Psychological explanations of political correctness
by Nicolai Sennels
The disadvantages of Islam and Muslim immigration into Europe are many and obvious.
Negative economic effects, rising crime and less security, entire neighborhoods transformed into parallel societies, the frequently negative influence of Muslim children in schools and institutions, etc. — all these consequences affect the lives of most children and adults on an everyday level in one way or another.
Many of us have wondered why there still are so many — both ordinary people, Media and politicians — who do not speak openly about, and perhaps do not even realize, the problems.
Being a licensed psychologist and having had years of experience as a publicly known critic of Islam and Muslim immigration and culture, I will endeavor here to give three psychological explanations for political correctness.
As always, when large groups ignore obvious problems, the issue is one of social psychology:
The “Bystander effect”
The bystander effect is a psychological phenomenon that explains why people remain passive during emergencies.
Research on the bystander effect started in connection with the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964, when several neighbors remained passive while they watched Genovese being stabbed to death.
An example of psychological research in the bystander effect is a study in which a woman pretends she faints. If the subject is alone, he will help the woman in 70 percent of cases. If there are several people present, only 40 percent of subjects help the woman.
The bystander effect makes spectators to a disaster tend to watch others’ reaction — instead of the situation itself — as a way to assess the seriousness of a situation.
As people in many cases await each other’s reaction, rather than take the initiative, the result may be that nobody does anything — since all are waiting to see if somebody else does something.
If the others do nothing, it is seen as a sign for the individual that the others believe that there is no need for intervention. This affects one’s own judgment, and thus one’s reaction. The majority’s response acts as a kind of “barometer” for the truth.
If we transfer this phenomenon to political correctness, it means that since the majority do not express criticism of Islam, Sharia (also called Islamization) and Muslim immigration, people take it as a “proof” that there is no need to criticize such things.
Conditions for the bystander effect are therefore particularly ripe in cases where people feel uncertain about what is the right thing to do, and as a result use other people’s reaction as a way to assess the situation.
The best way to counter this kind of behavior is to give people so much information that they are able to make their own decisions. In addition, it is obviously important that as many as possible do something, so that people who are under influence by the bystander effect acknowledge reality. It is psychologically important that the people who take the initiative do it in such a way that others will find it easy to identify with it — so avoid anger and unnecessary provocation, show your joy and personal optimism, be relaxed, and only talk about these things when there is a natural reason for it (e.g. family or colleagues mention the subject themselves).
The bystander effect is often connected with pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance is a social psychological phenomenon in which the majority of a group individually reject a norm (e.g. Muslim immigration), but at the same time suppose that the majority accepts the norm. As a result of the desire to be well-regarded by the majority, people accept the norm, even though they secretly oppose it. In this way a democratic process can lead to the acceptance of norms which the majority actually oppose.