Philippine Asian News Today Vol 19 No 18 - Page 9

September 16 - 30, 2017 PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS TODAY durianrepublic by JJ Atencio I’ve often wondered how gen- erally decent people could support extra-judicial killings (EJK), or at least allow it to happen.  If one looks at social media, we read so many versions of “Let’s kill all the pushers and addicts!” that you’d think that this country was intolerant and mur- derous.   The reality is we’re not.  It’s more fun in the Philippines, to be sure, but there’s a behavioral dy- namic going on that’s actually clos- er than we think, as the supporters of the government’s war on drugs include our relatives, close  friends, officemates, even church mates.  So what gives? How can we explain and therefore understand why good people sometimes act badly, even against their moral con- victions?  In 1962, social psycholo- gist Stanley Milner conducted groundbreaking experiments at Yale University on obedience and authority.  The experiment involved a volunteer who was instructed by an authority figure - in this case, the experimenter - to give an elec- tric shock to a subject every time he gave a wrong answer.  The vol-  The Psychology of EJK Support unteer was also instructed that the more wrong answers the subject gave, the more powerful the electric shocks would be.  Of course, what the volunteer didn’t know was that the subject re- ceiving the electric shock was actu- ally an actor pretending to be hurt in excruciating pain with the electric shocks.   The results were controversial because, ordinarily, we’d like to be- lieve that good people didn’t do bad things willingly, and that only evil people would do horrific acts of in- flicting pain.  The results of the experiments, in fact, were the opposite.  To quote directly from the analysis, “Despite their reservations, most volunteers con- tinued to follow the orders of the experimenter and inflict progres- sively greater shocks.  This is even when they could hear the cries of the other subject, and even when that person pleaded to be let out of the experiment.”  Milgram himself notes, “...a substantial proportion continue to the last shock on the generator”.  Now, what does this explain?  First, that good people can be coerced by an authority fig- ure to obey instruction even when such action is  against their moral convictions, if the authority is le- gitimate and, more importantly, if the responsibility for such actions can be passed on to the author- ity figure.  It’s like, “I cannot be at fault because I was only following orders.”  The concept of obedience to authority is so engrained in us that it leaves us vulnerable to coping mechanisms to rationalize a harm- ful deed. Statements such as “the Andrew Scheer Fights To Save Local Business OTTAWA, ON – Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, today launched the Save Local Business campaign. The Trudeau Liberals are planning major tax increases on local businesses, which would threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.  “Canada’s Conservatives are fighting to save local business, and the jobs they create, from Justin Trudeau’s latest tax hike. The Trudeau Liberals want to make local businesses pay more, regardless of the cost to jobs or the impact on local communities,” said Andrew Scheer.   Justin Trudeau has previously said he believes that small businesses are mainly a way for the wealthy to save on their taxes.  “We’re not talking about multinational corporations. We’re talking about our neighbors. They’re the coffee shop owners, the farmers, and mechanics who are the heart and soul of our communities. These are good people, hardworking people, honest taxpayers who are being demonized by the Trudeau Liberals because the government can’t get its spending under control. There’s nothing fair about targeting local business.” The Save Local Business campaign will reach out to Canadians and ask them to show their support for local businesses in their community.   “Canada’s Conservatives respect local businesses and the people who rely on them for a living,” said Scheer. “We’re fighting this tax hike every step of the way.”  The campaign website can be found at:  WWW.PHILIPPINEASIANNEWSTODAY.COM ends justifies the means”, or “they’re criminals and subhuman anyway” have been used to rationalize sup- port for the Nazi extermination of the Jews in World War 2.  We also cope by accepting re- alty selectively: “let’s look at the big- ger picture” or “we should expect some civilian casualties in a war.”  The problem is, it seems okay for as long as someone else is pull- ing trigger and is willing to accept that responsibility.  A good question to ask in times like this is: if it was me, can I pull the trigger myself?