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They say that the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Mistakes That the Human Race Keeps Repeating."
For this list, we’re looking at the most dangerous and tragic repeating trends throughout human history.
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Barring a few notable exceptions, it’s only in the last two centuries or so that humans actually began to realise they were having a far reaching impact on the world—and not a positive one. Pollution has become a major issue in recent years; our oceans are filling up with plastic, our air is unsafe to breathe, and our water is dangerous to drink. To top all that off, carbon emissions are so high that the Earth’s temperature is steadily increasing, and despite a wealth of scientific evidence supporting this, many of the world’s most powerful politicians refuse to believe in it, let alone do anything to help.
#9: Gender Inequality
It’s a sad truth that for a long time, roughly half of the population have been regarded as second-class citizens. While in the western world people have been making leaps and bounds towards gender equality in the last hundred years, there are still many places around the world where women don’t enjoy basic rights. Sexism remains extremely present, and violence against women just for being women is seen everywhere. Even in countries where women have legal rights in law, the gender pay gap persists, with statistics from 2015 showing that American women earn just 80% of what men do in terms of salary.
In June 2018, Fox News anchor Abby Huntsman made a comment in which she called Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un “two dictators.” She may have apologized for this highly controversial statement, but it does shed light on the fact that the modern world isn’t as free from totalitarian rulers as we’d like to think. The term dictator originates in Ancient Rome, where it wasn’t an explicitly negative concept. In more recent history however, “dictator” and “tyrant” have become interchangeable thanks to such figures as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, etc. Despite the atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed by such authoritarian leaders, we keep allowing them to take and maintain power.
#7: Abusing Earth’s Resources
For a long time, humans have been using the fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Unfortunately… these energy sources come at a great cost. The fact that fossil fuels literally come from ancient fossils means that we have a finite supply of them, while coal smoke and oil spills are deadly pollutants which have severely damaged the environment. Along with this, mankind’s habit of destroying huge areas of forests has led to widespread extinctions of native wildlife and habitats, while putting plenty of others—like orangutans and even bees—at risk of dying out.
#6: Making More Weapons
It’s a fatal error of judgement to think that making more and more weapons will lead to anything other than said weapons causing more and more deaths. In the mid-20th century, the arms race between the USA and the USSR almost led to an all-out nuclear war between the planet’s biggest superpowers, with many ordinary people fearing that the end of the world was nigh. On a smaller but no less tragic scale, in many countries, ease of access to weapons is a major problem, especially in the United States, which plays host to more mass than any other country in the world.
The reason people have different skin colors is because of the amount of melanin in their skin—the more melanin someone has, the darker their skin is and the more protection they have from the sun, while the lighter someone’s skin is, the better they are at absorbing vitamin D. Yet for thousands of years, humans have been killing, torturing, and enslaving one another solely because of what race they are, and this problem is far from solved. In America, the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted how deeply racism still affects society and how it is unfortunately still thriving, with people of color at risk of discrimination, attack, and even murder.
Wealth disparity not just within western countries but also between those countries and the developing world is one of the biggest issues we face as a species. In 2017, the richest 1% of the population controlled 50% of the wealth of the world as a whole, and it was carefully calculated that it would cost roughly $175 billion a year to end extreme poverty in two decades. This may sound like a lot, but it’s actually just 0.7% of the collective income of the 30 countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, who are supposed to be dedicated to ending world poverty.
#3: Religious Conflicts
This biggest three religions in the world—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—may have all originated from the same place and even share many of the same Abrahamic roots, but that hasn’t stopped them waging wars against each other for thousands of years. Holy Crusades in the Middle East killed thousands of soldiers and even more civilians, while earlier in history the Roman invasion of Britain led to the slaughter of many Celts, dubbed “barbarians.” Today, religious extremism is cited as the cause of the majority of terrorist attacks, despite the fact that most popular interpretations of these various religious do NOT promote violence.
Genocide is the act of killing an entire people with that very intention—which makes it one of the most appalling concepts in human history. Unfortunately, it’s happened many times, though the word “genocide” didn’t exist until after Hitler’s mass extermination of 6 million Jews in World War II. But there have been despots like this both before and after Hitler; there was the Holodomor between 1932 and ’33 where up to 7.5 million people starved to death in the USSR; there were extensive massacres carried out on Native Americans by colonizers; and, as recently as 1994, the Rwandan genocide saw up to a million members of the Tutsi people murdered by rival Hutus.
Ultimately, many of the things on this list are causes or symptoms of a much larger issue: war. With very few exceptions, almost all countries have been involved or touched by war in some way or another. The concept of war is almost as old as humanity itself, and there are rarely justifiable reasons behind it. More often than not, war is a product of greed, plain and simple. But perhaps the worst thing about war is how the more we develop as a species the better we become at killing one another, going from clubbing each other to death with stones to dropping nuclear bombs on Japan.