January 18, 2014

Andrew Sullivan - Hard-wired for hate

Andrew Sullivan wrote about hate here, citing Allen Buchanan and Russell Powell:
"We should expect evolution to have produced a human moral psychology that is group-ish and strategic in nature — one that takes other individuals to be part of the moral community if they are part of one’s co-operative group, or otherwise capable of contributing to or disrupting co-operative goods. Extending moral consideration to outsiders — especially those who are not in a position to reciprocate or who could be exploited without fear of reprisal — is maladaptive in a moral system that arose from competition between groups. In other words, a conventional evolutionary view is that morality involved as a way of bolstering in-groups and excluding others – that we are ‘hard-wired’ for tribal loyalties and conflicts."
He earlier wrote on hate in The New York Times a piece by the title, 'What's So Bad About Hate' here:
"For all our rhetoric, hate will never be destroyed. Hate, as our predecessors knew better, can merely be overcome. Hate is everywhere. Human beings generalize all the time, ahead of time, about everyone and everything. A large part of it may even be hard-wired. At some point in our evolution, being able to know beforehand who was friend or foe was not merely a matter of philosophical reflection.
It was a matter of survival. And even today it seems impossible to feel a loyalty without also feeling a disloyalty, a sense of belonging without an equal sense of unbelonging. We're social beings. We associate. Therefore we disassociate. And although it would be comforting to think that the one could happen without the other, we know in reality that it doesn't. How many patriots are there who have never felt a twinge of xenophobia?
He wrote also on racism here, 'How Racism was Made':
"I do not see how one can remove from the human psyche the deep evolutionary urge to determine friend from enemy. Group loyalty is deep in our DNA. It was integral to our survival for over 200,000 years. The meek did not inherit the earth. They were killed by bigots."
Andrew Sullivan continued:
"If we accept that racism is a creation, then we must then accept that it can be destroyed. And if we accept that it can be destroyed, we must then accept that it can be destroyed by us and that it likely must be destroyed by methods kin to creation."
I also wrote a blog here which includes an explanation from Daniel Hannan on why humans are instinctively distrustful.
"The phenomenon of cognitive dissonance... When presented with a new discovery, we automatically try to press it into our existing belief-system; if it doesn’t fit, we question the discovery before the belief-system. Sometimes, this habit leads us into error. But without it, we should hardly survive at all. As Edmund Burke argued, life would become impossible if we tried to think through every new situation from first principles, disregarding both our own experience and the accumulated wisdom of our people."
In my article for Eamonnmallie.com 'You and I Were Taught to Hate' here, I cited  Andrew Marr from Part 1 of the BBC’s documentary, History of the World:
"By the time we arrived in Europe, we were already deeply tribal. Living and cooperating together in groups much larger than families, which was very important to our success as hunters. But it had another side: tribal loyalties meant we had an ingrained hostility towards outsiders. Anyone who looked a little differently; spoke differently, dressed differently or perhaps smelt differently."
My blog post here on mistrust as the basic canon of life in Northern Ireland and the muslim world. 

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