Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't let your kids play with Daniel Patrick Moynihans

From Jonathan Haidt Decodes the Tribal Psychology of Politi

"Another example Haidt uses to underscore the tribal psychology of political sacredness is the 1960s research of the liberal sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Harvard professor and public-policy expert. In a famous report to President Johnson, Moynihan used the phrase "tangle of pathology" to describe the black family, arguing that some of its problems stemmed from high rates of out-of-wedlock birth, not just from racism. That made Moynihan a pariah; other Harvard professors wouldn't let their kids play with his. As Haidt tells the story, Moynihan committed "the cardinal sin": "blaming the victim, where the victim is one of your sacralized victim groups." He points out that sociologists are now gingerly saying, "He was right.""

The thought of Harvard profs shunning playtime to Moynihan's children is rich for the party of love, tolerance and inclusion. All diversity is welcomed and worshiped except when it becomes a diversity of opinion.

Also this:

To Haidt, the evolution of morality can help make sense of modern political tribes like this one. And in that evolution, the big question is this: How did people come together to build cooperative societies beyond kinship?

Morality is the glue, he answers. Humans are 90-percent chimp, but also 10-percent bee—evolved to bind together for the good of the hive. A big part of Haidt's moral narrative is faith. He lays out the case that religion is an evolutionary adaptation for binding people into groups and enabling those units to better compete against other groups. Through faith, humans developed the "psychology of sacredness," the notion that "some people, objects, days, words, values, and ideas are special, set apart, untouchable, and pure." If people revere the same sacred objects, he writes, they can trust one another and cooperate toward larger goals. But morality also blinds them to arguments from beyond their group.

How much of moral thinking is innate? Haidt sees morality as a "social construction" that varies by time and place. We all live in a "web of shared meanings and values" that become our moral matrix, he writes, and these matrices form what Haidt, quoting the science-fiction writer William Gibson, likens to "a consensual hallucination." But all humans graft their moralities on psychological systems that evolved to serve various needs, like caring for families and punishing cheaters. Building on ideas from the anthropologist Richard Shweder, Haidt and his colleagues synthesize anthropology, evolutionary theory, and psychology to propose six innate moral foundations: care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation.

Thought it was an interesting article, click the link to read it all.

The in-group/out-group and follow the leader dynamic is something to behold in both parties, but I think it is especially present in the left because I am biased for my home team.

I have been thinking lately of the Sierra Club schism back in the 1990s where they ejected immigration concerns from their platform. Then they started castigating restrictionists and labeling them as racists, even long time members who were fellow travelers in the green movement.

Clearly importing lots of third world poverty into our high consuming country might affect our green spaces and our environment. If you believe in global warming, you might want the third world masses to stay in place and consume less than come here and consume more. The people that immigrate to the United States haven't been on the vanguard of the green or preservation movements either. Do newcomers care as much about preservation as the average native, let alone someone in the Sierra Club? Do the newcomers even tend to visit the National Parks? You can see how some of them could have made logical arguments against immigration that were consistent with their beliefs.

A significant faction existed in the Sierra Club that was anti-immigration and pro-population control in the United States. They have been thrown out of the movement. Now days the Sierra Club has bigger things to worry about, like if they are too white. Lately over the weekend I read about the Sierra Club taking money from the natural gas industry to politically combat the coal industry. You have to wonder what they really stand for, if anything.

I do think it is interesting that you could be a leftist and anti-immigration in good standing with plenty of friends and supporters into the 90s and now not so much. The tenants of the religion have changed and if you didn't get with it you were excommunicated. Maybe they won't even let their kids play with yours. Decades later, they may even "gingerly" admit that you were right. Sphere: Related Content