Is Human Nature Good Or Bad?

Australian journalist Chris Masters wrote in this 2002 book Not For Publication: “But journalists do have to hold to one strong belief– that people are basically decent. I still believe that if any ordinary Australian sat down with an ordinary Afghani who had been through the hell of a serial civil war, and the Afghani was able to give the Australian an honest account of their story, the Australian would do what they could to help.”

What a great summary of the journalistic mindset! And what stupidity! First of all, to state that journalists have to hold to one strong belief that has nothing to do with the craft of reporting is absurd. Second, to state that people are basically decent defies reality. Third, the idea that ordinary members of an in-group (in this case Australians) would love to do everything they could to help a despised out-group (Afghan Muslims) is staggeringly blind to reality. People don’t care about out-groups.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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