Blight 86 James G, professor of IR at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, “How Might Psychology Contribute to Reducing the Risk of Nuclear War?”, Political Psychology, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Dec), pp. 617-660, JSTOR
This suggests that, whatever may be discovered or already known by behavioral scientists about decision-making, it is quite unlikely that this knowledge will ever significantly reduce the risk of nuclear war, simply because it cannot intrude into the policy making process.The fundamental reason for this is that policy making is not an applied science. Contrast this with clinical medicine, which rests on, and is to a greater extent than ever before an application of, biomedical research. This is not true of the relation between behavioral science and foreign policy making. The former is in many respects a science, though a fairly primitive one; the latter is an art.Each grew up separately from the other and only one side—the psychological—seems interested in a rapprochement.¶What is the likelihood that behavioral psychology might, in principle, become something like a basic science underlying and intimately connected with the construction and execution of nuclear policy? The answer, I believe, is: Extremely low. The obstacle is not the mere (though presently substantial) problem of reflexivity. It is related to Tetlock's point about the uniqueness and individuality of the variables a foreign policy maker must confront, but it goes much deeper into the very nature of decision-making in situations where nuclear war may appear to be a live option. Everyone acknowledges that such decisions must be awesome to contemplate and momentous to execute. Yet behavioral psychologists have tended to conclude from these facts that the central danger in such situations is that stress will occur and that decision-making will thus become faulty, resulting in decisions to enact policies which are riskier than they need to be (see e.g., George, 1980, pp. 47-49; Janis, 1982, pp. 250-259; Lebow, 1987).¶ But this approach fails to address a basic characteristic of such decisions, which is that they constitute attempts to confront and transcend profound moral dilemmas. In fact, they are exemplars of a condition the philosopher Thomas Nagel calls a "moral blind alley...a choice between morally abominable courses of action...[with] no way to escape" (1979, p. 74; see also Hoffmann, 1981, p. 81). For the essence of a nuclear crisis, from the standpoint of an American president or Soviet chairman, would be the confrontation with a set of policy options,all of whichare believed to require raising the risk of nuclear war, whether in the short run or the long run. No matter which way he turns, he faces increased risk of initiating a holocaust of unprecedented and (in his own mind) totally unjustifiable magnitude. In such situations, decision-makers are unlikely to believe they are at something resembling a choice point in a behavioral psychologist's "decision tree." Instead, the situation they are in is likely to look much more like a "moral blind alley," and it will look this way not because stress has distorted their cognition and perception, but because that is the way it really is.
Especially true in the context of nuclear weapons---key to change
Krieger 12 David, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, "Fear of Nuclear Weapons", June 19, www.wagingpeace.org/articles/db_article.php?article_id=371
I was recently asked during an interview whether people fear nuclear weapons too much, causing them unnecessary anxiety. The implication was that it is not necessary to live in fear of nuclear weapons.¶ My response was that fear is a healthy mechanism when one is confronted by something fearful. It gives rise to a fight or flight response, both of which are means of surviving real danger.¶ In the case of nuclear weapons, these are devices to be feared since they are capable of causing terrifying harm to all humanity, including one’s family, city and country. If one is fearful of nuclear weapons, there will be an impetus to do something about the dangers these weapons pose to humanity.¶ But, one might ask, what can be done? In reality, there is a limited amount that can be done by a single individual, but when individuals band together in groups, their power to bring about change increases. Individual power is magnified even more when groups join together in coalitions and networks to bring about change.¶ Large numbers of individuals banded together to bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of apartheid in South Africa. The basic building block of all these important changes was the individual willing to stand up, speak out and join with others to achieve a better world. The forces of change have been set loose again by the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement across the globe.¶ When dangers are viewed rationally, there may be good cause for fear, and fear may trigger a response to bring about change. On the other hand, complacency can never lead to change. Thus, while fear may be a motivator of change, complacency is an inhibitor of change. In a dangerous world, widespread complacency should be of great concern. ¶ If a person is complacent about the dangers of nuclear weapons, there is little possibility that he will engage in trying to alleviate the danger. Complacency is the result of a failure of hope to bring about change. It is a submission to despair.¶ After so many years of being confronted by nuclear dangers, there is a tendency to believe that nothing can be done to change the situation. This may be viewed as “concern fatigue.” We should remember, though, that any goal worth achieving is worth striving for with hope in our hearts. A good policy for facing real-world dangers is to never give up hope and never stop trying.
Samuels 93—Training Analyst – Society of Analytical Psychology and Science Associate – American Academy of Psychoanalysis (Andrew, Free Associations, “The mirror and the hammer: depth psychology and political transformation”, Vol. 3D, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing)
The paper is about the depth psychology of political processes, focusing on processes of political change. It is a contribution to the longstanding ambition of depth psychology to develop a form of political and cultural analysis that will, in Freud's words, 'under-stand the riddles of the world'. It has to be admitted that there is an equally longstanding reluctance in the non-psychological commun¬ity to accept the many and varied ideas and suggestions concerning political matters that have been offered by analysts of all persua¬sions. I do not believe this can all be put down to resistance. There is something offensiveabovereductive interpretations of complex socio-political problemsin exclusively psychological terms. The tendency to panpsychism on the part of some depth psychologists has led me to wonderifan adequate methodologyand ethos actually existswith which to make an engagement of depth psychology with the public sphere possible.¶ By 'politics' I mean the arrangements within a culture for the organization and distribution ofpower, especially economic power, and the way in which power is deployed to maintain the survival and enhance the quality of human life. Economic and political power includes control of processes of information and representation as well as the use of physical force and possession of vital resources such as land, food and water. On a more personal level, political power reflects the ability to choose freely whether to act and what action to take in a given situation. 'Politics' refers to the interplay between the personal and public dimensions of power. That is, there is an articulation between public, economic power and power as expressed on the personal, private level. This articulation is demonstrated in family organization, gender and race relations, and in religious and artistic assumptions as they affect the life of individuals. (I have also tried to be consistent in my use of the terms 'culture', 'society' and 'collective'.)'¶ Here is an example of the difficulty with psychological rcduc-tionism to which I am referring. At a conference 1 attended in London in 1990, a distinguished psychoanalyst referred to the revolutionary students in Paris in 1968 as 'functioning as a regressive group'. Now, for a large group of students to be said to regress, there must be, in the speaker's mind, some sort of normative developmental starting point for them to regress to. The social group is supposed to have a babyhood, as it were. Similarly, the speaker must have had in mind the possibility of a healthier, progressive group process — what a more mature group of revolutionary students would have looked like. But complex social and political phenomena do not conform to the individualistic, chronological, moralistic, pathologizing framework that is often imported.¶The problem stems from treating the entire culture, or large chunks of it, as if it were an individual or, worse, as if it were a baby. Psychoanalysts project a version of personality development couched in judgemental terms onto a collective cultural and political process. If we look in this manner for pathology in the culture, we will surely findit. As we are looking with a psychological theory in mind, then, lo and behold, the theory will explain the pathology, but this is a retrospective prophecy (to use a phrase of Freud's), twenty-twenty hindsight. In this psychoanalytic tautologizing there is really nothing much to get excited about. Too much psychological writing on the culture, my own included, has suffered from this kind of smug 'correctness' when the 'material' proves the theoretical point. Of course it does! If we are interested in envy or greed, then we will find envy or greed in capitalistic organization. If we set out to demonstrate the presence of archetypal patterns, such as projection of the shadow, in geopolitical relations, then, without a doubt, they will seem to leap out at us. We influence what we analyse and so psychological reflection on culture and politics needs to be muted- there is not so much 'aha!' as one hoped.
Psycho Can’t Be Scaled Up
Psychoanalysis only applies to individuals
Gordon 1—psychotherapist living and working in London (Paul, Psychoanalysis and Racism: The politics of defeat Race & Class v. 42, n. 4)
The problem with the application of psychoanalysis to social institutions is that there can be no testing of the claims made. If someone says, for instance, that nationalism isa form of looking for and seeking to replace the body of the mother one has lost, or that the popular appeal of a particular kind of story echoes the pattern of our earliest relationship to the maternal breast, how can this be proved?The pioneers of psychoanalysis, from Freud onwards, all derived their ideas in the context of their work with individual patientsand their ideas can be examined in the everyday laboratory of the therapeutic encounter where the validityof an interpretation, for example, is a matter for dialogue between therapist and patient.Outside of the consulting room, there can be no such verification process,and the further one moves from the individual patient, the less purchase psycho- analytic ideas can have. Outside the therapeutic encounter, anything and everything can be true, psychoanalytically speaking. But if every- thing is true, then nothing can be false and therefore nothing can be true. An example of Cohen's method is to be found in his 1993 working paper, `Home rules', subtitled `Some reflections on racism and nation- alism in everyday life'. Here Cohen talks about taking a `particular line of thought for a walk'. While there is nothing wrong with taking a line of thought for a walk, such an exercise is not necessarily the same as thinking. One of the problems with Cohen's approach isthat a kind of free association, mixed with deconstruction,leads not to analysis, not even to psychoanalysis, but to . . . well, just more free association, an endless, indeed one might saypointless, play on words. This approach may well throw up some interesting associations along the way, connections one had never thought of but it is not to be confused with politicalanalysis. In `Home rules', anything and everything to do with `home' can and does ®nd a place here and, as I indicated above, even the popular film Home Alone is pressed into service as a story about `racial' invasion.