US, a culture of fear?

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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 18th, 2018, 5:37 pm 

Serpent » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:07 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » July 18th, 2018, 3:00 pm wrote:My fault I didn't make it clear I was talking about psychological traits not geopolitical motivations.

Hitler was never socialist in his character, either. What have the 5 characteristics to say about anal retentiveness? Anyway, he had trade unionists, communists and socialists arrested wholesale, and many killed, early in his rule and was not the slightest bit interested in "the common man" or the people at large, except as a source of adulation. He knew how to flatter them, but didn't hesitate to sacrifice them.
He did have a grudge against the Jewish elite: they achieved too highly in academics, art and science, as well as finance. They made him look as mediocre as he was. Unstable nongeniuses hate that!


Start a new thread but I'm really not interested in having another Hitler discussion. I was only throwing you a bone in the sense that he had "conservative" personality traits in the hope that someday you would see fit to acknowledge the flaws in "liberal" personally traits.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 18th, 2018, 6:04 pm 

Why bring either personality or "liberals" into this at all?

Of Hitler, I can see the relevance in that his regime did cultivate fear, quite deliberately, as do all totalitarian regimes. One method of growing a fear culture is to set distinguishable groups - whether of ethnicity, religion or some other common interest - against one another, and particularly to designate a scapegoat group (homosexuals, Druids, red-haired people - it doesn't matter, just so they're politically weak) for the majority to blame all their troubles on and persecute.
The motivation for this is not very complex: to get popular support by setting yourself as the champion who will save them from this threat (even if you have to invent the threat) and consolidate power.

(Thought I'd throw you an apple, but it looks as if we're fated never to dine together. )
Last edited by Serpent on July 18th, 2018, 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 18th, 2018, 7:17 pm 

Ok but the distinction between hate and disgust is important to me. Granted psychological isn't very scientific but it is better than nothing.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 18th, 2018, 7:58 pm 

wolfhnd » July 18th, 2018, 6:17 pm wrote:Ok but the distinction between hate and disgust is important to me. Granted psychological isn't very scientific but it is better than nothing.

Now, that's interesting, hate and disgust - and even why it's important to distinguish them. Let's try to analyze that in the present context, without getting too deep into psychology.

I see hate as a long-standing grudge, composed of anger (presumably at something the other person has done is believed to have done - like the Christians of Europe vs the Jews of the Bible) distrust/suspicion (perhaps verging on fear, for something they might do), jealousy (as for rivals for some desired property or ability) and resentment (for a slight or perceived injustice, as the less favoured child against the more favoured). Then there is the deep, implacable hatred that contains a component of guilt. (We can forgive our persecutors, but never our victims; for making us feel like that)

Disgust would be a fear of contamination, a reluctance to look at something ugly, damaged, spoiled - something that reminds us of our own mortality and frailty and baser nature. There is probably more to it than this, but mostly, people want to avoid what disgusts them, not punish it.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby BadgerJelly on July 18th, 2018, 9:26 pm 

Wolf -

Been an interesting discussion but I'm going with Americans are more inclined to resort to violence and have an irrationally low fear of doing so.


Are they? Higher crime rates and higher homocide rates, yes. The later could be due to the number of guns.

https://knoema.com/atlas/ranks/Assault-rate
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 19th, 2018, 2:52 am 

BadgerJelly » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:26 am wrote:Wolf -

Been an interesting discussion but I'm going with Americans are more inclined to resort to violence and have an irrationally low fear of doing so.


Are they? Higher crime rates and higher homocide rates, yes. The later could be due to the number of guns.

https://knoema.com/atlas/ranks/Assault-rate


I thought I was done with this thread but over the last decade violent crime has slowly declined while the number of guns has exploded.

Then there is Switzerland.

Correlation and causation my friend is always tricky. That said draconian gun laws would probably reduce the homicide rate over time and even change the psychology. The thing is that it is a pointless discussion because that is not going to happen. I don't even want it to happen because I still believe in a well organized militia. Looking at Europe and seeing it slide into a brave new world does not inspire faith in centralized government.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby BadgerJelly on July 19th, 2018, 4:08 am 

The purpose of this thread was not to point out any singular reason for the “culture of fear” but merely to hear different ideas I may not have considered. Everything we say is mostly conjucture and speculation. Some interspersed stats don’t paint teh whole picture and that was certainly not my intent by that link.

Just showing that common sense would assume that people would be more fearful if they lived in a society with more violent crime. In comparison to other countries this doesn’t ring true from what I can see.

I am not planting my flag in any ground for any possible causal factor.

To bring together the ideas expressed to date in this thread we have these:

- Historical Culture including “frontier mentality,” hangovers from civil war and mixing pot of traditions and cultures (basically identity issues.)
- Easy access to guns and violent crime being taken into the realm of fatal crime.
- Advertising culture extending to news broadcasts and sensationalism (propaganda being something the US took up with some vigor.)
- Lack of monarchy in a deeply religious country.
- militant attitudes and the role of the US on a global scale.
- diverse geography and demographics (again identity issues.)
- I would also throw in, with some weight, the educational institution. Of course all countries have bias in this area, but I think people in teh US may have come to realise this only fairly recently and to a quite large extent too - guilt mentality often makes peopel acts defensively - I’d have to compare British attitudes toward the collapse of thr Empire and how people felt then; teh problem thre being today the access to information is far greater and takes a staunch attitude to deny.

I don’t expect we’ll ever know, and maybe the whole “culture of fear” is more or less anecdotal (honestly thought, it’s quite a common conception by both US citizens and other westerners - the cultural divide between teh US and the rest is obvious enough to me at least.)

Can anyone else add to th above list?
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 19th, 2018, 10:04 am 

political gain
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby TheVat on July 19th, 2018, 11:36 am 

Was going to add that, too. The politics of fear has had a considerable resurgence here. Fear of everything from swarthy immigrants to people with the wrong chromosomes using your restroom. Fear of godless Marxists come to take your guns and your homes and your luxury items and your churches. Fear of gay people converting your children. Fear of big government. As Serpent so trenchantly noted, people need someone to blame.

The best weapon against fear? Laughter. It's much harder to be afraid of something when you are laughing at it. Long live Alexandra Petrie, The Onion, Stephen Colbert, Andy Borowitz, and all the other great humorists who know how to use a satirical skewer.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby BadgerJelly on July 19th, 2018, 11:59 am 

Yeah ... but that doesn’t address my question properly. What is it about US culture that brings this out. All countries have “politics”. If you are suggesting a large part is due to government interference then how is this so?

You’re giving me examples of how fear can be used not why people in the US appear more on edge than other westerners. It is simply a case of a greater poltical divide across teh country? How would that make people more fearful?
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 19th, 2018, 3:17 pm 

Something that hasn't been mentioned is the American belief in the superiority of their legal system.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 19th, 2018, 4:58 pm 

Here is another one. If you are a upper middle class American you will probably not have access to the same quality of healthcare abroad. You may also have trouble getting your insurance company to pay for services abroad.

You also may not be able to bring a lawsuit nearly as easily and you probably have access to high quality legal services that may not be available overseas.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 19th, 2018, 5:08 pm 

Then their is transportation. Americans love their cars and have some disdain for public transportation unless they are from one of the few areas in the U.S. with high quality public transit. If you are used to taking your own car everywhere then you may feel inconvenienced by public transit. Many Americans simply don't like to walk at all. The feeling of being out of control is heightened by language barriers.

I know when I'm abroad I feel claustrophobic. I'm used to short lines and wide open spaces. This is especially true on Islands.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 19th, 2018, 5:32 pm 

BadgerJelly » July 19th, 2018, 10:59 am wrote:Yeah ... but that doesn’t address my question properly. What is it about US culture that brings this out. All countries have “politics”. If you are suggesting a large part is due to government interference then how is this so?
[
Not official government interference - in what, exactly? but opportunistic political parties and candidates who use fear, cultivate fear, incite fear to gain power. Once in office, they use the same tactics - this time through government orifices, abetted by agencies that want even bigger operating budgets and even fewer legal restraints - to gain more power.

You’re giving me examples of how fear can be used not why people in the US appear more on edge than other westerners.

Are they? Seems fairly wide-spread to me.
https://www.thelocal.fr/20171014/how-far-right-parties-are-faring-across-europe

It is simply a case of a greater poltical divide across teh country? How would that make people more fearful?

There is something to that, yes. Fear and loathing [of their rivals for land, for influence, for jobs, for standard of living] have been part of the fabric of America from when it was quilted together. It's been fanned ["They're coming for your women" "They're taking your jobs" "They're pulling down your monuments" "They're trying to outnumber you..."*] periodically by various contenders for power, so that it never really had a chance to cool off. Whenever an administration wants to mount a military campaign, they turn on the turbo-fan ["They'll poison your water" "They'll blow up the electric grid"]
And the jolts keep getting bigger, more frequent and hyper, administered subcortically by influential and pervasive mass media.
Also, we haven't mentioned how intensely conformist this nation of "rugged individualists" really is. They invented "peer pressure" and sell everything from cars to corn chips through the abject, constant fear of not fitting in. This is why the fake tweet campaigns are effective.

*[..."so make sure they can't get birth control" I never said it made sense]
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 22nd, 2018, 7:05 pm 

I avoid other Americans when I'm abroad but it is not because they display a "culture of fear".

I like to blend in and often find tourist think I'm a local. Americans tend to be noisy and obnoxious. I think a lot of them travel just so they can brag about it.

Food is probably the thing I enjoy most about traveling followed by the chance to correct common historical misconceptions. I have never gone anywhere and been treated badly because I'm American. As I pointed out above there are practical, common sense reasons to be nervous in proportion to how alien the culture is.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 22nd, 2018, 10:56 pm 

I don't think that "culture of fear" thing pertains to Americans abroad. I'm not even sure it has very much to do with culture in the sense of food, traditions and music, but rather a cultivated atmosphere.
In fact, I get the impression that they're more confident on holiday than they are at home. (I've seen too small a sample, both of tourists here and when I was a visitor there to say this with any personal conviction, but i talk to people who travel more than I do.) I think Americans are generally more distrustful of one another more than they of foreigners. Except lately, immigrants, and lately all white people seem to be leery of immigrants.

(I'm still kind of interested in the fear/disgust question. There might be a couple of more related emotional states that feed xenophobia.)
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby mitchellmckain on July 23rd, 2018, 7:34 am 

I think that a lot of the differences are being misidentified. First of all I think that one of the most important factors in the prevalence of crime in a country is the presence of a culture of crime. In other words, there is a sector of the population that has an historical criminal lifestyle. Both USA and Japan have a long history of this, so what has changed -- the actual amount of crime or just the visibility of it?

One difference playing into differences with regards to crime on the street is the percentage of homeless people. In USA it is .17%, while in Japan it is .004%, that is a big difference (factor of 40) in the amount of people out on the street who are basically desperate for anything. The USA is far from the worst in this measure of homelessness (many countries are much worse), but the percentage for Japan is extremely low. The USA is also far from the worst in regards to theft on the streets.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 23rd, 2018, 11:35 am 

mitchellmckain » July 23rd, 2018, 6:34 am wrote:I think that a lot of the differences are being misidentified. First of all I think that one of the most important factors in the prevalence of crime in a country is the presence of a culture of crime. In other words, there is a sector of the population that has an historical criminal lifestyle.

I suspect that's a small percentage of the criminal activity and an even smaller percentage of the visibility. There is plenty of B&E, GTA and white collar crime that swells the courts and jails, but doesn't endanger the general public. Then, too, a good deal of what's being prosecuted isn't actually crime - drug use, prostitution, DWB, possession of firearms, trespassing (protest or strike), D&D, vandalism (tagging), talking back to a cop.

Both USA and Japan have a long history of this, so what has changed -- the actual amount of crime or just the visibility of it?

The actual amount of crime always reflects income disparity; the visibility of crime increases when law-enforcement agencies want to raise their budgets and privately-owned reform facilities need more paying guests; the perception increases when entertainment media and political campaigns rub it in people's faces.
And don't forget the accompanying tradition of US gangster/outlaw as folk-hero.

One difference playing into differences with regards to crime on the street is the percentage of homeless people. In USA it is .17%, while in Japan it is .004%, that is a big difference (factor of 40) in the amount of people out on the street who are basically desperate for anything.

Add the very large number of marginals who are not technically homeless but chronically unemployed(their jobs no longer exist) and permanently unemployable (ex-cons, stigmatized or/and handicapped)

The USA is also far from the worst in regards to theft on the streets.

That's the least worrisome crime. It's violent crime that scares people. However frequently or infrequently something like a home invasion, stabbing or rape occurs, the public broadcasting of each incident, echoed over a news cycle by several networks, and refracted in a dozen fictional programs, magnifies the perception of violent crime - as well as encouraging its actual commission.

(edited because to add omission)
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby wolfhnd on July 23rd, 2018, 3:23 pm 

You can probably only hate someone or something you think you know but disgust is a instinct that protects against pathogens. It is easy to see aliens and alien cultures as physical or cultural pathogens. Instincts are not very reliable and don't directly rise to the level of consciousness.
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Re: US, a culture of fear?

Postby Serpent on July 23rd, 2018, 6:55 pm 

I can see that in regard to many foreign foods, some religious sacrifices, a few sexual practices and sometimes body decorations. It does not seem to have held true, ever, in regard to young women. That makes me suspect that it's a not a reaction to the person, but to the culture, and culture is quite a recent addition to the human repertoire - that is, developed much later than instincts.
And that would make it a learned reaction than instinctual. For example, it takes a good deal of dedication, discipline and practice to refrain from flinching when an object is thrown at one's head, but only a couple of tries to like blood sausage. Sounds awful, but is, in fact, blood is just part of an animal, and most human tribes do eat other animals. Predation is common to humans; the particulars of prey selection and preparation vary according to culture.
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