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Purge and the Golden Rule

Updated on November 2, 2018
FitnezzJim profile image

I enjoy writing about politics and the issues with having a two-party system.


The one word "purge" has many meanings. For me, the varied meanings were learned over the past six decades, and are reflective in some ways of how things have changed in society here in the United States. The latest variation on the word became well-known in Baltimore, Maryland in April 2015.

How many different ways have you used the word Purge?

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Purge - Cleansing the House of Pests

In the 1960’s I was still a child. Our family lived in roach-infested temporary military housing. Fumigation was standard procedure for cleansing the residence of infestation between the time one family moved out and another family moved in. Even on vacation, when we visited our grandparents in the South-East part of Washington, DC, we could expect to see roaches. Bugs, that is, not weeds on a stick.

The method for dealing with the bugs was to clean the place regularly. Those who chose to do the process themselves referred to the process as "Bleach, Borax, and Brighteners". It was an ongoing process dangerous to pets and children. But you get used to the conditions you live in when you do not know better. To find Insects sharing the residence was normal, and so was the cleansing.

We called it a purge. Mom would rant about how the living conditions of military housing were no different from the nearby slum or ghetto neighborhoods. Towards the end-of-the decade, purge was accomplished with a new product named "Raid".


Purge - Power and Control

In the 1970’s, students in history classes were taught about methods of maintaining power in government. One method involved the current ruling class manufacturing accusations to use as an excuse to arrest those they saw as their enemies. The method would result in the incarceration or execution of those who disagreed with the policies of the current government. We were taught that this was a tactic used by totalitarian, communist, or socialist forms of government, and that this sort of purge would never happen in a representative form of government, nor in a democracy. People subjected to a purge were often rounded up in raids.

It took a while, but when I got older I realized why Mom used to delight in hollering “raid” at the top of her lungs when chasing down a cockroach.

Purge - Making Computers Forget

During the 1980’s, computer technology advances progressed. Early computers had focused on the ability to perform complex mathematical calculations. During the 80’s, the technological improvements included advancements in computer memory. If, for some reason, a programmer wanted to destroy the contents of computer memory, they would have to follow a process called a purge. Purges were a fairly complex and tedious process with the end result of no information being retained in memory. If police sought to know what instructions were retained on a computer, they would have to conduct a raid that was quick enough to prevent a purge from occurring.

It is rumored that certain computers were regularly purged for reasons of national security and that this drove the increased excellence in performing a purge.

It is interesting that the remnant paper punch-outs of these computer instructions could be gathered up and used as confetti for parades.

Purge - Cleansing the Colon

In the 1990’s, my understanding of the various uses of the word purge increased. People developed a dieting fad where they tried to eliminate bad or fattening food from their digestive system by including laxatives as a fairly regular part of their diet. The idea was referred to as purging the system.

The process accomplishes the same thing when prescribed by a doctor, and is a fairly normal procedure before getting some surgical operations.

It is also one way to not be full of it.

The Purge: Anarchy

The Baltimore Purge

In roughly 2015, a new movie came out titled simply ‘The Purge: Anarchy’. The premise of this movie is that government allows a yearly one-night period where all enforcement of law is relaxed. All crime is legal, including murder. As you watch the trailer, you may recognize the masks. And it may provide some additional understanding of the message conveyed to our young when a published sign carried the message "All HighSchools Monday @3 We Are Going To Purge From Mondawmin To The Ave, Back To Downtown".

This happened in Baltimore, Maryland shortly before the riots of April 2015.

Following the riots, there was much discussion in the news regarding whether actions of the local government contributed in some way to the appearance that the rioters were not to be contested.

The Golden Rule

Shortly after the initial violence, I called an old friend on the phone and we talked about the 2015 destruction in Baltimore. At one point in the conversation, we discussed the term "Purge" and the use of that term in the tweet that the news agencies said had announced when and where the initial protests would begin. We also talked about how our use of language is changing. Some of us who are older are aware of how the meanings and usage of words have changed over the decades. Some of us are also aware of shorthand abbreviation terms, and seemingly innocuous usage of old terms as they are communicated in texts. Words and sentences may mean different things to different people. The differences become more exaggerated as you get older.

As a second example, consider the phrase "The Golden Rule". This term was taught to many of us in Sunday school church as being a short version of the phrase "Do unto other others as you would have done unto you:. The phrase originated with Jesus of Nazareth, over two thousand years ago, at a social gathering called "The Sermon on the Mount". The only tweets involved would have been offered by nearby winged wildlife, foraging for food. The only purge that would have been understood back then would have gone by the name "The Great Flood". Many believe the phrase "The Golden Rule" is guidance to us for how we should interact with others as we live our lives. Simple things like "Do no harm", :Help when you can".

Cartoons sometimes portray indecisive men with an image of an angel on one shoulder, and an image of a devil on another shoulder. "Do unto other others as you would have done unto you" is what you might hear when if you are listening to the angel on your shoulder talk about the Golden Rule.

But in the image where man is unsure of what path to follow as he goes forward, both shoulders are occupied. That other voice offers a different perspective to the golden Rule that sometimes get expressed as might "He who has the gold makes the rules". It is the voice people hear when they believe that the goal for life is to achieve wealth or power. Some people may hear this meaning when they hear the phrase "It is our time", then use those words to justify their subsequent acts of violence. But to those who hear the voice of the angel, the phrase "it is our time" will mean something entirely different.

Angels can be manipulated by Devils to say words that have meaning different from the message they thought they were conveying.

It is the subsequent actions that determine whether the listeners heard the voice of a devil or the voice of an angel. It is a quality of positive leadership that the meaning of a leaders words are immediately clear when stated, and a quality of negative leadership that they are deliberately ambiguous.

Which Golden Rule will be more influential as Baltimore moves forward?

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Unfair Scale


Social Justice and the Rush to Judgement

"Purge" is not the only word whose meaning has changed over the decades. The word "Justice" also no longer seems to carry the same meaning. In these times people seem to expect instant gratification to be handed to them, even on matters that they have no involvement in. True justice takes time. You have to get all the facts. You have to understand how those facts are relevant to the question at hand. If you were not there, you do not know what happened.

Seeking the truth about any given event no longer seems to be the goal in the minds of those who claim to seek justice. That old goal has been replaced by a seeming desire to rush to judgment. Unfortunately, in the rush to judgment, folks are kicking justice to the side, and enacting their judgment on innocent people. Burning down stores and burning down churches does nothing with respect to knowing the truth. In fact, once that additional violence occurs, all the resources that could have gone into finding the truth get diverted to figuring out who set the fires.

How do you hear the fairly popular chant for Justice?

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Conclusion and References

When I was still fairly new on HubPages, fellow hubber H P Roychoudhury ( asked me the question "How to judge good or bad, by word or by the act?". The question was prompted by an article I had done about why we have a popular saying here in the United States that says "Don’t Drink The Cool Aid".

This article expands on why words are not a good basis for making judgment type decisions.

© 2015 FitnezzJim


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