I picked this term up in a holocaust related book. Odessa Files in fact. Got me thinking. Does the concept of collective guilt actually exist? As in, physically and tangibly exist in this world?
The German state prohibits Holocaust denial. In effect they are committing the people of Germany to repent for the sins of their kind. The current generation; they are not involved directly in the Holocaust. But years of cramping history leads them to lower their eyes. Why? In what way are they responsible? They don't hate Jews. But it will always, always be the entire German people who will have to bear the brunt of deeds of the past.
Islamic militant groups have led to alienation of good Muslims. It is an unfair situation that honest citizens should not have to face. Why is it that Muslims have to come out today and voice their love for their country? These groups are achieving the opposite of what they are fighting for. An isolation of their community who are as much the sons of this soil as any Hindu or other religion. It has become an indirect manifestation of collective guilt - to have to prove themselves for the wrongs done by their 'brothers'. To make up for their faults.
The same could be said about Afrikaners and the Apartheid case.
Or the whites vs blacks. The support groups and special laws churned out in the favor of blacks always seem to me to be a consequence of a collective guilt of sorts. To repair the damages of years of mistreatment.
It still boils down to the same question. Theoretically collective guilt seems to be a part of our lives. But is it for real? Can an entire group of people be made to actually feel guilty, due to a select few? Does it play on their consciences? Does it hurt?
Does it exist?