The how, not the what

Sadly, I often find myself agreeing with the what but not necessarily the how. I was watching a documentary the other day about the Moors in Europe, and how when the Spanish “took back” their country, they destroyed libraries and architecture representing generations of scholars. All that work lost rather than assimilated. I don’t disagree with the Spanish wanting to take back their land, or generally and in context, one nation invading another or rebelling against invaders. But why not assimilate the advancements that exist rather than destroy them? It reminds me of other whats that I agree with and hows that I don’t.

I agree with interning domestic groups when a nation is at war with the groups’ maternal nations, again in context. I disagree with confiscating their property and leaving them with nothing, even after the war ends. These people are otherwise innocent and the war will end at some point. There’s no reason not to return things to normal afterwards.

I agree with a “conquering nation” (in context) subjugating the conquered. I agree with the conquering nation providing (probably propagandist) education to the conquered. I disagree with beating the education into them and depriving them of their humanity. At the very least, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Even then, grant the conquered citizenship and all the attendant rights and privileges, and make sure all your citizens get a reasonable education and upbringing.

An example a little closer to me is homelessness, and tent cities occupying public space. I fully agree with people commandeering public space for temporary housing. But I disagree with vandalizing the space and terrorizing the neighbours. I agree with overflowing garbage cans, but not garbage strewn across the park. I even agree with occupying a disused school, but not vandalizing and damaging it. In this case, I support your cause, as long as you’re respectful of the situation. The park is there for you, but it’s not yours.

To clarify, I don’t advocate war, invading sovereign countries, internment camps or residential schools, but I understand the context in which these things happen. My perspective might be one of hindsight, but I also think of it as pragmatic and applicable even to current issues.

To conclude with a touch of levity, if the Dursleys had just tried to be nice and understanding with Harry Potter, he probably would have been more inclined to suppress his magic (without becoming an obscurial) and not completely defy them at every opportunity.