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The Banality Of Evil Revisited - An Interview With America's Chief Torturer

1246

Posts

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Mad King George on
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Until you actually offer up some evidence to support your thesis, yeah.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Until you actually offer up some evidence to support your thesis, yeah.

    And your evidence he wasn't a psychotic? Since you're asking, you go first. :)

  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone asking you to provide some evidence that Eichmann was psychotic is the same as being asked to prove a negative????

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone asking you to provide some evidence that Eichmann was psychotic is the same as being asked to prove a negative????

    Well, seeing as he's been dead for over fifty years, I don't have a time machine, and there's no psychological markup of him written by a modern psychologist that's been posted online and can be cited, this is a doable task how?

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone asking you to provide some evidence that Eichmann was psychotic is the same as being asked to prove a negative????

    Well, seeing as he's been dead for over fifty years, I don't have a time machine, and there's no psychological markup of him written by a modern psychologist that's been posted online and can be cited, this is a doable task how?

    So if the gist of your objection to Eichmann in Jerusalem was that you find it improbable that Eichmann wasn't psychotic, I'd presume you'd have some evidence that he was psychotic. Now you're admitting that you don't have any such evidence.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I love how The Ender says "that people tend to be pretty good at seeing through dramatizations" while showing himself to be pretty inept at it, taking at face value the rug-biting Hitler and what not

    Well, the accounts were noted independently by his both his chef at the Berghof & his secretary, but whatever. I'm sure you know better than them.

    (In fairness, yes, witness testimony is terrible evidence - but the claim is not really extraordinary)
    Got evidence for that?

    For subconscious reading of another person's intentions (via eye contact & expression reading) I'd recommend 'In the Company of Others: An Introduction to Communication' and 'Darwin and facial expression : a century of research in review'.

    For evidence that the Gestapo was a real organization I'd recommend 'The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-1945'.

    For evidence that blood guilt was a real law I'd recommend 'Plotting Hitler's Death'.

    For the evidence of Hitler's syphilitic condition, I'd recommend the paper written by Dr Bassem Habeeb for Edinburgh's Royal College of Psychiatrists or 'Pox: Genius, Madness and the Mysteries of Syphilis' by Deborah Hayden, both of which are based on study of Dr. Theodor Morell's writings (Morell was Hitler's personal physician).

    Of course, the syphilis issue is not settled (but few things have been settled. Hindsight isn't as 20/20 as it's sometimes claimed to be, I suppose), and there are certainly competing lines drawn in the sand from different historians & political scientists as regards the underlying forces for the Holocaust and WWII, but that's the whole point. Milgram proponents want to pretend that the issue is totally settled, and that Hitler was just a normal person. The offer no explanation for why Jew baiting could go on for decades in Gemany and elsewhere with no Holocaust or war to follow, and then suddenly in the 1920s the Jew baiting leads to an industrial scale genocide operation. It's nonsense.


    Do you have a citation for your figure that only 14 people were ever punished for refusing to surrender Jews to the state?
    You are saying that psychology and psychologists are WRONG, that egregious acts of evil are only present in subhuman monsters, and your evidence that proves their tested theories to be wrong seems to amount to, "Well, because! People aren't like that!"

    No, I'm not. My comments have dealt specifically with public compliance in Nazi Germany, because:

    a) That is the issue that Milgram wanted to address with his experiments

    b) That is the issue that the phrase 'the banality of evil' was coined on the back of

    Yes, of course, psychopaths & sociopaths only account for a tiny fraction of crimes & immorality. The rest is on people just like you & I. But it was a confluence of factors that led to the Holocaust & WWII, not solely the human fault of obeying authority, and among those factors was an insane & superstitious leadership.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Maybe Eichmann discussed the finer points of flaying squirrels (techniques he developed as a child, of course) while pissing himself in the courtroom sessions that Arendt wasn't present for. But if it's just that his racism seems psychotic to you, but he was an upstanding citizen by the lights of his peers in Nazi Germany, the banality of evil remains an effective description.

    I mean, psychosis isn't generally described as a communicable illness, but it's obvious when you examine cases like Rwanda's that racism doesn't emerge from a vacuum, historically or socially. It's an awful, delusional idea, but not all awful, delusional ideas are a result of psychosis. Most of them are a result of social pressure. Unless you think that Germans are locally predisposed to psychosis because there's something in the water in those parts of Germany and not others.

    EDIT: You could even consider an entire nation psychotic, like, say, North Korea. Starve, have family and friends randomly disappear, then weep for joy that Great Dear Chubby Leader is there for you. More of a masochistic psychosis than a sadistic one, but still pretty fucking nutso as far as this armchair psychologist is concerned. But it's actually an excellent example of awful, awful shit seeming banal. From the perspective of the ministers who keep that country "running" for a very stretched definition of that term, it probably does seem pretty boring and normal most of the time.

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Well, seeing as he's been dead for over fifty years, I don't have a time machine, and there's no psychological markup of him written by a modern psychologist that's been posted online and can be cited, this is a doable task how?

    Wait.

    Your evidence / argument for your position is, "X coheres with my world view. ~X conflicts with my world view. Therefore, X is the case."

    Goose. Goose, sir!

    Edit: This is doubly win given that Arendt was actually in the same room with Eichmann, and witnessed the trial. So, she has evidence. But her evidence cannot possibly be correct.

    _J_ on
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    No, I'm not. My comments have dealt specifically with public compliance in Nazi Germany, because:

    a) That is the issue that Milgram wanted to address with his experiments

    b) That is the issue that the phrase 'the banality of evil' was coined on the back of

    Yes, of course, psychopaths & sociopaths only account for a tiny fraction of crimes & immorality. The rest is on people just like you & I. But it was a confluence of factors that led to the Holocaust & WWII, not solely the human fault of obeying authority, and among those factors was an insane & superstitious leadership.

    Sometimes the first popular illustrative example of an idea is actually a poor specimen. The Kitty Genovese case is a great example of that - it brought a lot of attention to the idea of the bystander effect, even though it was a bad example of the bystander effect.

    Neither Arendt nor Milgram adequately considered the implications of group identification, which was part of what Zimbardo was going after. Another pretty famous contemporary study from the 1950s was Sherif's Robber's Cave experiment, where he cultivated in-group and out-group identification among a group of young boys at a summer camp. Today, there is a wealth of studies that show how group identification affects both aggressive and altruistic behavior.

    Eichmann clearly strongly identified with his in-group (Nazi Germans) and dehumanized the out-group (non-Aryans). Of course, this group identification was being reinforced by the authorities above him, but it's probable that even in the absence of direct hierarchical supervision he would have been adequately motivated to perform atrocities against the outgroup.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    [
    Feral wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone asking you to provide some evidence that Eichmann was psychotic is the same as being asked to prove a negative????

    Well, seeing as he's been dead for over fifty years, I don't have a time machine, and there's no psychological markup of him written by a modern psychologist that's been posted online and can be cited, this is a doable task how?

    So if the gist of your objection to Eichmann in Jerusalem was that you find it improbable that Eichmann wasn't psychotic, I'd presume you'd have some evidence that he was psychotic. Now you're admitting that you don't have any such evidence.

    No, that's not the gist.

    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    Mad King George on
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Alrighty then. So what is your evidence that Eichmann was psychotic?
    So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle demanding the other prove a negative until judgment day and trumpets sound?

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone asking you to provide some evidence that Eichmann was psychotic is the same as being asked to prove a negative????

    Well, seeing as he's been dead for over fifty years, I don't have a time machine, and there's no psychological markup of him written by a modern psychologist that's been posted online and can be cited, this is a doable task how?

    It isn't.

    But the premise that he wasn't psychotic is then equally likely.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    One of the takeaways from the Milgram book is that obedience increased significantly with physical proximity to the authority figure and decreased significantly when the orders were given by telephone.

    Obedience to authority on its own is not adequate to explain war crimes committed by actors in remote theaters, physically divorced from the chain of command. (Again, any reductionist view of violent behavior that tries to condense it to one cause is probably going to fail.)

    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    I don't know if he was crazy or sane. I don't know enough about the life of the man to judge.

    I do know, pretty solidly, that sane people can commit atrocities, and that committing atrocities is not intrinsically evidence of insanity.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    "Hitler was a supernaturally evil guy" broadcasts the message that look, as long as you eat your greens and think you're a good person, you're completely safe from doing anything evil, which just oozes with hubris. As if the holocause was a devil's fluke that can never happen again because people have a good grasp now on whether they're good or evil.

    Well, it's obvious that you can't honestly claim there will never be another Holocaust (though I find it unlikely, personally, barring the collapse of international trade & communication).

    But it certainly is fair to characterize the 20s-40s as a perfect storm of counter-intuitively bad choices. I mean, to recite the popular example: on foreign affairs, is it probably a better idea to listen to the raving, drunken right-wing war monger or the polite & moderate centrist statesman? In the 20s, unfortunately, the correct choice was actually the former, and (go figure) those in a position to stop German expansion listened to the latter.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    But you have no proof for that position, other than "this jives with my world view".

    The "banality of evil" concept is meant to make you question your world view.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    Returning to this core dispute:
    [...] I'm saying that for something to become institutionalized, a.k.a., "The way we do things around here," in only a few years is a position that includes ignoring the number of Germans that fled when they saw the way their country was headed, ignores the Reich using their loyal, true-believers to kill off their early followers, etc. There was a pretty huge confluence of events orchestrated from the top to make sure people of a certain mindset were in the positions they were.

    I simply disagree with the idea that anyone can become this way, which is true only if you ignore all those mitigating factors I mentioned.

    And like I said, I can more easily buy a "diminishing returns of evil" theory than a purely "banal" one. I don't see why the idea of people getting inured to what they are doing is harder to accept than them just doing it blindly from the get go.

    Let me try to clarify something here. Are you arguing that there will always be a minority of people who may reject institutionalized evil when it happens, or arguing that it is always an identifiable minority who are capable of committing entrenched evil and we can see them coming and so prevent it?

    Slavery is pretty evil. So's ethnic cleansing. It took until the 19th and mid-20th centuries for this to become solidly ingrained into Western popular outlooks, though.

    For a while after WWII it was accepted in some parts that violent purges of capitalists or communists were necessary for the social order to prevail. A number of states followed this belief to its logical conclusion - genocide does not, technically speaking, include the mass murder of a social class or ideology. Were all of these cases only made possible for true believers being in appropriate hierarchical positions? This seems implausible, given the suddenness with which purges can happen (Indonesia, say), where an entrenched bureaucracy suddenly shoots a lot of people and, more to the point, eventually stops shooting once they run out of targets and resume mundanely tedious government. You would need to hypothesize that "people of a certain mindset" can flip on and off and once you do, well, then you've got to accept that you can't see these people coming either.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    Himmler was not among the crazies in Hitler's cabinet, just FYI. He was incredibly naive & egotistical, and seemed to have constructed a fantasy for himself where he was some tragic hero, but he was sane and acted (as far as our records are concerned) normally.

    The same is mostly true of Bormann, Donitz, Rosenberg and Speer.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular

    Feral wrote: »
    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    I don't know if he was crazy or sane. I don't know enough about the life of the man to judge.

    Well, I feel that well-evidenced religious mania indicates craziness, but to each their own.

    I have to ask, though, if you don't think the question can be answered one way or the other, which means you really don't have a dog in the race, why have you been at such nasty loggerheads with me? Is playing the devil's advocate with a stranger really that pleasurable?



  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    ronya wrote: »

    Let me try to clarify something here. Are you arguing...
    And like I said, I can more easily buy a "diminishing returns of evil" theory than a purely "banal" one. I don't see why the idea of people getting inured to what they are doing is harder to accept than them just doing it blindly from the get go.

    This. I've been arguing this. Apparently a number of people here find such a position heretical and need to stamp it out.

    Mad King George on
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Feral wrote: »
    For me, I guess you either think Himmler was crazy or you think he was sane. I side with crazy.

    I don't know if he was crazy or sane. I don't know enough about the life of the man to judge.

    Well, I feel that well-evidenced religious mania indicates craziness, but to each their own.

    I have to ask, though, if you don't think the question can be answered one way or the other, which means you really don't have a dog in the race, why have you been at such nasty loggerheads with me? Is playing the devil's advocate with a stranger really that pleasurable?

    Because "was the Nazi leadership psychotic?" isn't the only question at play here.

    A lot of the people in this thread (including myself) have been interested in the question: "does obedience to authority (or other 'banal' motivations) lead to evil acts?" The 20th century formulation of this question (ie, 'banality of evil'), while inspired by the Nuremberg trial, is partially divorceable from it. It is also applicable to other war crimes, scientific atrocities like Tuskegee, police brutality, etc. That was the whole point of the Milgram studies: what does it take to get people who aren't particularly aggressive to commit acts of cruelty against other human beings - thereby separating it from the Nazi context?



    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Getting "inured" to violence through desensitization or choice-supportive biases are absolutely plausible contributions to violent behavior.

    They're also not directly incompatible with obedience to authority as a contributing motivation (even though Arendt only explored one of them - desensitization - briefly and the other - choice-supportive bias - not at all. That phrase hadn't been coined yet, though it's close enough to a concept that did exist at her time - cognitive dissonance - that she may have been aware of.)

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    ronya wrote: »

    Let me try to clarify something here. Are you arguing...
    And like I said, I can more easily buy a "diminishing returns of evil" theory than a purely "banal" one. I don't see why the idea of people getting inured to what they are doing is harder to accept than them just doing it blindly from the get go.

    This. I've been arguing this. Apparently a number of people here find such a position heretical and need to stamp it out.

    Blindly? Well, there is certainly no shortage of media that inculcates a popular belief that torture is Tough and Regrettably Necessary, especially if your name is Jack Bauer. Or possibly Bruce Wayne. Does that count?

    And claims like this:
    [...] I don't buy people becoming indoctrinated to the point where, like a bird-beak record player from the Flintstones, "It's a living," in less than a generation.

    seem to contradict. Indoctrination, or not? And, you know, we can test this claim in every situation where ethnic-nationalist warfare has ignited into a slow burn. East Timor comes to mind. Ideologically there was never a commitment, in Indonesia, toward long-term oppression - Indonesia as a national self-concept was itself hammered out rather tentatively across the mid-20th century. Suharto thought East Timor would accept Indonesia as easily as, well, Indonesia did. It did not. Yet ethnic cleansing of East Timor became normalized. Does that disprove your hypothesis?

    ronya on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    That was the whole point of the Milgram studies: what does it take to get people who aren't particularly aggressive to commit acts of cruelty against other human beings - thereby separating it from the Nazi context?

    ...But the experiment, and every replication (as far as I'm aware), was performed in upper scale university setting, and there's little to suggest that any researcher tried to compensate for the extraordinary bias that the environment is going to impose on the participants.

    If I'm walking into a university study in America or Britain, even if I don't specifically know what the researcher is looking for, suspecting that the researcher may have me try to kill someone is not reasonable.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    That was the whole point of the Milgram studies: what does it take to get people who aren't particularly aggressive to commit acts of cruelty against other human beings - thereby separating it from the Nazi context?

    ...But the experiment, and every replication (as far as I'm aware), was performed in upper scale university setting, and there's little to suggest that any researcher tried to compensate for the extraordinary bias that the environment is going to impose on the participants.

    If I'm walking into a university study in America or Britain, even if I don't specifically know what the researcher is looking for, suspecting that the researcher may have me try to kill someone is not reasonable.

    Did you read the book? I don't mean this in a snarky way, I'm being honest.

    That was actually one of the major criticisms of his first round of experiments - that he was recruiting students, whose response to authority would be more intense than the general population. So he did another round by recruiting from the community at large, and got similar results (though the effect strength was slightly reduced, showing that yes there was a cultural bias from using uni students but not enough to fully explain the effect).

    This was described in the book but doesn't get translated to a lot of second-hand accounts.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Or are you saying that among the participants there would be a presumption of safety because they wouldn't believe that the researcher would let somebody come to harm?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Strip out the authority and you strip out the point of the experiment, though. The inherent presumption of safety was certainly reasonable under the circumstances, since subjects were being asked to put their trust in the authority figure over their own common sense interpretation of the situation.

    What really needs to happen is for the experiment to be heavily repeated, under heavily varying circumstances and methodologies. That's impossible today, though.

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    ronya wrote: »
    And claims like this:
    [...] I don't buy people becoming indoctrinated to the point where, like a bird-beak record player from the Flintstones, "It's a living," in less than a generation.

    seem to contradict. Indoctrination, or not?

    "You say you don't buy the idea of people becoming indoctrinated in less than a generation. Yet here's a quote of yours saying you don't buy the concept! So which is it?!?"

    ronya wrote: »
    And, you know, we can test this claim in every situation where ethnic-nationalist warfare has ignited into a slow burn. East Timor comes to mind. Ideologically there was never a commitment, in Indonesia, toward long-term oppression - Indonesia as a national self-concept was itself hammered out rather tentatively across the mid-20th century. Suharto thought East Timor would accept Indonesia as easily as, well, Indonesia did. It did not. Yet ethnic cleansing of East Timor became normalized. Does that disprove your hypothesis?

    Well, we had concentration camps too, yet we didn't turn them into lampshades and soap. What does that say?
    Feral wrote: »
    Because "was the Nazi leadership psychotic?" isn't the only question at play here.

    But it's the question I'm dealing with.

    Why not take your issues with other positions up with those people?

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    So one can be "inured", just not in a generation? That's your claim? I don't think it takes that long.
    Well, we had concentration camps too, yet we didn't turn them into lampshades and soap. What does that say?

    I don't really understand where you're going with this. Institutionalized ethnic cleansing is insufficiently evil for "banality" to apply? One must not only shoot the undesirables, but cook them for fat? Seriously?

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Feral wrote: »
    Because "was the Nazi leadership psychotic?" isn't the only question at play here.

    But it's the question I'm dealing with.

    Why not take your issues with other positions up with those people?

    1) You haven't been entirely clear about that until this page.
    2) You've strongly implied that racism or religiosity or acts of violence intrinsically imply that people are psychotic, which runs contrary to mainstream psychology.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    ronya wrote: »

    Let me try to clarify something here. Are you arguing...
    And like I said, I can more easily buy a "diminishing returns of evil" theory than a purely "banal" one. I don't see why the idea of people getting inured to what they are doing is harder to accept than them just doing it blindly from the get go.

    This. I've been arguing this. Apparently a number of people here find such a position heretical and need to stamp it out.

    Actually a lot of people here understand the burden of proof is on the person claiming a positive.

    If you have no proof, your claim is baseless outside of how you personally feel. Which means so far you have no proof. Meanwhile others have provided proof.

    PSN: allenquid
  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »

    Let me try to clarify something here. Are you arguing...
    And like I said, I can more easily buy a "diminishing returns of evil" theory than a purely "banal" one. I don't see why the idea of people getting inured to what they are doing is harder to accept than them just doing it blindly from the get go.

    This. I've been arguing this. Apparently a number of people here find such a position heretical and need to stamp it out.

    Actually a lot of people here understand the burden of proof is on the person claiming a positive.

    If you have no proof, your claim is baseless outside of how you personally feel. Which means so far you have no proof. Meanwhile others have provided proof.

    Burden of proof isn't a sensible place to take this argument. Because then you have to get into arguments of what constitutes a presence / absence with respect to good / evil, or sanity / insanity. I doubt that we want to get into assessing statements such as, "One cannot prove a negative, or prove absence. Insanity is an absence of sanity. So, in asking me to prove that he was insane, you are asking me to prove that he lacked sanity. I can't prove an absence, so you have to prove that he was sane!"

    That's just silly.

    Instead, everyone ought to be required to substantiate their claims in some way. Numerous persons have provided evidence for the banality of evil thesis, insofar as we make appeals to Arendt's book.

    All George has said is, "Arendt is wrong." without backing up the position with anything.

    He needs to provide something other than "Arendt's conclusion conflicts with my world view / makes me sad."

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    [
    All George has said is, "Arendt is wrong." without backing up the position with anything.

    He needs to provide something other than "Arendt's conclusion conflicts with my world view / makes me sad."

    Lying about what people have done/said really doesn't engender discourse.

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Because "was the Nazi leadership psychotic?" isn't the only question at play here.

    But it's the question I'm dealing with.

    Why not take your issues with other positions up with those people?

    1) You haven't been entirely clear about that until this page.
    I've only ever been talking about the Nazis. Only. How that wasn't clear when I have brought up nothing but the Nazis is beyond me.
    Feral wrote: »

    2) You've strongly implied that racism or religiosity or acts of violence intrinsically imply that people are psychotic, which runs contrary to mainstream psychology.

    I haven't.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    Neither does failing to offer any proof.

    PSN: allenquid
  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    ronya wrote: »
    So one can be "inured", just not in a generation? That's your claim? I don't think it takes that long.

    You are aware that the words inured and indoctrinated have vastly different meanings?
    ronya wrote: »
    Well, we had concentration camps too, yet we didn't turn them into lampshades and soap. What does that say?

    I don't really understand where you're going with this...

    I see that.

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Actually a lot of people here understand the burden of proof is on the person claiming a positive.

    "I disagree with..." is claiming a positive? What?

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Actually a lot of people here understand the burden of proof is on the person claiming a positive.

    "I disagree with..." is claiming a positive? What?

    There are bodies of work backing up the banality of evil, including how it relates to Nazis.

    You claim it's not true.

    So prove it.

    PSN: allenquid
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    That was an invitation for you to explain where you were going with it.

    Indoctrination and alleged inuration via imposed custom seem matters of degree to me.

  • Mad King GeorgeMad King George Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Actually a lot of people here understand the burden of proof is on the person claiming a positive.

    "I disagree with..." is claiming a positive? What?

    There are bodies of work backing up the banality of evil, including how it relates to Nazis.

    You claim it's not true.

    So prove it.

    Where?

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Or are you saying that among the participants there would be a presumption of safety because they wouldn't believe that the researcher would let somebody come to harm?

    Well, partly that, and partly because of the location. I mean, it was done right on the Yale University grounds; it's outside the realm of plausible reasoning that a researcher at Yale is going to be killing people in the name of science.


    And I have only watched the filmed replications, not read the book (though, yes, I was aware that Milgram had changed from students to the general public out of concerns that the students were not a fair sample).
    Strip out the authority and you strip out the point of the experiment, though. The inherent presumption of safety was certainly reasonable under the circumstances, since subjects were being asked to put their trust in the authority figure over their own common sense interpretation of the situation.

    What really needs to happen is for the experiment to be heavily repeated, under heavily varying circumstances and methodologies. That's impossible today, though.

    I agree with this entirely. If another researcher replicated Milgram's results in different environments (say, setting-up the experiment in a shady-looking building, with little indicator that it was associated with any university study), I would appreciate the results a lot more.

    Personally, I don't even see why some people consider the study 'unethical', or why we're not allowed to do another series of replications. Yes, subjects got stressed-out; I imagine they also got over it pretty quickly when they were told they weren't actually shocking anybody.

    The Ender on
    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
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