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juliusbeezer : authoritarianism   67

Macron slides into authoritarian territory with new “anti-thug” law
Dubbed the “loi anti-casseur”, or “anti-thug law”, the text aims “to reinforce and guarantee law enforcement during protests”.

“Concealing one’s face without a legitimate motive” will, under the anti-thug law, be sanctioned by one year in prison and €15,000 in fines, he said. Anyone arrested will have to prove they had a good reason to be masked. The law also provides that “thugs” who break things will have to pay for them – even if they have not been obliged by a court to do so.

So let’s recap: any protester attending a march would, under this new law, be considered a potential suspect. Covering one’s face at a march (even as protection against tear gas) could result in a prison sentence. Breaking a window or a road sign could result in blacklisting on a list for wanted criminals. And representatives of the French executive branch will have the power to remove a citizen’s right to free assembly for a month, without any prior court decision.
france  politics  authoritarianism  police  law 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Why is populism booming? Today’s tech is partly to blame | Jamie Bartlett | Opinion | The Guardian
populism has two chief characteristics. First, it offers immediate and supposedly obvious answers to complicated problems, which usually blame some other group along the way. Second, it claims to represent the decent but downtrodden “people” against a corrupt and distant elite. This style and narrative can be left- as well as rightwing. Social media provide the perfect platform for both lines of attack.
politics  authoritarianism 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Why we stopped trusting elites | News | The Guardian
What the paper shows is that, where politics comes to be viewed as the domain of “insider” liars, there is a seductive authenticity, even a strange kind of honesty, about the “common knowledge” liar. The rise of highly polished, professional politicians such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton exacerbated the sense that politics is all about strategic concealment of the truth, something that the Iraq war seemed to confirm as much as anything. Trump or Farage may have a reputation for fabricating things, but they don’t (rightly or wrongly) have a reputation for concealing things, which grants them a form of credibility not available to technocrats or professional politicians.
politics  authoritarianism  agnotology 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Brexit psychology: cognitive styles and their relationship to nationalistic attitudes | LSE BREXIT
Furthermore, Structural Equation Modelling analysis demonstrated that cognitive flexibility and intolerance of ambiguity predicted individuals’ endorsement of authoritarianism, conservatism, and nationalism to a substantial degree (see Figure 3). Individuals who exhibited greater cognitive flexibility and were more tolerant of uncertainty were less likely to support authoritarian, conservative, and nationalistic attitudes. These ideological orientations in turn predicted participants’ attitudes towards Brexit, immigration, and free movement of labour, accounting for 47.6% of the variance in support for Brexit. The results suggest that cognitive thinking styles associated with processing perceptual and linguistic stimuli may also be drawn upon when individuals evaluate political and ideological arguments.
authoritarianism  psychology  uk  politics  Brexit  language 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Populism and the internet – a toxic mix shaping the age of conspiracy theories | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian
Sixty per cent of British people, for example, believe at least one conspiracy theory about how the country is run or the veracity of information citizens have been given. Britons who supported Brexit were considerably more likely to give credence to conspiracy theories than those who opposed it. Most worrying of all, though, is that 31% of Leave voters believed that Muslim immigration is part of a wider plot to make Muslims the majority in Britain, a conspiracy theory that originated in French far-right circles and is known as the “great replacement”. The comparable figure for Remain voters was 6%.

How has the internet affected all this? Our research showed that conspiracy theorists were early adopters, in that they perceived the unique usefulness of the early (pre-social media) web for people who believed propositions that would never get past the editorial gatekeepers of mainstream media. So part of the blogosphere was occupied by conspiracy theorists and what one might call conspiracist entrepreneurs: examples include those espousing the “new world order” conspiracy theory, David Icke with his “lizard” theory and Alex Jones with his InfoWars site. These and other sites became key nodes in an infrastructure of conspiracist and far-right discussion that lay beneath the radar of polite society and mainstream media.

This is probably why many people who thought about these things initially dismissed online conspiracism as a politically irrelevant phenomenon. As one cynic put it to me, at least it keeps fanatics in their pyjamas and off the streets.
internet  socialmedia  authoritarianism  uk  politics 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Half of white women continue to vote Republican. What's wrong with them? | Moira Donegan | Opinion | The Guardian
But there is something else at play, something more complicated, in white women’s relationship to white patriarchy. White women’s identity places them in a curious position at the intersection of two vectors of privilege and oppression: they are granted structural power by their race, but excluded from it by their sex. In a political system where racism and sexism are both so deeply ingrained, white women must choose to be loyal to either the more powerful aspect of their identity, their race, or to the less powerful, their sex. Some Republican white women might lean into racism not only for racism’s sake, but also as a means of avoiding or denying the realities of how sexist oppression makes them vulnerable.

In her book Right Wing Women, the feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote that conservative women often conform to the dominant ideologies of the men around them as part of a subconscious survival strategy, hoping that their conservatism will spare them from male hatred and violence.
racism  feminism  politics  us  authoritarianism 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic
I suppose that if I’m going to define nihilism as a lack of values—or to use Rauschning’s summation of Nazism, a “hostility to the things of the spirit, indifference to truth, indifference to the ethical conceptions of morality, honor, and equity”—I’m obliged to say what I mean by a value. I would call it any kind of allegiance for which you are willing to check your own desires for reasons other than pure self-interest. All values manifest themselves in restraint. You’d like to pitch out all those empty wine bottles, but you recycle them instead. You’re late for a doctor’s appointment but slow down your car so as not to hit a pedestrian crossing the street. (If your sole motivation is not to get gore on your front bumper, that is something else.) Values are by their very nature at odds with the amoral dynamism Rauschning describes; they are what applies the brakes. They also threaten the dynamism of an advanced capitalist economy by daring to suggest that something lower than the sky might be “the limit.” All the nameable avatars of the Almighty Market—pop psychology, digital fundamentalism, addictive consumption, cutthroat competition—are based on the premise that what you want is what you ought to have, and the quicker you can have it the better. By its very operation, the market inclines us away from principled restraint and toward nihilistic abandon...
A sense of radical incredulity, spectacularly typified by Trump’s refusal to believe his own intelligence services, is but one manifestation of the nihilism that brought him to power. What makes him “the real deal” in the eyes of his most ardent admirers is largely his insistence that almost everything else is fake. Like him, they know that the news is fake, the melting ice caps are fake, the purported citizenship of certain voters is fake, science is fake, social justice is fake, the whole notion of truth is fake. Whatever isn’t fake is so relative that it might as well be fake; “true for you,” maybe, but that’s as far as it goes. Among those who call themselves “believers” and are thus at least technically not nihilists, one frequently finds an obsession with apocalypse, a gleeful anticipation of the living end that will destroy the inherent fakery of all things. The social teachings of the Gospels need not trouble the Christian conscience so long as the troubles predicted in Revelation come to pass.
philosophy  authoritarianism  politics  agnotology 
october 2018 by juliusbeezer
What America Still Doesn’t Understand About Fascism
So the disappointed prole turns to fascism to restore precisely the things that capitalism took away from him — what it was impoverishing him of while he wasn’t looking. But that means that he is at the mercy of tribal logic, in all its fearfulness and cowardice and stupidity, too. The rage that should be directed at capitalism is pointed at scapegoats. The anger that should be directed at those above him is aimed below him. The contempt he should have for the rich is turned into scorn of the poor.
politics  authoritarianism  us  capitalism  racism 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
Why identity politics benefits the right more than the left | Sheri Berman | Opinion | The Guardian
Relatedly, research suggests that calling people racist when they do not see themselves that way is counterproductive. As noted above, while there surely are true bigots, studies show that not all those who exhibit intolerant behavior harbor extreme racial animus. Moreover, as Stanford psychologist Alana Conner notes, if the goal is to diminish intolerance “telling people they’re racist, sexist and xenophobic is going to get you exactly nowhere. It’s such a threatening message. One of the things we know from social psychology is when people feel threatened, they can’t change, they can’t listen.”...
Steve Bannon infamously remarked that he couldn’t “get enough” of the left’s “race-identity politics”. “The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em ... I want them to talk about race and identity … every day.”

In addition, Americans are more divided socially than they are on the issues; there is significant agreement even on controversial topics like abortion, gun control, immigration and economic policy. Promoting cross-cutting cleavages and diminishing social divisions might therefore help productive policymaking actually occur.
us  politics  authoritarianism  racism 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
I Don’t Want to Be Right | The New Yorker
Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks looked to see if political misinformation—specifically, details about who is and is not allowed to access your electronic health records—that was corrected immediately would be any less resilient than information that was allowed to go uncontested for a while. At first, it appeared as though the correction did cause some people to change their false beliefs. But, when the researchers took a closer look, they found that the only people who had changed their views were those who were ideologically predisposed to disbelieve the fact in question...

False beliefs, it turns out, have little to do with one’s stated political affiliations and far more to do with self-identity: What kind of person am I, and what kind of person do I want to be? All ideologies are similarly affected.

It’s the realization that persistently false beliefs stem from issues closely tied to our conception of self that prompted Nyhan and his colleagues to look at less traditional methods of rectifying misinformation. Rather than correcting or augmenting facts, they decided to target people’s beliefs about themselves. In a series of studies that they’ve just submitted for publication, the Dartmouth team approached false-belief correction from a self-affirmation angle, an approach that had previously been used for fighting prejudice and low self-esteem.
agnotology  psychology  authoritarianism 
january 2018 by juliusbeezer
Ur-Fascism | by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books
I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.
politics  authoritarianism  history 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Commentary: As cyclists, this is what we're up against | CyclingTips
I regularly engage with educated people who angrily refute the underlying science behind Vision Zero — 20 years of data demonstrating that slowing down vehicular traffic saves lives — in a manner that calls to mind climate change deniers brushing aside melting icecaps and madcap hurricanes. I see legions of people complaining about naughty cyclists, seemingly inured to the human costs of distracted, drunk, drugged, speeding or otherwise law-breaking drivers.

The recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, illuminated how the expression of hate — especially about race but also about religion, sexuality, gender and even political orientation — suddenly has been normalized to a disturbing degree. I see a lot of that same hate directed toward cyclists, and an equally disturbing sense of apathy in the general public about that hate. This hate is dangerous and it has consequences.
cycling  road_safety  law  authoritarianism 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Jill Lepore on the Challenge of Explaining Things | Public Books
But I’ve always been interested in the history of technology and arguments about progress. Much of my scholarship lies at the intersection of political history and the field known as the history of the book, a field whose very subjects—which include literacy and the printing press—are technologies. I have always been especially interested in technologies of evidence, communication, and surveillance, which would encompass everything from writing systems to lie detectors...
To be fair, it’s difficult not to be susceptible to technological determinism. We measure the very moments of our lives by computer-driven clocks and calendars that we keep in our pockets. I get why people think this way. Still, it’s a pernicious fallacy. To believe that change is driven by technology, when technology is driven by humans, renders force and power invisible...
I once wrote a piece about the history of the breast pump. I was using a breast pump at the time and every time I hooked myself up to that monstrosity I felt like I was in a Mary Shelley story and I wondered, “For God’s sake, how on earth did it come to this?” So I looked into it. And do you know why we have breast pumps in the United States? Because we don’t have maternity leave. Pumps are a very cheap and crappy substitute. Freeze your eggs, freeze your milk, work like a man. Phooey...
Here’s a way to think about that: what percentage of everything “published” in, say, 1952—that is, every radio and television broadcast, every magazine, newspaper, newsletter, book—was edited, in the sense that it passed through the hands of at least one person whose entire job was to consider the judiciousness and reasonableness of the argument and the quality of the evidence? Let’s say—wild guess—more than 98 percent. And how much of everything “published” in 2017—every post, comment, clip—is edited? Who knows, but let’s say, less than 2 percent. Doesn’t that explain a lot about the pickle we’re in?
editing  attention  history  breastfeeding  work  politics  authoritarianism  writing 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Reposting from a friend for all those Americans out there:
In case anyone is getting sidetracked by Russian spy drama and the 'Obama bugging', meanwhile the following bills have been introduced:

1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
attention  agnotology  authoritarianism  us  politics 
march 2017 by juliusbeezer
Scientists Discover An Environmental Message That Resonates With Conservatives  | GOOD
A recent experiment asked self-identified liberals and conservatives what they would do with a $0.50 donation they had to give to an environmental charity. One charity’s focus was on reinstating a healthier Earth from the past, while the other emphasized preventing future environmental degradation.

The study found that conservatives were much more inclined to donate to the charity whose messaging emphasized restoring the Earth to its past state. This new data gives scientists a way to frame climate change information to make it more appealing to conservatives. This type of messaging embraces the conservative value of preserving the past while mitigating their skepticism towards change. Who knows, maybe if climate scientists started wearing red hats that said “MAKE EARTH GREAT AGAIN,” conservatives might really start paying attention.
politics  authoritarianism  environment  climatechange 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
Stop comparing Trump to foreign leaders. He’s a distinctly American phenomenon - LA Times
The “Trump is like Bad Leader X” take is popular, above all, because it offends no one while indulging American exceptionalism.

And yet, foreign leader analogies notwithstanding, Trump’s agenda is largely the same as the broader Republican Party; his rise, moreover, was the logical manifestation of the xenophobic, “insurgent” tea party movement — funded and supported not by foreign governments, but by entirely domestic billionaires.

There’s a reason why Republican senators from John McCain to Marco Rubio have voted to confirm Trump’s nominees: They basically agree with him.
us  politics  authoritarianism  racism 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
I Gave Trump a Chance -- and Lost - Bloomberg View
As a matter of logic, those positions can support the same conclusion about giving Trump a chance. But for rhetorical purposes we sounded like two attorneys defending a man accused of murder -- one arguing it's a case of mistaken identity, he wasn't even there; the other saying, yes he was the shooter, but acted in self-defense. In short, guilty.

I stand by my view on what I think is the main point. There are essentially two strategies for opposing Trump. One is to energize the Democratic base to higher and higher levels of outrage, and the other is to peel away reluctant Trumpers, drawing them back to normal politics. At this rate, Trump may send a lot of his voters back to the side of rational politics all by himself. But if his critics want to spur that process, they should be calmer and more disciplined in their attacks -- and when he does something right, be willing to say so.
us  politics  authoritarianism 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did. - The Washington Post
The recipe for populism is universal. Find a wound common to many, find someone to blame for it, and make up a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Caricature them. As vermin, evil masterminds, haters and losers, you name it. Then paint yourself as the savior. Capture the people’s imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a tale. One that starts with anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.
politics  authoritarianism 
january 2017 by juliusbeezer
In Defense of Anarchism | The Anarchist Library
This essay on the foundations of the authority of the state marks a stage in the development of my concern with problems of political authority and moral autonomy. When I first became deeply interested in the subject, I was quite confident that I could find a satisfactory justification for the traditional democratic doctrine to which I rather unthinkingly gave my allegiance. Indeed, during my first year as a member of the Columbia University Philosophy Department, I taught a course on political philosophy in which I boldly announced that I would formulate and then solve the fundamental problem of political philosophy. I had no trouble formulating the problem — roughly speaking, how the moral autonomy of the individual can be made compatible with the legitimate authority of the state. I also had no trouble refuting a number of supposed solutions which had been put forward by various theorists of the democratic state. But midway through the semester, I was forced to go before my class, crestfallen and very embarrassed, to announce that I had failed to discover the grand solution.

At first, as I struggled with this dilemma, I clung to the conviction that a solution lay just around the next conceptual corner. When I read papers on the subject to meetings at various universities, I was forced again and again to represent myself as searching for a theory which I simply could not find. Little by little, I began to shift the emphasis of my exposition. Finally — whether from philosophical reflection, or simply from chagrin — I came to the realization that I was really defending the negative rather than looking for the positive. My failure to find any theoretical justification for the authority of the state had convinced me that there was no justification. In short, I had become a philosophical anarchist.

The first chapter of this essay formulates the problem as I originally posed it to myself more than five years ago. The second chapter explores the classical democratic solution to the problem and exposes the inadequacy of the usual majoritarian model of the democratic state. The third chapter sketches, in a rather impressionistic, Hegelian way, the reasons for my lingering hope that a solution can be found; it concludes with some brief, quite Utopian suggestions of ways in which an anarchic society might actually function.
politics  authoritarianism  anarchism  philosophy 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Stereotypes Are Poisoning American Politics - Bloomberg View
The crucial point is that all these stereotypes purport to be findings. In fact, they're the opposite: a refusal to see vast individual variation within groups...
One of the greatest insights of economics is that individual incentives work while group rewards and punishments don’t. Collective guilt doesn't work to change anyone's behavior. In the end, collective guilt, fashioned from bogus analysis and delight in stereotypes, is mere slander. It's a formula for constant antagonism and it's poisoning American politics.
racism  politics  agnotology  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
A Yale history professor's 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency — Quartz
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today:
1. Do not obey in advance.
us  politics  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
A short critique of Stallmanism
To primarily tech-savvy free software users, this might appear not to be true: we indeed have a choice regarding software we want to use. But again, underlying logic here is that of individualism. We ought to look at software not as mere isolated commodities among which we can freely pick, but rather as a social phenomena: defined by its production, usage, and its function in society. It then becomes clear that as the fruits of programmers' labor are essentially closed down and rented to the rest of society, that society is not free.

This type rhetoric breeds elitism (perceived or actual): we give off the message, implicitly, that using free software makes us more virtuous than those who don't. To the outsider, our demands can then seem as mere expressions of personal preference, in the best case, or, attacks on their own preferences, in the worst -- even though our motivations really may lie in the desire for commonly owned software.
freesoftware  opensource  psychology  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Facts, frames & “post-truth” politics | N E W S • F R A M E S • • • • •
When a person’s conceptual frames don’t mesh well with evidential “reality”, the evidence that doesn’t fit the frame will likely be ignored, overlooked or dismissed. This way of “thinking” differs fundamentally from the classical view of “reason” as applied empirically (eg in scientific method) – in which factual evidence is allowed to challenge, refute and ultimately transform our beliefs about the world.

The lesson from this is that publicising the facts about any issue may not be sufficient to change people’s minds. And no political viewpoint has a monopoly on “objectivity”. Everyone tends to ignore or dismiss the facts which are inconvenient to their worldviews. And everyone tends to find an abundance of “evidence” or “proof” which supports their worldviews. These processes occur because of the way our brains conceptualise with metaphors and frames – resulting in the creation of our personal reality-tunnels, to which we become “attached” (in a physical sense, neurologically)...
As Lakoff et al point out, we don’t think in terms of neutral “facts” – our thoughts aren’t strung-together facts. We require frames to provide “meaning” to facts. Journalists instinctively know this; much of the “news” is presented as narrative frames – taking the form of a story (often with simplistic attribution of causes, heroes and villains, crisis, drama, etc).

How we tend to frame events will depend on our worldviews, our hierarchies of values, etc. Inevitably this will bring into play the “deep” moral frame structures in our psyches. When we read a newspaper story, however, a frame has already been selected for us in advance.
news  psychology  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think
The main point I want to make is that you, dear reader, are almost certainly in the top category of computer skills, level 3. In the United States, only 5% of the population has these high computer skills. In Australia and the UK 6% are at this level; in Canada and across Northern Europe the number increases to 7%; Singapore and Japan are even better with a level-3 percentage of 8%.

Overall, people with strong technology skills make up a 5–8% sliver of their country’s population, whatever rich country they may be coming from. Go back to the OECD’s definition of the level-3 skills, quoted above. Consider defining your goals based on implicit criteria. Or overcoming unexpected outcomes and impasses while using the computer. Or evaluating the relevance and reliability of information in order to discard distractors. Do these sound like something you are capable of? Of course they do.

What’s important is to remember that 95% of the population in the United States (93% in Northern Europe; 92% in rich Asia) cannot do these things.

You can do it; 92%–95% of the population can’t.
software  psychology  authoritarianism  informationmastery  digitalhumanities 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Climate Change Denial
In my book, Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, I argued that climate change exists for us in the form of socially constructed narratives built upon our values and identity. It is these narratives- not the underlying science or even the evidence of our own eyes- that leads us to accept or reject the issue.

Unfortunately one of the dominant values in the climate movement is a disregard , if not outright contempt, for the right-leaning mainstream and their concerns. Activists often talk with disgust of the selfishness, greed and stupidity of conservatives. This is intolerant and unpleasant. The denigration conveniently ignores the diversity of opinion and life experience among conservatives. A struggling rural family, an elderly Christian on a small pension, a community shopkeeper and a Wall Street Banker are combined into one faceless enemy.
climatechange  communication  psychology  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
The populist moment | openDemocracy
To address this situation, it is essential to discard the simplistic vision of the media, presenting populism as mere demagogy, and adopt an analytical perspective. I propose to follow Ernesto Laclau, who defines populism as a way to construct the political by establishing a political frontier that divides society into two camps, appealing to the mobilization of the 'underdog' against ‘those in power’.

Populism is not an ideology or a political regime, and cannot be attributed to a specific programmatic content. It is compatible with different forms of government. It is a way of doing politics which can take various forms, depending on the periods and the places. It emerges when one aims at building a new subject of collective action –the people– capable of reconfiguring a social order lived as unfair.

Examined from this standpoint, Europe’s recent success of populist forms of politics is the expression of a crisis of liberal-democratic politics.
politics  authoritarianism 
december 2016 by juliusbeezer
Potential Trump Pick for Homeland Security Wants to Send up to 1 Million People to Gitmo | Mother Jones
Donald Trump was scheduled to meet Monday with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., a Trump supporter and surrogate during the campaign who is now reportedly being considered to head the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke is known for his extreme views on policing—including his conviction that there is a war on cops but no police brutality—and for his attacks on Black Lives Matter. One of his most out-there positions: suspend the constitutional rights of up to a million people, and hold them indefinitely at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
us  politics  authoritarianism 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
‘Alt-right’ online poison nearly turned me into a racist | Anonymous | Opinion | The Guardian
This, I think, is where YouTube’s “suggested videos” can lead you down a rabbit hole. Moving on from Harris, I unlocked the Pandora’s box of “It’s not racist to criticise Islam!” content. Eventually I was introduced, by YouTube algorithms, to Milo Yiannopoulos and various “anti-SJW” videos (SJW, or social justice warrior, is a pejorative directed at progressives). They were shocking at first, but always presented as innocuous criticism from people claiming to be liberals themselves, or centrists, sometimes “just a regular conservative” – but never, ever identifying as the dreaded “alt-right”.

For three months I watched this stuff grow steadily more fearful of Islam. “Not Muslims,” they would usually say, “individual Muslims are fine.” But Islam was presented as a “threat to western civilisation”.
socialmedia  religion  authoritarianism  psychology 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
John Oliver: Facebook Is a 'Cesspool of Nonsense'
Oliver points out how much social media swayed this past election in Trump’s favor. When 62 percent of Americans get their news from social media, and a huge swath of what circulates on social platforms is demonstrably false, the electorate is no longer sure what qualifies as factual.

He also cites research from Buzzfeed news which showed that 38 percent of right-leaning news stories and 19 percent of left-leaning news stories on Facebook contained inaccuracies or falsehoods.
facebook  news  politics  us  socialmedia  authoritarianism 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
What Facebook’s Fake News Problem Really Means for You – Medium
According to BuzzFeed News, one Macedonian town alone has 140 U.S. political websites. These sites don’t act pro-Trump as much as just follow the action. They learned that Trump supporters crave sensationalist headlines that support their theories and beliefs. In other words, they want to hear what they want to hear and will look for proof in support of it. Democrats apparently don’t take the same bait. According to Gizmodo, 38 percent of right-leaning news stories on Facebook contained inaccuracies or falsehoods as compared to 19 percent of left-leaning news stories. Even worse, those numbers skyrocketed for Trump during the lead-up to the presidential election.

One interesting point worth mentioning here is how Facebook even knows and categorizes you in the first place, whether you are a liberal or conservative. Yes, that’s right, they do this. In certain instances, people identify themselves as such. But in most cases, the platform identifies your political leanings based on pages you like, topics you discuss, and your interests. It’s another piece of what I call your permanent record, that nasty trail of thousands of bits of information about you that aggregated into your permanent data packet. That information then gets plugged into an algorithm to flood you with content in alignment with your perceived beliefs, skewing your perception of the world.
facebook  journalism  authoritarianism  psychology  politics 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Autocracy: Rules for Survival | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality... Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures.

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line.

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever.
authoritarianism  politics 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
How do you feel? Don’t ask. – Election Data
What the Remain campaign missed, and what data and polling often misses, is how people think and feel. I believe the same thing happened to Owen Smith in the summer and has just happened to Hillary Clinton in America. It’s the so-called progressive side of the aisle which has forgotten how to speak to people’s base emotions. It is they who still regale the audience with facts (apparently clear facts!) whilst Farage waves a passport. The left are repulsed by such imagery; UKIP know it. It is the progressives who hold dull press events about Corbyn’s inability to win elections whilst Corbyn holds mass rallies where logic gives way to emotion. Which is right? That’s less important to me than which has won. 2015, Corbyn, Brexit, Corbyn II, Trump. I make it 5-nil to emotion...
I won’t make the same mistake again. The key learning of the last year or so has been that the communication of effective emotional messages is currently beating data alone. This is particularly true in the age of social media which is effectively a delivery system for emotional weapons. Allied to which there is more volatility in our politics than there has ever been. Voter retention is weaker than ever, particularly on the left. Rich pickings for any party which knows the personality types of its voters and taps into base emotional instincts with effective messaging around issues they know the left are too feeble to confront. It doesn’t have to be this way.
politics  psychology  eu  us  uk  authoritarianism 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Inside the Failing Mission to Tame Donald Trump’s Tongue - The New York Times
Advisers who once hoped a Pygmalion-like transformation would refashion a crudely effective political showman into a plausible American president now increasingly concede that Mr. Trump may be beyond coaching. He has ignored their pleas and counsel as his poll numbers have dropped, boasting to friends about the size of his crowds and maintaining that he can read surveys better than the professionals.
us  politics  authoritarianism 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
How Donald Trump Lost His Mojo - Rolling Stone
Last October, when Trump was an ascendant circus act whose every move mesmerized the global media, the Boston Globe did a linguistic analysis of the GOP field. The paper discovered that loserific hopefuls like Jim Gilmore and Mike Huckabee were speaking above the 10th-grade level. But Trump was crushing the competition using the language of a fourth-grader, below all of his competitors, including Ben Carson (sixth grade) and Ted Cruz (ninth grade).

It was a key to his success. In an era when the public above all hates professional politicians, Trump came off as un- rehearsed and genuine. He was a lout and a monster, but at least he was ad-libbed.
language  politics  us  authoritarianism 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Donald Trump 2016: The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter - POLITICO Magazine
Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, my poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.

Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.
authoritarianism  politics  psychology 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
The Invisible Visible Man: A British Stand-off, an Unbridged Divide - and Why it's Time for Cycle Campaigners to Change the Conversation
cyclists, for most people, seem like a strange, alien species, taking unfathomable risks yet somehow eager to suck other, new people into participating in their strange mode of transport. The reminder was all the more stark because it was clear that neither of my interlocutors were people of ill will. They thought their frustration over growing cyclist numbers and efforts to facilitate cycling was simple common sense.

It is unsurprising to me that the many people who hold such views see dedicating road space that was previously mainly used by motor vehicles to cycling as a strange, ideologically extreme act. The Swiss Cottage demonstrators were portraying Transport for London’s determination to put in more facilities to encourage cycling as a bizarre, politically-driven effort to punish ordinary people. For many New Yorkers, the notion that a person might ride a bike to work is entirely crazy. That bikes to allow people to do so are now taking up what used to be their normal parking space must seem like a personal insult.
cycling  authoritarianism  politics  uk 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Taking Trump voters’ concerns seriously means listening to what they’re actually saying - Vox
The message this research sends is very, very clear. There is a segment of the Republican Party that is opposed to racial equality. It has increased in numbers in reaction to the election of a black president. The result was that an anti–racial equality candidate won the Republican nomination.

Given that the US is one recession away from a Republican winning the presidency, this is a concerning development.
Taking Trump supporters seriously means not pretending their concerns are about the economy
us  politics  authoritarianism  racism 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb. – Medium
As any debate club veteran knows, if you can’t make your opponent’s point for them, you don’t truly grasp the issue. We can bemoan political gridlock and a divisive media all we want. But we won’t truly progress as individuals until we make an honest effort to understand those that are not like us. And you won’t convince anyone to feel the way you do if you don’t respect their position and opinions.

A dare for the next time you’re in discussion with someone you disagree with: Don’t try to “win.” Don’t try to “convince” anyone of your viewpoint. Don’t score points by mocking them to your peers. Instead try to “lose.” Hear them out. Ask them to convince you and mean it. No one is going to tell your environmentalist friends that you merely asked follow up questions after your brother made his pro-fracking case.
philosophy  psychology  authoritarianism 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Why They Invaded | Jacobin
The people able to judge its reliability would take it out. Most of that absolute dross — including the stuff that was taken from somebody’s PhD research [to support claims of WMD] — would have got filtered out.

But there was so much knowledge in the system that the government was already committed to war — and frankly, everyone knew that they were absolutely determined — that people took off the filters. So intelligence that was obvious nonsense was let through...
If I think about the torture and extraordinary rendition over which I resigned, for example, there were hundreds of UK officials implicated. Hundreds of people knew that people were being shipped around the world to be tortured.

But as far as I know, I was the only person who entered in writing a formal objection to getting intelligence from torture. And even though, from those hundreds of people, I know that most of them were against torture personally, nobody was actually prepared to lose their jobs to prevent it.
iraq  war  chilcot  torture  authoritarianism 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Peter E. Gordon — The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump | boundary 2
Just a few months ago, in mid-January, 2016, the online magazine Politico published a report with the title: “One Weird Trait that Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter.”

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated? You’d be wrong. In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism. That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations...
And yet it seems fair to say that the very notion of an authoritarian personality or character worked against sociological explanation, discouraging an account of individual human psychology as a social artifact. Instead of enforcing a dialectical image of the relation between the psychological and the social, it tended to reify the psychological as the antecedent condition, thereby diminishing what was for critical theory a sine qua non for all interdisciplinary labor joining sociology to psychoanalysis. The recent work by MacWilliams (which reflects formidable research effort and should not be lightly dismissed) would appear to reflect this understanding of psychology as the prior explanatory variable because of the way it tries to isolate “authoritarianism,” as if it were a stable category for sociological analysis prior to other affiliations or identifying social factors...
It should not surprise us that the collaborative research team did not include these remarks in the published text of The Authoritarian Personality. For if Adorno was right, then the very notion of individual psychology had to be treated with deepest skepticism. Even psychoanalysis in his view promoted the model of an integrated and separable personality, but while this expressed the sociological truth of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie it was no longer adequate for understanding the dynamics of a fully integrated modern social order. In this respect even psychoanalysis was objectively false and, in cleaving to a model of autonomous depth, it was ideological in the technical sense.
philosophy  sociology  psychology  politics  theory  authoritarianism 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
How facts backfire - The Boston Globe
It appears that misinformed people often have some of the strongest political opinions. A striking recent example was a study done in the year 2000, led by James Kuklinski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He led an influential experiment in which more than 1,000 Illinois residents were asked questions about welfare — the percentage of the federal budget spent on welfare, the number of people enrolled in the program, the percentage of enrollees who are black, and the average payout. More than half indicated that they were confident that their answers were correct — but in fact only 3 percent of the people got more than half of the questions right...
There is a substantial body of psychological research showing that people tend to interpret information with an eye toward reinforcing their preexisting views. If we believe something about the world, we are more likely to passively accept as truth any information that confirms our beliefs, and actively dismiss information that doesn’t. This is known as “motivated reasoning.” Whether or not the consistent information is accurate, we might accept it as fact, as confirmation of our beliefs. This makes us more confident in said beliefs, and even less likely to entertain facts that contradict them...
One avenue may involve self-esteem. Nyhan worked on one study in which he showed that people who were given a self-affirmation exercise were more likely to consider new information than people who had not. In other words, if you feel good about yourself, you’ll listen — and if you feel insecure or threatened, you won’t. This would also explain why demagogues benefit from keeping people agitated. The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to dissenting opinions, and the more easily controlled they are.
psychology  agnotology  authoritarianism 
august 2016 by juliusbeezer
Does Engineering Education Breed Terrorists? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
And countries with relatively robust economies, like Malaysia, India, and Indonesia, had greater than expected numbers of engineers who became jihadists. Something else has to be at work.

Gambetta and Hertog turned to another discipline: psychology.

They focused on three traits. One is the need for cognitive closure, or a preference for order and distaste for ambiguity. Scholars like John T. Jost, Arie W. Kruglanski, and Jonathan Haidt have documented high levels of this trait among politically conservative voters. These groups, Gambetta and Hertog write, also have two other tendencies: They accept prevailing hierarchies and, when confronted with the unfamiliar, they experience high levels of disgust.

The authors observe that these traits are also central to radical Islamist ideology. Did engineers have them, too?

Gambetta and Hertog chose proxy measures for these traits among Western European, male college graduates polled by the European Social Survey. The need for closure and embrace of hierarchy, for example, were correlated with survey questions that elicited opinions on social norms, immigrants, income inequality, and the likeliness of a terrorist attack. Disgust was indexed to how likely respondents were to disagree that "gays are free to live as they wish."

Economics graduates often topped the list, the authors found, but engineering students most consistently scored higher across all of the measures.
authoritarianism  psychology  politics 
march 2016 by juliusbeezer
American aphanisis: in search of Donald Trump | Idiot Joy Showland
Sometimes people will try to defend Trump from accusations of fascism by pointing out that he doesn’t have any consistent politics, he’s only saying whatever will appease his reactionary base and whatever will provoke the media into giving him attention. Actually, they’ve just unwittingly stumbled on a fairly decent definition of what fascism actually is. All he does is gather up what’s already there, below the surface of things, and what’s below the surface is fascist ideology. As Ishay Landa and others have pointed out, it’s not heterogeneous to liberalism, but forms one of liberalism’s defence mechanisms, something that prickles up when class society finds itself under threat. Before the death camps there had to be colonial genocide and the Fordist assembly line; none of these things are intelligible without the others. We’re already living under fascism: all that violence and horror is a byproduct of the production process, it’s always been and always is latent to the capitalist order. Latent, in the full Freudian sense of the word: as in the latency period in psychosexual development, the false pause in which the same oedipalised energies of the initial stages are redirected outwards into the world, the repressive repression of that which is itself repressive – and as the latent content, the hidden content masked by the dream-work. And we are not awake.
writing  authoritarianism  politics  us 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Rock Gods, Teachers and Learner Autonomy
The impact that a teacherly teacher can have has been overstated. It is overstated not only in relation to the effect of the impersonal structures of the school system, but also in relation to the deleterious effects of forces cynically organised and deployed outside school. Bowie is exemplary.

He described himself as a “rock god”. Pop is not just entertainment; nor is it simply naked commercial exploitation; it is theology. Pop erects divinities. The worst of the teacherly teachers never managed to have his students erect an altar in his name...

Teachers are demonised as the commanders of children. “Sit down! Stand up! Speak! Be silent!” But by the time the children begin thinking about who the real commanders are and who deserves authority and who doesn’t, the teacher has already been dismissed. Just as teachers win no space on the bedroom wall, they command no belief whatsoever; they are merely tolerated. An education in the tolerance of an unquestionable power is a terrible thing, but it’s effect on the spontaneous self-reliance of the student is as nothing in comparison to the unquestioned power of the pop space commanders persuading young people that their proper role in life is that of a cadet in a pop army – an army fighting, not the evil in the world, but merely the perceived dreariness of everyday life.
education  music  authoritarianism 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Making a murderer with Derren Brown
Derren reveals that he re-enacted the scenario four times. All three of the other subjects push Bernie from the roof. We see footage of all faux-murders. The “killers” shake and cry. Bernie is, in fact, attached to a harness (Brown presumably decided that actual murders might be going too far).

These are not evil people. They are people-pleasers who have people-pleased their way to committing (fake) homicide. They are all shaken by the experience.
authoritarianism  television 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently – Brain Pickings
How to compose a successful critical commentary:

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
psychology  communication  authoritarianism  philosophy 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. - F1000Prime
Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.
philosophy  psychology  authoritarianism  agnotology 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
Sun takes down story claiming reporter travelled from Turkey without passport | Media | The Guardian
A Sun story claiming its reporter managed to smuggle himself undetected from Turkey to France contained false claims, according to the Croatian government, which produced a picture of the passport it said he was asked to present at its borders.

The newspaper said its reporter, Emile Ghessen, had managed to evade all security checks during a six-day, 2,000-mile journey along a refugee trail from Turkey into western Europe.

The Croatian interior ministry said that the reporter’s documents had been checked twice by its officials – once when he entered Croatia and a second time when he left.
journalism  authoritarianism  agnotology  newspapers 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
America: Your Solidarity with Paris is Embarrassingly Misguided
Yes, I mourn for Paris. But I do so while weeping in shame at the deplorable supercilious judgment ensconced in Western reaction to it; for countless pitiable xenophobes and their endless vapid justifications; for arrogant commentary from politicians and their media mouthpieces with their embarrassing post-tragedy clamoring to exploit ignorant heartstrings for the appropriate victims; for the endless War of Terror — and the service members who somehow haven’t yet deduced that this would ALL END if they simply refused to fucking fight.
politics  authoritarianism  facebook  ParisAttacks 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Can psychology help solve long-running conflicts? - BBC News
Contact theory, self-criticism, understanding sacred values and perceptions of fairness: these are no panacea for settling conflict, but they do offer a greater insight into what motivates enmity, and so how it might be diminished and overcome.

They could be psychologically useful levers in the pursuit of peace.
psychology  authoritarianism  education 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
I asked psychologists to analyze Trump supporters. This is what I learned. - The Washington Post
"Most of the electorate would not pass a test on what anybody's positions are on anything," he said. "Nobody cares." Conservative voters, for instance, seem not to mind Trump's favorable comments on national health insurance and eminent domain.

What can win over voters is what Pfeffer called "narcissism."

"They're responding to dynamism, to force, to movement, to smiling, to facial expressions that convey authority," he said. Trump "does it with more force. He does it with more energy. Energy is contagious."

Arie Kruglanski, a psychologist at the University of Maryland, compares Trump's campaign to President Obama's in 2008. The two men have different styles, but both have animated their supporters with confident claims about the future.

"It's the audacity of those promises in those circumstances that really carries a lot of weight," Kruglanski said, "and it's the emotional, as opposed to the kind of deliberative, rational appeal that carries the day."
politics  us  psychology  authoritarianism 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Coup de gueule sur l'immigration : la lettre "cash" d'une jeune femme à ses amis Facebook | Buzzly
Suite à de nombreux messages racistes qui pullulent sur ma timeline facebook, un grand nettoyage s’impose, mais avant je vais quand même me permettre de dire le fond de ma pensée avant de vous dire au revoir définitivement. vous qui semblez découvrir soudainement la question des réfugiés et qui déplorez qu’ "on ne peut pas accueillir toute la misère du monde", imaginez-vous un instant, la guerre qui survient dans votre petite vie confortable. Imaginez-vous, presque du jour au lendemain, les bombes, les snipers dans les rues, votre maison rasée. Les milices et autres organisations terroristes qui se greffent là-dessus et les exactions qui commencent. Vos amis qui disparaissent et que vous ne revoyez plus. Et puis vous entendez parler des viols. Vous pensez à votre mère, à votre soeur, à votre femme. D’un coup, votre position sociale, votre métier ou votre argent, personne n’en a plus rien à foutre. Vous n’avez plus qu’une manière d’être protégé : fuir.
france  politics  authoritarianism  refugees 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
How to respond to learning-style believers
n Urban Myths about Learning and Education, the authors suggest that these myths could be a type of moral panic. In a moral panic, believers claim that there are stark differences between groups of people and that only moral people care about these differences.

Emotions can run high thanks to the believer’s moral commitment. For example, imagine that I believe in learning styles and I’m a member of a team on an elearning project. I notice that no one is planning any narration, so I say earnestly, “Don’t forget the auditory learners!” Someone else says, “Oh, that’s all been debunked.”

I’ve never heard that before. How might I respond?

“Are they saying I’m an idiot?” I think. “I’m not! I care about the learners! The team is just finding excuses to take shortcuts. They don’t care about the learners like I do!” So I fight back, maybe by debating learning styles or just resisting others’ ideas.

This is the “worldview backfire effect,” according to the authors of The Debunking Handbook, available for free from
learning  education  authoritarianism  attention 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
Sunday Times Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst
Ponder how dumb someone has to be at this point to read an anonymous government accusation, made with zero evidence, and accept it as true.

I would like to speak up on behalf of the majority who accepts the government accusations at face value. While most of us are indeed dumb, many others are simply too busy to examine the claims and others have a vested interest in supporting the government for other reasons. While argument from authority may be represented as a logical fallacy, the simple fact is that most people form their opinions by choosing who to believe. When someone makes an assertion, if they are wearing a three piece suit, I assume the statement is true. Others may assume on the same basis that the statement is false.

Is this dumb, or just a convenient decision making shortcut in a world filled with so much information that no one can process it all? Those who insist on examining the evidence inevitably suffer from paralyzation by analysis.

The government knows this, and therefore will continue to make assertions and, out of respect for the general public, provide zero evidence – knowing that evidence would just confuse the issue. In sum, they do this to help us.

It may be true that you can’t fool all of the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country
Will Durant
authoritarianism  politics  commenting  funny 
june 2015 by juliusbeezer
KKK Member Walks up to Black Musician in Bar-but It’s Not a Joke, and What Happens Next Will Astound You
That friendship would lead Davis on a path almost unimaginable to most folks. Today, Davis is not only a musician, he is a person who befriends KKK members and, as a result, collects the robes and hoods of Klansmen who choose to leave the organization because of their friendship with him.

The road to these close and authentic friendships, Davis says, involved a lot of learning on his part. He’d had racist experiences and had long wanted to write a book about race relations, but hadn’t had the opportunity to sit down and talk to a Klansman. His upbringing was extremely diverse, and his first experience with organized racism was a shock.
authoritarianism  racism  psychology  politics  us 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Rethinking One of Psychology's Most Infamous Experiments - The Atlantic
Research is done, becomes famous, but then can never be repeated for ethical reasons:

"Australian author and psychologist Gina Perry, who documented her experience tracking down Milgram’s research participants in her 2013 book Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments. Her project began as an effort to write about the experiments from the perspective of the participants—but when she went back through the archives to confirm some of their stories, she said, she found some glaring issues with Milgram’s data. Among her accusations: that the supervisors went off script in their prods to the teachers, that some of the volunteers were aware that the setup was a hoax, and that others weren’t debriefed on the whole thing until months later. “My main issue is that methodologically, there have been so many problems with Milgram’s research that we have to start re-examining the textbook descriptions of the research,” she said.

But many psychologists argue that even with methodological holes and moral lapses, the basic finding of Milgram’s work, the rate of obedience, still holds up. Because of the ethical challenge of reproducing the study, the idea survived for decades on a mix of good faith and partial replications"
psychology  authoritarianism  ethics  science  ebm  agnotology 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
Chris Hedges: Killing Ragheads for Jesus - Chris Hedges - Truthdig
There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book...
“American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire...
“The movie never asks... why the people of Iraq are fighting back against us in the very first place,” said Mikey Weinstein, whom I reached by phone in New Mexico. Weinstein, who worked in the Reagan White House and is a former Air Force officer, is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which challenges the growing Christian fundamentalism within the U.S. military. “It made me physically ill with its twisted, totally one-sided distortions of wartime combat ethics and justice woven into the fabric of Chris Kyle’s personal and primal justification mantra of ‘God-Country-Family.’ It is nothing less than an odious homage, indeed a literal horrific hagiography to wholesale slaughter.”

Weinstein noted that the embrace of extreme right-wing Christian chauvinism, or Dominionism, which calls for the creation of a theocratic “Christian” America, is especially acute among elite units such as the SEALs and the Army Special Forces.
propaganda  war  us  religion  authoritarianism 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
Far too many Western Muslims speak of freedom as a sin - Comment - Voices - The Independent
After my book Refusing the Veil came out last year, some female Muslim acquaintances organised a soiree for me to read from it and discuss its contents. These were reasonable, educated women. Here are some of the comments made:

“Why did you have to write this; who gave you permission?”

“Even to think these thoughts is wrong, and you go and publish them? If you were in a Muslim country you would be in jail.”

“If your mother was alive she would have slapped you for writing this.”

When I replied that my mother refused the veil when she was 22, the woman came back: “Then I feel sorry for you. She was the sinner and she made you one too.”

“OK I have not read the book because it will dirty my pure thoughts, but if you are a Muslim, you follow Islamic rules without question. Are you even a Muslim?”

Only two out of 14 women defended my right to write the book. But then said they could never challenge Islamic practices so openly.
politics  authoritarianism  freedom  religion  feminism 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
We Are All Confident Idiots - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
it’s best not to repeat common misbeliefs at all. Telling people that Barack Obama is not a Muslim fails to change many people’s minds, because they frequently remember everything that was said—except for the crucial qualifier “not.” Rather, to successfully eradicate a misbelief requires not only removing the misbelief, but filling the void left behind (“Obama was baptized in 1988 as a member of the United Church of Christ”). If repeating the misbelief is absolutely necessary, researchers have found it helps to provide clear and repeated warnings that the misbelief is false. I repeat, false.

The most difficult misconceptions to dispel, of course, are those that reflect sacrosanct beliefs. And the truth is that often these notions can’t be changed. Calling a sacrosanct belief into question calls the entire self into question, and people will actively defend views they hold dear. This kind of threat to a core belief, however, can sometimes be alleviated by giving people the chance to shore up their identity elsewhere.
For example, in a study conducted by Geoffrey Cohen, David Sherman, and other colleagues, self-described American patriots were more receptive to the claims of a report critical of U.S. foreign policy if, beforehand, they wrote an essay about an important aspect of themselves, such as their creativity, sense of humor, or family, and explained why this aspect was particularly meaningful to them. In a second study, in which pro-choice college students negotiated over what federal abortion policy should look like, participants made more concessions to restrictions on abortion after writing similar self-affirmative essays.
agnotology  psychology  authoritarianism  politics 
november 2014 by juliusbeezer
The Blog That Peter Wrote @PME2014: UKIP: Our Last Hope
the language that UKIP supporters use on social media, and the psyche of fear that appears to motivate them.... a brick wall of willful, entrenched ignorance, fear and always an underlying belief that the English are somehow superior. It's as if decades of scare-mongering in the right wing tabloid press has finally soaked in and nothing will dissipate it. It's pure emotional reaction and the language reflects it. Let's not doubt it, though: there's real anger, and there's real fear amongst many of these people.
==>another discussion in need of a reference to Bob Altemayer's The Authoritarians.
racism  politics  authoritarianism  dccomment 
may 2014 by juliusbeezer
How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian - Bloomberg
Societies can benefit a lot from paranoid libertarians. Even if their apocalyptic warnings are wildly overstated, they might draw attention to genuine risks, or at least improve public discussion. But as a general rule, paranoia isn’t a good foundation for public policy, even if it operates in freedom’s name.
politics  psychology  authoritarianism  anarchism  paranoia 
january 2014 by juliusbeezer
Obama: a GOP president should have rules limiting the kill list | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free |
It is literally impossible to conceive of any mindset more at odds with these basic principles than the one that urges that Barack Obama - unlike George Bush or Mitt Romney or whoever the scary GOP villain of the day is - can be trusted to unilaterally and secretly kill or imprison or surveil anyone he wants because he is a Good man and a trustworthy leader and therefore his unproven accusations should be assumed true. But this is, overwhelmingly, the warped and authoritarian sentiment that now prevails in the bulk of the Democratic Party and its self-identified "progressive" faction, just as it did in the GOP and its conservative wing for eight years.
authoritarianism  politics 
november 2012 by juliusbeezer
Climate Change Denial: Who can you trust when you don’t trust yourself? « Small Epiphanies
GP Wayne muses on the personalities behind the denier comments on CiF, to good effect. I for some reason feel motivated to educate him.
jbcomment  climatechange  authoritarianism  philosophy  science 
june 2011 by juliusbeezer
Public Parts: atomize & reform « BuzzMachine
Technology is forcing us to question centuries-old assumptions about the roles of the individual and society: our rights, privileges, powers, responsibilities, concerns, and prospects. That describes nothing so much as the process of modernization. In ancient times, Richard Sennett says in The Fall of Public Man, “public experience was connected to the formation of social order”—that is, the end of anarchy. In recent centuries, being public “came to be connected with the formation of personality”—that is, with our individuality and freedom. Ancient and authoritarian regimes told people what they must think and do; modern societies enable and ennoble citizens to do what they want to do, alone and together.
internet  twitter  jarvis  politics  psychology  authoritarianism 
february 2011 by juliusbeezer
The Authoritarians
I keep referring people back to Bob Altemeyer's book. Essential reading for all those who would answer the question: "Why do people support political decisions that are not in their own economic interest?" (A: Authoritarian/racist/out_group_scapegoater personality is defence mechanism for the intellectually less well-endowed in a world of competing truths. Best remedies: higher education, social integration programmes that do not allow dehumanising thoughts to persist thanks to presence of the other in human situations)
politics  authoritarianism  psychology  openaccess 
july 2009 by juliusbeezer

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