Well Chickenboy, all human existence is on a spectrum, especially when we talk about the pscyhology of humans.
When I assess someone to see if they are a psychopath I ask them about whether they ever tortured animals as a kid? Why? Simple, if you don't have empathy for an animal ( especially an antropomorphisable one ) as a child then it is quite likely that you are the sort of person who won't have empathy for humans either as an adult. So, how we behave in small ways often points to how we behave in larger ways.
More specifically in terms of psychological studies carrier out to explain groupthink and ostracisation/pogroms and how cults develop there is clear evidence that individuals who either don't recognise that a small piece of bullying or racism is wrong or recognise it is wrong but choose to stay silent are quite likely to either not recognise larger pieces of racism/bullying aren't wrong ( either they are psychopaths are so caught into groupthink that their morality is subsumed into the group's purpose - which in the case of these groups is usually a perverted survival instinct being acted out through externalisation and being projected as a need to attack "the other" ) OR recognise they are wrong but value being part of the group enough/fear being cast out enough to keep quiet. In this way research has shown that if you do a small thing a person should know is wrong their reaction quite strongly predicts their reaction to a much larger wrong.
So, don't kid yourself, someone who stands idly by while watching someone get bullied on the internet is highly probably to stand idly by while others are being even more violated in real life ( such as racism and pogroms). I amn't aware of specific research regarding reactions to bullying on the internet being compared with severe assaults in real life but the research is there for the reaction to minor bullying in real life predicting reaction to much greater wrongs.
So, hyperbole and polemics? No. Just research you obviously weren't aware of.
Also to say that the lack of enforcement here leading to ever more aggressive behaviour having no bearing whatsoever on bullying shows a lack of knowledge of human psychology. I suggest you read a precis of the Stanford experiment and the Millgram Experiments. You might also find some reading around The Third Wave interesting. Pogroms are all about group think, people choosing to subsume themselves to the group and abandoning their own moral compass in order to gain the protection of the group/avoid being ostracised by the group. I'll include the Wikipedia links for you below should you choose to read them. There are far more experiments which support these but these three are the most culturally known and thus the place to begin your reading. In short though, in small things you CAN see how people will behave in larger things. If we ALL lived in a country where some fascist ideology rose I believe most of the forum members would recapitulate their forum roles. Why? That's the way people are. In small things you see how they behave in large things.
People here aren't necessarily bad or evil. They're just human and humans have a huge capacity for forming groups which, in order to fulfill the group goal of survival identify other individuals or groups as " the other" and thereby justify violence ( physical and verbal ) against those groups/individuals in the name of "protecting" the group. Hitler understood this and formulated a doctrine based just on this understanding in Mein Kampf in which he said that to make a struggle understandable to the masses you needed to have a clear problem, a clear groups causing the problem and a clear solution. If you had those 3 things you could get people to follow you. People did, to infamy and disaster. Humans haven't changed and the same dynamics would work now. People are always looking for a charismatic leader to identify a problem, give them a clear cause ( often a group causing the problem - illegal immigrants, muslims, democrats, republicans, foreigners etc etc ) and a clear solution to that problem. You can see that dynamic play out in the news every day of the week --- and also here on the forum.
The Stanford Experiment
The Third Wave
If you're interested I'd suggest reading anything by Bion about group dynamics to learn about group goals and why the group can often externalise a need to survive into a need to attack/exterminate others.
< Message edited by Nemo121 -- 6/18/2011 10:44:20 PM >
John Dillworth: "I had GreyJoy check my spelling and he said it was fine."
Well, that's that settled then.