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Human Nature, Common to All of Us, Explains Recent Events; Not Nationalism, Populism, or Authoritarianism, and Certainly Not Racism

The Trump and Brexit votes, and the rise of the so called Alt-Right, are accurately explained by one particular evolved psychological mechanism of fundamental human nature that transcends and cuts across  all ”isms” and identity groups.  They are invisible to it.  Attempts to explain these events in terms of nationalism, populism, authoritarianism, and racism miss the forest of human nature for the trees of identity groups and ideologies.

The Moral Foundation of Liberty/Oppression.

The Liberty/oppression foundation, I propose, evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of living in small groups with individuals who would, if given the chance, dominate, bully, and constrain others. The original triggers therefore include signs of attempted domination. Anything that suggests the aggressive, controlling behavior of an alpha male (or female) can trigger this form of righteous anger, which is sometimes called reactance . (That’s the feeling you get when an authority tells you you can’t do something and you feel yourself wanting to do it even more strongly.) 35 But people don’t suffer oppression in private; the rise of a would-be dominator triggers a motivation to unite as equals with other oppressed individuals to resist, restrain, and in extreme cases kill the oppressor. – The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

But, we also hate alpha males. So, we hate being dominated by abusive alpha males. So we have this ability to gang up to take down bullies. We hate bullies. We are hierarchical, even despotic creatures, Boehm’s is that it’s not that we all want equality. There’s not a deep human desire to live equal. There’s a deep human desire to not be dominated, bullied, or oppressed. And we get together to take down those bullies. – When Compassion Leads to Sacrilege, video, transcript

The “alpha male,” in this case, is the ruling elite.  In America they live in the isolated bubble of Charles Murray’s Super Zips.  Their opinion of themselves and of the residents of the rest of us is described by Claire Lehmann in Stop Calling People “Low Information Voter”

In the world according to the misanthrope, the masses need to be saved from themselves. This role is fulfilled by the ‘superior voters’ or those who are high in information. The U.S. philosopher Jason Brennan considers himself to be one of these individuals. He writes:

And while I no doubt suffer from some degree of confirmation bias and self-serving bias, perhaps I justifiably believe that I — a chaired professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy at an elite research university, with a Ph.D. from the top-ranked political philosophy program in the English-speaking world, and with a strong record of peer-reviewed publications in top journals and academic presses — have superior political judgment on a great many political matters to many of my fellow citizens, including to many large groups of them.

In his book Against Democracy, Brennan advocates a model of government that would prevent the armies of stupid from voting. He borrows the term epistocracy, where those who know about political matters have increased political purchase, and those who don’t are left watching from the sidelines.

He doesn’t spell out exactly how epistocracy would work, but he does suggest some measures such as additional votes for university graduates, or the requirement of passing a civics exam.

In Brennan’s epistocratic paradise, a twenty-three year old who has recently graduated with a degree in political science and who has passed a civics exam would be more entitled to vote than the Army veteran returning from service in Afghanistan. People with PhDs who call themselves “social scientists” and who use taxpayer funds to write papers on pilates being the embodiment of whiteness and the importance of understanding icebergs from a feminist perspective would have more authority to vote than the common taxpayers who pay their wage.

The Trump and Brexit votes, and the rise of the Alt-Right, are textbook examples of millions upon millions of people expressing their “deep seated desire not to be dominated, bullied, or oppressed” and getting together to take down the Bullies in the Bubble.


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