Theory of Functional Fascism (TFF)
The dynamics of group polarization, and escalation of social conflict and violence – defined in terms of a distortion of an open discussion, or as a deviation from normally pluralistic and conscientious decision making – are further described and explained within the Theory of Functional Fascism (TFF). Among other biopsychological mechanisms, the TFF proposes that the divide-and-conquer effect as well as the transnational phenomena of misanthropic and corrupted policy or human actions violating human rights are initially caused due to biases in social perception and through dogmatically or ideologically indoctrinated logical thinking errors.
As one of the central assumptions, TFF proposes that interpersonal and inter-cultural violence has its origins in a merely unconscious, social perception error which is called the “fundamental“ or „ultimate attribution error”. This social perception error refers to the asymmetrical tendency of people to explain unexpected events or undesirable behavior of others with (mostly unidimensional) internal, person-bound causes (such as a personality trait or group characteristics, i.e. “He has to be treated or acts that way, because he is „lazy“, a „Nazi“ or a Jew”), while in case of their own, socially undesirable behavior, persons rather attribute to external, contextual or situational circumstances (the terrorist threat, the pressure of debt, the economic/financial crisis).
TFF further assumes that the asymmetric fundamental attribution error and increasing violence is caused and reinforced by a stress-dependent suppression or inhibition of people`s ability of context-oriented, empathic, holistic and pluralistic thinking. In case it comes to a conflict-ridden situation within a win-lose or lose-lose scenario, the perception of a threat of interests activates/deinhibits automatic fight-flight reactions and enforces a stress-related suppression of central processing, as well as an inhibition of those neuropsychological systems in the brain (related to the self), that serve the holistic integration of contextual and contradictory information, and that enable a person to make a synthesis, as well as to understand the perspective of others, especially of those claimed as enemy.
This leads to social expressions of inappropriate, verbal object reductions, and generalizations or excessive devaluing black-and-white-thinking (FFlevel1-2), increasing conflict and violation of human dignity/rights (FFlevel3-5), i.e. a high reproduction rate of prejudices and lies, negative stereotypes, manslaughter arguments and biased accusations with increasing levels of mental corruption and psycho-social violence (i.e. discrimination and categorization = fflevel1 >> discrimination and stigmatization = fflevel2 >> discrimination and criminalization = flevel3 >> approval on exclusion of universal rights = fflevel4) till overt, and repeated physical or active violence and exclusion from human rights (fflevel5/666) occur at the highest level of Functional Fascism.
The FF-Theory proposes that the occurrence of behavior at a higher ff-level functionally implicates the lower ff-levels, and that a lower ff-level is a functional (biopsychosocial) prerequisite to develop higher levels of subliminal, passive and overt violence. Whereas ff-level1 and ff-level2 can occur as a normal expression of voluntary and central processing, or as a result of knowledge-based, conscientious decision making, the forms of violence on fflevel3 and higher either mark a latent fascistic attitude or an expression of helplessness in a situation where universal human rights are not served for everybody and that a single godlike person, or an authority (or an authoritarian group) can arbitrarily decide, whether violence is justified.
The TFF differentiates the diagnosis of a latent or overt aggressive, violent behavior (fflevel2-5) from an defensive behavior that is caused by functional helplessness. Functional helplessness at fflevel1 and higher (as the inability to act freely, self-congruent and peacefully as a consequence of a false dilemma, degenerated intentions, a heavy stressor, threat or violence) occurs as the systemic counterpart of functional fascism, i.e. if a person that is under inhumane pressure, extorted, tortured or arbitrarily censored accuses the responsible person or delegate of a crime, or if for example a person being thrown with stones at, is to be saved by means of minimal violent intervention that eliminates the direct threat defensively, in case no other possibilities exist to solve the problem peacefully or at a lower level of violence.