Friday, May 04, 2007
ethnocentrism and homophobia in the news
As you all know, I am very interested in moral development. Studies show we develop from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric modes of care. Nobody knows why some people stop at a certain stage (maybe it has something to do with reincarnation) but it appears that many people do.
Sometimes I think that only ethnocentric can go to war with another nation, bombing civilians from the sky, because worldcentric only sees the family, and thus will do anything it can not to kill the mother or sister. It might appear that a nation like the U.S. is “Acting for the benefit of the world” but the truer motivation is “We are more valuable than them” and thus, killing civilians in another nation is not so wrong. And to some, it is even desirable (keep reading).
I’m not saying that ethnocentrism is necessarily always bad. I used to believe that though. But now I see that an individual must move though all these stages and cannot skip any. I still have ethnocentrism in me. I felt it strongly when Katrina and Virginal Tech happened.
Ethnocentrism actually contains a new ability that egocentrism doesn't: the ability to, for the first time, care for people you have never met (just as long as they are part of your nation or race.) And that is quite an evolutionary accomplishment! Just maybe it's not good enough in todays shared world.
My point is that recently the pentagon conducted a survey on the moral of U.S. troops in Iraq. From the article: “A Pentagon official said the survey had looked under every rock and what was found was not always easy to look at.
“The Pentagon survey found that less than half the troops in Iraq thought Iraqi civilians should be treated with dignity and respect.
More than a third believed that torture was acceptable if it helped save the life of a fellow soldier or if it helped get information about the insurgents.
About 10% of those surveyed said they had actually mistreated Iraqi civilians by hitting or kicking them, or had damaged their property when it was not necessary to do so.
Troops suffering from anxiety, depression or stress were more likely to engage in unethical behaviour, together with those who had had a colleague wounded or killed in their unit.”
In related news, “Since 2003, the number of convicted felons allowed to join has nearly doubled -- to 1,605 last year. The military has also welcomed nearly 44,000 enlistees convicted of serious misdemeanors. Going from an orange jumpsuit to desert camo must be a refreshing change.
But the Pentagon hasn't eliminated its standards entirely. You still can't serve your country if you have a thing for people of your own sex. And if you are secretly gay, you can be kicked out if your sexual orientation becomes known. Since 1993, more than 11,000 troops have been discharged under President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. If you were in the Army, would you rather bunk next to a homosexual or an ex-con?”
The image at the top is from Holons
Posted by David at 6:29 PM
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