September 13, 2017
David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, was quoted in an article that was published on the liberal American political internet forum DailyKos.com on September 10 and was then republished by the HuffingtonPost.com the following day. The article is titled “While Obama Humanizes Undocumented Immigrants and Calls them Americans, Trump Calls them ‘Vomit.’”
The piece opens with a quote from Smith’s book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others: “Thinking sets the agenda for action, and thinking of humans as less than human paves the way for atrocity.”
The article goes on to describe the inclusive and compassionate manner in which Obama spoke of undocumented immigrants. As the article’s title suggests, it then goes on to contrast Obama’s espoused views to those of President Trump, who has characterized undocumented immigrants from Mexico as killers, rapists, murderers, drug lords and even vomit.
In making the argument that Trump’s views are dangerous, the article again relies on Smith’s words, stating that when people view others as subhuman creatures, it allows the dehumanizers to “liberate aggression and exclude the target of aggression from the moral community.”
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