Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Psychology of the Notion of Collective Guilt

You are not guilty
In the Dredd Blog post Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment, I pointed out that one group is responsible for global warming induced climate change.

Oil-Qaeda (the international oil industry).

Individual citizens who have to work to support their families and themselves do not have time to do the government's job for them.

So, as it turns out, government officials have been bought off by Oil-Qaeda, and have let the people down (Oil-Qaeda & MOMCOM Conspire To Commit Depraved-Heart Murder).

Oil-Qaeda is also paying media operatives to spread the false notion that all humanity is responsible for addicting civilization to oil, seeking to minimize the greatest crime against humanity in all history (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

It is not too surprising, then, that some still mistakenly think everyone is equally to blame for the current reality that civilization is in deep trouble (Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids?, 2; Stockholm Syndrome vs. The Ecosystem, 2).

The psychology involved in this has been detailed, and the dynamics of imagined or mythical guilt are well understood:
"... collective guilt is a psychological experience, it need not involve actually being guilty in any sense of the word. This is an important distinction. Indeed, one of the most striking features of collective guilt is that it can be experienced by group members who were not in any way involved in the harm doing ... The essential ingredient of personal responsibility for the harm done can be absent when collective guilt is experienced, although this is an important prerequisite for "being guilty" in the legal sense.

Feeling guilt for events that an individual is not personally responsible for is possible because people can and do categorize themselves as members of a group ... These theories explain how group membership shapes the cognitions, emotions, and behavior of individuals. From a social identity perspective, the actions taken by the ingroup can elicit an emotional response to the extent that the self is linked with the ingroup. Immoral actions and outcomes caused by other ingroup members link the self to the wrongdoing via shared group identity. People "bask in the reflected glory" of their group when other ingroup members are responsible for successes, and they can attempt to "cut off reflected failure" when other group members' actions harm the ingroup's image ... Because part of people's identity is based on their group membership, the desire to feel positive about their group will frequently result in group-serving explanations for ingroup actions. However, when those justifications fail or become impossible to sustain, people may feel collective guilt to the extent that the ingroup's past actions are perceived as violating the current moral standards of the ingroup."
(Collective Guilt: International Perspectives, p. 4, emphasis added). When justice is perverted to place guilt on the guiltless, a grave wrong is done.

So do not blame innocents, including yourself (hold only the guilty guilty: Forgiveness and Collective Guilt Assignment to Historical Perpetrator Groups Depend on Level of Social Category Inclusiveness, The Social Psychology of Collective Guilt).

That illustrates why we must choose certain things very carefully (Choose Your Trances Carefully).

To those of Oil-Qaeda who are reading this, your group is guilty, so resist it from within so you have no personal guilt.

Those of you reading this who are not of Oil-Qaeda, do not convict yourself for what you did not do (The Universal Smedley - 2, Viva Egypt - 2).

Oil-Qaeda cinched the demise without you (The Peak of Sanity - 3).

You are like all of the individual human beings who lived before oil was ever discovered.

And before civilization became fatally addicted to it (A History of Oil Addiction - 4, 3, 2, 1).

You are not like the military which still serves Oil-Qaeda (Destroying What Remains, "How the U.S. Navy Plans to War Game Alaska").

See also (A Case of Big Oil vs. Climate Change, 2) ...

The following video is a brief discussion of collective guilt by association:


  1. This is a well-reasoned stance Dredd. i agree to a point. Here me out.

    There are, then, different aspects to the human negative influence on the planet: your expose here demonstrates Big Energy (we can include the Nuke Gang in with Oil-Qaeda, as well as Big Coal), but then there are the underlying breeders who helped overpopulate the place (like a giant petri dish, we're not doing any better than yeast in containing our numbers so as to last the maximum amount of time), the idea-poisoners like Henry Ford and the like who took technology, and all its attendant pollution, mining and side effects for granted (along with the economists who promoted all this), Bernays who found a fatal flaw in humans and capitalized on it (influence, marketing, PR, Big Ad), the food poisoners like Monsanto and Dow Chemical who took science and found a niche to make money while destroying the very soil and crops they supposedly "enhance" or "improve."

    Then we can find guilt in the various established religions that not only went along with all this "civilization" but also promoted overpopulation, conceded to fractional reserve banking (by product of "interest") or USURY, instilled sheep-like behavior in their followers and blessed war and warriors all along the way (instead of being steadfastly opposed to any and all killing for any reason - who would Christ strike down?).

    The bankers and money people who promote greed on a grand scale - to the point that it's now mathematically impossible to pay off the world's debt ( - are also guilty of ruining the quality of life, distracting everyone from appreciating the beauty and wonder of existence, and imprisoning everyone in our collective way of daily destruction through "jobs" that look no further than the paycheck and how to maximize it, never mind the environment.

    How about the police (including the whole Homeland Security alphabet soup agencies, the EPA and the other former "watchdogs") - who USED to be protectors of the public (or at least that's how they were perceived in society until the corporations shanghaied the government) but who have now become thugs and "brown shirts" over the past bunch of administrations (from JFK on - at least, we could probably go all the way back to the founding of the OSS or the Eisenhower era)? They are the protectors of the status quo - which is industrial civilization.

    Let's talk about the so-called "leadership" of all the countries of the world who have all bought into capitalism, money, extraction of resources for profit, militarism and hegemony, and protecting their wealthy at the expense of all the rest of us. No guilt there, Dredd? We saw how JFK attempted to change things and how well that worked out. All the rest of our presidents probably got schooled in how short their leash is by TPTB afterwards, which solidified our demise as a miltiary-industrial-corporate entity (and the complete disregard of the citizenry).

    So ALL these people, including anyone who works for a corporation (remember, right now they are still legally considered to be persons, but without accountability) is at least guilty of the crime of KEEPING it this way, being complicit by their actions of continuing the murderous process by which humanity sucks the life from the planet without regard for its welfare or health. All the little cogs in the machine - those who do the bean-counting, maintenance, and expansion of civilization are guilty of its continuation.

    Another thing that pisses me off is the fact that we all go along with all this every god damned day. People should be camping out around the capitals of every state and in DC until they change things, but we don't do SHIT. We watch tv and go along with our merry little lives when we're facing our own demise in the very near future. How sick is that?


    1. Tom,

      That is every activists accurate view, and set of frustrations.

      You point out the argument of anarchists, which looks quite good these daze compared to those who favor governments who have betrayed them.

      You also articulate the dynamics of a mass murder-suicide in progress.

      I take the "what did they know and when did they know it" approach to the mass-murder suicide dynamic, and to any contemplation of guilt.

      The history of the Jonestown cult group, which ended up in a mass murder-suicide scene is very instructive when studied closely (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 3).

    2. Tom,


      "your expose here demonstrates Big Energy (we can include the Nuke Gang in with Oil-Qaeda, as well as Big Coal)"

      I call them Oil-Qaeda, not "Big Energy", because the latter is their bought and paid for whitewash-name for themselves. Oil is not energy, it is poison. The poison releases energy when it is burned but the poison is released into the Earth, endangering the biosphere which includes civilization.

      Big [Dirty] Coal is already a part of indictments (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 4).

      The nuke-gang has been fingered as one of the two sources of the extinction of civilization (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch - 2).

  2. 'Hear,' not 'here' - sorry

  3. "You are like all of the individual human beings who lived before oil was ever discovered, and before civilization became fatally addicted to it." - Dredd

    You can read stories of "doomers" and "hopium users" all being painted with the same brush, even though the individuals in those groups should be treated with individual consideration.

    Likewise, some doomers blame those people who lived before oil was even discovered as a power source for civilization, because those long-dead people were in the "defective human species."

    Likewise, some of the hopium addicts thing there is no bad and no one is guilty of anything, including the oil industry and government officials.

  4. Oil-Qaeda is a terrorist enterprise.

    Usually when terrorists do murder-suicide gigs the victims are not blamed for being killed by the terrorists.

    1. Oil-Qaeda owns climate change: India heatwave kills more than 500 people 50 deg. C (122 deg F)

      This is known as depraved-heart murder (Oil-Qaeda & MOMCOM Conspire To Commit Depraved-Heart Murder).

      Notice that MOMCOM is included in the murderous mix (not as victims).

  5. Here is a Richard Pryor joke that illustrates the vacuous cognition of blaming the victim because of defective collective-guilt pathology:
    But I was there [Arizona Prison making a movie] six weeks and I talked to some of the brothers there.

    Thank God we got jails.

    I said to one, “Why’d you kill everybody in the house?”

    He said, “They was home.”

    Some criminal minds cannot distinguish the guilty from the victim.

    Citizens are being mass murdered by those who engineered climate change because they are home.

  6. Sir Dredd, you said this to me at NBL:

    " Those not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome mixed with an unjust heart know that ecocide and mass murder by poisioning is Oil-Qaeda’s fault, not the victim’s fault."

    You are a great man with a very clear view. Please go on clearing up the augean stables!

    Thanks for your inspiring and informative articles at your blog. Great job!