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The Adaptive Pressure that Caused Liberalism?

If evolution created six or more moral foundations, and if holistic thinking is common to most of the world’s population, then why would a moral matrix comprising a subset of foundations and WEIRD thinking split off from the main evolutionary path?

Shouldn’t Moral Foundations Theory be able to answer this question?

Here’s a suggested answer, in three brief points:

Point #1

The goal of the American Constitution was to shape the path.

The goal of the French Revolution was to shape elephants and riders.


The former rested on epistemological humility, the latter on its opposite.


That difference in cognitive style is a, if not the, core discriminator between left and right; between Plato and Aristotle and all intellectual history since then; e.g., between Paine and Burke, Keynes and Hayek, Krugman and Sowell, etc…. 


It’s origin?


The Rubicon.


When we crossed the Rubicon to shared intent we entered a brand new cultural environment that values things different from those valued by the previous culture, and forges a whole new path for the elephants who live in it. 


The new value was reputation management, and the new path was that of gossip, persuasion, reason.


In terms of human culture (as opposed to human evolution), The Rubicon was the border between the kingdom of subconscious intuition in which the elephant was sovereign and the kingdom of conscious reason in which the rider became sovereign.  In terms of the consensual hallucination of human culture it was a transfer of sovereign power. 


Evolution did not hand over the reins to conscious reason, but human cultures did.  


Point #2: 


Reason happens only within consciousness; it is tool, or a result, of consciousness.  Consciousness is a prerequisite of reason.  Conscious awareness comes first, strategic reasoning second.  


The most important word in the phrase “conscious reason” is the first one, not the second.    


Consciousness itself is a form of cognitive bias, in which we place inordinate weight on, and faith in, the thoughts of which we are consciously aware or can recall in the here and now of the present moment.  Reason may have evolved for winning arguments, but arguments (and winning) happen only in the present moment.


“The Rationalist Delusion” is a misnomer.  A more accurate description of the phenomenon is “The Consciousness Delusion.”


Point #3


Culture and the psyche make each other up.  The one-foundation moral matrix follows naturally and practically inevitably from the combined adaptive pressures of a) the human cultural environment in which reputation management is paramount and conscious reason is sovereign, and b) The Consciousness Delusion.



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