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'Less Than Human': The Psychology Of Cruelty

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  • 'Less Than Human': The Psychology Of Cruelty

    https://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/13495...ess-than-human
    'Less Than Human': The Psychology Of Cruelty

    March 29, 20111:00 PM ET
    Heard on Talk of the Nation

    During the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats. Hutus involved in the Rwanda genocide called Tutsis cockroaches. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals. In Less Than Human, David Livingstone Smith argues that it's important to define and describe dehumanization, because it's what opens the door for cruelty and genocide.

    "We all know, despite what we see in the movies," Smith tells NPR's Neal Conan, "that it's very difficult, psychologically, to kill another human being up close and in cold blood, or to inflict atrocities on them." So, when it does happen, it can be helpful to understand what it is that allows human beings "to overcome the very deep and natural inhibitions they have against treating other people like game animals or vermin or dangerous predators."..
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