MAR 18

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18: MAR 18


  • Haidt, Chapter 8: The Conservative Advantage (34)

Some notes relevant to the Role of Political Parties

  • I'll share some notes from a New Yorker article, Jelani Cobb, "How Parties Die," March 15, 2021.
  • Also, a slight version to our Hibbing diagram.

Haidt, Chapter 8: The Conservative Advantage

  • Hadit's critique of Dems: Dems offer sugar (Care) and salt (Fairness), conservatives appeal to all five receptors. Imagine the value of "rewriting" our own or opposing ideologies as Haidt imagined doing. Dems should appeal to loyalty and authority more. Neglect may be ommission and underrepresent Dems (recall discussion of labels and issues. We could add "values".)
  • Republicans seemed to Haidt to understand moral psych better, not because they were fear mongering, but triggering all of the moral moral foundations. Equalizer metaphor.
  • The MFQ: consistency across cultures; large n; tracks preferences in dogs, church (content analysis of different denominations sermons), brainwaves (dissonance, "fingerprint", first .5 seconds) see chart 8.1 self-identified liberals split emphasis Figure 8.2 convergence of equal weight as you move toward conservative.
  • 162: Correlations of pol orientation with preferences for dog breeds, training, sermon styles. You can catch liberal and conservative "surprise" in the EEG and fMRI.(similar to early Hibbing reading).
  • biographical note about tracking Obama on left/right triggers. Parental resp to social justice.
  • 164: Haidt's argument for replacing "old story" of political difference: there's something wrong with conservatives! Note reactions to his essay: some libs/conserv found it hard to establish a positive view of their "opponents". Haidt has implicit critique of Libs by saying that organic society can't just be about 2 foundations. Experience with his essay. follow.
  • Mill vs. Durkheim - responses to the challenge of living with strangers (mod. society). Individualism vs. Organic society. (What would that mean today in US? Note that there are lib/conservatives strategies for both.)
  • 6th Moral foundation: liberty and oppression: taking the "fairness as equality" from Fairness and considering it in terms of Lib/Opp. [Some discussion here. Note relation to Authority/Leadership in Hibbing. Why explicate "proportional fairness as "Liberty / Oppression"? Liberty / Oppression seems less about proportional fairness than dominance hierarchies. Similarity to Authority/subversion, for example. You could say proportional fairness legitimates your place in a hierarchy. Also, the bully or tyrant typically takes disproportionately.]
  • Evolutionary story about hierarchy, p. 170.
  • original triggers: bullies and tyrants, current triggers: illegit. restraint on liberty.
  • Evolutionary/Archeological story: egalitarianism in hunter gatherers (add detail), hierarchy comes with agriculture. :::*Emergence of pre-ag dominance strategies -- 500,000ya weapons for human conflict take off. Parallel in Chimps: revolutions "reverse dominance hierarchies" are possible. Boehm
  • Cultural Evo Theory on cultural strategies toward equality: Societies make transition to some form of political egalitarianism (equality of citizenship or civic equality). Mentions possibility of gene/culture co-evolution (as in dairying). We've had time to select for people who can tolerate political equality and surrender violence to the state. Timothy McVeigh, but now right wing militias (though I'm not sure if their argument is about political equality). "Self-domestication".
  • Liberal vs. Conservative triggers on Liberty/Oppression: Libs experience this in terms of universalistic goals like social justice, abuse of the power of the most fortunate. Conservatives triggered more by group level concerns. The nanny state is oppression, taxation is oppressive, globalism is a threat to sovereignty.
  • Contemporary Examples:
  • After mortgage crisis recession of 2008 some like Santelli thought it unfair to bail out banks and borrowers. This is really conservative kind of fairness as proportionality, which shares some features of the "reciprocal altruism", such as necessity of punishment. As seen in public goods games.
  • Covid examples: Disproportional effects of groups unfair. Bailout contentious for triggering conservatives on several fronts. Liberals are really happy about the Pandemic Relief Bill -- more about "harm reduction".
  • Public Goods games (again). Setup. 1.6 multiplier. Still, best strategy is not to contribute. altruistic punishment can be stimulated (84% do) even without immediate reward. cooperation increases.
  • In the research on Liberty / Oppression, Haidt and others find that concerns about political equality track Lib/Oppression, so fairness is about proportionality.
  • Summary: Liberals have emphasize C, F, Lib while conservatives balance all six. Libs construe Fairness in more egalitarian ways and have diff emphasis for Liberty/Oppression. Many liberals and conservatives have a hard time forming a positive image of each other, but when you think about this, it sounds like something to work on. In light of this research and theorizing, one could see that as a character flaw or unsupported bias.

Note on "Social Epistemology"

  • Philosophical Method point: The follow line of thought is also example of philosophical speculation. We are venturing a bit beyond the research itself to extract significance and insight.
  • "Social Epistemology" means a variety of things in philosophy. Here, the idea that some traits relevant to group problem solving are distributed in a population (call this a "demographic epistemic trait" AND that this variation might play a role in optimizing group decision-making.
  • Think about evidence from Haidt and Hibbing about divergences in cognitive style and problem solving (BeanFest!) and perception from pol. orientation. They might be "epistemic demographic traits". EDTs
  • Speculative questions about such traits (I am not aware of a theory about this yet): Are there are EDTs? Maybe just DTs. Would human populations with some optimal variation in EDTs do better than ones with more or less than an optimal range? Think workgroups for examples, also.
  • Related literature: Extended Mind theory [1]