Article "Would You Stand up to an Opressive Regime or Would Conform? Here's the Science"

by Bill Covert 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Bill Covert
    Bill Covert

    There is a article on FireFox "Would You Stand up to an Oppressive Regime or Would you Conform? Here's the Science" taken from "The Conversation" by Nick Chater. 10-9-2019.

    Perhaps someone with computer skills can copy and post this article on this forum. Personally in computer skills I am what political correct refer to as "challenged".

    It is put in the setting of a oppressive theocratic "Gilead" scene. I think you folks will find this interesting.

  • rh3988

    Would You Stand up to an Oppressive Regime or Would You Conform? Here’s the Science

    We all like to think of ourselves as heroes. But according to science, the vast majority of people aren’t prepared to rebel against totalitarian rulers.

    The Conversation | Nick Chater

      Photo from Jasper Savage / Hulu / Channel 4.

      Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, described the horror of the authoritarian regime of Gilead. In this theocracy, self-preservation was the best people could hope for, being powerless to kick against the system. But her sequel, The Testaments, raises the possibility that individuals, with suitable luck, bravery and cleverness, can fight back.

      But can they? There are countless examples of past and present monstrous regimes in the real world. And they all raise the question of why people didn’t just rise up against their rulers. Some of us are quick to judge those who conform to such regimes as evil psychopaths – or at least morally inferior to ourselves.

      But what are the chances that you would be a heroic rebel in such a scenario, refusing to be complicit in maintaining or even enforcing the system?

      To answer this question, let’s start by considering a now classic analysis by American organisational theorist James March and Norwegian political scientist Johan Olsen from 2004.

      They argued that human behaviour is governed by two complementary, and very different, “logics”. According to the logic of consequence, we choose our actions like a good economist: weighing up the costs and benefits of the alternative options in the light of our personal objectives. This is basically how we get what we want.

      But there is also a second logic, the logic of appropriateness. According to this, outcomes, good or bad, are often of secondary importance – we often choose what to do by asking “What is a person like me supposed to do in a situation like this”?

      The idea is backed up by psychological research. Human social interactions depend on our tendency to conform to unwritten rules of appropriate behaviour. Most of us are truthful, polite, don’t cheat when playing board games and follow etiquette. We are happy to let judges or football referees enforce rules. A recent study showed we even conform to arbitrary norms.

      The logic of appropriateness is self-enforcing – we disapprove of, ostracise or report people who lie or cheat. Research has shown that even in anonymous, experimental “games”, people will pay a monetary cost to punish other people for being uncooperative.

      Psychopaths? Photo from the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

      The logic of appropriateness is therefore crucial to understanding how we can organise ourselves into teams, companies and entire nations. We need shared systems of rules to cooperate – it is easy to see how evolution may have shaped this.

      The psychological foundations for this start early. Children as young as three will protest if arbitrary “rules” of a game are violated. And we all know how punishing it can be to “stick out” in a playground by violating norms of dress, accent or behaviour.

      Authoritarian Regimes

      Both logics are required to create and maintain an authoritarian regime. To ensure that we make the “right” personal choices, an oppressive state’s main tools are carrots and sticks – rewarding conformity and punishing even a hint of rebellion.

      But personal gain (or survival) alone provides a fragile foundation for an oppressive state. It is easy to see how the logic of appropriateness fits in here, turning from being a force for cooperation to a mechanism for enforcing an oppressive status quo. This logic asks that we follow the “rules” and make sure others do too – often without needing to ask why the rules are the way they are.

      Regimes therefore supplement rewards and punishments with self-policed norms, rules and conventions. A “good” party comrade or a member of a religious cult or terrorist group will learn that they are supposed to obey orders, root out opposition and not question authority – and enforce these norms on their fellows.

      The authoritarian state is therefore concerned above all with preserving ideology – defining the “right” way to think and behave – so that we can unquestioningly conform to it.

      This can certainly help explain the horrors of Nazi Germany – showing it’s not primarily a matter of individual evil. As the philosopher Hannah Arendt famously argued, the atrocities of the Holocaust were made possible by normal people, manipulated into conforming to a horribly abnormal set of behavioural norms.

      Would You Rebel?

      So how would you or I fare in Gilead? We can be fairly confident that most of us would conform (with more or less discomfort), finding it difficult to shake the feeling that the way things are done is the right and appropriate way.

      Just think of the fervour with which people can enforce standards of dress, prohibitions on profane language or dietary norms – however arbitrary these may appear. Indeed, we may feel “morally bound” to protect the party, nation or religion, whatever its character.

      A small number of us, however, would rebel – but not primarily, I suspect, based on differences in individual moral character. Rebels, too, need to harness the logic of appropriateness – they need to find different norms and ideals, shared with fellow members of the resistance, or inspired by history or literature. Breaking out of one set of norms requires that we have an available alternative.

      People giving a Nazi salute, with an unidentified person (possibly August Landmesser or Gustav Wegert) refusing to do so. Photo from wikipedia, CC BY-SA.

      That said, some people may have more naturally non-conformist personalities than others, at least in periods of their lives. Whether such rebels are successful in breaking out, however, may partly depend on how convincingly they can justify to themselves, and defend to others, that we don’t want to conform.

      If so, we would expect a tendency to adopt non-standard norms to be linked to verbal ability and perhaps general intelligence in individuals who actually rebel, which there’s some evidence to support.

      How we react to unfairness may also affect our propensity to rebel. One study found that people who are risk averse and easily trust others are less likely to react strongly to unfairness. While not proven in the study, it may make such individuals more likely to conform.

      Another factor is social circumstances. The upper and middle classes in Germany during the 1920s-1940s were almost twice as likely to join the Nazi party than those with lower social status. So it may be that those who have the most to lose and/or are keen to climb the social ladder are particularly likely to conform. And, of course, if other members of your social circle are conforming, you may think it’s the “appropriate” thing to do.

      Few will fight Gilead after carefully weighing up the consequences – after all, the most likely outcome is failure and obliteration. What drives forward fights against an oppressive society is a rival vision – a vision of equality, liberty and justice, and a sense that these should be defended, whatever the consequences.

      Nick Chater is Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Business School.

    • slimboyfat

      I interesting article, thanks. It reminds of a book I read called Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany by Robert Gellately.

      I remember reading a story that a JW woman in Nazi Germany, in order to avoid giving the Nazi salute, whenever she left the house would always carry a heavy bag of shopping in each hand, so that whenever she met someone she would have a plausible excuse for not raising her hand. She said that many people knew what she was doing but because the excuse was apparently credible most were willing to play along. It might at first seem like a trivial act of nonconformity, but when its significance is appreciated by a community who become in some sense participants in the nonconformity, it can become powerful.

    • Simon

      Most people would comply, most people would turn into informants and report their neighbours.

      This is why forced compliance and opinions are so dangerous and insidious - it's the road to far worse abuse.

    • Bill Covert
      Bill Covert

      That is the whole point of the Sept. 1 1987 Wt. article "A Time to Speak When?

    • hoser
      The upper and middle classes in Germany during the 1920s-1940s were almost twice as likely to join the Nazi party than those with lower social status.

      Interesting. Fear of disapproval by their peers. The same reason all of the servant body and their wives are expected to auxiliary pioneer in memorial season.
    • was a new boy
      was a new boy

      [Picture on page 15]

      'It is the right and loving course to encourage an erring Witness to speak with the elders, confident that they will handle the problem in a kind and understanding way'

      What if you're not confident that they will handle the problem in a kind and understanding way?

      Leave it in Jehovah's hands, just like child abusers are.

    • Bill Covert
      Bill Covert

      Thanks for the picture of "Mary" from the article "A Time to Speak When?" she was based on a real person. A African American named Sharon whom I met in 2006, she was married to my uncle. My uncle was moving my mother away to Arizona away to be away from my apostate influence. I don't know if she or my uncle is even alive due to the completeness of the shunning.

      My very first post on this site was centered on this Wt. article as to the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1 relationship to paragraph #6. If you got some time revisit that post. You can read that Sharon was in reality a nurse who informed on a married JW sister she saw scheduled for a abortion. In a subsequent post on this article I was unable to get the folks on this forum to focus on the main importance in this article that of par. #6 where the writer was pulling off a deception by switching places of the sinner "the witness" with the "clean man who is doing public cursing" of Lev.5:1. The only thing people could see was the obvious that Sharon got blacked balled from the medical profession for breaking medical confidentiality. I could not get anybody to see that the real important piece was the engineered deception being perpetrated in par #6 where the WTB&TS were switching places with of the two individuals in Lev. 5:1. There is a man doing public cursing and there is a witness to that public cursing. It is the "witness" who is the SINNER! Not the man doing the public cursing! This is in Lev.5:1 because the "witness" who refused to answer the call to testify has now to offer up a sin sacrifice.

      In the article "A Time to Speak When?" par #6 the man doing public cursing is the victim of a crime!!!! The "public place" is a Jewish court room, which is the market place at the city gate where all legal proceedings we carried out in public view unlike the back room of the Kingdom Hall. Google commentary on Lev.5:1 go to Bible Hub, there you can read that crime victims, members of the community have the right to put forth a "call to testify" see 2013 RNWT Lev.5:1.

      See if you can see the mystery surrounding the importance of the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1 that to this day has been cloaked in silence, in that there has been absolutely no comment from the GB on the new light of the revised Lev.5:1? Lloyd Evans called me flippant because I questioned his inability to see the importance of the mystery in his 2013 blog on the "Silver Sword" , go to JW Survey look it up, see if you can see what went two pay grades above Lloyd's head.

      The 1987 article "A Time to Speak When?" was written to fabricate a tool! It was a tool designed to control peoples minds. 1975 was the culmination of the Fred Franz fiction works! The first couple of years of the 1980's everybody was lost. It was 1984 I first started to see Matt.24:34 was headed down the tube by a quote in Wt. that said we would preach to the "sons and daughters" of those sighing and groaning of Ezk.9:4. There were two major events of the 1980's; one a scheme was hatched to create cash flow, the two day Kingdom Hall building program financing, two, the "obedience to the Organization mantra". In short the WTB&TS ceased as a religion with a message and changed into a real estate scam. To formulate a conspiracy to violate what ever banking laws pertaining to non profits engaging in commercial banking in order to create cash flow of interest income the church needed to control minds. The article "A Time to Speak When?" was nothing more than a tool created to subjugate minds of the sheep for the fleecing.

      It took a couple of months of back and forth with Barbara Anderson for her to see the importance of the RNWT 2013 revision of Lev.5:1 in about the summer of 2014 or 15 to unlock the deception perpetrated by the GB in the article "A Time to Speak When?" . You can read her research on "A Time to Speak When?" in her article "Flawed Decrees Conceal Criminals" at Watchtower Documents.

      This Lev.5:1 project has been a 30 year project. From 1989 to 2004 it was letters between myself and Merton Campbell of the northern California Service Desk pertaining to a $4,250,000 unregistered securities swindle perpetrated by a swindler R.D. [well known to "Royal Flush Phil" who posted on this site] from the San Diego area. In those letters I took on the persona of the "cursing man" in Lev.5:1 to the point to where Barbara asked me "per chance was I the man in northern Calif she knew of from when she was in Bethel who used to write the most offensive letters to NY of anyone in the USA? that was a bingo. Since 2005 those letters were addressed to the homes of the publishers for the purpose of penetrating the internal grape vine of the church to mind fuck the elders who profited from the $4.250M swindle and those who were terrified of the "wolf pack" of Acts 20. I am the guy mentioned in the 2013 summer assembly talk "Human Apostates" who designed a new tactic of writing to the homes of the publishers.

      This post is not me trying to toot my own whistle. There is something very important here that even Barbara failed to see. The article "A Time to Speak When?" was a fabricated piece that had a purpose in mind that of mind control. Paragraph 6 is the only thing that is REALLY important! What do you folks see as you read that article? You see the church counseling adherents to violate medical confidentiality to turn in sinners. In par. 6 you have the church perpetrating a deception by making the sinner "the witness" into an holy informant and making a crime victim into a sinner!

      Let me show you why that small technical deception is so important. When Barbara and I were going back and forth Barbara went to Chicago to a SNAP convention. She told me what she learned was that when going after religion, go after POLICY. Policies are the structure an organization is built on. To go after church teachings is like trying to squeeze a hand full of grease. View policies as columns an organization is built on. Remember it was the columns that Osama Bin Laden went after in his first attack on the World trade Center [right idea wrong engineering]

      Let me see if I can get you to track with me on this. The church informant policy/column of Lev.5:1 is a fraud, a deception, they switched the sinner with the clean man. Realize the article was for the purpose of fabricating a tool to control minds to facilitate the fleecing of the flock. Hence there was no thought given as to accuracy of Biblical interpretation as was the case in the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1. So can you see that the Lev.5:1 informant policy of the WTB&TS is a deception, a fraud?

      Here is why this is so important. Because of how it relates to another policy that of blood transfusions. If we take and put the two WTB&TS policies/columns side by side we come up with the issue of murder! This is a legal position that is going to take an attorney to explain. Being as how the blood transfusion policy is enforceable by sanctions of disfellowshipment and loss of family through shunning and adherence results in the loss of human life. Yet at the same time the family of the patient has a fraud perpetrated upon them by the church omitting the fact that they use deceptions in the forming of policies that carry the sanctions of removal of family. So if a family is required to sacrifice life for church policy then is the church required to inform families that some of their policies are based on deceptions affording the families the opportunity of informed decision making? Can you see the point? [it is times like this when my 10th grade English teacher said there will be a time when I studied harder to learn how to communicate, rather than take shop classes, so true]

      So now we have two church policies/columns side by side, lets bring a third policy/column that of the "two witness" rule. Can you now see that what is being done is elevating the importance and cruelty of the "two witness" rule that links the rape of children to a cold hearted church that by its cloaking its 2013 revision of Lev.5:1 in silence that would expose the deception of a fabricated policy designed to extract money to create a world wide real estate empire.

      Now lets bring in a fourth policy/column that of violating both human and civil rights of splitting families by the sanction of shunning for any questioning the Gestapo fraudulent policies.

      Can you folks see that if the formation on the WTB&TS policy of Gestapo informants was based on a outright deception that, that deception corrupts the blood, two witness rule and shunning policies. If you can see that then can you see that there is nothing "new under the sun" that the WTB&TS is just another fucking church that is willing to use deception to extract money out of the flock by means of interest paying real estate loans that create cash flow and deed over to the church a world wide real estate empire.

      When Barbara Anderson wrote her article "Flawed Decrees Conceal Criminals" , she did not give me any honorable mention as to being the source of the intellectual property as to why the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1 connected to paragraph 6 in the article "A Time to Speak When?". That smarted for a little bit but I realized that what she had done was elevate my application of "A Time to Speak When?" from a securities swindle into something of much greater importance, that of reporting of the rape of children to police, I was ok with it. Then she used her research into the Romy Maples molestation A&E TV program, to which Romy was molested in Fortuna Ca. which triggered a connection to my town Redding of which I was able to warn local government as to a possible connection between government action and church sex scandal, which end result was County Mental Health investing in my son alcoholism derived through the being separated from father and some first responder ptsd's. So I owe Barbara for the success of my son becoming a poster boy for Mental Health success which interview went through out the entire California Mental Health system and they even interviewed him on TV.

      The point being Lev.5:1 went from me to Barbara she elevated it from being a financial fraud issue to being an issue where scripturally it required the church to turn molesters over to police. So now that Lev.5:1 comes back to me can you folks see that understanding a very technical connection between paragraph 6 in the article "A Time to Speak When?" and the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1 has the ability to take the "two witness" rule to a much higher level of importance when it is able to be shown just how cold hearted the GB is in concealing their own revision of Lev.5:1. When they released the 2013 RNWT they sealed their own fate!

      This post is not for everybody. It took me almost two months to get Barbara to see the connection. Read her article "Flawed Decrees Conceal Criminal's", it has been under appreciated. Realize I am an old truck mechanic trying to convey a technical point three pay grades above that of a wrench turner, so be kind.

      Bill Covert

    • OnTheOutside

      Oppressive regimes tend to make extreme public examples of what happens to rebels and those that don't conform thus 'encouraging' those remaining to fall into line.

      Does it seem that picture of the elder and the erring Witness looks like some hanky-panky about to happen? Their sleeves are touching and they look too close for comfort.

    • Bill Covert
      Bill Covert

      On the Outside Evidently this blew right over the top of your head. There is no hanky-panky. The picture depicts a clerk in a medical office informing on a single sister who evidently fornicated as this woman saw a receipt for payment for a abortion in her medical files and she is following church policy to inform.

      The topic of this post is the science behind those who stand up to oppressive regimes. Please read the very last sentence the behavioral scientist Nick Chater writes. Understand that if someone is going to frontally take on the WTB&TS for 30 years they better have those ducks in a row and they better have some substance like the wt. article "A Time to Speak When?" and how it relates to the 2013 RNWT revision of Lev.5:1 then the understanding how this deception can be applied to the blood policy so as to get a legal opinion that failure of the WTB&TS to reveal that they use deception to formulate policy so as to give families of blood transfusion the knowledge up front for the families to make a knowledgeable decision as to whether or not they want to lay down life. There is going to be very few people on this site who have the ability to follow this line of thought and they will be the ones who can think two pay grades above Lloyd Evans.

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