If a system of death camps were set up in the United States
of the sort we had seen in Nazi Germany,
one would be able to find sufficient personnel for those camps
in any medium-sized American town…
This is the quote from TV interview with the prominent American social psychologist Stanley Milgram. One of his most important works were the “shock” studies of obedience to authority. After running a series of experiments with different sets of participants, Milgram came to conclusion that in any country and any nation it is possible to create certain conditions in which people will be able to do absolutely senseless and cruel things, such as war-time atrocities.
The practical value of such studies lies in possibility to recognize and prevent the social patterns in which we – people – can show our evil side.
Unfortunately, with its one-child policy, today’s China has created “favorable” conditions for the expression of other cruelty deeply ingrained in human nature – ability to kill our own babies. In this way China became a huge stage for verification of another social theory. I am talking about research in the field of infanticide made by the famous biologist and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy. Let me first introduce the main aspects of Hrdy’ theory and then show how they apply to China [...]