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Why Most Analyses of the Paris Protests and the Brexit and Trump Votes are Wrong


The explanation for the French uprising, Brexit, and Trump is simple, and straight from The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which seems to have been forgotten soon after it was published.

It’s not nationalism, it’s not populism, it’s not a cult of personality; it’s not racism or fascism or Nazism or bigotry or uninformed rubes voting against their own self-interest. It’s none of the things the left likes to use to pejoratively describe it. It’s just us chimps ganging up to take down the abusive alpha male of elitism/globalism/leftism.

“Alpha male chimps are not truly leaders of their groups. They perform some public services, such as mediating conflicts. But most of the time, they are better described as bullies who take what they want. Yet even among chimpanzees, it sometimes happens that subordinates gang up to take down alphas, occasionally going as far as to kill them. Alpha male chimps must therefore know their limits and have enough political skill to cultivate a few allies and stave off rebellion.” – Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind

It’s the moral intuition of liberty/oppression pushing back against the tyranny of the top-down social engineering and the coercive power of the state. 

“The Liberty foundation obviously operates in tension with the Authority foundation.  We all recognize some kinds of authority as legitimate in some contexts, but we are also wary of those who claim to be leaders unless they have first earned our trust.  We’re vigilant for signs that they’ve crossed the line into self-aggrandizement and tyranny.”

 It’s human nature rebelling against the artificial social constructs that suffocate it:  

The founders saw it, and described it in The Declaration of Independence:

“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

THAT is what France, and Trump, and Brexit are about.

Calling them populism or nationalism or any of those other things is a temporally myopic perspective that misses the forest of the evolved psychological mechanisms of “why good people are divided by politics and religion” for the trees of trendy pop-psych platitudes that by some wild inexplicable (not really) coincidence just happen to fit the leftist narratives of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” or “Conservatism as motivated social cognition.”  It does precisely what Haidt said his own discipline of social psychology does:

my field is not very scholarly. We are focused on experiments and methods. We are not even scholarly about the experiments and methods used 30 years ago; we are too caught up in the present. 

It’s just so frustrating to see the lessons of The Righteous Mind so glibly ignored, and infuriating to see the continued labeling of conservatives with leftist dog-whistle pejoratives like nationalist, populist, and the rest.  We’ve tossed aside the Rosetta stone of insight gleaned from Haidt’s study of human nature and gone right back to the same-old arguments, albeit better camouflaged behind the façade of sophisticated “academic” language, as Haidt also described:

“Smart people make really good lawyers and press secretaries, but they are no better than others at finding reasons on the other side. Perkins concluded that that “people invest their IQ in buttressing their own case rather than in exploring the entire issue more fully and evenhandedly.” – Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind

This, this intellectualism, this academicism, is a kind of bias among academics, left-leaning punditry, and elites (but I repeat myself) that is far more pernicious and far more harmful than mere partisan liberal bias. Would that it were so obvious and so simple.  

No. It’s more subliminal and more subversive than that. It’s imperious, patronizing, condescension hiding behind the smoke and mirrors of haughty academic intellectualism.

It’s demeaning, belittling, dismissive, insulting, and disenfranchising of EXACTLY the people wearing the Gilets Jaune and voting for Brexit and Trump; and it’s PRECISELY why they’re doing so.

It’s the revenge of the forgotten class.

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