Posted at 12.31.2018
The hate and prejudice that began the Holocaust travelled hand in hand with a political agenda that was fueled by the annoyance aggression theory. (1) Hitler blamed the Jews for the loss of World Warfare I and therefore, instead of focusing on political areas of the Jewish community, he displaced his hostility towards ALL Jews, even the helpless.
This, coupled with spiritual anti-Semitism prejudice that had been within Germany for 1500 years and the theory of "eugenics", was the politics and instrumental center of Hitler's political plan. (5) He used something of 'reduction of independence', which he believed was necessary in the fitness the German visitors to follow him. This meant that he'd slowly change the rules, allowing him to gain more and more control over his people. New laws and regulations preventing rebellious endeavors to overthrow his government and the removal of non-supporters that could possibly dissent, (disagree along with his plan)(1), provided Hitler complete control over what took place within the country's boundaries. (5)
He further conditioned the Germans to accept this program for the 'final solution' of the Jews with the regular onslaught of deceptive propaganda. Propaganda is the dissemination of ideas and information for the intended purpose of inducing or intensifying specific behaviour and actions. (4) This misleading information conditioned the German visitors to stereotype all Jews as bad and thus almost all of them became prejudice. This was an impact of what is called the availableness effect. (1) That's, they made stereotypical judgements predicated on the information available to them. Lots of the Germans have been raised under the influence of this propaganda and it was all of that they realized about the Jews, thus, the sole available information with which to make judgements by.
Under the umbrella of moral relativism, (2) these judgements were ethical in relevance to the German culture at this time, and thus, extensively accepted by the German people. The German people, especially the military, bonded under what is known as the self-esteem theory of prejudice. Even though being a soldier was what they could have had in keeping, these men bonded under the belief that they were much better than people in other organizations, namely the Jews. (1)
What is even more frightening is that it had not been a well thought out plan, but rather an activity with premises to subtly induce men to execute acts that would have ethical consequences that could cause great dissonance or uncomfortableness. (1, 5) The soldiers received information that coerced them into an "us vs. them" state of mind, the realistic issue theory. Due to the propaganda that they were bombarded with, they noticed that they were competing with the Jews for resources. (1) This might not exactly have been an structured plan, but it was a detail by detail voyage that led regular men from popularity of the 'last solution' to perpetrators of it.
At first, the military accepted the prejudice credited to all or any of the prior theories mentioned and followed requests to destroy. They may not have appreciated it rather than most of them may have complied, but enough performed. (4) As soon as they had wiped out once, cognitive dissonance occur. That is, they had conflicting feelings about murder and pursuing orders. (1) Given that they cannot change the take action that that they had committed, that they had to improve their attitude about the work they determined, thus decreasing the amount of dissonance, or discomfort that they thought due to conflicting emotions. Once they acquired reached that point, they were on the way to being completely desensitized, and then your committance of murder in the name of their administration, culture, and life-style was justifiable.
The German individuals who made-up the bystanders in this tragedy may not have been guilty of cold- blooded murder, nevertheless they were not innocent either. These were also victims of ethnical honest relativism, (2) thinking that if their federal government thought that was ethically relative tendencies in their culture, then they should comply. In ethnical relative habit, rightness and wrongs vary from location to place, and in this place, this prejudice tendencies was considered right.
These Germans that did not speak out contrary to the atrocities being committed resistant to the Jews, even if indeed they thought it would be ethically wise, were also victims of these ideas as well as what's called the bystander impact. (1) The bystander effect is when there is a large group of men and women and thus the unlikeliness of one to help is more robust. This is explained by a theory called the pluralistic ignorance theory. (1) This theory is dependant on an uncertain situation where the people around them are not responding to help, thus, they don't start to see the need to help either. The information they are acquiring from others around them is sharing with them that it is okay never to interfere, thus they become compliant with what their culture has deemed appropriate patterns, irregardless of what they may be feeling.
These people also experienced cognitive dissonance, equally the soldiers did. Once they overlooked one atrocity, they dismissed the rest of them to be able to justify disregarding the first one. They must justify their activities by changing their attitudes about the actions they have taken, thus, decreasing the amount of dissonance or uncomfortableness that they feel.
The indifference that the bystanders might have felt may have been done without the purpose to damage anyone, but their indifference and conformity were lethal. By turning a blind eyeball and choosing to be indifferent, the bystanders positively chose not to feel and turn off the individual response within them, as though they had targeted the gun behind a neck and terminated, as the perpetrators does.
Fear disoriented these folks and self-protection blinded them. Several, however, did not lose their way. These few are thought to have taken their direction from other own 'moral compass' in this mad world where most people lost their bearings.
These individuals were conditioned also, nonetheless they were conditioned to be rescuers rather that passive bystanders or dynamic accessories. These were common people who became outstanding. They were individuals who lived in an immoral world that acted based on the cultural relativism that was the norm at the moment. These people decided to act against this cultural relativism and also to act according to their own set of beliefs of virtue in the context of morality. (2)
The rescuers had a combo of courage, empathy, compassion, awareness, resourcefulness, vigilance, inventiveness, and persistence. In addition they could accept people that were different in their community. They had the fact that one person could make a notable difference. (3)
Each rescue account is different. Many rescuers say that witnessing one horrifying incident between Nazis and their victims propelled them into becoming rescuers. People rescued others for various reasons. Some were encouraged by a feeling of morality. Others acquired a relationship with a person or group and therefore, felt a sense of obligation. Some were politically driven and were adamantly opposed to Hitler. Other rescuers were included at the job as diplomats, nurses, social workers, and doctors, and so were conditioned to continue their participation beyond their professional responsibility.
This is where cognitive dissonance comes into effect in this situation. These folks were elevated to help, it was a part of their moral cloth. To not in favor of that learned notion would cause dissonance, therefore, these folks acquired it woven into these to rescue, to help, thus, reducing dissonance.
After the rescuers found ways to help, they required action. These were not victims of the bystander effect. Sometimes the entire change from bystander to rescuer needed just seconds, but the effects of this transformation were life changing.
First, a rescuer acquired to recognize that a person was endangered. This was not always easy to know because of the propaganda and the secrecy of Hitler and the Nazis. Next, rescuers experienced to decide if indeed they could and should take responsibility for assisting and risk the potential consequences. The aforementioned theories that discontinued the bystanders from helping were not a factor for these people even though the risks could be great, such as general public hangings, deportation to awareness camps, and on-the-spot shootings.
The range of the rescuing activities mixed, from departing food regularly in a tactical location, to creating a bureaucracy which allowed thousands of Jews to emigrate, to covering someone within one's house for several years.
It is interesting to note, that all of the rescuers that people read about, would not call themselves heroes. This lends iteslf to the moral beliefs of virtue ethics usually used in conjunction with heroes and saints. Heroes think they 'ought' to do what they do and therefore, do not consider their activities or persona to be morally optional. This shows that not absolutely all requirements of morality are universal commitments. The 'ought' in the terminology of heroes is a part of self-assumed moral ideals beyond that of the each day person and their activities are not led self-advancement or general public recognition. (2)
These heroes acquired an intolerance for injustice and the ability to endure risk. In addition they had an interior center of unshakable values and beliefs as well as a streak of freedom. The men and women who performed these outstanding deeds of self-effacing heroism were quite unexceptional. They were regular people who responded to outstanding circumstances in a morally exemplary fashion. (3)
The most important thing that I have discovered in this class, and will positively implement into my life, is to keep my eyes and my brain open. I've made a offer to myself to work very difficult to never be a sufferer of the bystander result nor to succumb to the idiocy and shallowness of prejudice.
I find myself chastising myself when a stereotypical thought slithers into my awareness and disseminating the thought to learn why I was convinced that way. I QUICKLY go about an acceptable debate in my mind about the professionals and negatives of the thought and in the end, I realize why the idea was wrong. Once I realize the why, I could then start focusing on changing my attitude so that hopefully, someday, I am going to not be plagued my such thoughts whatsoever. Perhaps I am conditioning myself, but this is a positive conditioning.
I used to stop myself from pondering bad reasons for having people just because the 'norm' says that it's not nice to take action. I now recognize that stopping the idea had not been enough. Stopping the thought just forced it down, it didn't dissolve it. It had been still in there, lurking around, waiting around to rear end its ugly brain at at any time. I now know these things must be purged to be able to improve our attitudes about the planet around us if we will break free of the vicious routine of prejudice.
I now realize how crippling these exact things are in everyday living. How many overlooked opportunities are out there because a stereotypical judgement I made caused me to make the ultimate attribution mistake about someone or a situation that rendered me immobile, frightened and weakened? It is almost as if these stereotypes and prejudices and cognitive dissonance that triggered therefore of them are a medication. Once you do it once, you must keep doing it or you feel unpleasant. We become servants to them and soon these are what our lives revolve around. Just what a waste of valuable thought, time, and energy!
I am also knowing, only now, when i write this paper, how many of the negative theories that we have discovered about during this class will be the result of stereotypes and prejudice. They are the first dominoes in line, they are the foundation, because they're the first dominoes of cognitive dissonance. They start it, and then each day, we conform like slaves, so that people do not feel uncomfortable.
But now, I visit a pin dot of light at the end of the tunnel. For if we can eliminate our prejudices, we can topple the tremendous structure that seems to be devouring our culture, our kids, and eventually, our future.
I understand that this is a great task, but I'd rather be on a quest of this kind than the main one of blindness, misunderstanding and subservience that I have already been on. I usually knew that I did not want to be this kind of person, having been a victim than it as a kid, but I never understood quite how to start changing my frame of mind. Well, there are no excuses for such behavior now, because now I've the tools. I know I cannot change the world or perhaps a solitary other person, but I could change myself, my lifestyle, my activities and my behaviour.
A passage that I read once comes to mind: 'A solitary small pebble triggers a ripple that will travel the length of the sea. It may take a lifetime, but it extends to the other part. ' This reminds me of the rescuers which one individual can make a difference, and I plan to.
1. Aronson, Elliot (1999). The Public Pet, Eighth Edition
2. Beauchamp, Tom L. (1991) Philosophical Ethics, An release to Moral School of thought, Second Release.
3. Block, Homosexual w/Drucker, Malka (1992) Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage
4. Browning, Christopher (1992) Normal Men: Reserve Police Batallion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.
5. Why the Germans? http://www. holocaust-history. org/short-essays/why-the-germans. shtml