I read somewhere about a study done where different groups were shown images of joy, contentment, emotionally neutral images, images of fear and images of anger. Being subject to positive pictures of joy and contentment led the viewers to express more potential responses to those kinds of situations. Groups that were exposed to fearful or angry situations had far fewer responses to what might be done in circumstances ruled by a threat of violence or terror.
If we think about it from an evolutionary point of view, this makes sense. When my ancient ancestors encountered a lion or a bear on the hunt, there were basically only two options – fight or flight. Nine times of ten, fight meant the bear had lunch. We are descendants of those who reacted quickly and correctly to dangerous, life-threatening conditions because those are the ones who lived to reproduce.
If we are surrounded by plenty and live in safety, there is not so much pressure. Pleasant conditions thus leave us time to contemplate and consider our options. It is the way we are wired as creatures that have succeeded in the game of life.
Unfortunately, we are not final winners, for the game goes on. The nature of the threats change from stampeding bison herds and wind-driven prairie fires to man-made dangers, violence from those who would take our property or enslave us. Yet there are those who would prefer to ignore the reality of man’s potential for deception, destruction and mayhem, to dismiss the willingness of some to take advantage of the weaknesses of others. A world of plenty and relative security has led a large segment of society to rail against negative speaking and thinking, to call it racist, bigoted, xenophobic, etc.
I don’t need to see my best friend eaten by a grizzly to know that it is a grizzly’s nature to kill a weaker creature. I don’t need to get bitten by a copperhead to know that they are poisonous.
I don’t like snakes, but I don’t kill every snake I see, not even every copperhead. I kill the ones that come up close to where I live. I don’t think any copperhead has it in for me or that a snake will seek me out to harm me. A two-foot long snake doesn’t see a human as food. I do, however, know that a snake does not reason; it reacts. If I am outside at night and step on a copperhead that I didn’t see on my path, with no evil in its heart, that snake will react and inject venom into my flesh. So, I keep the area around my house clear of venomous serpents. It’s better for me and better for the reptiles.
I don’t want to compare my fellow humans of any ilk to vipers. That’s unfair to the vipers. They are, after all, creatures of instinct rather than will. Only humans can be truly malevolent, acting contrary to the best interests of self and of humanity in general for the sake of having their own way.
Still, there is a principle that arises from my snake story. We live, whether we realize it or not, in a world of limited resources at any given time. Most of us who have grown up in America in the time since WWII know almost nothing of lack or scarcity. We have been led to believe in a variation of Moore’s Law that goes beyond computing power. We think everything must get better, cheaper and more abundant forever. It can’t, and it won’t. In fact, it isn’t that way now in many parts of the world.
The “Arab Spring” began in Tunisia and Egypt because of a decrease in food supplies. A richer China with its billion-plus was indulging its appetites and putting a squeeze on the available grain going to nations in the Middle East that cannot feed themselves. Prices rose as supply fell, and hungry people have little to lose. Hungry people make their way into the West, Europe and the U.S. every day as “refugees” and “illegal immigrants”. So far, we have been able to feed the invaders and keep the peace, giving them welfare, which further enriches and empowers the governments. Governments stand to gain even more power over their productive, native citizens by the threat of crime and terrorism the invaders bring.
I have nothing against Muslims or Mexicans or anyone else. I don’t think most Muslims mean harm any more than a bolt of lightning means to start a forest fire. Arson and lightning differ in intent, but if your house is in the path, either will destroy it.
There is a clear threat to our civilization, our future, and our way of life from unchecked immigration. Positive thinking is not going to make that go away. We cannot assimilate the number of people who want into our countries, especially when they do not wish to assimilate. I am not suggesting we can’t welcome immigrants, on a restricted, carefully controlled basis. What we can’t do is welcome the invasion of the West by third-worlders.
And remember, as the pressure increases and the threat become more evident, the number of options goes down.