The Roots of Evil by Ervin Staub

912 Words4 Pages
In his book The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, Ervin Staub argues, “Bystanders, people who witness but are not directly affected by the actions of perpetrators, help shape our society by their reactions…. Bystanders can exert powerful influences. They can define the meaning of events and move others toward empathy or indifference. The can promote values and norms of caring by their passivity of participation in the system, they can affirm the perpetrators.” What Staub is trying to convey is that bystanders can influence society based on what they do, or in certain cases, what they do not do. By choosing neutrality, they are essentially helping the negative side and therefore are agreeing to the negative side’s ideals and actions. This is a valid claim and I affirm Staub’s beliefs because there is an abundance of research and evidence that promote Staub’s beliefs. For example, in Israel Charny’s The Encyclopedia of Genocide, Charny claims, “ Both types of bystanders usually remain passive or in various ways support perpetrators.” This statement coming from a respected Israeli psychologist and genocide scholar directly supports Staud’s arguments and beliefs. Furthermore, as outlined in MIT’s article Active Bystanders, Looking out for one another “ Victims of crime may be more infuriated at bystanders who did nothing to stop it and essentially affirmed the perpetrator.” This article is implying that bystanders, who affirmed the perpetrators are essentially no better than the perpetrators themselves. These claims all link back and further strengthen Staub and his beliefs. Furthermore, another compelling idea supporting Staub’s claim comes from The History of the Holocaust by Carell Evans, the Presi... ... middle of paper ... ... June 2013. United States Holocaust Memorial Council. 25 Mar. 2014 . "History of the Holocaust - The Bystanders." History of the Holocaust - The Bystanders. 17 Mar. 2013. 2 . Charny, Israel W. "Bystanders to Genocide." Encyclopedia of genocide. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. 127. "Be An Upstander." Be An Upstander. Holocaust Museum Houston. 2013 . Marsh, Jason, and Dacher Keltner. "Greater Good." We Are All Bystanders. 2013. UC Berkeley-Department of Psychology. . "Active Bystanders: Looking Out for One Another At MIT." Active Bystanders: Looking Out for One Another At MIT. 2011. .

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