We derived a model identifying observable attitudes among perpetrators of democides - mass-killing programs associated with governments that cost over 160 million lives in the last century. These attitudes, evident in rhetoric mobilizing support for killing, have previously received too little systematic study. Content-analysis of text from 20 prominent, diversely sampled cases of democide from around the world yielded 20 typical features of democidal mindset, present in most cases. These prominently included essentialist beliefs in out-group inferiority, dehumanization and moral exclusion, a paranoid-thinking style, and certain forms of nationalism, among numerous other features. These can function to facilitate the inculpation of an out-group and fuel eliminationism. The joint operation of multiple such themes in a web of violence-conducive beliefs appears to generate hazard, not any single isolated theme. With further model refinement, identification of sufficient density of themes in rhetoric might promote peace by providing early-warning indicators of mass violence.
Thanks are due to Seraphine Shen-Miller, Ashleigh Landau, and Nina Greene for assistance with various aspects of this research.
Saucier, Gerard and Akers, Laura
"Democidal Thinking: Patterns in the Mindset Behind Organized Mass Killing,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol12/iss1/8
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