Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why aren't there (m)any Japanese looters in this disaster?

Andrew Sullivan links to a couple of think pieces here.

I'll succumb to the pleasures of playing amateur anthropologist only thus far: It seems to me that the force of social conformity in Japan, however complex it may be, is incredibly strong. While looking for recent tsunami or earthquake videos, I chanced upon a clip on YouTube showing a dashcam view of city traffic. The camera caught a bicyclist running a red light. This was apparently so egregious an outrage against the social contract that the video was posted online, and (if Google's translation widget is reliable) the cyclist roundly deplored. It is out of tiny bricklets of judgmentalism like that, that Japan's social cohesion is built.

Meanwhile, lots of predictable vileness appears in a google search, on some of the more prominent racist websites. For any "race realist" types who happen by, I'll just say this: If all you know about a group of people is what you see across a counter, through your windshield, or on the news, you don't really know that group of people.