The Pattern Perpetrator Victim Action Prejudice/Intolerance Where does it stop? How can we end this never-ending cycle? Bystander Followers Beliefs Leaders How they Influence
It all starts with a Perpetrator… Adolf Hitler is an example of perpetrators during the Holocaust, but he certainly was not the first or only perpetrator. (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adolf_Hitler-1933.jpg)
The Perpetrator then Identifies their Victims… This is a picture of newspaper headlines “announcing” the Nuremberg laws. The Nuremberg laws made Jews 2nd class citizens. (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Neurenberger_Laws_in_newspaper.jpg)
If there are Victims, then there are Bystanders… This is a picture of a concentration camp prisoner’s identification card. These cards were made by the company IBM. IBM therefore knew what was happening in the concentration camps before the rest of the world did, yet they did nothing to stop it, because it earned them a profit. (http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazimierkiewicz_georg_1_hpk.jpg)
Then there are Followers… Nazi Officers Hitler Youth (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hitlerjugend_Japan_visit_1938_Heil.jpg) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_119-5592-14A,_Gruppe_von_HJ-Jungen.jpg
The followers are being led by Leaders that do Evil. There are two types of leaders. Good leaders are leaders that do good. “Bad” leaders are leaders who misuse their power and influence others to do evil. Hitler was a bad leader. He used the technique of propaganda to influence the general public. Really, Hitler targeted not only the concentration camp prisoners, but also the accepted public, because nobody was free from his propaganda. The Nazi Propaganda forced people into compliance and the Nazis tried to “think for the public.” Hitler himself even said, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” The goal was exactly that; don’t allow the people to question Nazi leadership. If one did, then they would be considered political opponents and be punished. If the followers were being led by Good leaders, then the pattern would stop right here.
Influential Leadership Leaders must be influential. The Nazis used propaganda to influence the public.As Jacques Ellul said, “The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief.” Propaganda is not a tool used only byevilleaders, it’s atoolthat all successful leaders use. What makes a person a leader is their ability to influence and make decisions for others. Hitler used propaganda to teach anti-Semitism.
Propaganda then changes one’s Beliefs The Nazis taught anti-Semitism so completely that people had no escape from propaganda. The public was surrounded by wrong messages, and the leaders and general public accepted these messages. So, one would want to believe these messages, too. One would start to think that what the propaganda was teaching was okay because everybody else followed it.
This leads to Prejudice and Intolerance Once the public believes the propaganda, then they subsequently become prejudiced and intolerant towards the Jewish community and the other targeted groups.
Which can lead to Action Being prejudiced and intolerant can easily lead to one acting on those feelings of hatred.
Which puts us right back to a Perpetrator. Once action occurs, then that person has become a perpetrator. And we’re right back to where we started.
Where does the pattern end? The pattern doesn’t really ever end. It is seen throughout history everywhere. It is not limited to one group of people or one location or generation. It is happening right now on smaller and even larger scales. It is going to continue to happen, but only if we allow it to. We can end the pattern. It would take courage, strength, and great moral integrity for us to stop it. We would have to be leaders. Not evil leaders, but leaders that do good. For this to happen, nobody could be a perpetrator, victim, or bystander. Unfortunately, that goal is nearly impossible to attain. But, if little by little, people become leaders, it could start to happen. We could end this awful pattern.