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Eliminating the Enemy

Greatness must be restored. Violence is conceived as virtue. Hitler declared, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany, we have performed the greatest deed in the world.”
When a nation seems to be in a state of collapse—when society seems to be disintegrating—leaders often invent or construct an “enemy”— conceived as the source or cause of national collapse: loss of the “goodness” that once existed, but no longer exists.

Nations “come alive” through imagining an enemy: collective anxiety produces collective energy. There is something to “do battle” against: to restore what has been lost.