Corruption: the role of bystanders

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Chaos Theory and Pharmacology

…”My thinking on this is inspired by a recent book by eminent sociologist Stanley Cohen, States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (Polity Press, 2001). Cohen systematically analyses processes of denial by both individuals and governments. The book is impressive in its scope and insight. I can only introduce a few ideas from it here.

Cohen describes five methods of denial.

1. Deny responsibility: “I don’t know a thing about it.”

2. Deny injury: “It didn’t really cause any harm.”

3. Deny the victim: “They had it coming to them.”

4. Condemn the condemner: “They’re corrupt hypocrites.”

5. Appeal to higher loyalties: “I owe it to my mates.”… 

— Brian Martin- Bystanders. Published in The Whistle (Newsletter of Whistleblowers Australia), No. 30, July 2002, pp. 10-11.

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