The Neurology of Ethnic Hatred Behaviors and Fascism


This is a work in progress, but somewhat important…duh

“The origins of fascism lay in a promise to protect people. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a rush of globalisation destroyed communities, professions and cultural norms while generating a wave of immigration. Right-wing nationalist movements promising to protect people from the pernicious influence of foreigners and markets arose, and frightened, disoriented and displaced people responded. These early fascist movements disrupted political life in some countries, but they percolated along at a relatively low simmer until the Second World War.”

“the Framing Effect results from a lack of mental effort, or using a decision-making shortcut, and that spending more mental effort can counteract the Framing Effect..

Our findings support the theory that the biased decision-making seen in the Framing Effect is due to a lack of mental effort rather than due to emotions….This suggests potential strategies for prompting people to make better decisions. Instead of trying to appeal to people’s emotions – likely a difficult task requiring tailoring to different individuals – we would be better off taking the easier and more generalizable approach of making good decisions quick and easy for everyone to make.”

-“Italian fascism differed from its German counterpart in important ways. Most notably, perhaps, anti-Semitism and racism were more innate in the German version. But Italian and German fascism also shared important similarities. Like Italy, Germany was a ‘new’ nation (formed in 1871) plagued by deep divisions. After the First World War, Germany had found itself saddled with punitive peace terms. During the 1920s, it experienced violent uprisings, political assassinations, foreign invasion and a notorious Great Inflation. Then the Great Depression hit, causing immense suffering in Germany. The response of the government, and other political actors, however, must also be remembered. For different reasons, both the era’s conservative governments and their socialist opponents primarily favoured austerity as a response to the crisis. Thus came a golden opportunity for fascism.

Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) promised to serve the entire German people, but the German fascist vision of ‘the people’ did not include Jews and other ‘undesirables’. They promised to create a ‘people’s community’ (Volksgemeinschaft) that would overcome the country’s divisions. The fascists also pledged to fight the Depression and contrasted its activism on behalf of the people’s welfare with the meekness and austerity of the government and the socialists. By the 1932 elections, these appeals to protect the German people helped the Nazis become the largest political party, and the one with the broadest socioeconomic base.

Largely for these reasons, up till 1939, most Germans’ experience with the Nazi regime was probably positive. The Nazis had seemingly conquered the Depression and restored economic and political stability. As long as they could prove their ethnic ‘purity’ and stayed away from overt shows of disloyalty, Germans typically experienced National Socialism not as a tyranny and terror, but as a regime of social reform and warmth.”

-The democratization of Germany at the end of World War I opened up a new phase in the country’s associational life. Hithertounrepresented and unorganized groups began to form their own organizations, and the Weimar years witnessed feverish associationalactivity at practically every level. The number of local voluntary associations grew throughout the 1920s, reaching extremely high levelsas measured by both historical and comparative standards. 36 National associations also [End Page 413] grew rapidly, andparticipation in professional organizations reached very high levels among the middle classes in particular. 37 Yet, as in WilhelmineGermany, the rise in associationism signaled, not the spread of liberal values or the development of healthy democratic politicalinstitutions, but rather the reverse. The parties of the bourgeois middle had reconstituted themselves after the war and proclaimed theircommitment to becoming true “people’s parties” and reintegrating German society. But these parties found it increasingly difficult to holdon to their constituencies in the face of growing economic, political, and social conflicts during the 1920s. Once again this created avicious circle. The weakness of the bourgeois parties and national political structures drove many citizens looking for succor andsupport into civil society organizations, which were organized primarily along group lines rather than across them. The vigor ofassociational life, in turn, served to further undermine and delegitimize the republic’s political structures. The result was a highlyorganized but vertically fragmented and discontented society that proved to be fertile ground for the Nazi’s rise and eventualMachtergreifung.The German revolution raised hope among the middle classes that the “divisive” and “unrepresentative” parties of the Wilhelmine erawould be replaced by a single Volkspartei capable of unifying the nation’s patriotic bourgeoisie and confronting the menace of socialdemocracy. Popular support for such a course was strong, but institutional jealousies and elite divisions prevented its adoption. Instead,Weimar’s early years saw, along with a strengthened conservative movement, the formation of two main liberal parties (the GermanDemocratic Party [DDP] and the German People’s Party [DVP]) and of several smaller regional parties, as well as reconsolidation of theCatholic Zentrum. The nonsocialist portion of Germany’s political spectrum was thus permanently divided among a large (andeventually increasing) number of parties, which soon began to squabble among themselves.”

-“The human amygdala coordinates how we respond to biologically relevant stimuli, such as threat or reward. It has been postulated that the amygdala first receives visual input via a rapid subcortical route that conveys “coarse” information, namely, low spatial frequencies. For the first time, the present paper provides direction-specific evidence from computational modeling that the subcortical route plays a generalized role in visual processing by rapidly transmitting raw, unfiltered information directly to the amygdala. This calls into question a widely held assumption across human and animal research that fear responses are produced faster by low spatial frequencies. Our proposed mechanism suggests organisms quickly generate fear responses to a wide range of visual properties, heavily implicating future research on anxiety-prevention strategies.”  is this why so much ethnic hatred behavior is triggered by skin color and other visual cues?


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