What is emerging (or re-emerging) in our time is the legitimization of a selective ethic according to the categorical attributes into which each individual fits.
For this ideology, if someone has the misfortune of falling into a given category, it is enough to be accused of being an oppressor, a potential criminal, and to have his dignity relativized, no matter what concrete actions this individual has performed. There is no benefit of the doubt, condemnation is summary, because it is considered that they are carriers of intrinsic evil.
Differently, if someone coincides in a certain category accepted and sanctioned by the group that proclaims itself as a reference of justice, they are exempt from any responsibility for their concrete actions.
In this way, the individual’s conscience and personality are diluted in a prefabricated collectivity: it no longer matters what the individual has done or acted, because what really matters is in which category he belongs. We have seen this before. It was Stalin who said that in Soviet socialism there would be no such thing as an individual conscience. The tyrannies of the 20th century use such a premise, because they know that individual conscience is the most powerful weapon against coercive political power, especially when they associate and create independent organizations. It is part of the nature of tyranny that there is no doubt about itself, establishing a blind belief based on the fear of thinking or speaking. All those who still dare to think and question the decisions and actions of the established government are eliminated: they end up with their reputation or their life. The use of derogatory categories against the resisters is one of the most used ways to start this process.
In general, categories are important and useful, because their function is to classify sets of beings or objects that have a certain quality or attribute in common. But when applied as a resource of political strategy to monopolize power, they serve as a way to relativize human dignity, classifying between the more dignified and the less dignified, finding in this classification the pretext to act violently against the “less dignified”.
If we take seriously the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which in its preamble states that “… recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” then we must take the firm stance of affirming that human dignity is absolute and non-negotiable, and oppose any power projects that arbitrarily classify people into categories for political convenience.