Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And this, boys and girls...

Is why we don't get attached to any one particular ideal, mindset, organization, or whatever. I mean, when it gets right down to it, is there anything out there actually worth dying over? Okay, fine, possibly the allies in WWII ending the holocaust, but examples are few and far between.

The University of Texas at Austin has been looking into extremism, and what people are willing to die for. They describe people willing to die for other members of their group as "fused," which is an interesting way of looking at it. Personally, I think it's commendable to be willing to sacrifice yourself to save others regardless of who they are, but this study focused on what people would do for members of their "group" versus people outside of it.

The bottom line? Spainards want Americans dead. That's only a slight exaggeration, but the gist of it is that Spanish college students (who were studied for the project) were more willing to die for people inside of Europe than they were for people outside of it (specifically, America). There were also some interesting follow-up questions about who would be willing to die so that terrorists would get killed that raise some interesting ethical questions and insights into the nature of extremism.

Hopefully, I'll never be in a situation where I face a choice like that in real life.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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