Supremacism is the belief that self-determination and freedom of association are principles less important than the virtues obtained by one's race, religion, belief system or culture ruling over others. This is generally justified by some notion of superiority, sometimes described in scientific terms, but it can also be by divine covenant such as the divine right of kings (royal families or "chosen people").
Subsequent to Charles Darwin notions of "supremacy" sought scientific justification via concepts such as "social Darwinism". The most notorious example of this is during the ealy 20th century's rise of German National Socialism which posited a "master race" —superior to others and therefore entitled to rule over others. This social self-identity was resonant at the time and led to Hitler's popular rise to power, and later, to state policy ending in the holocaust. The Nazis are seen by many as an archetype of modern supremacism.
Minority views consider more recent belief systems to be supremacist, such as:
- The neoconservative belief that Western political and economic structures should be introduced throughout the world and that doing so by force is justified.
- The United Nations' The Universal Declaration of Human Rights wherein self-determination is not a right extended to "all peoples" if the identity of those "peoples" can be described as "racial".
The three Abrahamic religions can each be referred to as supremacist, a characteristic not shared by eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Taoism. Of course one must also recognize that western society no longer openly promotes religious supremacism, the current war in Iraq being a good example. A great deal of care was made in order not to allow anti-Saddam propaganda to include an anti-Islamic focus. On the other hand, the Crusades, Islamism and the Jewish ethnocentrism all contain examples of supremacist interpretations of the respective religions philosophies.
Last updated: 05-17-2005 23:46:03