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As European as Concentration Camps: Blind hatred

Sim

Registered Member
There is a new study that observed attitudes of "group-focused enmity (GFE)" in 8 European countries (1000 people interviewed by telephone in each country). This GFE has different dimensions, such as anti-immigrant attitudes, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim attitudes, sexism and homophobia and is based on a theoretical model by German sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer.

Wilhelm Heitmeyer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You can find the study, as well as a summary here, including an English version, as PDF (on the right side of that page):

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung - Projekt gegen Rechtsextremismus

The study was conducted on behalf of Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, a partisan think tank connected to the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany.


Some of the results are frightening. Here some of the results:

Question / affirmative answer in % in:
Germany / UK / France / Netherlands / Italy / Portugal / Poland / Hungary

"The country most needs a strong man on top, who cares neither for parliament nor elections":
32,3 / 41,8 / 43,2 / 23,1 / 38,2 / 62,4 / 60,8 / 56,5

"Subordinate groups should stay in their place":
19,4 / 13,2 / 6,7 / 15,6 / 26,9 / 23,9 / 24,9 / 28,5

"Women should take their role as wife and mother more seriously":
52,7 / 53,2 / 57,0 / 36,4 / 63,2 / 67,9 / 87,2 / 88,4

"There are too many Muslims in my country":
46,1 / 44,7 / 36,2 / 41,5 / 49,7 / 27,1 / 47,1 / 60,7

"Some cultures are clearly superior to others":
41,6 / 20,1 / 29,4 / 37,9 / 28,6 / 61,3 / 49,4 / 38,5

"Immigrants living here threaten my personal way of life and my values":
9,9 / 18,6 / 14,7 / 12,2 / 17,3 / 15,4 / 5,8 / 28,6


Other "nice" findings:

More than 50% in all countries agree that "Islam is a religion of intolerance".

30.5% in Germany believe "there is a natural hierarchy between white and black peoples". With 18.7%, this number is only lower in Italy, but higher in all other observed countries. 13.5% of Germans agreed that "whites and blacks should rather not marry". (Holy ****!!!)

Anti-Semitism is especially strong in Poland and Hungary: "Jews are exerting too much influence" say 62.9% of the Hungarians and 49.9% of the Poles. Italy, France and Germany are in the middle range, anti-Semitism is lowest in the Netherlands and the UK.

88.2% of the Poles reject homosexual marriage, around 66% of the Portuguese, Italians and Hungarians, and between 40% and 50% in the other countries -- with the exception of the Netherlands, where only 17% reject homosexual marriage.

Studie in acht Ländern: Europa der Intoleranten - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik

From the study summary:

Group-focused enmity is widely disseminated in Europe. It not a phenomenon of the political margins but an issue at the centre of society. Europeans are conspicuously united in their rejection of immigrants and Muslims. About half of all European respondents said that there were too many immigrants in their country and that jobs should be given to non-immigrants first in times of crisis. About half condemned Islam as a religion of intolerance. On the other hand, almost 70 percent said that immigrants were an enrichment for their own culture. Between 17 percent in the Netherlands and more than 70 percent in Poland believe that Jews seek to benefit from their forebears’ suffering during the Nazi era. About one third of all respondents believe there is a natural hierarchy of ethnicity. A majority of Europeans also propagate sexist attitudes based on a traditional role division and think that women should take their role as wives and mothers more seriously. The proportion opposing equal rights for homosexuals ranges between 17 percent in the Netherlands and 88 percent in Poland.



70% say, on the other hand, that immigrants are an "enrichment to their culture"? Hmm ...


If these results are indeed representative, that's really worrying. Extremely worrying, even. Europe is a bunch of sick chauvinistic fascists and the numbers and attitudes were hardly higher between 1933 and 1945.

But somehow, I have doubts about these numbers, also with the methodology and theoretical foundation of that study. My intuitive reaction is that I doubt these numbers are that high (at least in Germany). My everyday experience just suggests they can't be that high -- or am I just living in the wrong circles of people?

At any rate, there is the problem of suggestive and negative wording of questions, which is a phenomenon known in social sciences: I took a closer look at the details of this study and now wonder if the results were maybe a little less frightening, if more questions had been worded positively. The replies to the few which were asked positively give a -- mildly! -- better image.

The authors of the study explain their methodology and I assume they know what they're doing, but I've seen many cases when suggestive and/or negative wording of questions causes skewed results. A classic example in German polling is the "politician bashing" phenomenon: When asked suggestively if "THE politicians are corrupt/lazy/out of touch", you usually get a majority to agree. But when the same people are asked to give 10 important politicians on a top 10 list individual ratings (on a scale from +5 to -5), you find that only ca. 5% give all 10 a negative rating -- 45% give 1 to 5 a good rating, and another 40% even give 6 to 9 a positive rating. So social scientists say disregard for politicians in general is not as high as the answers to suggestive questions suggest.

But even this doesn't excuse some of the horrid answers given in this study. Some questions are really indications for a worrying trust in democratic, liberal values -- think of the race questions regarding whites and blacks.

But is it really an indication of chauvinism or "group-based enmity", when you claim some cultures are superior to others? For example, I would say without any hesitation that German culture today is way superior to German culture pre-1945. Or to the culture of North Korea, or Iran. Just because I believe in liberal values and tolerance. Does that make me a chauvinist?

Obviously, some of the questions, or rather the conclusions drawn from the answers, are based on certain theoretical assumptions with a questionable ideological streak. Naturally, conservatives on this forum will probably immediately reject the notion that opposing gay marriage, or condemning Islam, qualifies as worrying chauvinism.

Also, playing devil's advocate for a moment: Why is group-based enmity against certain ideological groups not considered? Say, against neo-Nazis. Is generalizing, stereotyping and hating Nazis not "group-based enmity"? If not, why? And why should enmity and generalization against a particular group that's not defined by what their members are, but what they believe, such as Muslims, be any more problematic than generalizing against neo-Nazis?

How many islamophobic answers are based on a rejection of Islam, just because it's perceived as an intolerant, homophobic, sexist and illiberal religion? If that share is large, does that allow the conclusion these people are chauvinists?

Personally, I'd say that when you interpret Islam as many orthodox Muslim clerics do and suggest, this religion is hardly any less illiberal or intolerant, as Nazi ideology is. The problem is that enough Muslims don't follow such an interpretation of Islam. So the bad thing is stereotyping. But probably, there are less extreme neo-Nazis too? Maybe some who are hardcore racists, yet don't support genocide and violence?

But I have no idea how far this kind of devil advocacy carries. And this doesn't negate the horrible results regarding racism and sexism, though.

At any rate, this study leaves me severely concerned. And I can only hope much of the results are skewed by methodological and technical errors -- it simply doesn't compute with my everyday observations that allegedly 50% of the Germans want women in the kitchen, or 40% hate homosexuals.

Do you have any ideas about this?
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
I was expecting Italy to stand out in some of the questions but it was rather Portugal and Hungary that did. I also liked the low score of Subordinates group should stay in their place, for FR. I think the rejection of homosexual marriage more likely stems from the religiousness of the country. I don't know how accurate are the stats with the current feelings of the French but to be honest, the recent surveys here do scare me because it seems that if we're not careful, we're going to have a repeat of 2002 on our Presidential Elections, where there are more votes for the extreme right than the usual moderate conservatives or liberals. I mean at least Chirac got first place on the first round. The surprise there was that Jospin (PS) was expected to rank second but was kicked out by Le Pen on the first round, making people go on the streets to beg voters to vote for Chirac by default. Recent surveys though show that Le Pen (now represented by Marine, the daughter), is top selection. If that is really the case for the majority, then this survey you posted has painted a too nice picture for FR because soon as the FN is on top...that's as discriminating as FR can get.
 
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Sim

Registered Member
I was expecting Italy to stand out in some of the questions but it was rather Portugal and Hungary that did. I also liked the low score of Subordinates group should stay in their place, for FR. I think the rejection of homosexual marriage more likely stems from the religiousness of the country. I don't know how accurate are the stats with the current feelings of the French but to be honest, the recent surveys here do scare me because it seems that if we're not careful, we're going to have a repeat of 2002 on our Presidential Elections, where there are more votes for the extreme right than the usual moderate conservatives or liberals. I mean at least Chirac got first place on the first round. The surprise there was that Jospin (PS) was expected to rank second but was kicked out by Le Pen on the first round, making people go on the streets to beg voters to vote for Chirac by default. Recent surveys though show that Le Pen (now represented by Marine, the daughter), is top selection. If that is really the case for the majority, then this survey you posted has painted a too nice picture for FR because soon as the FN is on top...that's as discriminating as FR can get.
How comes Marine is so popular? Is it because Sarkozy is fairly unpopular and many former conservative voters now turn to the FN, so this is an anti-Sarkozy statement, or do you think this is really a pro-Marine Le Pen surge?

It would be unfortunate if the 2002 situation was repeated in 2012 (the next Presidentials are in 2012, right?). Much of it seems to be due to the 2-round-system which benefits smaller parties, so the FN has an advantage, because both left and right are divided into many parties. So assuming Marine Le Pen wins #1 or #2 in the first round of the Presidentials, who do you think will be her opponent in the second turn? Rather Sarkozy again, or rather a socialist? Or is it too early to tell?

I haven't heard much about the socialists in France lately. The last time I read a few months ago (maybe you mentioned this too) was that the gay Paris mayor is considered a potential candidate, but the socialists are still facing in-fights. Have these in-fights been settled in the meantime, and who are the possible candidates? Does Segolene still pay a role?
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
How comes Marine is so popular? Is it because Sarkozy is fairly unpopular and many former conservative voters now turn to the FN, so this is an anti-Sarkozy statement, or do you think this is really a pro-Marine Le Pen surge?

It would be unfortunate if the 2002 situation was repeated in 2012 (the next Presidentials are in 2012, right?). Much of it seems to be due to the 2-round-system which benefits smaller parties, so the FN has an advantage, because both left and right are divided into many parties. So assuming Marine Le Pen wins #1 or #2 in the first round of the Presidentials, who do you think will be her opponent in the second turn? Rather Sarkozy again, or rather a socialist? Or is it too early to tell?

I haven't heard much about the socialists in France lately. The last time I read a few months ago (maybe you mentioned this too) was that the gay Paris mayor is considered a potential candidate, but the socialists are still facing in-fights. Have these in-fights been settled in the meantime, and who are the possible candidates? Does Segolene still pay a role?
I guess because both parties UMP and PS are horrible right now. The thing with FN is that it always had solid fan base, even if they're not big. The other parties, despite the big numbers they have internal divisions. I don't know who will get the other place if Marine indeed gets a spot for second round, but I'm sure it will just be an automatic win for that candidate. Hmm, maybe the bigger parties are sort of encouraging the FN win so they don't need to campaign as hard on the second round (assuming they're confident to make the first round at all).

The PS are going to have their primaries this year and even that, they can't agree on when they should declare their official candidate. Some want it over before the summer for longer campaign period while some want it for Fall. Segolène is still a contender. The Paris mayor, last time I read, isn't an official candidate but certain polls rank him as one of the top choices that people would vote for if they're actually running.

Btw, regarding the poll. Is there a correlation between a country's anti-semitism and islamophobia? I mean does it follow an inverse relationship where the higher the anti-semitism, the lower the islamophobia? Or both could suffer discrimination at the same time, not necessarily in favor of the other (also add neo-nazism)?
 

Sim

Registered Member
I guess because both parties UMP and PS are horrible right now. The thing with FN is that it always had solid fan base, even if they're not big. The other parties, despite the big numbers they have internal divisions. I don't know who will get the other place if Marine indeed gets a spot for second round, but I'm sure it will just be an automatic win for that candidate. Hmm, maybe the bigger parties are sort of encouraging the FN win so they don't need to campaign as hard on the second round (assuming they're confident to make the first round at all).

The PS are going to have their primaries this year and even that, they can't agree on when they should declare their official candidate. Some want it over before the summer for longer campaign period while some want it for Fall. Segolène is still a contender. The Paris mayor, last time I read, isn't an official candidate but certain polls rank him as one of the top choices that people would vote for if they're actually running.
Thanks for the update, it's interesting! :)

Btw, do you know if Bayrou is running again?

Btw, regarding the poll. Is there a correlation between a country's anti-semitism and islamophobia? I mean does it follow an inverse relationship where the higher the anti-semitism, the lower the islamophobia? Or both could suffer discrimination at the same time, not necessarily in favor of the other (also add neo-nazism)?
One of the findings of this study is that different dimensions of "group-based enmity" are related. In other words, people who are agree to chauvinist slogans on one field, are more likely to give chauvinist answers on other fields too.

You can see the correlations on page 70 of the study: It seems the strongest correlation is between anti-Muslim attitudes and anti-immigrants attitudes, which isn't surprising, by a marker of 0.59. The relation between anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim attitudes has a marker of 0.37, which is a little less than the correlation between anti-immigrants attitudes and anti-Semitism (marker 0.41).

Not surprising is probably the relatively strong relation between sexism and homophobia (0.42). Probably this is the traditional religious demographic. The lowest correlation is between homophobia and racism, with 0.25 only.

So apparently, people who give both anti-Semitic and islamophobic answers are numerous.
 
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