I was just about to write a piece on the usage and misuse of the word ‘genocide‘, when I came across Thomas Dalton’s very helpful piece on that very subject, on TOO.
Dalton, in a very apropos essay, addresses how the word is very vaguely and broadly defined, and he delineates the origins of the word, as well as the current definitions as laid down by the likes of the U.N.
I recommend the Dalton piece, but I will add my own thoughts as to the questionable utility of a word whose meaning is so elastic that it can include both ‘lethal’ and ‘non-lethal’ meanings and outcomes. For example, any attempt or ‘conspiracy’ to eliminate, or even damage or harm another group is ‘genocide’, per the existing and widely accepted definitions.
However, consult a dicitionary and you will see that the suffix “-cide” as in ‘suicide‘ or ‘homicide’, etc., describe killer, or act of killing. Hence words like ‘regicide’, ‘pesticide’, parricide, and on and on. So it seems we are wresting the meaning by applying it to other situations in which there is no death implied.
There is no half-measure with death; no-one can be sort of killed or somewhat dead. It’s one or the other.
I’ve asked rhetorically in the past: how can there have been ‘genocide’ against American Indians when there are still many living Amerindians, across North, South, and Central America? The rabid left, of course, will say that there were tens of millions of American Indians and that they were ‘all but wiped out’, and would otherwise have represented hundreds of millions. That, however, is just conjecture or plain sophistry. There was never any official census to count the number of Amerindians during the time of the early colonies. How could there have been? And it’s fact that the tribes, being mostly hunter-gatherers, could not have been sustained by that lifestyle had they numbered in hundreds of millions; hunter-gatherers require lots of land and open space to pursue their hunting-gathering way of life.
Amerindians often succumbed to diseases for which Europeans had developed some degree of immunity. This was not intentional ‘genocide’ by Whites, and what about the current situation in which many new arrivals are carrying diseases which are new to North America, and for which we may have no immunity? It’s a fact, but does the left accuse anyone of intentional harm there? Not likely.
In short, it’s fallacious and dishonest to say that ‘genocide’ took place on this continent in the past. And yet, a lot of careless thinkers on the ‘right’ agree with the charges that our ancestors ‘genocided’ Amerindians. But the tribes are still alive and holding their own, so the charge is without validity. Why can’t people grasp that?
To address the question of whether it’s useful or wise, as Dalton questions, to apply the term ‘genocide’ to the replacement of our folk here or in Europe, I would argue, also, for a careful and correct use of language. For many people the word ‘genocide’ seems hyperbolic and hysterical in the current context. I’ve certainly used the term ‘existential threat’ to describe our situation, and I think that’s accurate, but in my opinion it’s about as useful to use the term ‘genocide’ at this point as it is to call the left ‘the real racists’ (the old DR3), in other words, not useful at all. It just rolls of the backs of the targets.
In any case, even if one supposes there’s some utility in throwing these words around in hopes of scoring a bullseye somewhere, there’s this question: considering the history of the word ‘genocide’, its origins and its current definitions (as defined by the United Nations et al), do we really wish to adopt their definitions and their ways of thinking? Since when?
The right can and should do better than to adopt slippery and sophistical rhetoric just because our foes do that so freely.
And far too many on the right, not just the ‘respectable cons’ or cuckservatives have fallen prey to the endless guilt that the left tends to heap on our folk. There is too much ready adoption of undeserved guilt feelings, and the groveling desire to point the finger elsewhere and try to deflect the blame. If we stand on the truth — not easy in this Age of the Lie, we will be much stronger.