Tom D
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Tom D asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Can you suggest a mechanism that might explain a correlation between extremism and economic insecurity?

The suspected correlation is broader than I suggested above.

Beyond economic insecurity, I also think that general dissatisfaction with life, or a sense of victimhood, can make people more willing to adopt views with a reduced burden of proof.

Thus, a happy, content person appears to be more reluctant to adopt ideas that have low levels of proof, such as conspiracy theories or sweeping generalizations about group of people and their intentions.

For example, I have heard commentators observe that the Islamic world is rife with conspiracy theories, and it seems clear to me that many Muslims somehow feel victimized by the West.

Could it be that people who are struggling with life are grasping at straws for ideas to explain their circumstances, so desparate that they are willing explore ideas beyond reason? I have heard parents of autistic chidren express similar views.

If you agree, can you suggest why a possible cause? Samples from history which support your conclusions are welcome.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    I do agree. Look at post Great War Germany. A desperate, downtrodden, and economically devastated people turn to a tyrannical leader who scapegoats large sections of the population and whips the country into a fervor of hatred. That it exists is easy to assert, but to find a mechanism.... hmmm. Depseration? Depserate times call for depserate measures?

  • 1 decade ago

    I am still an undergrad in History, but I would suggest a lack of education would be a probably mechanism. Many educators are not willing to teach unless they receive sufficient compensation. So an unstable economy is not as likely to invest their money into education, resulting in the acceptance of possible extremist views.

    However, I do agree with what you propose. As for a historic example, Nazi Germany comes to mind. These suppressed Germans are what, one could argue, allowed Hitler to obtain a position of power.

  • 1 decade ago

    Someone once said, "The most dangerous people are those who have nothing left to lose." I don't remember who said it offhand. I believe you are correct in your hypothesis about the human condition. The worst possible state of existence I can imagine is one of living in a constant, unrelenting state of fear. It is sad that most people in charge cannot, or will not, see this truth.

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