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Incitement to sacrifice as hope-mongering


Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "Credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset (Part #5)


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A particular manifestation of hope-mongering is the promotion of the expectation that by sacrifice, whether of oneself or others, hope for the future may be suitably engendered.

Again this is evident amongst the authorities of several sectors:

  • politics: in the case of politicians, and their leadership, the argument is that sacrifice is a means of defending and advancing the values of a country. A sacrifice for the fatherland or motherland, whether of oneself or others, is promoted as a means of engendering hope for future generations. This may be done with the greatest of cynicism, deliberately eliciting hope that the sacrifice is justified

  • religion: in the case of religious authorities again, the argument is that this is a means of advancing "God's plan". In this sense martyrdom is to be welcomed and praised. In many religions sacrifice, even human sacrifice, has been seen as a means of placating divinity and as a justification for hope in a favourable response. Incitement to suicide bombing may be framed in this way -- possibly with the argument that one will go "directly to heaven", possibly also to enjoy the pleasures of "72 virgins".

  • military and security services: those in the military are expected to sacrifice themselves, when necessary, in defence of their country and its values -- and possibly irrespective of any collateral damage or the unfortunate need to use "dirty tricks" or inhumane treatment. Such a sacrifice is promoted as worthy in terms of the hope it engenders for those in whose name it is undertaken.

  • business: the successful launch of any enterprise, and its development under challenging circumstances, is typically associated with calls for sacrifice -- notably amongst the workforce in terms of their working conditions or the need to sacrifice through downsizing in order that it should remain viable. Business also may justify its use of "dirty tricks" in terms of hopes for a fruitful outcome -- if only for shareholders.

In each case the benefits of sacrifice may be promoted in terms of the hopes, beyond immediate suffering, for better conditions for the next generation -- achieving "belt-tightening" on the part of others for the immediate benefit of hope-mongerers.


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