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Yet another way the US sucks - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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October 19th, 2006


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02:36 pm - Yet another way the US sucks
Here's a disturbing article on attitudes about torture. In civilized first world nations, attitudes are generally against it.
*27,000 respondents in 25 countries were asked which position was closer to their own views:
1) Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights standards against torture.

2) Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives.

Country Against all torture * Some degree permissible * Neither/Don't Know
Here are the responses of various civilized first world nations
Italy.............81%...................14%............................6%
Australia......75%....................22%............................3%
France.........75%....................19%............................6%
Canada........74%....................22%............................4%
Gt Britain.....72%....................24%............................4%
Germany......71%....................21%............................7%
Spain..........65%....................16%............................19%

Between 1/7 and almost 1/4 of people in these nations support the use of torture

Here are the results of a selection of results from repressive regimes and fairly unpleasant third world nations.

Philippines....56%.....................40%............................5%
Iraq.............55%....................42%............................1%
Indonesia.....51%.....................40%............................8%
China...........49%....................37%............................13%
Nigeria.........49%....................39%............................12%

More than a third support, and in one case more than 40% support the use of torture.

Here's the results from the US

US...............58%....................36%............................7%


I'm always so (not) comforted to find out that more than 1/3 of the inhabitants of this vile nation have monstrous views. I'm betting that in the US at least, the answers to this questionarie correspond closely to whether someone identifies as a Evangelical Christian. We are not just ruled by monsters, far too many people here have utterly monstrous views.
Current Mood: angryangry

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:merovingian
Date:October 20th, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
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Wait, are you suggesting that torture is bad?

Next thing you know, you'll also be suggesting rule of law, democratic elections, and the separation of church and state.

Even habeas corpus restrictions!
[User Picture]
From:merovingian
Date:October 20th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
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Sorry, thin sarcasm. Those figures worry me a lot. I am happy that I live in a bubble of relatively sane government and attitudes, but I am scared of our country degenerating into "developing nation" status.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:October 20th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
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I know exactly what you mean. Personally, I find California a whole lot scarier politically than Oregon, but both Portland and the Bay Area are remarkably humane pockets within the increasingly horrid mess that is the US.
[User Picture]
From:blue_estro
Date:October 20th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
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I live in a bubble of relatively sane government

Well... I wouldn't go *that* far. But benevolent/benign, yes. :}
[User Picture]
From:risu
Date:October 20th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)
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I think this is misleading. Here's why.

If you do a survey on male college students and ask them if they've ever raped anyone, very very very very few of them will say "Yes."

If you do a survey on male college students and ask them if they have ever done any of the following
(list of behaviors that are legally rape, not counting statutory rape),
a *lot* more say "Yes."

There's a cognitive phenomenon called "chunking," where you precompile your answers to a given collection of challenges or subchallenges. For example, when driving, most of the time most of the controls are "chunked"---you don't think about every aspect of what you're doing.

I think that right now, regrettably, conservatives are a lot more likely to approve of something if they think they're supposed to. The label torture has become, uh, part of the branding. (Makes face.) That means that that number is the union of the pro-torture people who aren't in denial and the anti-torture people who are.

(Of course, that's true in every country, so some of the other numbers may be off as well.)

Rebecca
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:October 20th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
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Fair enough, I'd love to see statistics from 6 or more years ago. If they were comparable, then the survey is relatively correct, since before the current War on Terror I don't remember any instances in my lifetime of the US government openly advocating torture.

Wrt rape, the numbers are around 4.5 to 5%, which is one the one hand very encouraging, especially because when asked if questions about whether or not the men might perform these acts, the numbers are still under 8% - more than 90% of men have at least a modicum of decency. OTOH, one in 20 men are rapists and one in 30 of the rest might become one given the right opportunity is also fairly chilling.

One of the reasons I surround myself with a dozen or so like-minded individuals and rarely socialize with anyone else is the awareness of how absolutely vile a non-trivial proportion of the population is.
[User Picture]
From:antayla
Date:October 20th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)
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Oh, I guess I agree with you on this one... :)

The whole thing makes me want to go out and torture someone. Oh wait..
[User Picture]
From:rjgrady
Date:October 20th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
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I have a deep skepticism toward surveys of this kind. Simply mentioning the word "terror" is likely to skew the results of US respondents simply because of the time and place.

Let's say I wrote up two versions of the survey. The first one says:

"Would you support increased funding for the treatment of chronic, life-threatening diseases, for all persons regardless of ability to pay?" versus

"Would you support increased funding for the treatment of AIDS targeting homeless homosexuals living in San Francisco?"

Now send the two surveys out to rural South Dakotans.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:October 20th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps, and yet Britain has been dealing with terrorist attacks for decades and has had an Al Queda attack far more recently than the US and attitudes are far less bad.

Regardless of whether 1/3 of Americans are media-programmed drones or utterly devoid of humanity, things do not look good. In either case, my utter contempt for a goodly portion of the US populace seems more than justified. Other nations deal with similar problems and fears and they deal with them vastly better.

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