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Join the conversation! There are now 11 comments on “Mens Rea pg 2 – Blaming the victim
  1. noon time says

    Just world is another thing far more common in Americans than Europeans.
    Perhaps because the latter are less religious and thus have a harder time justifying that belief?

    • Or maybe we europeans are more educated than the american invaders? Maybe we bother to THINK why something happened?

      • LordGrey, it’s ironic that you’re making a biased statement based on yet another person’s bias without citation… on a website about justice. Even more ironic is that, in a way, you’re exhibiting the exact same behavior as this comic portrays… “They must be dumb because we think about things more.” “They suffer from stupidity. I guess they have it coming.”

        Pshhht.

        What punishment would fit your crime, I wonder? Considering it’s the internet, I doubt there’s much possible that would ‘deter’ or ‘rehabilitate.’ However… I’m feeling a bit retaliatory, seeing as I’m American and you’ve just insulted me.

        Ah, screw it. You’ll just have to suffer being an ignorant fool when it comes to Americans. I guess you have it coming.

        • Removal! This sort of post is a danger to society and hence he must be prevented from making any more!

          I’ll say that the American/European difference is more due to the more right-wing stance of America than Europe than any difference in intelligence.

          • From what I’ve read, “just world” is a universal phenomenon — people have a deep psychological feeling that you somehow get what you deserve.

            Where people vary — and they vary widely from culture to culture — is in how strongly this is felt.

            I have not run a regression analysis to test this, but the data I’ve seen leads me to hypothesize that the most important variable is the particular culture’s emphasis on self-determination.

            To be wildly oversimplistic, think of the distinction between “citizens” and “subjects.”

            There are a lot of cultures around the world where the individual is “ruled.” He is a “subject” of some higher authority, be it a ruling class, a religion, or what have you. As a subject, his autonomy is limited — there are decisions he doesn’t get to make. The ruler makes those decisions for him, or he is culturally precluded from making them. The flip side is that the ruler “owes” the subject a duty. The government has a duty to take care of its subjects.

            In such cultures, where there is a stronger sense that someone else is responsible for things that happen to you, there is a weaker sense that you yourself deserve whatever happened to you.

            This also strongly correlates with beliefs about poverty, distribution of wealth, the role of government, and even what constitutes “success” or “happiness.”

            Meanwhile, there are cultures where the individual is more of a “citizen” than a “subject.” The government doesn’t rule him, it works for him. Its role is to handle those things he can’t take care of privately. The individual is seen as having much greater autonomy — in some parts of the U.S., nearly complete autonomy. Nobody else is responsible for you, and so nobody else is responsible for what happens to you.

            This leads to a stronger “just world” feeling. But the world isn’t just, of course, and so you get some cognitive dissonance that goes along with it.

            It is interesting to see how these cultural attitudes are developing within the United States itself. The “subject” sense (I have got to come up with a better term for that) is much stronger in urban areas, and not just among the “welfare class” whose every condition is prescribed by the government, but among the population in general. It’s more prevalent among democrats than republicans, though both exhibit it.

            • I don’t think the attitude that victims “must have had it coming to them” is at all common here in Britain. It’s just life; shit happens, bad things happen to good people, and we just have to deal with that and move on.

              • Au contraire, many of of the studies about this phenomenon are, in actual fact, done in Britain. Here’s a random example: Harper, D. J., & Manasse, P. R. (1992). The Just World and the Third World: British explanations for poverty abroad. The Journal of social psychology, 6. Heldref Publications

                Britain is very much a part of this.

      • ‘American invaders’?

        Not a student of history are we? I seem to remember that US (as well as so many other places) as it stands today is in large part the result of European invaders.

        I think US foreign policy has often been the cause of numerous evils, particularly since world war two, but to assume this somehow absolves Europe of the many, many, many horrors that various European people have caused is silly.

        All peoples are capable of good or bad things and those with the hubris to think they are above doing bad things tend to be more inclined to do them without seeing or thinking clearly. Also more likely to justify, hide or gloss over the bad things they’ve done instead of accepting responsibility and attempting to correct course.

        Fortunately us Aussies are way better than that!/hypocrisy that ignores history

        • Ahem, mandatory offshore detention at Nauru and Manus Island. No moral authority for you!

      • “American Invaders”? The US exists because Europeans invaded native lands starting about 5 centuries ago. We merely learn from our predecessors.

      • Are Europeans more educated than Americans? In 2012 the only countries that had more university graduates than the U.S. were Japan, Israel, and Canada. None of those countries are in Europe. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/09/27/and-the-worlds-most-educated-country-is/ Granted, the exact position of each country varies from study to study because each study adopts a different definition of what constitutes a “university degree” or “tertiary education.” However, this list is from the OECD. They are a pretty authoritative source.

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