Weblinks May 2019

How America could become a dictatorship within 10 years (according to Jared Diamond)

The author and scientist Jared Diamond, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, explains in this video why he thinks the United States could turn into a dictatorship. First of all, America is deeply divided and the political parties are no longer willing to compromise, as was the case in the past, with the result that little legislation is adopted because majorities are hard to achieve nowadays. Instead, the political parties fight each other with nasty tricks and big money and populism get more and more room in American politics. Similar to what see in Europe.

Jared cites the example of Chile in which he lived in the 70s. It was one of the most democratic states in South America at the time. Because the politicians could no longer come to compromises at a given moment, this created room for Pinochet, who then seized power and started exercising a terror regime.

In response, Jared indicates that people should vote and be more willing to listen to each other. In my opinion, this is becoming increasingly difficult because large companies and foreign powers can exert more and more influence on what people see and hear and thus manipulate elections. In addition, fewer politicians seem to be inhibited from telling gross untruths and using political stunts to win voters. Working on consensus and serious solutions for the country often come second.

By coincidence today D-Day is commemorated, everyone has almost forgotten what it is like to live under tyranny since this happened so many years ago. Slowly but surely the democratic achievements that we have built up after the Second World War are being broken down. We stand by and look at it, just like the frog in the pan with water that is slowly warming up, although the story of the boiling frog also turns out to be a hoax.

Cursing people are more honest according to scientific research (Stanford University 2016)

I’m not proud of it, but sometimes I tend to swear when things don’t go the way they should. A study at Stanford University has shown that people who regularly use foul language are more honest and sincere than people who don’t. Although swearing and cursing are generally not socially acceptable and is often associated with antisocial behaviour, the positive aspect is that people show more of their true feelings by using bad language.

It also appears that innocent suspects who are interrogated by the police swear more than suspects who turn out to be guilty. They probably need to think a lot more about the story they want to tell and they certainly don’t want to show their true feelings. Although it is not the case that a person who swears a lot is by definition an honest and trustworthy person.

You can read the research on: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1948550616681055