Samir’s Selection 11/17/2015 (p.m.)

  • “A sense of justice and injustice—right and wrong—is an evolved moral emotion to signal to others that if exchanges are not fair there will be a price to pay. How high a price? In the Ultimatum Game, in which one person is given a sum of money to divide with another person—with the stipulation that if the offer is accepted both keep the money, but if the offer is rejected no one gets any money—offers less than 30 percent of the sum are typically rejected. That is, we are willing to pay 30 percent to punish an offender. This is called moralistic punishment.”

    tags: injustice justice experiment chimpanzee FransdeWaal terrorism gametheory

    • In a classic 1983 article entitled “Crime as Social Control,” sociologist Donald Black, now at the University of Virginia, notes that only about 10 percent of homicides are predatory in nature—murders that occur during a burglary or robbery. The other 90 percent are moralistic, a form of capital punishment in which the perpetrators are the judge, jury and executioner of a victim they perceive to have wronged them in some manner deserving of the death penalty.
    • After the Middle Ages, such morally motivated self-help justice was replaced for the most part by rationally motivated criminal justice. Black notes, however, that when people do not trust the state’s justice system or believe it to be biased against them—or when people live in weak states with corrupt governments or in effectively stateless societies—they take the law into their own hands. Terrorism is one such activity, the expression of which, Black argues in a 2004 article in Sociological Theory entitled “The Geometry of Terrorism,” is a form of self-help justice whose motives depend on the particular terrorist group.
    • Many American liberals and media pundits have downplayed their religious motives, but as Black told me in an e-mail, “Muslim terrorists should be taken at their word that their movement is Islamic, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, etc. We have their word as evidence, and in my view that is the proper basis on which to classify their movement. Would we have said that the violence used by Protestants and Catholics during the Protestant Reformation had nothing to do with religion? That would be absurd.”
    • No less absurd is the belief that jihadists are secular political agitators in religious cloak. As Graeme Wood writes in “What ISIS Really Wants,” his investigative piece in the March issue of the Atlantic, “much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.”
  • It struck me forcefully how technologically connected they are; they follow the news obsessively, but everything they see goes through their own filter. They are totally indoctrinated, clinging to all manner of conspiracy theories, never acknowledging the contradictions.

    tags: ISIS psychology extremism intolerance fundamentalism Islam hostage Syria

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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