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So we have a warped Just World where the universe is fair but it is centered around us. And this causes us to apply our view of the Just World Fallacy selectively. To wit: a woman is shot and killed during hunting season in the woods, technically within the city limits of Hamilton, Ontario. She was not wearing the colour orange which is what all hunters are supposed to when hunting deer in these woods during hunting season. If that sounds harsh to you please know that this is a real incident and real people told me that this woman deserved to be shot as their first reaction to the news.

You cannot make this stuff up. But our radical subjectivity skews the Just World so that if I was shot for not wearing orange in Hamilton, ON during hunting season, I cannot have deserved it. Other people are victims because they deserve to be, but I am an undeserving victim because I am the centre of the universe — I matter more than the woman in question because I am the hero of my own story.

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The belief in a just or fair universe is bad enough, it allows victim blaming and the lionization of people who lucked into success. The belief that I am more important than anyone, including you, is bad enough, as it allows me to believe that I am special or The worst. But the two of them combined allow us to take victim-blaming and personal exceptionalism to new heights. One of the reasons social psychology exists as a discipline is to explain how human beings could participate in genocide specifically, the Holocaust.

One reason human beings could participate in the Holocaust is that the belief in a just world allows us to believe the people in concentration camps did things to be there. And being the hero of our own story allows us to believe that, whatever those people did, we would never do those things nor would anyone we would choose to know.

Quote by John Barth: “Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own lif”

Our radical subjectivity plus the belief that the world is fair allows us to spend our lives victim-blaming and believing that, whatever we do, we are not deserving of the same treatment. In essence, the combination of these two biases allows us to tolerate the suffering of others. Your email address will not be published. Thank you for being an FP Basic subscriber.

How the Hero Narrative and the Just World Fallacy Interact to Create Evil

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By Thomas E. Ricks May 29, , PM.


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Thomas E. Ricks covered the U. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment gmail. View Comments. Tag: Flash Points. More from Foreign Policy.

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