Opinion | The Neuroscience of Hate Speech – By Richard A. Friedman – NYT


CreditCreditBen Jones

By Richard A. Friedman
Dr. Friedman is a psychiatrist.,      Oct. 31, 201       251 comments

Do politicians’ words, the president’s especially, matter?

Since he has been in office, President Trump has relentlessly demonized his political opponents as evil and belittled them as stupid. He has called undocumented immigrants animals. His rhetoric has been a powerful contributor to our climate of hate, which is amplified by the right-wing media and virulent online culture.

Of course, it’s difficult to prove that incendiary speech is a direct cause of violent acts. But humans are social creatures — including and perhaps especially the unhinged and misfits among us — who are easily influenced by the rage that is everywhere these days. Could that explain why just in the past two weeks we have seen the horrifying slaughter of 11 Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, with the man arrested described as a rabid anti-Semite, as well as what the authorities say was the attempted bombing of prominent Trump critics by an ardent Trump supporter?

You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to understand that the kind of hate and fear-mongering that is the stock-in-trade of Mr. Trump and his enablers can goad deranged people to action. But psychology and neuroscience can give us some important insights into the power of powerful people’s words.

We know that repeated exposure to hate speech can increase prejudice, as a series of Polish studies confirmed last year. It can also desensitize individuals to verbal aggression, in part because it normalizes what is usually socially condemned behavior.

via Opinion | The Neuroscience of Hate Speech – The New York Times

Yes, and here is the top comment to reflect on.

David Underwood
Citrus Heights

We have seen this phenomena previously not too long ago, it was at the core of the Third Reich, it was a cascade of propaganda not unlike Fox news. It demonized not only Jews, but Gypsys, Blcks, non Aryans, it allowed it followers to kill millions of innocent fellow humans with no regrets, not even a bit of pity. Now we see what we could call “Son of Trump,” the logical results of his rhetoric,not unlike Der Fuhrer, following in the path of Goebbels, repeating the same lie as often as possible, and gaining followers by doing so. This synagogue shooting is directly traceable to his rhetoric, this bomber and Jew killer are classic examples of those who just needed an excuse to act. This is the face of the New Nationalist Republican Party. Its leaders do not have the decency to take a stand against this neo Fascist movement, it suits there aims, the GOP is just as complicit as are the actual perpetrators of these current events, they just sit back and let him rant on, it gains them supporters. Oh they make apologetic noises, reading from a script to appease the anger of the community, but is is not genuine, it is scripted, they are dishonest as is their leader. We see interviews with people, mostly in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, it is always Kansas where we can find these true believers, they who consider themselves good church going patriotic Americans, helping to turn the country Fascist, a mental condition fostered by a Philistine.

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About David Lindsay Jr

David Lindsay is the author of "The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth- Century Vietnam," that covers a bloody civil war from 1770 to 1802. It was published by Footmad and Cherry Blossom Press on September 11, 2017. Find more about it at TheTaySonRebellion.com, also known as, DavidLindsayJr.com.
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