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There can be hate without war, but not war without hate. Why?

One of the timeless, enduring classics of mid-20th-century American musical theater is a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific (which opened in 1949). The song, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” cautions that children learn, from family socialization, to hate and fear people different from them.

It is perhaps better musical theater than social psychology. The point is not that we are taught to hate and fear. As Sigmund Freud suggests, we have natural inclinations to do both. Those emotions need objects, though, and the point of the song is that those objects are taught—socially constructed—and that they are not inherently hate-worthy objects. That’s the vital part that the song gets right.

It ...

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