I was tooling through the meme bank for the past couple of days and I got an idea for a thread. I am wondering just what you guys think is the single most destructive memetic device in use today. A good example from economics/political science would be Marx's dictum--"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." The sheer amount of human death and suffering that occurred in defense of this dictum is staggering. Think about Stalin/Lenin/Mao and their ideological "cleansings". They too blamed man and not their fatally flawed ideology. (i.e. Who gets to decide whom and how much; and why should I take their self-proclaimed expertise as a good enough reason to enslave my comrades? Socialist and Communist ideologies are always initiated and enforced by violence.) Another good one would be "John 3:16".
But I think my all-time favorite would have to be the idea of "Original Sin". The doctrine that every single person ever born at any time is born evil and sinful and that there is an existential need to "have your soul saved". When I think of the human cost in lives and sanity caused by such a simple idea I feel sad and hopeless for this race of critters we call Homo sapiens. The fact that the vast majority of people alive on this planet actually believe this rubbish in some degree or another makes me sad because unless the race figures out that this is a totally absurd premise I see no reason to believe that humans will not destroy ourselves.
Can you think of any others?
Here's a couple of more destructive memes:
If you cut the clitoris off of a woman, she will be more loving and faithful.
You can judge the contents of a man's character by analyzing the contents of his urine.
We're from the government, we are here to help you.
See? It's easy. There's lots of destructive memes out there.
This one is probably contriversial, but "The Greater Good".
It sounds nice, but can be used to justify doing pretty much anything to a relativley small group of people (or just one). For example: "Lets nail the best person, the son of god, to a cross, it will gain forgiveness for all our sins"; "Lets eliminate the Jews, they are evil" or "the world is overcrowded..."