By JR on Friday, November 20, 2015
Now New Matilda is defending the Paris terrorists
Their contributor, Dr Lissa Johnson, writing below, is a psychologist/sociologist, as I am. And what she does in the excerpt I reproduce below is to excuse the terrorists by saying in effect "We all do it". Saying that baldly would be too absurd to be worth saying so she repeats broad generalizations of the kind that psychologists have often made.
She regurgitates the conventional wisdom in psychology -- the claim that most people love their own group and that leads to them hating other groups. Rather amazingly, however, there has been little testing done of that claim. It just seems obvious to Leftist psychologists. So they actually embody it in a definition. They prefer to speak of "ethnocentrism" rather than racism and they define ethnocentrism as the combination of ingroup love and outgroup hate that I have just mentioned. They embody in a definition what is in fact an empirical claim.
So how does the claim stand up when tested? I have been involved in most of the surveys concerned and have uniformly found negligible correlation between ingroup and outgroup sentiment. So her implicit claim that the Paris massacres were simple psychological normality is built on sand. Patriotism does NOT lead to a hatred of other nationalities and there were more than normal psychological processes behind the Paris massacres.
What WAS behind the massacres is a mystery only to Lissa Johnson and her Leftist allies. The Jihadists themselves told us that they hated what they saw as Parisian decadence compared to Muslim purity and their cries of "Allah Akhbar" are unanmbiguous in claiming that their thinking was Muslim. And it was. Read the Koran from Sura 9 onwards and you will see that the Jihadis were doing just what Mohammed commanded
So the Lissa Johnson whitewash won't work. She and her fellow Leftists need to remove the scales from their eyes
Cashdan, E. (2001) "Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5. pp. 760-764
Heaven, P.C.L., Rajab, D. & Ray, J.J. (1985) Patriotism, racism and the disutility of the ethnocentrism concept. Journal of Social Psychology,125, 181-185.
Ray, J.J. (1971) Ethnocentrism: Attitudes and behaviour. Australian Quarterly,43, 89-97.
Ray, J.J. (1974). Are racists ethnocentric?Ch. 46 in Ray, J.J. (1974) Conservatism as heresy Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co.
Ray, J.J. (1984). Half of all racists are Left-wing.Political Psychology, 5, 227-236.
Ray, J.J. &Lovejoy, F.H. (1986). The generality of racial prejudice. Journal of Social Psychology, 126, 563-564.
Excerpt from Lissa Johnson:
In short, we know what makes people capable of unthinkable atrocity. Psychologists have understood it for quite some time.
Put simply, it involves an ‘us-versus-them’ mindset, in which ‘we’ are human and ‘they’ are not.
These processes are exacerbated by fear and intergroup competition, which are predictably exploited by leaders and popular media at times of crisis such as this.
Fear and intergroup competition breed not only outgroup hostility and dehumanisation, but also ingroup glorification and collective narcissism. Victims of ‘our’ violence are not only less human, but our violence is necessary and noble. Only ‘theirs’ is abominable.
The overlap in the psychology of our own and extremists’ group-based violence, however, is barely acknowledged in the psychological literature on extremism.
Where intergroup processes are described, there is little reference to their parallel role in ordinary law abiding citizens’ support for state-sanctioned violence (torture, war, military force, civilian death and injury), despite extensive literatures on the subject.
Rather, when applied to violent extremism, intergroup processes are often framed as particularly Islamic. They are described in terms of “Islamic youth”, “Islamic violence”, “Muslim extremists”, “prescription to obey the laws and rules of Allah”, the “extreme Islamic person”, “Muslim in-group superiority”, “Alienated and frustrated Muslims” and so-on.
Were the literatures on terrorism, radicalisation and extremism to acknowledge the shared psychological foundations with Western collective violence, two consequences might follow.
We would be forced to acknowledge that radicalised intergroup violence is not different, strange, unusual, unfathomable or foreign. Given the fierce hostility of global intergroup relations, particularly our and our allies’ devastating actions in the Middle East, group-based violence and hostility towards Westerners is predictable. And, unfortunately, human.
We would also need to acknowledge that our own intergroup violence is scarcely different. It is no more covered in glory, despite what our leaders and mainstream media would have us believe.
In the psychological passages above, for instance, while the third and fourth quotes relate to US citizens’ acceptance of US violence in Iraq, the sixth relates to contempt for asylum seekers and opposition to refugee intake in Canada.
Were we able to look past our own ingroup glorification we would see these very self-deceiving, self-defeating, base psychological processes at work in our own intergroup hostility, with origins in our very distant ancestors, whose knuckles still dragged along the ground.