be followed exactly. Anyone who has known the misfortune of being involved in an abusive relationship knows what it is like to have a mean person tell you that you caused it all.
On a broader more political level much of what Donald Trump is about is the pursuit of immaculate cruelty. He actually uses people’s objections with what he would do to them as proof of the validity of what he wants to do.
It is spooky. It is terrifying. The only defense I know is to try to shine a light on it and expose it for what it is.