Political Divide Quotes

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Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.
J. Krishnamurti
The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
Robert A. Heinlein
If you grow up in a WEIRD society, you become so well educated in the ethic of autonomy that you can detect oppression and inequality even where the apparent victims see nothing wrong.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Our moral thinking is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for truth.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
[W]hen a group of people make something sacred, the members of the cult lose the ability to think clearly about it. Morality binds and blinds.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
People bind themselves into political teams that share moral narratives. Once they accept a particular narrative, they become blind to alternative moral worlds.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Decades ago, our ancestors realized that it is not just political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world. Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality - of humankind's inclination towards evil, in whatever form that is. They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the world's disarray.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Groups create supernatural beings not to explain the universe but to order their societies.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
They want us to be afraid. They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes. They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children. Their aim is to make us fear life itself! They want us to hate. They want us to hate 'the other'. They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism. Their aim is to divide us all! They want us to be inhuman. They want us to throw out our kindness. They want us to bury our love and burn our hope. Their aim is to take all our light! They think their bricked walls will separate us. They think their damned bombs will defeat us. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent for life is ours!
Kamand Kojouri
The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
Robert A. Heinlein
Divide and rule, the politician cries; Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gedichte)
Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality —people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The very ritual practices that the New Atheists dismiss as costly, inefficient and irrational turn out to be a solution to one of the hardest problems humans face: cooperation without kinship
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Science is a smorgasbord, and google will guide you to the study that's right for you.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.
Albert Einstein
The most dangerous people in the world are not the tiny minority instigating evil acts, but those who do the acts for them. For example, when the British invaded India, many Indians accepted to work for the British to kill off Indians who resisted their occupation. So in other words, many Indians were hired to kill other Indians on behalf of the enemy for a paycheck. Today, we have mercenaries in Africa, corporate armies from the western world, and unemployed men throughout the Middle East killing their own people - and people of other nations - for a paycheck. To act without a conscience, but for a paycheck, makes anyone a dangerous animal. The devil would be powerless if he couldn't entice people to do his work. So as long as money continues to seduce the hungry, the hopeless, the broken, the greedy, and the needy, there will always be war between brothers.
Suzy Kassem
If you really want to change someone’s mind on a moral or political matter, you’ll need to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. And if you do truly see it the other person’s way—deeply and intuitively—you might even find your own mind opening in response. Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
When picking a leader, choose a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The social intuitionist model offers an explanation of why moral and political arguments are so frustrating: because moral reasons are the tail wagged by the intuitive dog. A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
...human beings are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
One must divide one's time between politics and equations. But our equations are much more important to me, because politics is for the present, while our equations are for eternity.
Albert Einstein
The job facing American voters… in the days and years to come is to determine which hearts, minds and souls command those qualities best suited to unify a country rather than further divide it, to heal the wounds of a nation as opposed to aggravate its injuries, and to secure for the next generation a legacy of choices based on informed awareness rather than one of reactions based on unknowing fear.
Aberjhani (Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.)
Reasoning can take you wherever you want to go.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
We find that at present the human race is divided into one wise man, nine knaves, and ninety fools out of every hundred. That is, by an optimistic observer. The nine knaves assemble themselves under the banner of the most knavish among them, and become 'politicians'; the wise man stands out, because he knows himself to be hopelessly outnumbered, and devotes himself to poetry, mathematics, or philosophy; while the ninety fools plod off under the banners of the nine villains, according to fancy, into the labyrinths of chicanery, malice and warfare. It is pleasant to have command, observes Sancho Panza, even over a flock of sheep, and that is why the politicians raise their banners. It is, moreover, the same thing for the sheep whatever the banner. If it is democracy, then the nine knaves will become members of parliament; if fascism, they will become party leaders; if communism, commissars. Nothing will be different, except the name. The fools will be still fools, the knaves still leaders, the results still exploitation. As for the wise man, his lot will be much the same under any ideology. Under democracy he will be encouraged to starve to death in a garret, under fascism he will be put in a concentration camp, under communism he will be liquidated.
T.H. White (The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to The Once & Future King)
Creating gods who can see everything, and who hate cheaters and oath breakers, turns out to be a good way to reduce cheating and oath breaking.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Focusing on effective leadership without focusing on a willingness to follow is like studying clapping by studying only the left hand.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Let’s de-bunk some of this, shall we? Myth 1– Kings and Queens are divine beings – rubbish. Kings and queens of old were murdering bastards who ruled with a rod of iron. Myth 2 – the rich prosper out of godliness – more rubbish. They gained their wealth by royal patronage and taxing and stealing from the masses. Myth 3 - the poor are poor because they’re depraved – yet more rubbish. They’re poor because of their naivety and childlike belief in, oh yes, Kings and Queens, the Church and the order of things. Finally, Myth 4 - women are evil and deliberately seductive – the biggest nonsense of all. Women are sexually attractive to men because they are the opposite sex to men; it’s not hard to see, is it? It’s the same for every species on the planet, you can see it in any mating ritual on the Discovery channel but this truth has been reversed and buried under the eternal lie fostered upon us by the church. That’s what the bible has achieved and that’s why our society is divided and divided again. That’s why we are never working as one, because religion was designed to divide and rule the masses,” she broke off and looked deliberately round the room, “but the big question is, for what purpose and by whom?
Arun D. Ellis
I hear my father's voice. "Political differences divided what used to be America into The Nationalist States and The Patriot States: Then Nats declared war on the Patriots. Why?" Olmo answers in an overly enthusiastic tone. "Because they couldn't agree on the division of derritoryes!" "Territories," corrects Dad. "That, too," says Olmo cheerfully.
Mya Robarts (The V Girl: a Coming of Age Story)
Happiness comes from between. It comes from getting the right relationships between yourself and others, yourself and your work, and yourself and something larger than yourself.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
A French lieutenant was asked by the commander of the French forces, “Jean, it seems to me that many people are only saying the things they think that I want to hear. Accordingly, what I am getting is not information, it is fucking bullshit!
Michael G. Kramer (A Gracious Enemy & After the War Volume One)
Shame on the misguided, the blinded, the distracted and the divided. Shame. You have allowed deceptive men to corrupt and desensitize your hearts and minds to unethically fuel their greed.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it's so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If you say you're a unifier, you expect and usually get applause. I'm a divider. Politics is division by definition, if there was no disagreement there would be no politics. The illusion of unity isn't worth having, and is anyways unattainable.
Christopher Hitchens
The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.
G.K. Chesterton
UNDIVIDED I am for One world undivided. One world without fear and corruption. One world ruled by Truth and Justice. I am for One peaceful world for all, Where hate has been overcome by love, And everyone is guided only By their conscience.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
With all foreign travel, you learn as much about where you're from as what you're visiting.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
One thing that became very clear during my own war service is that those who are actively taking part in war-like activities very seldom hate their former enemies. The reverse is the case with a great respect developing among the veterans, even if they happened to be on opposing sides.
Michael G. Kramer (A Gracious Enemy & After the War Volume One)
Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
skilled arguers … are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
But the fact is that we care a lot about what others think of us. The only people known to have no sociometer are psychopaths.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The political spectrum is not a straight, bi-polar line. It's a circle.
T. Rafael Cimino (Split... Civility For A Divided Nation)
The pistachio: it's just like our politics. When the two sides are divided, that's when the nuts come out.
Stephen Colbert
Do people believe in human rights because such rights actually exist, like mathematical truths, sitting on a cosmic shelf next to the Pythagorean theorem just waiting to be discovered by Platonic reasoners? Or do people feel revulsion and sympathy when they read accounts of torture, and then invent a story about universal rights to help justify their feelings?
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Societies that exclude the exoskeleton of religion should reflect carefully to what will happen to them over several generations. We don’t really know, because the first atheistic societies have only emerged in Europe in the last few decades. They are the least efficient societies ever known at turning resources (of which they have a lot) into offspring (of which they have few).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Moral matrices bind people together and blind them to the coherence, or even existence, of other matrices. This makes it very difficult for people to consider the possibility that there might really be more than one form of moral truth, or more than one valid framework for judging people or running a society.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Maybe the critics are right. Maybe there's no escaping our great political divide, an endless clash of armies, and any attempts to alter the rules of engagement are futile. Or maybe the trivialization of politics has reached a point of no return, so that most people see it as just one more diversion, a sport, with politicians our paunch-bellied gladiators and those who bother to pay attention just fans on the sidelines: We paint our faces red or blue and cheer our side and boo their side, and if it takes a late hit or cheap shot to beat the other team, so be it, for winning is all that matters. But I don't think so. They are out there, I think to myself, those ordinary citizens who have grown up in the midst of all the political and cultural battles, but who have found a way-in their own lives, at least- to make peace with their neighbors, and themselves. ...I imagine they are waiting for a politics with the maturity to balance idealism and realism, to distinguish between what can and cannot be compromised, to admit the possibility that the other side might sometimes have a point. They don't always understand the arguments between right and left, conservative and liberal, but they recognize the difference between dogma and common sense, responsibility and irresponsibility, between those things that last and those that are fleeting. They are out there, waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
For example, when asked to write twenty statements beginning with the words “I am …,” Americans are likely to list their own internal psychological characteristics (happy, outgoing, interested in jazz), whereas East Asians are more likely to list their roles and relationships (a son, a husband, an employee of Fujitsu).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Sacredness binds people together, and then blinds them to the arbitrariness of the practice.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider's job is to serve the elephant.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
When my husband had an affair with someone else I watched his eyes glaze over when we ate dinner together and I heard him singing to himself without me, and when he tended the garden it was not for me. He was courteous and polite; he enjoyed being at home, but in the fantasy of his home I was not the one who sat opposite him and laughed at his jokes. He didn't want to change anything; he liked his life. The only thing he wanted to change was me. It would have been better if he had hated me, or if he had abused me, or if he had packed his new suitcases and left. As it was he continued to put his arm round me and talk about being a new wall to replace the rotten fence that divided our garden from his vegetable patch. I knew he would never leave our house. He had worked for it. Day by day I felt myself disappearing. For my husband I was no longer a reality, I was one of the things around him. I was the fence which needed to be replaced. I watched myself in the mirror and saw that I was mo longer vivid and exciting. I was worn and gray like an old sweater you can't throw out but won't put on. He admitted he was in love with her, but he said he loved me. Translated, that means, I want everything. Translated, that means, I don't want to hurt you yet. Translated, that means, I don't know what to do, give me time. Why, why should I give you time? What time are you giving me? I am in a cell waiting to be called for execution. I loved him and I was in love with him. I didn't use language to make a war-zone of my heart. 'You're so simple and good,' he said, brushing the hair from my face. He meant, Your emotions are not complex like mine. My dilemma is poetic. But there was no dilemma. He no longer wanted me, but he wanted our life Eventually, when he had been away with her for a few days and returned restless and conciliatory, I decided not to wait in my cell any longer. I went to where he was sleeping in another room and I asked him to leave. Very patiently he asked me to remember that the house was his home, that he couldn't be expected to make himself homeless because he was in love. 'Medea did,' I said, 'and Romeo and Juliet and Cressida, and Ruth in the Bible.' He asked me to shut up. He wasn't a hero. 'Then why should I be a heroine?' He didn't answer, he plucked at the blanket. I considered my choices. I could stay and be unhappy and humiliated. I could leave and be unhappy and dignified. I could Beg him to touch me again. I could live in hope and die of bitterness. I took some things and left. It wasn't easy, it was my home too. I hear he's replaced the back fence.
Jeanette Winterson (Sexing the Cherry)
If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you. But if you think about moral reasoning as a skill we humans evolved to further our social agendas—to justify our own actions and to defend the teams we belong to—then things will make a lot more sense.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and fewer people believe that righteous ends justify violent means. Not a very romantic wish, but one that we might actually achieve.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
As it turns out, there is a utility in keeping us divided. As people, the more separate we are, the more politically impotent we become.
Matt Taibbi (Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another)
If women want a feminist revolution—ours is a world that is crying out for feminist revolution—then we must assume responsibility for drawing women together in political solidarity. That means we must assume responsibility for eliminating all the forces that divide women.
bell hooks (Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism)
Imagine if Reconstruction had actually honored the citizenship of four million freedpeople—provided the education, political autonomy, and economic wherewithal warranted by their and their ancestors’ hundreds of years of free labor. If, instead of continually re-fighting the Civil War, we had actually moved on to rebuilding a strong, viable South, a South where poor whites, too—for they had been left out as well—could gain access to proper education. Imagine
Carol Anderson (White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide)
The "omnivore's dilemma" (a term coined by Paul Rozin) is that omnivores must seek out and explore new potential foods while remaining wary of them until they are proven safe. Omnivores therefore go through life with two competing motives: neophilia (an attraction to new things) and neophobia (a fear of new things). People vary in terms of which motive is stronger, and this variation will come back to help us in later chapters: Liberals score higher on measures of neophilia (also known as "openness to experience"), not just for new foods but also for new people, music, and ideas. Conservatives are higher on neophobia; they prefer to stick with what's tried and true, and they care a lot more about guarding borders, boundaries, and traditions.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Perhaps most troubling of all, our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis—a crisis rooted in a fundamental contest between two opposing visions of what America is and what it should be; a crisis that has left the body politic divided, angry, and mistrustful, and has allowed for an ongoing breach of institutional norms, procedural safeguards, and the adherence to basic facts that both Republicans and Democrats once took for granted.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
What we are against will unite us, while what we are for divides us. Therefore, we should emphasise what we oppose. The common enemy unites us, while the positive values each of us are defending actually divides us. Therefore, we must create strategic alliances to overthrow the present order of things, of which the core could be described as human rights, anti-hierarchy, and political correctness – everything that is the face of the Beast, the anti-Christ or, in other terms, Kali-Yuga.
Alexander Dugin
We need to make fun of and ridicule the media images that seek to keep us down, divide us against each other by age, class, and race, and insist that we spend so much psychic energy on our faces, clothes and bodies that nothing is left for ideas, social change, or politics.
Susan J. Douglas
Republicans have cultivated, into a fine art, the ability to divide people up by race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. That’s what they do. That is the essence of their politics. They get one group to fight another group while their wealthy friends and campaign contributors get richer and laugh all the way to the bank.
Bernie Sanders (Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In)
What I know about my country is that when America is challenged, we rise to the occasion. When we’re fearful, we become divided. When we’re courageous and have good leadership, we unite.
Keith Ellison (My Country 'Tis of Thee)
It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.5
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The emotion of disgust evolved initially to optimize responses to the omnivore's dilemma. Individuals who had a properly calibrated sense of disgust were able to consume more calories than their overly disgustable cousins while consuming fewer dangerous microbes than their insufficiently disgustable cousins.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Keep your eye on the intuitions, and don’t take people’s moral arguments at face value. They’re mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly, crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
As for the majority, it is not so much race as it is political affiliation that really divides it today. What was once an issue of physical difference is now one of intellectual difference. Men have yet to master disagreeing without flashing all their frustrations that come with it; the conservative will throw half-truths while the liberal will throw insults. Combine these and what do you get? A dishonest mockery of a country.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate 'relationship' involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the 'married' couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other. The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family, and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere. There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other, and to their children. What they have they have in common, and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, 'mine' is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as 'ours.' This sort of marriage usually has at its heart a household that is to some extent productive. The couple, that is, makes around itself a household economy that involves the work of both wife and husband, that gives them a measure of economic independence and self-employment, a measure of freedom, as well as a common ground and a common satisfaction. (From "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
it would explain why extreme partisans are so stubborn, closed-minded, and committed to beliefs that often seem bizarre or paranoid. Like rats that cannot stop pressing a button, partisans may be simply unable to stop believing weird things. The partisan brain has been reinforced so many times for performing mental contortions that free it from unwanted beliefs. Extreme partisanship may be literally addictive.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
You can see the rider serving the elephant when people are morally dumbfounded. They have strong gut feelings about what is right and wrong, and they struggle to construct post hoc justifications for those feelings. Even when the servant (reasoning) comes back empty-handed, the master (intuition) doesn't change his judgment.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
We’re not always selfish hypocrites. We also have the ability, under special circumstances, to shut down our petty selves and become like cells in a larger body, or like bees in a hive, working for the good of the group. These experiences are often among the most cherished of our lives, although our hivishness can blind us to other moral concerns. Our bee-like nature facilitates altruism, heroism, war, and genocide.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Few realize that political action offers little solution to the world’s major problems. Few understand that the elite have created political parties in order to prevent real change from ever taking place. The political arena is merely the “sty” in which two or more mutually hostile agencies, created by the same hidden hand, get the chance to pummel one another. As alternative researcher Juri Lina so brilliantly put it: When the left wing Freemason is finished, the right-wing Freemason takes over The point has been emphasized by many an insider: The elementary principle of all deception is to attract the enemy’s attention to what you wish him to see and to distract his attention from what you so not wish him to see – General Sir Archibald Wavel The world’s power structures have always ‘divided to conquer’ and have always ‘kept divided to keep conquered.’ As a consequence the power structure has so divided humanity – not only into special function categories but into religious and language and color categories – that individual humans are now helplessly inarticulate in the face of the present crisis. They consider their political representation to be completely corrupted, therefore, they feel almost utterly helpless
R. Buckminster Fuller (Critical Path)
Several of the peculiarities of WEIRD culture can be captured in this simple generalization: The WEIRDer you are, the more you see a world full of separate objects, rather than relationships.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
As in the political sphere, the child is taught that he is free, a democrat, with a free will and a free mind, lives in a free country, makes his own decisions. At the same time he is a prisoner of the assumptions and dogmas of his time, which he does not question, because he has never been told they exist. By the time a young person has reached the age when he has to choose (we still take it for granted that a choice is inevitable) between the arts and the sciences, he often chooses the arts because he feels that here is humanity, freedom, choice. He does not know that he is already moulded by a system: he does not know that the choice itself is the result of a false dichotomy rooted in the heart of our culture. Those who do sense this, and who don't wish to subject themselves to further moulding, tend to leave, in a half-unconscious, instinctive attempt to find work where they won't be divided against themselves. With all our institutions, from the police force to academia, from medicine to politics, we give little attention to the people who leave—that process of elimination that goes on all the time and which excludes, very early, those likely to be original and reforming, leaving those attracted to a thing because that is what they are already like. A young policeman leaves the Force saying he doesn't like what he has to do. A young teacher leaves teaching, here idealism snubbed. This social mechanism goes almost unnoticed—yet it is as powerful as any in keeping our institutions rigid and oppressive.
Doris Lessing
We humans have an extraordinary ability to care about things beyond ourselves, to circle around those things with other people, and in the process to bind ourselves into teams that can pursue larger projects. That’s what religion is all about.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
But what is most terrifying about these rhetorical divides is that it is typical of fascist movements to attempt to transform myths about “them” into reality through social policy.
Jason F. Stanley (How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them)
Behind every act of altruism, heroism, and human decency you’ll find either selfishness or stupidity.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Beliefs divide us, values unite us." from Godless – Living a Valuable Life beyond Beliefs
Jeff Rasley
We’re all stuck here for a while, so let’s try to work it out.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The system of patriarchy can function only with the cooperation of women. This cooperation is secured by a variety of means: gender indoctrination; educational deprivation; the denial of women of knowledge of their history; the dividing of women, on from another, by defining "respectability" and "deviance" according to women's sexual activities; by restraints and outright coercion; by discrimination in access to economic resources and political power; and by awarding class privileges to conforming women.
Gerda Lerner (The Creation of Patriarchy)
What we need most right now, at this moment, is a kind of patriotic grace - a grace that takes the long view, apprehends the moment we're in, comes up with ways of dealing with it, and eschews the politically cheap and manipulative. That admits affection and respect. That encourages them. That acknowledges that the small things that divide us are not worthy of the moment; that agrees that the things that can be done to ease the stresses we feel as a nation should be encouraged, while those that encourage our cohesion as a nation should be supported.
Peggy Noonan (Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now)
If you ask people to sing a song together, or to march in step, or just to tap out some beats together on a table, it makes them trust each other more and be more willing to help each other out, in part because it makes people feel more similar to each other.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Any philosophy, whether of a religious or political nature - and sometimes the dividing line is hard to determine - fights less for the negative destruction of the opposing ideology than for the positive promotion of its own. Hence its struggle is less defensive than offensive. It therefore has the advantage even in determining the goal, since this goal represents the victory of its own idea, while, conversely,it is hard to determine when the negative aim of the destruction of a hostile doctrine may be regarded as achieved and assured. For this reason alone, the philosophy's offensive will be more systematic and also more powerful than the defensive against a philosophy, since here, too, as always, the attack and not the defence makes the decision. The fight against a spiritual power with methods of violence remains defensive, however, until the sword becomes the support,the herald and disseminator, of a new spiritual doctrine.
Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim- -but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril. Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end--where all men and all churches are treated as equal--where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice--where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind--and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood. That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe--a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. ... This is the kind of America I believe in--and this is the kind I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we may have a "divided loyalty," that we did "not believe in liberty," or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened the "freedoms for which our forefathers died.
John F. Kennedy
let’s imagine that 95 percent of the food on Earth magically disappears tonight, guaranteeing that almost all of us will starve to death within two months. Law and order collapse. Chaos and mayhem ensue. Who among us will still be alive a year from now? Will it be the biggest, strongest, and most violent individuals in each town? Or will it be the people who manage to work together in groups to monopolize, hide, and share the remaining food supplies among themselves?
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
People don't adopt their ideologies at random, or by soaking up whatever ideas are around them. People whose genes gave them brains that get a special pleasure from novelty, variety, and diversity, while simultaneously being less sensitive to signs of threat, are predisposed (but not predestined) to become liberals.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
I’m just thinking. I guess I’m a little worried about our current political climate. The country, the state, and even the city . . . we are very divided, maybe more divided than any time in recent history. The silent underbelly of racist attitudes has become far more emboldened.
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal In Black (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #4))
The special skill of the politician consists in knowing what passions can be most easily aroused, and how to prevent them, when aroused, from being harmful to himself and his associates...Moreover, since politicians are divided into rival groups, they aim at similarly dividing the nation, unless they have the good fortune to unite it in war against some other nation.
Bertrand Russell (Sceptical Essays)
The social psychologist Tom Gilovich studies the cognitive mechanisms of strange beliefs. His simple formulation is that when we want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe it?”28 Then (as Kuhn and Perkins found), we search for supporting evidence, and if we find even a single piece of pseudo-evidence, we can stop thinking. We now have permission to believe. We have a justification, in case anyone asks. In contrast, when we don’t want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Must I believe it?” Then we search for contrary evidence, and if we find a single reason to doubt the claim, we can dismiss it.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Putting this all together, it makes sense that WEIRD philosophers since Kant and Mill have mostly generated moral systems that are individualistic, rule-based, and universalist. That’s the morality you need to govern a society of autonomous individuals.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality—people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Empathy is not only a personal feeling; it can be a potent force for political and social change. And thus the suppression or denial of empathy is a deliberate part of a cynical political calculus. Dividing people and stoking animosity can pave a path to power (and in many recent elections, it has). This has been well known since the time of the ancients. But these divisions inevitably come at the expense of the long-term health and welfare of the nation as a whole.
Dan Rather (What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism)
It is clear that each party to this dispute—as to all that persist through long periods of time—is partly right and partly wrong. Social cohesion is a necessity, and mankind has never yet succeeded in enforcing cohesion by merely rational arguments. Every community is exposed to two opposite dangers: ossification through too much discipline and reverence for tradition, on the one hand; on the other hand, dissolution, or subjection to foreign conquest, through the growth of an individualism and personal independence that makes cooperation impossible.46
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It would be nice to believe that we humans were designed to love everyone unconditionally. Nice, but rather unlikely from an evolutionary perspective. Parochial love—love within groups—amplified by similarity, a sense of shared fate, and the suppression of free riders, may be the most we can accomplish.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
I realize I have stopped thinking about political divides, about freedom fighters or terrorists, about dictators and armies. I am thinking only of the fragility of civilization. The lives the refugees had were our lives: they owned corner shops and sold cars, they farmed or worked in factories or owned factories or sold insurance. None of them expected to be running for their lives, leaving everything they had because they had nothing to come back to, making smuggled border crossings, walking past the dismembered corpses of other people who had tried to make the crossing but had been caught or been betrayed.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Political economy tends to see work in capitalist societies as divided between two spheres: wage labor, for which the paradigm is always factories, and domestic labor – housework, childcare – relegated mainly to women. The first is seen primarily as a matter of creating and maintaining physical objects. The second is probably best seen as a matter of creating and maintaining people and social relations. [...] This makes it easier to see the two as fundamentally different sorts of activity, making it hard for us to recognize interpretive labor, for example, or most of what we usually think of as women’s work, as labor at all. To my mind it would probably be better to recognize it as the primary form of labor. Insofar as a clear distinction can be made here, it’s the care, energy, and labor directed at human beings that should be considered fundamental. The things we care most about – our loves, passions, rivalries, obsessions – are always other people; and in most societies that are not capitalist, it’s taken for granted that the manufacture of material goods is a subordinate moment in a larger process of fashioning people. In fact, I would argue that one of the most alienating aspects of capitalism is the fact that it forces us to pretend that it is the other way around, and that societies exist primarily to increase their output of things.
David Graeber (Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination)
Divide and rule, weaken and conquer, love and enslave, these are three tenets of politics
Bangambiki Habyarimana (The Great Pearl of Wisdom)
You don’t need a social scientist to tell you that people behave less ethically when they think nobody can see them.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
We lie, cheat, and cut ethical corners quite often when we think we can get away with it, and then we use our moral thinking to manage our reputations and justify ourselves to others.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
As the nation divided into Federalists and Republicans, each group called the other the worst name possible: "party". Most Americans feared the idea of party; believing that a society should unite to achieve the public good, they denounced parties as groups of ambitious men selfishly competing for power. Worse, parties were danger signals for a republic; if parties dominated a republic's politics, its days were numbered.
R.B. Bernstein (Thomas Jefferson (Oxford Portraits))
Despair has encouraged some to place more faith in political leaders than in biblical principles. In turn, some Christians, disillusioned over what other believers have said or done, have chosen to disavow their family of faith, giving in to despair. To despair over politics—regardless of which side of the political divide one lands on—as many Christians have done in the current apocalyptic political climate, is to forget that we are but wayfarers in this land. Choosing hope—whether amid the annihilation of the world or merely a political breakdown—is virtuous.
Karen Swallow Prior (On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books)
This election is about the past vs. the future. It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity. There are those who will continue to tell us that we can't do this, that we can't have what we're looking for, that we can't have what we want, that we're peddling false hopes. But here is what I know. I know that when people say we can't overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of that elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day, an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside the envelope. So don't tell us change isn't possible. That woman knows change is possible. When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can't join together and work together, I'm reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with and stood with and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don't tell us change can't happen. When I hear that we'll never overcome the racial divide in our politics, I think about that Republican woman who used to work for Strom Thurmond, who is now devoted to educating inner city-children and who went out into the streets of South Carolina and knocked on doors for this campaign. Don't tell me we can't change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future. And as we leave this great state with a new wind at our backs and we take this journey across this great country, a country we love, with the message we carry from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire, from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast, the same message we had when we were up and when we were down, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we will hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words -- yes, we can.
Barack Obama
Durkheim frequently criticized his contemporaries, such as Freud, who tried to explain morality and religion using only the psychology of individuals and their pairwise relationships. (God is just a father figure, said Freud.) Durkheim argued, in contrast, that Homo sapiens was really Homo duplex, a creature who exists at two levels: as an individual and as part of the larger society.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If race or class war divides us into hostile camps, changing political argument into blind hate, one side or the other may overturn the hustings with the rule of the sword. If our economy of freedom fails to distribute wealth as ably as it has created it, the road to dictatorship will be open to any man who can persuasively promise security to all; and a martial government, under whatever charming phrases, will engulf the democratic world.
Will Durant (The Lessons of History)
If people can’t satisfy their need for deep connection in other ways, they’ll be more receptive to a smooth-talking leader who urges them to renounce their lives of “selfish momentary pleasure” and follow him onward to “that purely spiritual existence” in which their value as human beings consists.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
I had discovered long ago the first lesson of political courage: to think anew. I had then learned the second: to be prepared to lead and to decide. I was now studying the third: how to take the calculated risk. I was going to alienate some people, like it or not. The moment you decide, you divide.
Tony Blair (A Journey: My Political Life)
...Today the invisible hand seems confused and indecisive...Ideology and rhetoric increasingly guide policy decision, often bearing little relationship to factual reality. And the America we once knew seems divided and angry, defiantly embracing unreason.
Shawn Lawrence Otto (Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America)
For in a struggle one must have both legs firmly planted on the earth. The Party had taught one how to do it. The infinite was a politically suspect quantity, the `I' a suspect quality. The Party did not recognize its existence. The definition of an individual was: a multitude of one million divided by one million.
Arthur Koestler
Religions are moral exoskeletons. If you live in a religious community, you are enmeshed in a set of norms, relationships, and institutions that work primarily on the elephant to influence your behavior. But if you are an atheist living in a looser community with a less binding moral matrix, you might have to rely somewhat more on an internal moral compass, read by the rider. That might sound appealing to rationalists, but it is also a recipe for anomie—Durkheim’s word for what happens to a society that no longer has a shared moral order.63 (It means, literally, “normlessness.”) We evolved to live, trade, and trust within shared moral matrices. When societies lose their grip on individuals, allowing all to do as they please, the result is often a decrease in happiness and an increase in suicide, as Durkheim showed more than a hundred years ago.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of an economic depression, deepening social divides along political lines thanks to Donald’s penchant for division, and devastating uncertainty about our country’s future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage.
Mary L. Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man)
civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended–there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
People nowadays talk about the world's problems like they're reading lines off a teleprompter. They recite what they're told and echo it without thinking. It has become easier to divide people than to unify them, and to blind them than to give them vision. We are no longer unified like a bowl of Cheerios. Instead, we have become as segregated as a box of Lucky Charms. Every day we see the same leprechauns on TV acting like they're the experts of everything.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
If you take home one souvenir from this part of the tour, may I suggest that it be a suspicion of moral monists. Beware of anyone who insists that there is one true morality for all people, times, and places—particularly if that morality is founded upon a single moral foundation. Human societies are complex; their needs and challenges are variable.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
...civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended—there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
If solidarity is unity of purpose or togetherness, how to span this great divide of inequality, privilege, universal rights, political agency, and even our seeing things completely differently? In constructing this great bridge of international solidarity across the globe, where do we even begin?
Ramor Ryan (Zapatista Spring: Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project & the Lessons of International Solidarity)
I had escaped from my prior partisan mind-set (reject first, ask rhetorical questions later) and began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.28
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The kingdom of God is neither blue nor red, tea nor coffee! The church must stand in prophetic tension with Constantinian political systems and never underwrite or accommodate itself to a partisan political world order, including American democracy.
Mike Slaughter (Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide)
I whispered a prayer that God would see him there safely, and then carry his family through the storm that was sure to follow his disappearance. There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous. — Hannah Arendt, German political theorist
Jennifer A. Nielsen (A Night Divided)
I’ll show that religion is (probably) an evolutionary adaptation for binding groups together and helping them to create communities with a shared morality. It is not a virus or a parasite, as some scientists (the “New Atheists”) have argued in recent years.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It comes from a deep-rooted conviction that if there is anything worthwhile doing for the sake of culture, then it is touching on subject matters and situations which link people, and not those that divide people. There are too many things in the world which divide people, such as religion, politics, history, and nationalism. If culture is capable of anything, then it is finding that which unites us all. And there are so many things which unite people. It doesn’t matter who you are or who I am, if your tooth aches or mine, it’s still the same pain. Feelings are what link people together, because the word ‘love’ has the same meaning for everybody. Or ‘fear’, or ‘suffering’. We all fear the same way and the same things. And we all love in the same way. That’s why I tell about these things, because in all other things I immediately find division.
Krzysztof Kieślowski
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission. A more subtle version of this claim argues that their strength allows men to monopolize tasks that demand hard manual labor, such as plowing and harvesting. This gives them control of food production, which in turn translates into political clout. There are two problems with this emphasis on muscle power. First, the statement that men are stronger is true only on average and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease, and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men. Furthermore, and most problematically for this theory, women have, throughout history, mainly been excluded from jobs that required little physical effort, such as the priesthood, law, and politics, while engaging in hard manual labor in the fields....and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it. Even more importantly, there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twenty-somethings are much stronger than their elders. ...Boxing matches were not used to select Egyptian pharaohs or Catholic popes. In forager societies, political dominance generally resides with the person possessing the best social skills rather than the most developed musculature. In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labor. Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed, and abuse are concern, but when push comes to shove…men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why, throughout history, warfare has been a masculine prerogative. In times of war, men’s control of the armed forces has made them the masters of civilian society too. They then use their control of civilian society to fight more and more wars. …Recent studies of the hormonal and cognitive systems of men and women strengthen the assumption that men indeed have more aggressive and violent tendencies and are…on average, better suited to serve as common soldiers. Yet, granted that the common soldiers are all men, does it follow that the ones managing the war and enjoying its fruits must also be men? That makes no sense. It’s like assuming that because all the slaves cultivating cotton fields are all Black, plantation owners will be Black as well. Just as an all-Black workforce might be controlled by an all-White management, why couldn’t an all-male soldiery be controlled by an all-female government?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Islamophilia’. And it has gripped the Western world. It could be defined as the expression of disproportionate adoration of Islam. I don’t say – because I don’t think – that Islam has no redeeming features or that the religion has achieved nothing. But it seems strange to me that so many people today can be quite so asinine and supine when it comes to the religion. No other religion in the world today receives the kind of pass that Islam gets. Most religions currently get a hell of a time. But Islam does not. And people express their resulting feeling for it for a number of reasons. First, there are those who just think Islam is wonderful. This encompasses a huge range of people. For instance, some of them can be on the left/liberal side of the political divide while others can be right-wing conservatives.
Douglas Murray (Islamophilia)
Many, but by no means all of us, have been shielded until now from the worst effects of his pathologies by a stable economy and a lack of serious crises. But the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of an economic depression, deepening social divides along political lines thanks to Donald’s penchant for division, and devastating uncertainty about our country’s future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage. Doing
Mary L. Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man)
So let the reader who expects this book to be a political exposé slam its covers shut right now. If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil. Socrates taught us: Know thyself! Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1918 - 1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II)
Awe acts like a kind of reset button: it makes people forget themselves and their petty concerns. Awe opens people to new possibilities, values, and directions in life. Awe is one of the emotions most closely linked to the hive switch, along with collective love and collective joy.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The White liberal is the worst enemy to America and the worst enemy to the Black man. Let me first explain what I mean by this White liberal. In America there’s no such thing as Democrats and Republicans anymore. That’s antiquated. In America you have liberals and conservatives. This is what the American political structure boils down to among Whites. The only people who are still living in the past and thinks in terms of “I’m a Democrat” or “I’m a Republican” is the American Negro. He’s the one who runs around bragging about party affiliation and he’s the one who sticks to the Democrat or sticks to the Republican, but White people in America are divided into two groups, liberals and Republicans…or rather, liberals and conservatives. And when you find White people vote in the political picture, they’re not divided in terms of Democrats and Republicans, they’re divided consistently as conservatives and as liberal. The Democrats who are conservative vote with Republicans who are conservative. Democrats who are liberals vote with Republicans who are liberals. You find this in Washington, DC. Now the White liberals aren’t White people who are for independence, who are liberal, who are moral, who are ethical in their thinking, they are just a faction of White people who are jockeying for power the same as the White conservatives are a faction of White people who are jockeying for power. Now they are fighting each other for booty, for power, for prestige and the one who is the football in the game is the Negro. Twenty million Black people in this country are a political football, a political pawn an economic football, an economic pawn, a social football, a social pawn...
Malcolm X
Shweder’s writings were my red pill. I began to see that many moral matrices coexist within each nation. Each matrix provides a complete, unified, and emotionally compelling worldview, easily justified by observable evidence and nearly impregnable to attack by arguments from outsiders.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If thinking is confirmatory rather than exploratory in these dry and easy cases, then what chance is there that people will think in an open-minded, exploratory way when self-interest, social identity, and strong emotions make them want or even need to reach a preordained conclusion? 3. WE LIE, CHEAT, AND JUSTIFY SO WELL THAT WE HONESTLY BELIEVE WE ARE HONEST
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
This isolation has left Americans quite unaware of the world beyong their borders. Americans speak few languages, know little about foreign cultures, and remain unconvinced that they need to rectify this. Americans rarely benchmark to global standards because they are sure that their way must be the best and most advanced. There is a growing gap between America's worldly business elite and cosmopolitan class, on the one hand and the majority of the American people on the other. Without real efforts to bridge it, this divide could destroy America's competitive edge and its political future.
Fareed Zakaria (The Post-American World 2.0)
It will probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. 1879
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
O Heavenly Children, the stories you have concocted in God's name have angered Him; for he would never instigate war between brothers, or encourage tribes to harbor resentment towards one another. He prefers the man who loves over the one who hates. And the man who spreads kindness, peace and knowledge, over the one who spreads lies, fear and terror — and misuses His name.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Schwitzgebel even scrounged up the missing-book lists from dozens of libraries and found that academic books on ethics, which are presumably borrowed mostly by ethicists, are more likely to be stolen or just never returned than books in other areas of philosophy.49 In other words, expertise in moral reasoning does not seem to improve moral behavior, and it might even make it worse (perhaps by making the rider more skilled at post hoc justification).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
When we are babies...we need an authoritative figure to guide and take care of us. We ask no questions about that authority and imagine that the small circumference of family life is the limit of the universe...As we mature, our horizon expands and we begin to question. This continues until we either throw over our creators--our parents--for good and take their place as the creative force in our lives or find replacements for them because the terror and responsibility are too great. People go one way or the other, and this accounts for all of the great personal and political divides throughout history.
Charlotte Rogan (The Lifeboat)
When we lose the contemplative mind, or non-dual consciousness, we invariably create violent people. The dualistic mind is endlessly argumentative, and we created an argumentative continent, which we also exported to North and South America. We see it in our politics; we see it in our Church’s inability to create any sincere interfaith dialogue—or even intra-faith dialogue. The Baptists are still fighting the Anglicans as “lost” and the Evangelicals are dismissing the Catholics as the “Whore of Babylon,” and we Catholics are demeaning everybody else as heretics, and each of us is hiding in our small, smug circles. What a waste of time and good God-energy, while the world suffers and declines. We have divided Jesus.
Richard Rohr (Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation)
A black African, she should have been able to fit without difficulty into a black African society, Senegal and the Ivory Coast both having experienced the same colonial power. But Africa is diverse, divided. The same country can change its character and outlook several times over, from north to south or from east to west.
Mariama Bâ (So Long a Letter)
Fear, Aristotle observed, does not strike those who are “in the midst of great prosperity.” Those who are frightened of losing what they have are the most vulnerable, and it is difficult to be clear-headed when you believe that you are teetering on a precipice. “No passion,” Edmund Burke wrote, “so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” The opposite of fear is hope, defined as the expectation of good fortune not only for ourselves but for the group to which we belong. Fear feeds anxiety and produces anger; hope, particularly in a political sense, breeds optimism and feelings of well-being. Fear is about limits; hope is about growth. Fear casts its eyes warily, even shiftily, across the landscape; hope looks forward, toward the horizon. Fear points at others, assigning blame; hope points ahead, working for a common good. Fear pushes away; hope pulls others closer. Fear divides; hope unifies.
Jon Meacham (The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels)
Food safety oversight is largely, but not exclusively, divided between two agencies, the FDA and the USDA. The USDA mostly oversees meat and poultry; the FDA mostly handles everything else, including pet food and animal feed. Although this division of responsibility means that the FDA is responsible for 80% of the food supply, it only gets 20% of the federal budget for this purpose. In contrast, the USDA gets 80% of the budget for 20% of the foods. This uneven distribution is the result of a little history and a lot of politics.
Marion Nestle (Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine)
Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies; and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. the same political parties which now agitate the U.S. have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people, or that of the (best men; nobles) should prevail, were questions which kept the states of Greece and rome in eternal convulsions...
Thomas Jefferson
The authors pointed out that nearly all research in psychology is conducted on a very small subset of the human population: people from cultures that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (forming the acronym WEIRD). They then reviewed dozens of studies showing that WEIRD people are statistical outliers; they are the least typical, least representative people you could study if you want to make generalizations about human nature. Even within the West, Americans are more extreme outliers than Europeans, and within the United States, the educated upper middle class (like my Penn sample) is the most unusual of all.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects. If you want to understand another group, follow the sacredness. As a first step, think about the six moral foundations, and try to figure out which one or two are carrying the most weight in a particular controversy. And if you really want to open your mind, open your heart first. If you can have at least one friendly interaction with a member of the “other” group, you’ll find it far easier to listen to what they’re saying, and maybe even see a controversial issue in a new light. You may not agree, but you’ll probably shift from Manichaean disagreement to a more respectful and constructive yin-yang disagreement.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The Perfect Way is only difficult                 for those who pick and choose;                 Do not like, do not dislike;                 all will then be clear.                 Make a hairbreadth difference,                 and Heaven and Earth are set apart;                 If you want the truth to stand clear before you,                 never be for or against.                 The struggle between “for” and “against”                 is the mind’s worst disease.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Increase similarity, not diversity. To make a human hive, you want to make everyone feel like a family. So don’t call attention to racial and ethnic differences; make them less relevant by ramping up similarity and celebrating the group’s shared values and common identity.49 A great deal of research in social psychology shows that people are warmer and more trusting toward people who look like them, dress like them, talk like them, or even just share their first name or birthday.50 There’s nothing special about race. You can make people care less about race by drowning race differences in a sea of similarities, shared goals, and mutual interdependencies.51
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
When we awaken each morning, we see around the globe what appear to be Fascism’s early stirrings: the discrediting of mainstream politicians, the emergence of leaders who seek to divide rather than to unite, the pursuit of political victory at all costs, and the invocation of national greatness by people who seem to possess only a warped concept of what greatness means. Most often, the signposts that should alert us are disguised: the altered constitution that passes for reform, the attacks on a free press justified by security, the dehumanization of others masked as a defense of virtue, or the hollowing out of a democratic system so that all is erased but the label.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
There are secularised cultures, but at the core of all of them, the spirit of Tradition remains, religious or otherwise. By defending the multiplicity, plurality and polycentrism of cultures, we are making an appeal to the principles of their essences, which we can only find in the spiritual traditions. But we try to link this attitude to the necessity for social justice and the freedom of differing societies in the hope for better political regimes. The idea is to join the spirit of Tradition with the desire for social justice. And we don’t want to oppose them, because that is the main strategy of hegemonic power: to divide Left and Right, to divide cultures, to divide ethnic groups, East and West, Muslims and Christians. We invite Right and Left to unite, and not to oppose traditionalism and spirituality, social justice and social dynamism. So we are not on the Right or on the Left. We are against liberal postmodernity. Our idea is to join all the fronts and not let them divide us. When we stay divided, they can rule us safely. If we are united, their rule will immediately end. That is our global strategy. And when we try to join the spiritual tradition with social justice, there is an immediate panic among liberals. They fear this very much.
Alexander Dugin
We are indeed a house divided. But the division between race and race, class and class, will not be dissolved by massive infusions of brotherly sentiment. The division is not the result of bad sentiment, and therefore will not be healed by rhetoric. Rather the division and the bad sentiments are both reflections of vast and growing inequalities in our socioeconomic system--inequalities of wealth, of status, of education, of access to political power. Talk of brotherhood and "tolerance" (are we merely to "tolerate" one another?) might once have had a cooling effect, but increasingly it grates on the nerves. It evokes contempt not because the values of brotherhood are wrong--they are more important than ever--but because it just does not correspond to the reality we see around us. And such talk does nothing to eliminate the inequalities that breed resentment and deep discontent.
Bayard Rustin (Down The Line)
Among the most important such innovations is the human love of using symbolic markers to show our group memberships. From the tattoos and face piercings used among Amazonian tribes through the male circumcision required of Jews to the tattoos and facial piercings used by punks in the United Kingdom, human beings take extraordinary, costly, and sometimes painful steps to make their bodies advertise their group memberships
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Cultural variation in morality can be explained in part by noting that cultures can shrink or expand the current triggers of any module. For example, in the past fifty years people in many Western societies have come to feel compassion in response to many more kinds of animal suffering, and they’ve come to feel disgust in response to many fewer kinds of sexual activity. The current triggers can change in a single generation, even though it would take many generations for genetic evolution to alter the design of the module and its original triggers.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If the USA doesn't start learning how to put personal egos aside for the sustainability of a nation, then these "mighty" United States will be no better than the politically divided commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Where progress is slowed because each party thinks any idea from the other party must be stupid or without validity and Independence has become a distant dream squashed by corruption. I suggest politicians go back to kindergarten to learn the basics in decent humanity. The notions of sharing and respect obviously didn't stick the first time.
Kent Marrero
We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it’s so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Over the course of time many Americans have forgotten that “we the people” are actually at the top of the food chain as far as authority is concerned in this nation. The Republicans don’t run our nation. The Democrats don’t run our nation. We do. However, by dividing and engaging in political squabbles, we have allowed the government to grow so large and powerful that it has now become the boss, progressively taking charge of all of our lives.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you. 1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He is often cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on. 2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time. 3. The master has a group of slave, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on. 4. The master allows the slave four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own. 5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking. 6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what use to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on. 7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into discussion of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers. 8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselve3s to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master may also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.) 9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome. The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of the slave?
Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia)
We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannise over their private lives. Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table? They should be seated at the board, and are beginning to know it.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism)
That might be good news for rationalists—maybe we can think carefully whenever we believe it matters? Not quite. Tetlock found two very different kinds of careful reasoning. Exploratory thought is an “evenhanded consideration of alternative points of view.” Confirmatory thought is “a one-sided attempt to rationalize a particular point of view.”13 Accountability increases exploratory thought only when three conditions apply: (1) decision makers learn before forming any opinion that they will be accountable to an audience, (2) the audience’s views are unknown, and (3) they believe the audience is well informed and interested in accuracy.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Girls, here's the truth about the Ban Bossy campaign: It's being spearheaded by a privileged group of elite feminists who have a very vested interest in stoking victim politics and exacerbating the gender divide. They actually encourage dependency and groupthink while paying lip service to empowerment and self-determination. They traffic in bogus wage disparity statistics, whitewashing the fact that what's actually left of that dwindling pay gap is due to the deliberate, voluntary choices women in the workforce make.
Michelle Malkin
Every action taken by human beings is based in love or fear, not simply those dealing with relationships. Decisions affecting business, industry, politics, religion, the education of your young, the social agenda of your nations, the economic goals of your society, choices involving war, peace, attack, defense, aggression, submission; determinations to covet or give away, to save or to share, to unite or to divide—every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are: a thought of love or a thought of fear. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals. Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes. Fear attacks, love amends. Every human thought, word, or deed is based in one emotion or the other. You have no choice about this, because there is nothing else from which to choose. But you have free choice about which of these to select.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
Leave this touching and clawing. Let him be to me a spirit. A message, a thought, a sincerity, a glance from him, I want, but not news nor pottage. I can get politics, and chat, and neighborly conveniences from cheaper companions. Should not the society of my friend be to me poetic, pure, universal, and great as nature itself? Ought I to feel that our tie is profane in comparison with yonder bar of cloud that sleeps on the horizon, or that clump of waving grass that divides the brook? Let us not vilify, bur raise it to that standard. That great, defying eye, that scornful beauty of his mien and action, do not pique yourself on reducing, but rather fortify and enhance.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Music is the 'pure' art par excellence. It says nothing and has nothing to say. Never really having an expressive function, it is opposed to drama, which even in its most refined forms still bears a social message and can only be 'put over' on the basis of an immediate and profound affinity with the values and expectations of its audience. The theatre divides its public and divides itself. The Parisian opposition between right-bank and left-bank theatr, bourgeois theatre and avant-garde theatre, is inextricably aesthetic and political.
Pierre Bourdieu (Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste)
I’m riding a tram and, as is my habit, slowly absorbing every detail of the people around me. By ‘detail’ I mean things, voices, words. In the dress of the girl directly in front of me, for example, I see the material it’s made of, the work involved in making it – since it’s a dress and not just material – and I see in the delicate embroidery around the neck the silk thread with which it was embroidered and all the work that went into that. And immediately, as if in a primer on political economy, I see before me the factories and all the different jobs: the factory where the material was made; the factory that made the darker coloured thread that ornaments with curlicues the neck of the dress’ and I see the different workshops in the factories, the machines, the workmen, the seamstresses. My eyes’ inward gaze even penetrates into the offices, where I see the managers trying to keep calm and the figures set out in the account books, but that’s not all: beyond that I see into the domestic lives of all those who spend their working hours in these factories and offices...A whole world unfolds before my eyes all because the regularly irregular dark green edging to a pale green dress worn by the girl in front of me of whom I see only her brown neck. ‘A whole way of life lies before me. I sense the loves, the secrets, the souls of all those who worked just so that this woman in front of me on the tram should wear around her mortal neck the sinuous banality of a thread of dark green silk on a background of light green cloth. I grow dizzy. The seats on the tram, of fine, strong cane, carry me to distant regions, divide into industries, workmen, houses, lives, realities, everything. I leave the tram exhausted, like a sleepwalker, having lived a whole life.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
From a historical point of view, restricting the availability of addictive substances must be seen as a peculiarly perverse example of Calvinist dominator thought - a system in which the sinner is to be punished in this world by being transformed into an exploitable, of his cash, by the criminal/governmental combine that provides the addicitve substances. The image is more horrifying than that of the serpent that devours itself - it is once again the Dionysian image of the mother who devours her children, the image of a house divided against itself.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
The opposite of fear is hope, defined as the expectation of good fortune not only for ourselves but for a group to which we belong. Fear feeds anxiety and produces anger; hope, particularly in a political sense, breeds optimism and feelings of well-being. Fear is about limits; hope is about growth. Fear casts its eyes warily, even shiftily, across the landscape; hope looks forward, toward the horizon. Fear points at others, assigning blame; hope points ahead, working for a common good. Fear pushes away; hope pulls others closer. Fear divides; hope unifies.
Jon Meacham (The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels)
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.)
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It is necessary to realize that the most sacrosanct article of sexual politics in the period, the Victorian doctrine of chivalrous protection and its familiar protestations of respect, rests upon the tacit assumption, a cleverly expeditious bit of humbug, that all women were "ladies"—namely members of that fraction of the upper classes and bourgeoisie which treated women to expressions of elaborate concern, while permitting them no legal or personal freedom. The psycho-political tacit here is a pretense that the indolence and luxury of the upper-class woman’s role in what Veblen called “vicarious consumption” was the happy lot of all women. The efficacy of this maneuver depends on dividing women by class and persuading the privileged that they live in an indulgence they scarcely deserve... To succeed, both the sexual revolution and the Woman's Movement which led it would have to unmask chivalry and expose its courtesies as subtle manipulation.
Kate Millett (Sexual Politics)
But whoever seriously considers the immense extent of territory comprehended within the limits of the United States, together with the variety of its climates, productions, and commerce, the difference of extent, and number of inhabitants in all; the dissimilitude of interest, morals, and politics, in almost every one, will receive it as an intuitive truth, that a consolidated republican form of government therein, can never form a perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to you and your posterity, for to these objects it must be directed. This unkindred legislature therefore, composed of interests opposite and dissimilar in their nature, will in its exercise, emphatically be like a house divided against itself.
George Clinton
Julian recognized that the strength of the orthodox Church rested to a great extent on the imperial discrimination in its favour. According to Ammianus, he tried to atomize the Church by ending the system: 'He ordered the priests of the different Christian sects, and their supporters to be admitted to the palace, and politely expressed his wish that, their quarrels being over, each might follow his own beliefs without hindrance or fear. He thought that freedom to argue their beliefs would simply deepen their differences, so that he would never be faced by a united common people. He found from experience that no wild beasts are as hostile to men, as Christians are to each other.'
Paul Johnson (A History of Christianity)
We also looked at confirmation bias—how our minds filter and select information that confirms our own point of view, and dismiss information that does not fit in or negates it. And confirmation bias is certainly not limited to cults. We basically see and hear what we want to, whether we realize it or not, and rationalize away what does not fit our preconceptions and predictions. We find it hard to accept or agree with even well-argued or supported views when they are expressed by a member of the other side. We speak to—and find affirmation from—those of our own political persuasion, but the level of passion is so high that often we do not, or cannot, talk to those across the divide.
Steven Hassan (The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control)
Nonetheless, if you are trying to change an organization or a society and you do not consider the effects of your changes on moral capital, you’re asking for trouble. This, I believe, is the fundamental blind spot of the left. It explains why liberal reforms so often backfire,43 and why communist revolutions usually end up in despotism. It is the reason I believe that liberalism—which has done so much to bring about freedom and equal opportunity—is not sufficient as a governing philosophy. It tends to overreach, change too many things too quickly, and reduce the stock of moral capital inadvertently. Conversely, while conservatives do a better job of preserving moral capital, they often fail to notice certain classes of victims, fail to limit the predations of certain powerful interests, and fail to see the need to change or update institutions as times change.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Already the people murmur that I am your enemy because they say that in verse I give the world your me. They lie, Julia de Burgos. They lie, Julia de Burgos. Who rises in my verses is not your voice. It is my voice because you are the dressing and the essence is me; and the most profound abyss is spread between us. You are the cold doll of social lies, and me, the virile starburst of the human truth. You, honey of courtesan hypocrisies; not me; in all my poems I undress my heart. You are like your world, selfish; not me who gambles everything betting on what I am. You are only the ponderous lady very lady; not me; I am life, strength, woman. You belong to your husband, your master; not me; I belong to nobody, or all, because to all, to all I give myself in my clean feeling and in my thought. You curl your hair and paint yourself; not me; the wind curls my hair, the sun paints me. You are a housewife, resigned, submissive, tied to the prejudices of men; not me; unbridled, I am a runaway Rocinante snorting horizons of God's justice. You in yourself have no say; everyone governs you; your husband, your parents, your family, the priest, the dressmaker, the theatre, the dance hall, the auto, the fine furnishings, the feast, champagne, heaven and hell, and the social, "what will they say." Not in me, in me only my heart governs, only my thought; who governs in me is me. You, flower of aristocracy; and me, flower of the people. You in you have everything and you owe it to everyone, while me, my nothing I owe to nobody. You nailed to the static ancestral dividend, and me, a one in the numerical social divider, we are the duel to death who fatally approaches. When the multitudes run rioting leaving behind ashes of burned injustices, and with the torch of the seven virtues, the multitudes run after the seven sins, against you and against everything unjust and inhuman, I will be in their midst with the torch in my hand.
Julia de Burgos Jack Agüero Translator
I have heard many express feelings of not belonging, of anxiety and insecurity, of awkwardness and self-consciousness, of incompetence and unworthiness, of being out of place or having no place, of feeling they should be someone or somewhere else, and that they could be living this other, better life if only 'everyone else' would see how smart or creative or special they really are. These feelings came not just from those who had yet to find their life’s purpose, but also from those who had but were using their gifts detrimentally to divide, control, ridicule, and create fear rather than unite, heal, encourage, and empower. High self-esteem, meaning to have self-efficacy and self-respect, removes the obstacles to feeling appropriate to life.
Marta Maranda (What It Looks Like: An Awakening Through Love and Trauma, War and Music, Sports and History, Politics and Spirituality)
In Tetlock’s research, subjects are asked to solve problems and make decisions.11 For example, they’re given information about a legal case and then asked to infer guilt or innocence. Some subjects are told that they’ll have to explain their decisions to someone else. Other subjects know that they won’t be held accountable by anyone. Tetlock found that when left to their own devices, people show the usual catalogue of errors, laziness, and reliance on gut feelings that has been documented in so much decision-making research.12 But when people know in advance that they’ll have to explain themselves, they think more systematically and self-critically. They are less likely to jump to premature conclusions and more likely to revise their beliefs in response to evidence.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
But even though nobody from the government ever says anything out loud about a lack of evidence being the real reason nobody from these companies goes to jail, we’re all—including reporters who cover this stuff—still supposed to accept that as the real explanation. It’s a particular feature of modern American government officials, particularly Democratic Party types, that they often expect the press and the public to give them credit for their unspoken excuses. They’ll vote yea on the Iraq war and the Patriot Act and nay for a public option or an end to torture or a bill to break up the banks. Then they’ll cozy up to you privately and whisper that of course they’re with you in spirit on those issues, but politically it just wasn’t possible to vote that way. And then they start giving you their reasons.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
But God's the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic. If you had a God …" "My dear young friend," said Mustapha Mond, "civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended–there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears–that's what soma is.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Yet the enslavement of Africans—over 20 percent of the population—served as the linchpin of American democracy; that is, the much-heralded stability and continuity of American democracy was predicated upon black oppression and degradation. Without the presence of black people in America, European-Americans would not be "white"—they would be only Irish, Italians, Poles, Welsh, and others engaged in class, ethnic, and gender struggles over resources and identity. What made America distinctly American for them was not simply the presence of unprecedented opportunities, but the struggle for seizing these opportunities in a new land in which black slavery and racial caste served as the floor upon which white class, ethnic, and gender struggles could be diffused and diverted. In other words, white poverty could be ignored and whites' paranoia of each other could be overlooked primarily owing to the distinctive American feature: the basic racial divide of black and white peoples. From 1776 to 1964… this racial divide would serve as a basic presupposition for the expansive functioning of American democracy, even as the concentration of wealth and power remained in the hands of a Few well-to-do white men.
Cornel West (Race Matters)
Roosevelt's productivity resulted from how he chose to spend his time. He read frequently due to his belief that efficiency did not come from packing in scheduled activities down to every last minute of the day. Rather, it was through the regular feeding of his intellect. Even during the height of a presidential campaign, he packed in nearly four hours of reading a day. He enjoyed works of fiction, science, political philosophy, and history. One can imagine a nervous political aide bursting in his study, telling Roosevelt to put down his copy of Cicero because he was scheduled to begin the day's fourth speech in only two minutes. Researcher Robert Talbert notes that a second explanation for Roosevelt's productivity was his method of splitting up his schedule. His reading times were broken up into 45 minute-increments, divided between three half-hour time slots and three one-hour time slots. There is no way that Roosevelt could have known this, but such a segmented approach to reading is the best way for the brain to retain information. A 2008 study from the University of Illinois found that the brain's attentional resources drop after a long period of focusing on a single activity. Even brief diversions can significantly increase one's ability to focus on a task for a long period of time.
Michael Rank (The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk)
Kohlberg’s most influential finding was that the most morally advanced kids (according to his scoring technique) were those who had frequent opportunities for role taking—for putting themselves into another person’s shoes and looking at a problem from that person’s perspective. Egalitarian relationships (such as with peers) invite role taking, but hierarchical relationships (such as with teachers and parents) do not. It’s really hard for a child to see things from the teacher’s point of view, because the child has never been a teacher. Piaget and Kohlberg both thought that parents and other authorities were obstacles to moral development. If you want your kids to learn about the physical world, let them play with cups and water; don’t lecture them about the conservation of volume. And if you want your kids to learn about the social world, let them play with other kids and resolve disputes; don’t lecture them about the Ten Commandments. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t force them to obey God or their teachers or you. That will only freeze them at the conventional level.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
People don’t adopt their ideologies at random, or by soaking up whatever ideas are around them. People whose genes gave them brains that get a special pleasure from novelty, variety, and diversity, while simultaneously being less sensitive to signs of threat, are predisposed (but not predestined) to become liberals. They tend to develop certain “characteristic adaptations” and “life narratives” that make them resonate—unconsciously and intuitively—with the grand narratives told by political movements on the left (such as the liberal progress narrative). People whose genes give them brains with the opposite settings are predisposed, for the same reasons, to resonate with the grand narratives of the right (such as the Reagan narrative). Once people join a political team, they get ensnared in its moral matrix. They see confirmation of their grand narrative everywhere, and it’s difficult—perhaps impossible—to convince them that they are wrong if you argue with them from outside of their matrix. I suggested that liberals might have even more difficulty understanding conservatives than the other way around, because liberals often have difficulty understanding how the Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity foundations have anything to do with morality. In particular, liberals often have difficulty seeing moral capital, which I defined as the resources that sustain a moral community.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Some of his [Chester Bowles's] friends thought that his entire political career reflected his background, that he truly believed in the idea of the Republic, with an expanded town-hall concept of politics, of political leaders consulting with their constituency, hearing them out, reasoning with them, coming to terms with them, government old-fashioned and unmanipulative. Such governments truly had to reflect their constituencies. It was his view not just of America, but of the whole world. Bowles was fascinated by the political process in which people of various countries expressed themselves politically instead of following orders imposed by an imperious leadership. In a modern world where most politicians tended to see the world divided in a death struggle between Communism and free-world democracies, it was an old-fashioned view of politics; it meant that Bowles was less likely to judge a country on whether or not it was Communist, but on whether or not its government seemed to reflect genuine indigenous feeling. (If he was critical of the Soviet leadership, he was more sympathetic to Communist governments in the underdeveloped world.) He was less impressed by the form of a government than by his own impression of its sense of legitimacy. ... He did not particularly value money (indeed, he was ill at ease with it), he did not share the usual political ideas of the rich, and he was extremely aware of the hardships with which most Americans lived. Instead of hiring highly paid consultants and pollsters to conduct market research, Bowles did his own canvassing, going from door to door to hundreds of middle- and lower-class homes. That became a crucial part of his education; his theoretical liberalism became reinforced by what he learned about people’s lives during the Depression.
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest)
In all conflicts between groups, there are three elements. One: the certitude that our group is morally superior, possibly even chosen by God. All others should follow our example or be at our service. In order to bring peace to the world, we have to impose our set of beliefs upon others, through manipulation, force, and fear, if necessary. Two: a refusal or incapacity to see or admit to any possible errors or faults in our group. The undeniable nature of our own goodness makes us think we are infallible; there can be no wrong in us. Three: a refusal to believe that any other group possesses truth or can contribute anything of value. At best, others may be regarded as ignorant, unenlightened, and possessing only half—truths; at worst, they are seen as destructive, dangerous, and possessed by evil spirits: they need to be overpowered for the good of humanity. Society and cultures are, then, divided into the “good” and the “bad”; the good attributing to themselves the mission to save, to heal, to bring peace to a wicked world, according to their own terms and under their controlling power. Such is the story of all civilizations through the ages as they spread over the earth by invading and colonizing. Differences must be suppressed; “savages” must be civilized. We must prove by all possible means that our culture, our power, our knowledge, and our technology are the best, that our gods are the only gods! This is not just the story of civilizations but also of all wars of religion, inquisitions, censorships, dictatorships; all things, in short, that are ideologies. An ideology is a set of ideas translated into a set of values. Because they are held to be absolutely true, these ideas and values need to be imposed on others if they are not readily accepted. A political system, a school of psychology, and a philosophy of economics can all be ideologies. Even a place of work can be an ideology. Religious sub—groups, sects, are based upon ideological principles. Religions themselves can become ideologies. And ideologues, by their nature, are not open to new ideas or even to debate; they refuse to accept or listen to anyone else’s reality. They refuse to admit any possibility of error or even criticism of their system; they are closed up in their set of ideas, theories, and values. We human beings have a great facility for living illusions, for protecting our self—image with power, for justifying it all by thinking we are the favoured ones of God.
Jean Vanier (Becoming Human)
In a mass society where obtaining credit is as easy as it is, there’s probably no way to efficiently collect on delinquent accounts by writing real affidavits, filing legitimate, error-free lawsuits, and serving legitimate summonses in each and every individual case. Without the shortcuts, it doesn’t work. So techniques like robo-signing and sewer service are essential to the profitability of the business. Plenty of people—consumers and merchants both—are probably glad that so much credit is available, but they don’t realize that systematic fraud is part of what makes it available. Legally, there’s absolutely no difference between a woman on welfare who falsely declares that her boyfriend no longer lives in the home and a bank that uses a robo-signer to cook up a document swearing that he has kept regular records of your credit card account. But morally and politically, they’re worlds apart. When the state brings a fraud case against a welfare mom, it brings it with disgust, with rage, because in addition to committing the legal crime, she’s committed the political crime of being needy and an eyesore. Banks commit the legal crime of fraud wholesale; they do so out in the open, have entire departments committed to it, and have employees who’ve spent years literally doing nothing but commit, over and over again, the same legal crime that some welfare mothers go to jail for doing once. But they’re not charged, because there’s no political crime. The system is not disgusted by the organized, mechanized search for profit. It’s more like it’s impressed by it.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Those same three factors applied to human beings. Like bees, our ancestors were (1) territorial creatures with a fondness for defensible nests (such as caves) who (2) gave birth to needy offspring that required enormous amounts of care, which had to be given while (3) the group was under threat from neighboring groups. For hundreds of thousands of years, therefore, conditions were in place that pulled for the evolution of ultrasociality, and as a result, we are the only ultrasocial primate. The human lineage may have started off acting very much like chimps,48 but by the time our ancestors started walking out of Africa, they had become at least a little bit like bees. And much later, when some groups began planting crops and orchards, and then building granaries, storage sheds, fenced pastures, and permanent homes, they had an even steadier food supply that had to be defended even more vigorously. Like bees, humans began building ever more elaborate nests, and in just a few thousand years, a new kind of vehicle appeared on Earth—the city-state, able to raise walls and armies.49 City-states and, later, empires spread rapidly across Eurasia, North Africa, and Mesoamerica, changing many of the Earth’s ecosystems and allowing the total tonnage of human beings to shoot up from insignificance at the start of the Holocene (around twelve thousand years ago) to world domination today.50 As the colonial insects did to the other insects, we have pushed all other mammals to the margins, to extinction, or to servitude. The analogy to bees is not shallow or loose. Despite their many differences, human civilizations and beehives are both products of major transitions in evolutionary history. They are motorboats.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'. Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world. The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just. The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
Richard Overy (Why the Allies Won)
The Knights of Labor originated in the late 1860s and early 1870s in Philadelphia, but slowly expanded into the rest of Pennsylvania and finally became a national organization with 750,000 members. It encompassed many trade unions and was organized geographically rather than by occupation. “The Knights attempted to organize all American productive workers into ‘one big union’ regardless of skill, trade, industry, race or sex and were divided into local, district and national assemblies, with a centralized structure”155—although substantial autonomy was granted to local assemblies, which took the initiative in establishing hundreds of cooperative stores and factories. The national leadership was less energetic on this score than local leadership. The overarching purpose of the organization was, as its longtime leader Terence Powderly said, “to associate our own labors; to establish co-operative institutions such as will tend to supersede the wage-system, by the introduction of a co-operative industrial system.”156 To this end, the Knights lobbied politically, engaged in numerous strikes, lent their support to other radical social movements, and, of course, organized co-ops. Masses of workers genuinely believed that they could rise from being “rented slaves” to become cooperators in control of their work and wages, living in revitalized and stabilized communities, no longer subject to periods of unemployment. Cooperation was a religion for some of them.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
Even mighty states and kingdoms are not exempted. If we look into history, we shall find some nations rising from contemptible beginnings and spreading their influence, until the whole globe is subjected to their ways. When they have reached the summit of grandeur, some minute and unsuspected cause commonly affects their ruin, and the empire of the world is transferred to some other place. Immortal Rome was at first but an insignificant village, inhabited only by a few abandoned ruffians, but by degrees it rose to a stupendous height, and excelled in arts and arms all the nations that preceded it. But the demolition of Carthage (what one should think should have established is in supreme dominion) by removing all danger, suffered it to sink into debauchery, and made it at length an easy prey to Barbarians. England immediately upon this began to increase (the particular and minute cause of which I am not historian enough to trace) in power and magnificence, and is now the greatest nation upon the globe. Soon after the reformation a few people came over into the new world for conscience sake. Perhaps this (apparently) trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire into America. It looks likely to me. For if we can remove the turbulent Gallics, our people according to exactest computations, will in another century, become more numerous than England itself. Should this be the case, since we have (I may say) all the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to obtain the mastery of the seas, and then the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us. Divide et impera. Keep us in distinct colonies, and then, some great men from each colony, desiring the monarchy of the whole, they will destroy each others' influence and keep the country in equilibrio. Be not surprised that I am turned into politician. The whole town is immersed in politics.
John Adams
I was starting to remember the whole problem now: I hate these fucking people [people at Tea Party rallies, ed]. It's never been just political, it's personal. I'm not convinced anyone in this country except the kinds of weenies who thought student council was important really cares about large versus small government or strict constructionalism versus judicial activism. The ostensible issues are just code words in an ugly snarl of class resentment, anti-intellectualism, old-school snobbery, racism, and who knows what else - grudges left over from the Civil War, the sixties, gym class. The Tea Party likes to cite a poll showing that their members are wealthier and better educated than te general populace, but to me they mostly looked like the same people I'd had to listen to in countless dive bars railing against "edjumicated idiots" and explaining exactly how Nostradamus predicted 9/11, the very people I and everyone I know fled our hometowns to get away from. So far all my interactions at the rally were only reinforcing my private theory - I suppose you might call it a prejudice - that liberals are the ones who went to college, moved to the nearest city where no one would call them a fag, and now only go back for holidays; conservatives are the ones who married their high school girlfriends, bought houses in their hometowns, and kept going to church and giving a shit who won the homecoming game. It's the divide between the Got Out and the Stayed Put. This theory also account for the different reactions of these two camps when the opposition party takes power, raising the specter of either fascist or socialist tyranny: the Got Outs always fantasize about fleeing the country for someplace more civilized - Canada, France, New Zealand; the Stayed Put just di further in, hunkering down in compounds, buying up canned goods and ammo.
Tim Kreider (We Learn Nothing)
India is a land where contradictions will continue to abound, because there are many Indias that are being transformed, with different levels of intensity, by different forces of globalization. Each of these Indias is responding to them in different ways. Consider these coexisting examples of progress and status quo: India is a nuclear-capable state that still cannot build roads that will survive their first monsoon. It has eradicated smallpox through the length and breadth of the country, but cannot stop female foeticide and infanticide. It is a country that managed to bring about what it called the ‘green revolution’, which heralded food grain self-sufficiency for a nation that relied on external food aid and yet, it easily has the most archaic land and agricultural laws in the world, with no sign of anyone wanting to reform them any time soon. It has hundreds of millions of people who subsist on less that a dollar a day, but who vote astutely and punish political parties ruthlessly. It has an independent judiciary that once set aside even Indira Gandhi’s election to parliament and yet, many members of parliament have criminal records and still contest and win elections from prison. India is a significant exporter of intellectual capital to the rest of the world—that capital being spawned in a handful of world class institutions of engineering, science and management. Yet it is a country with primary schools of pathetic quality and where retaining children in school is a challenge. India truly is an equal opportunity employer of women leaders in politics, but it took over fifty years to recognize that domestic violence is a crime and almost as long to get tough with bride burning. It is the IT powerhouse of the world, the harbinger of the offshore services revolution that is changing the business paradigms of the developed world. But regrettably, it is also the place where there is a yawning digital divide.
Rama Bijapurkar (We are like that only: Understanding the Logic of Consumer India)
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John Holmes on the Missouri Statehood Question – April 20, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men composing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say, that the non- freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other State? I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. Th. Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Ignorance of the character structure of masses of people invariably leads to fruitless questioning. The Communists, for example, said that it was the misdirected policies of the Social Democrats that made it possible for the fascists to seize power. Actually this explanation did not explain anything, for it was precisely the Social Democrats who made a point of spreading illusions. In short, it did not result in a new mode of action. That political reaction in the form of fascism had 'befogged,' 'corrupted,' and 'hypnotized' the masses is an explanation that is as sterile as the others. This is and will continue to be the function of fascism as long as it exists. Such explanations are sterile because they fail to offer a way out. Experience teaches us that such disclosures, no matter how often they are repeated, do not convince the masses; that, in other words, social economic inquiry by itself is not enough. Wouldn't it be closer to the mark to ask, what was going on in the masses that they could not and would not recognize the function of fascism? To say that, 'The workers have to realize...' or 'We didn't understand...' does not serve any purpose. Why didn't the workers realize, and why didn't they understand? The questions that formed the basis of the discussion between the Right and the Left in the workers' movements are also to be regarded as sterile. The Right contended that the workers were not predisposed to fight; the Left, on the other hand, refuted this and asserted that the workers were revolutionary and that the Right's statement was a betrayal of revolutionary thinking. Both assertions, because they failed to see the complexities of the issue, were rigidly mechanistic. A realistic appraisal would have had to point out that the average worker bears a contradiction in himself; that he, in other words, is neither a clear-cut revolutionary nor a clear-cut conservative, but stands divided. His psychic structure derives on the one hand from the social situation (which prepares the ground for revolutionary attitudes) and on the other hand from the entire atmosphere of authoritarian society—the two being at odds with one another.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
Here’s a simple definition of ideology: “A set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved.”8 And here’s the most basic of all ideological questions: Preserve the present order, or change it? At the French Assembly of 1789, the delegates who favored preservation sat on the right side of the chamber, while those who favored change sat on the left. The terms right and left have stood for conservatism and liberalism ever since. Political theorists since Marx had long assumed that people chose ideologies to further their self-interest. The rich and powerful want to preserve and conserve; the peasants and workers want to change things (or at least they would if their consciousness could be raised and they could see their self-interest properly, said the Marxists). But even though social class may once have been a good predictor of ideology, that link has been largely broken in modern times, when the rich go both ways (industrialists mostly right, tech billionaires mostly left) and so do the poor (rural poor mostly right, urban poor mostly left). And when political scientists looked into it, they found that self-interest does a remarkably poor job of predicting political attitudes.9 So for most of the late twentieth century, political scientists embraced blank-slate theories in which people soaked up the ideology of their parents or the TV programs they watched.10 Some political scientists even said that most people were so confused about political issues that they had no real ideology at all.11 But then came the studies of twins. In the 1980s, when scientists began analyzing large databases that allowed them to compare identical twins (who share all of their genes, plus, usually, their prenatal and childhood environments) to same-sex fraternal twins (who share half of their genes, plus their prenatal and childhood environments), they found that the identical twins were more similar on just about everything.12 And what’s more, identical twins reared in separate households (because of adoption) usually turn out to be very similar, whereas unrelated children reared together (because of adoption) rarely turn out similar to each other, or to their adoptive parents; they tend to be more similar to their genetic parents. Genes contribute, somehow, to just about every aspect of our personalities.13 We’re not just talking about IQ, mental illness, and basic personality traits such as shyness. We’re talking about the degree to which you like jazz, spicy foods, and abstract art; your likelihood of getting a divorce or dying in a car crash; your degree of religiosity, and your political orientation as an adult. Whether you end up on the right or the left of the political spectrum turns out to be just as heritable as most other traits: genetics explains between a third and a half of the variability among people on their political attitudes.14 Being raised in a liberal or conservative household accounts for much less. How can that be? How can there be a genetic basis for attitudes about nuclear power, progressive taxation, and foreign aid when these issues only emerged in the last century or two? And how can there be a genetic basis for ideology when people sometimes change their political parties as adults? To answer these questions it helps to return to the definition of innate that I gave in chapter 7. Innate does not mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience. The genes guide the construction of the brain in the uterus, but that’s only the first draft, so to speak. The draft gets revised by childhood experiences. To understand the origins of ideology you have to take a developmental perspective, starting with the genes and ending with an adult voting for a particular candidate or joining a political protest. There are three major steps in the process. Step
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority. ...Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever? ...Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. ...What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another. [Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 20 June 1785. This was written in response to a proposed bill that would establish 'teachers of the Christian religion', violating the 1st Amendment's establishment clause]
James Madison (A Memorial And Remonstrance, On The Religious Rights Of Man: Written In 1784-85 (1828))
Finally, we arrive at the question of the so-called nonpolitical man. Hitler not only established his power from the very beginning with masses of people who were until then essentially nonpolitical; he also accomplished his last step to victory in March of 1933 in a "legal" manner, by mobilizing no less than five million nonvoters, that is to say, nonpolitical people. The Left parties had made every effort to win over the indifferent masses, without posing the question as to what it means "to be indifferent or nonpolitical." If an industrialist and large estate owner champions a rightist party, this is easily understood in terms of his immediate economic interests. In his case a leftist orientation would be at variance with his social situation and would, for that reason, point to irrational motives. If an industrial worker has a leftist orientation, this too is by all mean rationally consistent—it derives from his economic and social position in industry. If, however, a worker, an employee, or an official has a rightist orientation, this must be ascribed to a lack of political clarity, i.e., he is ignorant of his social position. The more a man who belongs to the broad working masses is nonpolitical, the more susceptible he is to the ideology of political reaction. To be nonpolitical is not, as one might suppose, evidence of a passive psychic condition, but of a highly active attitude, a defense against the awareness of social responsibility. The analysis of this defense against consciousness of one's social responsibility yields clear insights into a number of dark questions concerning the behavior of the broad nonpolitical strata. In the case of the average intellectual "who wants nothing to do with politics," it can easily be shown that immediate economic interests and fears related to his social position, which is dependent upon public opinion, lie at the basis of his noninvolvement. These fears cause him to make the most grotesque sacrifices with respect to his knowledge and convictions. Those people who are engaged in the production process in one way or another and are nonetheless socially irresponsible can be divided into two major groups. In the case of the one group the concept of politics is unconsciously associated with the idea of violence and physical danger, i.e., with an intense fear, which prevents them from facing life realistically. In the case of the other group, which undoubtedly constitutes the majority, social irresponsibility is based on personal conflicts and anxieties, of which the sexual anxiety is the predominant one. […] Until now the revolutionary movement has misunderstood this situation. It attempted to awaken the "nonpolitical" man by making him conscious solely of his unfulfilled economic interests. Experience teaches that the majority of these "nonpolitical" people can hardly be made to listen to anything about their socio-economic situation, whereas they are very accessible to the mystical claptrap of a National Socialist, despite the fact that the latter makes very little mention of economic interests. [This] is explained by the fact that severe sexual conflicts (in the broadest sense of the word), whether conscious or unconscious, inhibit rational thinking and the development of social responsibility. They make a person afraid and force him into a shell. If, now, such a self-encapsulated person meets a propagandist who works with faith and mysticism, meets, in other words, a fascist who works with sexual, libidinous methods, he turns his complete attention to him. This is not because the fascist program makes a greater impression on him than the liberal program, but because in his devotion to the führer and the führer's ideology, he experiences a momentary release from his unrelenting inner tension. Unconsciously, he is able to give his conflicts a different form and in this way to "solve" them.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)