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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Why we seek out violent or abusive people

One  way to avoid suffering violence is to pay the State some taxes to fund a police force and military. That force usually depends on the ultimate threat of violence to do its job. We’re proud of these potentially violent people, celebrate their victories and mourn their defeats.

We may also choose to associate with people who we believe are strong enough to protect us. Or in some cultures, carry weapons or own a "fighting" dog.

Essentially we manage the risk of being a victim of violence by keeping our own supply of violence at hand. These are two edged swords though – the police, military, dogs, etc. sometimes turn on us. 

Of course, these "risk management" decisions are rarely carefully thought out - they are more likely to be unconscious and emotional in nature. A possibly related phenomenon is Hybristophilia - sexual attraction to violent criminals.

In the political sphere consider, Stalin - arguably the most violent Russian leader  but "A survey from late 2006 found that 47 per cent of Russians viewed Stalin as a positive figure, and only 29 per cent as a negative one" 

To be sure, there are some victims of violence and other abuse who in no way "courted" their problems but those who liked what Donald Trump was offering enough to vote for him will not be in a good position to complain if he turns against them.   They've taken the risk that overall he'll be good for them despite the red flags. And if in a few years time if he does something awful, is it his responsibility? Or is it the responsibility of those who knowingly voted him in and made it possible?

Given the geographic and military position of the US, it seems unlikely that he'll ever be in front of a War Crimes tribunal but perhaps his electorate should be running that risk?


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