[extropy-chat] Bully Magnets

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Wed Dec 13 02:45:22 UTC 2006

At 05:24 AM 12/12/2006 -0800, Lee wrote:

big snip

>These animals---and that is the mildest term I
>have for them---these animals who thrive on
>crime and a repudiation of everything that is
>good or noble in our civilization   all deserve
>to be rounded up and executed.
>And those like you who fail to recognize evil
>are in my eyes little short of evil themselves.

Lee is providing a good example of the evolved-in-the-stone-age mechanisms 
that kept the population more or less in balance with the ability of the 
ecosystem to feed them.

When people perceive a bleak future--and at this point a fairly high 
percentage of the populations in the world do--then dehumanizing memes such 
as "these people are animals and should be rounded up and executed" become 
more widespread in the population.  One of the classic examples of this I 
quoted in one of my earliest meme papers, the correlation in the 70s and 
80s between bad economic times and expansion of neo-nazi groups in the US.

Now virtually all the reasons in the stone age that people perceive a bleak 
future was because of other people--too many of them.  So evolved 
mechanisms that turn up the gain on dehumanizing memes against various out 
groups make sense (other tribes or just a different sub group like Jews or 
Tutsis).  The end result of this process is a population reduction, war, 
concentration camps, slaughter like Rwanda or Cambodia.

If you think western peoples are different in this respect from Rwandans, 
you are sadly forgetting your history.  When the chips are down, the 
Western Tribes (and include Japan adopted into this culture block) are 
bloody vicious.

This isn't good or bad, no more than having 5 fingers or being subject to 
capture bonding.  It just is, a legacy from our hunter gatherer past.

Now what we might be able to do about it--that's another story and I could 
really use help with some ideas here.

Keith Henson

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