Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chicken Soup asks an embarrassing question...

Which kind of person is traditionally hated more by the average American, the abuser, the victim, or the third party who refers to the abuser as what it is?

Domestic terrorists, serial killers, and other similar characters know the answer already, but I'd like to hear from you.


  1. You gotta be more specific. If you're talking about like bullying, yeah of course the victim's hated as he's of low stature, and they hate anyone even more for talking about it. But if it's all serious like child molestation, then the molester is hated most of all.

  2. That's hard. Bullies are often (although not always) victims.

    Top, alpha bullies are usually admired. Bully personalities are often admired unless something destroys that image. So, an abusive, exploitative boss might be admired until it comes out that he likes dressing in lady's undies and preying on young girls.

    Serial killer worship is a funny one. A normal predator is disdained but a serial killer gets weirdo worshipers.

    Some victims are admired. I hear tell there's a whole religion based around a victim... ;-)

    So, I'm not sure what you're thinking, but I think it's pretty complicated, especially because there's so much overlap between the three.

  3. If a criminal's intent is to establish himself as the alpha, then Americans tend to defend his right to do whatever is necessary. The victim is usually blamed for not displaying the proper level of toadying worshipfulness normally expected by real men.

  4. Well, I actually thought more about it, particularly with Sandusky.

    Maybe it's more like "totem and taboo": there are ways to establish dominance that are condoned and ways to establish dominance that are not condoned.

    But it depends on the society. Some are totally legal (e.g. "breaking down" a soldier in boot camp), some are illegal but condoned or admired (e.g. many forms of hazing.) Some in our society are frowned on or despised (e.g. sexual abuse of children) but are condoned by other cultures (e.g. child marriage and "dancing boys" in Afghanistan.)

    So, if you know the social "rules" of bullying and can exploit them, you do well. You also do "well" if you respond "appropriately" to bullying (e.g. accept hazing.) But if you're a victim of a socially-condoned form of bullying and you don't accept it in socially acceptable ways, you're doomed. Imho, what doyou think?

  5. Americans behave much like dogs or chimpanzees. They're violent, predatory, and they maintain a heirarchy based largely on the ability to impose harm on others. Americans deify and enrich violent sociopaths like Ryan Tucker and then have the brass to complain about terrorism.

  6. Most so-called "honor killings" (over 90%) occur in Muslim countries, they're killings in which relatives murder someone for being a rape victim or violating some so-called "sacred" tabboo.

    America's fucked-up, but there are places even worse than here. (notably Afghanistan)

    1. The existence of worse places is not a defense. Imagine a wife beater claiming that he's a good guy because most of his neighbors beat their wives twice as often as he does.

  7. Humans are apes, after all.

    Yes, but is that very different from other cultures? Even cultures with low murder rates like Japan and Denmark are extremely hierarchical and psychologically abusive. I think that might play a big role in their high suicide rates.

    Do you think it's different from other cultures?

    1. Cultures differ in their methods, but they all assign high status according to the ability to impose harm on others and escape punishment.

      Terrorists are obviously tired of this arrangement.

  8. Well, what kind of terrorist? The term is so vague I'm not sure it means a whole heck of a lot.

    Asymmetric warfare, e.g. 9/11, Afghanistan, etc.? Well, I'd say they just want to be the big dog on top. Or at least the guys in charge want to be the big dogs.

    McVeigh? For one, he was nuts (I think he was psychotic), for another I think he was trying to defend the weak, in a sense. In his own mind, I suspect he was trying to "rescue" people (although how that's different from the guys on the plane in 9/11, I'm not sure. Martyr mentality is what I'm driving at.)

    But some I really think it's not trying to do something to the hierarchy, it's really just pure "power motive" - the kid who plants pipebombs, for example, I think is just dicking with people.

    What do you think?

  9. For the purposes of this blog, a terrorist is someone who wishes to control others by demonstrating the willingness and the ability to harm them and then maintaining the threat of further harm. This is a wide definition. It includes a range of abusive personalities from David Salmon of Franklin, Massachusetts on up to Hitler. Scale is the important difference between these extremes.

    Criminals, including terrorists tend to come from either the top or the bottom of the social structure described in "Chicken Soup with the Bully Enablers." Those at the top have never been taught to place value on the welfare of others and those at the bottom (the kid who plants pipebombs) have never been given any reason to place value on the welfare of others. In fact, those at the bottom are given reason to hate others.

  10. Taken to its ludicrous extreme, under your definition everyone except pacifist hermits is a terrorist. I think we can all think of saying or doing something harmful to another person to get them to do something: yelling at someone, failing a student for underperformance, etc. And while I think I can support the idea that everyone is a bully sometimes, equating bully and terrorist?... Do you honestly equate those two?

    But even if you mean "to kill" when you say "to harm," then that includes police and all governments. Eisenhower would be just as much a terrorist under your definition as Hitler was. Do you believe that? It's just a definition, but if everybody falls into that definition then it's pretty meaningless, isn't it?

    Honestly, people from the top can have that pipebomb mentality, too. Whoever did the anthrax attacks must have been "on top" enough to be working in a scientific lab and to have access to American anthrax. I'd say the anthrax guy probably had a "pipebomb" mentality. Don't you think?

  11. Eisenhower was working to increase the ordinary individual's control over his or her own life. Hitler was working toward the opposite goal. Hitler was a terrorist. Eisenhower was not.

    Terrorists are those who seek ongoing control of others in perpetuity, or until they tire of their current victims and move on. Yes, that includes bullies, batterers, child abusers, etc. Employing fear to control others for temporary and legitimate purposes such as military training or student grading is not terrorism.

  12. Hm. A lot of modern parenting would qualify as "terrorism," then, wouldn't it? I see piles of moms and dads - particularly moms - who control their offspring and simultaneously spoil them, not to help them grow, but to keep them controlled. Do you see this as a type of "terrorism," even if it doesn't employ hitting?

    What about government scare tactics that are used to control people? It is actually legitimate in a sense that on the train it says that we should report anything suspicious. And yet, at the same time, it creates a culture of "watchers" and paranoids.

    Re-reading "Escape from Freedom." In it, Fromm hypothesizes that just as there's a will to power there's a will to submission. Skinner would say that the bully and the bullied do not occur in isolation but feed off each other. Do you agree with the idea that at a certain level humanity's drive to become submissive is inborn and innate? Or is it purely psychosocialized - as both some Freud followers and some behavioralists believe? Or both?

  13. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?