notes taken, thoughts in progress

just world hypothesis n.  The widespread but false belief that the world is essentially fair, so that the good are rewarded and the bad punished. One consequence of this belief is that people who suffer misfortunes are assumed to deserve their fates: a person involved in a traffic accident must have been driving carelessly, a victim of burglary could not have taken adequate precautions, a woman who was raped must have acted provocatively and led her attacker on, and so on, and even the victims often blame themselves. This phenomenon, which is usually interpreted as a consequence of the illusion of control, was first identified and named by the Canadian psychologist Melvin J. Lerner in an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1965. See also blaming the victim, Just World Scale.


In Personality, values and belief in a just world (Wolfradt, Dalbert)  there were earlier findings that showed a positive correlation among BJW, conformity, security, extraversion, and a negative correlation with neuroticism and openness.


What if any, correlation exists along theist/atheist spectrum?  What role does religion play in values?


BJW has three functions

1)  it is indicative of the personal contract and the obligation to behave failry

2)  it provides a conceptual framework which helps individuals to interpret the events of their personal life in a meaningful way

3)  it endows individuals with the confidence that they will be treated fairly by others and will not fall victim to an unforeseeable disaster.


These are important in allowing individuals to invest in future, enhancing achievement, and reducing stress.



blaming the victim n.  A pervasive tendency to assume that a person who has suffered a misfortune must have done something wrong to deserve it. It is explained by the just world hypothesis.


Recall Candide

The Age of Enlightenment is a term applied to a wide variety of ideas and advances in the fields of philosophy, science, and medicine. The main feature of Enlightenment philosophy is the belief that people can actively work to create a better world. “It is customary to present Candide as the result of Voltaire’s reaction to Leibniz and Pope,”(Wade 1) two of the main philosophers of the enlightenment era. While Voltaire’s Candide is heavily characterized by the primary concerns of the Enlightenment, it also criticizes certain aspects of the movement. It attacks the idea of optimism, which states that rational thought can inhibit the evils perpetrated by human beings. Voltaire did not believe in the power of reason to overcome contemporary social conditions.


Couldn’t find anything that correlated conservative values, BJW, and militarism.


Problem with BJW is blaming the victim. 


Exactly what conservative beliefs?



Wolfradt, Dalbert – is there a socialists element to the questions?  (e.g., “I  am convinced that in the long run people will be compensated for injustices”)?  Does this mean monetary compensation or karmic compensation? 


Correlation of BJW and conformity makes sense.  If the “blame the victim” fallacy holds to the hypothesis, then people’s actions have consequences.  This is a determining “authority” in reinforcing behavior of a social group.  This also makes sense that security would be positively correlated if in a stable environment because to those few who experience negative effects, they were not secured by the majority of the group and are, again, liable for blame in bringing it on themselves.


Recall the political rhetoric after 9-11.  while I need some data, my impression (my group memberships were LC GREENS, Gulf War Vets, Sierra Club, GreenPeace, UU) was that on the right the feeling was “they attacked us… let’s attack back” and on the left it was “we’ve brought it on ourselves with our arrogant, American ways”


See B Smith’s article “the metaphor (and fact) of war”

“That the United States is the source via movies and TV of cultural trends that challenge time-honored traditional values in other societies, especially Moslem ones, makes its [terrorism] more probable”

Note that Smith gives good marks to “conservative” thinking here (time-honored, traditional values) in other societies (shall we included the subjugation of women as property and religious intolerance?  He remarks elsewhere in the article that he is a liberal.  Just what is he a liberal on?  Can he be for time-honored traditions in other countries, yet push his liberal views here in the US? 


Also note that what are America’s choices in the above sentiment?  Should we change our character entirely?  Become more Moslem so as to not offend them?  Do away with our capitalist notions for socialism so there are not have/have nots?  Or should we, without regard, attack anyone and everyone who we perceive as a threat?  Or should we have some empathy for how we treat others, and yet go after those that attack us, and in doing so aid those that we inflict suffering upon?  Isn’t this middle path what we are doing now in Iraq?


What is one of the underlying sentiments of his article?  Democracy is bad and socialism is good.  The reason is that there exists “haves” and “have nots”.  It is impossible in a capitalist society to eliminate the have nots. 


“In a world currently divided between wealthy “haves” and impoverished “have nots”, terrorism is a recourse of the hopeless and powerless”


Damned for war on terror because it is not between state warfare.  Yet criticizes not listing enemy combatants as prisoners of war, even though they did not sign any of the articles of the Geneva Convention.  What violation does the WTC attack have in the Geneva Convention?


Criticizes use of the word “evil” because it dehumanizes the other.  What better word than evil for those that attacked the WTC?  Is the world a place of relativism?  Do not values live?  For people that attack other’s use of “evil” and absolute values, there are a lot of falling back on the ultimate judges of universalism.  If there is not ultimate good, how then is world peace achieved? 


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