La marcha hacia la barbarie

Una consecuencia de la guerra del Iraq es la de poner al descubierto (una vez más) la falsa divisoria entre naciones "civilizadas" y "bárbaras". Los Estados Unidos parecen tan capaces de caer en la barbarie como cualquier otro país, como lo demuestran claramente los malos tratos en la cárcel de Abu Ghraib. La mayoría de las veces la barbarie en el Iraq no queda registrada, como cuando los tanques americanos irrumpen en barrios iraquíes y matan a docenas de inocentes en nombre de la lucha contra los "insurgentes", pero la barbarie se encuentra en muchos ámbitos, como ha mostrado claramente la espeluznante decapitación de un rehén americano.

En determinadas condiciones, todas las sociedades pueden caer en la barbarie. Muchos historiadores han sostenido que durante el gobierno de Hitler la sociedad alemana fue en cierto modo excepcionalmente malvada. Es falso. Alemania resultó desestabilizada por la derrota en la primera guerra mundial, una paz dura en 1919, la hiperinflación en el decenio de 1920 y la Gran Depresión en el de 1930, pero, por lo demás, no fue excepcionalmente bárbara. Al contrario, en la primera parte del siglo XX, Alemania era uno de los países más ricos del mundo, con niveles envidiablemente altos de enseñanza superior e importancia científica. Hannah Arendt acertó bastante más, al referirse a la "trivialidad del mal" y no a su excepcionalidad.

Parece haber dos características comunes en la caída en la barbarie. La primera es la incesante tendencia humana a clasificar el mundo como "nosotros" contra "ellos" y después reducir a "ellos" a una condición subhumana. Probablemente surgieran esas clasificaciones porque reforzaban la cohesión del grupo "propio" y facilitaban la cooperación al dirigir el odio contra los de fuera.

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