How Can A Society Support An Ideology The Majority Doesn’t Believe In?

When Steven Pinker named predation, dominance, revenge, sadism and ideology as the five roots of violence (in his book on the decline of human violence) – I immediately became interested. Especially as he wrote that the cause of ideological violence is not any particular part of the human brain – but is distributed across many people.

“The fifth and most consequential cause of violence is ideology, in which true believers weave a collection of motives into a creed and recruit other people to carry out its destructive goals. An ideology cannot be identified with a part of the brain or even with a whole brain, because it is distributed across the brains of many people.

…the really big body counts in history pile up when a large number of people carry out a motive that transcends any one of them: an ideology. Like predatory or instrumental violence, ideological violence is a means to an end. But with an ideology, the end is idealistic: a conception of the greater good.”

Steven Pinker: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

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You Want to “Take Back Control” Because You Feel Helpless

The sense of being in control is a more pressing need than not making things worse, but collective control is not a thing. If you give more power to someone in order to get back some sense of control, you are bound to get disappointed.

Do you want to take back control? You’re right. But take it back over your own life – and not over others’. And definitely not through empowering a strongman and your government.

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