From The Better Angels of Our Nature:

The dark side of our communal feelings is a desire for our own group to dominate another group, no matter how we feel about its members as individuals. In a set of famous experiments, the psychologist Henri Tajfel told participants that they belonged to one of two groups defined by some trivial difference, such as whether they preferred the paintings of Paul Klee or Wassily Kandinsky. He then gave them an opportunity to distribute money between a member of their group and a member of the other group; the members were identified only by number, and the participants themselves had nothing to gain or lose from their choice. Not only did they allocate more money to their instant groupmates, but they preferred to penalize a member of the other group (for example, seven cents for a fellow Klee fan, one cent for a Kandinsky fan) than to benefit both individuals at the expense of the experimenter (nineteen cents for a fellow Klee fan, twenty-five cents for a Kandinsky fan). A preference for one’s group emerges early in life and seems to be something that must be unlearned, not learned. Developmental psychologists have shown that preschoolers profess racist attitudes that would appall their liberal parents, and that even babies prefer to interact with people of the same race and accent.

The psychologists Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto have proposed that people, to varying degrees, harbor a motive they call social dominance, though a more intuitive term is tribalism: the desire that social groups be organized into a hierarchy, generally with one’s own group dominant over the others. A social dominance orientation, they show, inclines people to a sweeping array of opinions and values, including patriotism, racism, fate, karma, caste, national destiny, militarism, toughness on crime, and defensiveness of existing arrangements of authority and inequality. An orientation away from social dominance, in contrast, inclines people to humanism, socialism, feminism, universal rights, political progressivism, and the egalitarian and pacifist themes in the Christian Bible.

…and, I suspect, to libertarianism? Perhaps especially, given the other items on that list, to Bleeding Heart Libertarianism?

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  • Roger K

    We, the men of the mind care nothing for social dominance. :-/

  • mikegiberson

    The divisions in the list seem to line up with Haidt (et al.) moral values theory, with the first list comporting with predominantly conservative values (order, authority) and the second list lining up more liberal (and libertarian) values. I’d also suspect that weak interest in social dominance is associated with libertarian values.

    • http://frankhecker.com/ Frank Hecker

      I agree with the relevance to Haidt’s and colleagues’ moral foundations theory. This is also reminiscent of the discussion of clan societies on Arnold Kling’s blog, sparked by Mark Weiner’s book “The Rule of the Clan”. See also this recent post by Robin Hanson.

    • Sean II

      Yeah, you know what else lines up with Haidt’s (et. al) moral foundations theory?

      Anything you want. Seriously, name any two groups that are different in some respect having anything to do with values, and I’ll show you how Haidtian magic explains it all. And as we all know, the theory that explains everything…is flippin’ awesome!

      In other news, Mike, I’ve been meaning to tell you: you’re a caring person, who sometimes keeps to himself but is capable of becoming an extrovert in certain situations. I sense that you went through a great change when you were 13 or 14, and you occasionally look back with nostalgia to either a cat or a dog or perhaps a goldfish, the loss of which hurt you very much. And so on.

  • Jameson Graber

    I remember a fascinating discussion on globalization in a political science class in college. Both progressives and conservatives found themselves in a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, conservatives tended to favor the free market in theory, but then they backed out on that commitment once it occurred to them that this seemed to mean Americans would have to compete more for jobs. On the other, progressives tended to think increased wealth in other countries was a good thing from an egalitarian perspective, but the trouble is all how to do it in such a way that evil corporations didn’t exploit them!

    I think it was then that I knew I was really a libertarian.

    • Theresa Klein

      Please exploit me richer.

    • ThaomasH

      Or a progressive who understands economics (~ “liberal”)

  • Theresa Klein

    I can really only think of one such group that I feel that I actually “belong” to, which is “Americans”. I do have a perversely patriotic desire that America be a better place to live than other countries, and also that it maintain some sort of military supremacy. This is probably the least libertarian facet of my politics, although I justify it by thinking that Ameirca actually promotes relatively libertarian values, so it’s making the world a more libertarian place. (I hope).

    But other than that I can’t really think of ANY groups that I identify with. I call myself a libertarian, but, depressngly, I don’t actually know any libertarians in “real life”. The people I socialize with tend to be left-liberals and my co-workers tend to keep their political views to themselves. So while I want libertarianism to “win” I just don’t have this football-team desire for group dominance. Libertarianism is a philosophical idea, not a “group solidarity” thing for me.

    Also, I was pretty much a complete nerd in high school, so I’m pretty sensitized towards social dominance issues, and I do think that made me more libertarian. Any time I’m in a social situation where someone is trying to assert dominance, I’m always trying to work around that and subvert it and put everyone back on an equal level. I like leaderless anarcies. I avoid groups where there is dominance competition amoung the men or women.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      I was once where you are Theresa, but now I don’t even care if America falls behind militarily. It is not as though we have used it well or wisely in a long time. It always amuses me when I hear some people talk about the “threat” of China. China has not invaded, threatened, bombed, and destabilised a half dozen other nations in the last twentyfive years.
      I am not even particularly proud of the USA anymore. We used to be great, but now I see an insane and increasingly fascistic kleptocracy abetted by a stupid and complacent populace being lulled by bread, circuses, foodstamps, and netflicks.

    • j_m_h

      You also have a very “American”-centric view of this hemisphere.

  • http://www.sandiego.edu/~mzwolinski Matt Zwolinski

    One of the ways that an orientation toward social dominance can manifest itself is a strong attachment to athletic teams. And this, along with patriotism, is another trait that I lack, and I suspect most other libertarians do too.

    Anecdotally, it seems that libertarians are much less interested in sports as a general matter than most people. Hard to say though how much of this is due to their being libertarian, and how much is due to their being kinda nerdy, since the overlap is considerable. Even libertarians who are interested in sports, though, are probably not interested in a *way* that reflects a strong orientation toward social dominance. In other words, they’re interested in baseball for the statistics, or for the aesthetics, and not so much concerned with “supporting the local team.” That’s my hunch, anyway.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      Certainly not true in my case. I LOVE football and am especially attatched to my college team. I also love competition. I place a lot of historical wargames and when I play I want to be totaly dominant. But that is all make believe, in the real world I don’t want to tell others what to do.

    • Sharon Presley

      Matt, I agree that most libertarians are likely to be low on the social dominance scale. But don’t assume all libertarians smell like roses. See my comments elsewhere here. As I said, there are many ways to express social dominance.

    • CT

      You know, that’s an interesting comment. I’ve always considered myself a bit of strange athlete. I play hockey a few times a week but it’s all about the love of the game and yes, the competition. I watch a lot less and really don’t care that much about my local team. Maybe this is the libertarian in me ;)

    • Fallon

      This is what they call “projection” in psychology, Matt. What is your real motive?
      Team sports, like any other group activity, can be perverted into collectivism and fascism: just like any other endeavor within the framework of the division of labor. The car plant can be retooled to build tanks; the church can start preaching patriotic sermons; thugs can wear team shirts and carry out violent hooliganism in the streets. But to say that there is especially something corrupt or of social dominance in sports is to miss the forest for the trees.
      In team sports, winner and loser share in a common…game. What kind of Darwinistic struggle is it where both the winners and losers of e.g. the European football final are all multi-millionaires? Who died? Who was carted off for a lifetime of enslavement?

      Football (soccer) becomes atavistic when the state intervenes or insinuates for gain– as it usually does– or participants use it to express pre-existing bad ideas. These are impositions on a shared activity, not part of the activity’s core.

      • Fallon

        I find it ironic but not surprising that Pinker lets the state off the hook with only a warning. The state, is the all-time champion of social dominance.

        • http://www.sandiego.edu/~mzwolinski Matt Zwolinski

          Have you read the book? I’d hardly say that he goes soft on state atrocities.

          • Fallon

            I have read over 100 pages so far– not in order, but in looking for specific things. I wonder about the method of critique more than mere digestion of words. I have also seen Pinker give public presentations.

            Pinker is not soft on state atrocities but ultimately sees the state and market as conjoined in a necessary positive synergy. You dispute this? Pinker’s conclusions are problematic in light of Hoppe’s criticisms of Hobbes, Mises’s historical method– that understands economics, and e.g. your very own Prof. Long’s defense of anarchism.

            Pinker, like you it seems, is guilty of the classical liberal fallacy that invests the state with social value. That Pinker throws in statistics and ‘neuro-evolutionary-bio-behavioral’ content does not alter the Austro-libertarian criticism. Indeed, Pinker does not even address these core arguments– so far as I can tell.

            I will risk a conclusion. This “big history” by Pinker is indicative of a current fad marked by an intense empiricism (or variant of naturalism) gone so far that it now represents a new strain of metaphysics that even the the Vienna Circle did not foresee.

          • Fallon

            Note. “intense empiricism” is not quite correct. Since it looks like there is much use of realism and rationalist conjecture from observable behavior and brain electricity in neuro-psych etc, one ought to brand Pinker accordingly: Many of these modern techniques formed in reaction to the original logical positivism. This is not to deny Pinker’s attempt at historical retrodiction. But there is a weave of induction, too– when neuro etc. is the predictive framework imposed on that past data.

            The question emerges, as well, of what use is physical science in investigating the mind, not a material phenom at all.

            Not sure any of this makes sense….

          • Fallon

            What does it say about realism/naturalism when it assumes it is equipped to (eventually) know the mind as if it is a material thing?

      • http://www.sandiego.edu/~mzwolinski Matt Zwolinski

        I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with football, or any other sport. And I don’t have any ulterior motive. I’m just reflecting on a pattern I’ve noticed in a lot of libertarians I know, and wondering if the same psychological propensity that makes libertarians tend to be anti-nationalist, anti-racist, etc., also might lead them to not care much about rooting for the home team.

        A more charitable, but equally conjectural, account of the connection between sports and social dominance: people’s need for social dominance is fairly constant. But it can be satisfied in a number of ways. Nationalism, racism, and other forms of morally objectionable collectivism are one way of satisfying it. But sports are another relatively benign way. So maybe team sports are a relatively peaceful, harmless way for people to get their “need for social dominance” out of their system?

        • Sean II

          “wondering if the same psychological propensity…makes libertarians…not care much about rooting for the home team.”

          A better, cleaner explanation is that libertarians tend to be smart people, and smart people tend to figure out what ordinary people miss; namely, that their lives don’t get any better when the local baseball team wins, nor do they get any worse when it loses.

          The root cause of not giving a shit about something is knowing it doesn’t really matter.
          ____________________________________________________

          “So maybe team sports are a relatively peaceful, harmless way for people to get their “need for social dominance” out of their system?”

          Problem: this fails to explain, and indeed seems clearly falsified by, the overlap between racist skinheads and soccer hooligans.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            But in a very real sense you are better off when your team wins. There have been many studies that show that happiness, fellings of well being, and even male testosterone levels rise after a big win by a home team. There is also a unique feeling of belonging when you are a part of a winning activity.
            Far from looking down upon it I see it as something good. I think that team sports fullfill a very real human need in peacefully controlling the violent instincts of young males.

          • http://independent.academia.edu/DannyFrederick Danny Frederick

            I agree. But, as Sean says, they can also be used by young males as another avenue for us-and-them antagonism. Perhaps that natural drive to social dominance (I think it exists in each of use) needs to be worked on directly. And that is what a civilsed culture is supposed to do.

    • martinbrock

      I definitely fit your sports stereotype, but you had to expect the reaction.

      Frankly, Pinker’s self-congratulatory screed about the wondrously tolerant advocates of humanism, socialism and the rest smells a lot like social dominance to me.

    • Sergio Méndez

      Curious. I always thought of being a fan in sports (in this case, what you American calls soccer) as a way to let express all my right wing impulses, specially tribalism.

      • Les Kyle Nearhood

        Not sure if I would recognize tribalism as “right wing” I remember going to a gratful dead concert in the 1980’s dressed like a yuppie with a suit and shirt with a button down collar. I was not exactly embraced by the zietgeist.

  • Les Kyle Nearhood

    This is a point I have made many times. Why are so many people of all political sides resistant to a call for greater personal freedom? One of the biggest reasons is that they do not want to give up their own power to dominate their neighbor (even if it is only a collective power. )

    Only when you are willing to allow your neighbor to be a homosexual, a Christian, a jew, a libertine, a pagan, a redneck, a drinker, a smoker, an overeater, a used car salesman, a mime, etc. can you, yourself truley be free.
    (ok just kidding about the mime, that is going too far)

  • Sharon Presley

    While I agree, in a general way, with the other comments here, I’d like to point out that social dominance may take many forms. Psychologists sometimes talk about this as Us versus Them. The libertarian movement is not without this phenomenon. There is still the idea of Libertarians v s. Everyone Else. “We” of course are better (more enlightened, morally superior, etc) than “Them.” And there are still some males (I hesitate to call the ones I have in mind “men,” since they act like little boys) who attack what they imagine feminism to be, which is just another way of attacking women because it comes out of fear of women. Don’t believe me? Just look at the crap we get on the Association of Libertarian Feminists page. Or at the comments on any Reason Online post that involves women or gender. Many comments ooze childish hostility. So in the minds of these few, it’s Males vs. Females. I won’t even count the ones like Hans Hoppe and Gary North who are blatant about their superiority over gays. I don’t consider them real libertarians.
    In many ways, many libertarians are psychologically naive. They imagine that all those bad things that psychologists talk about are either 1) not true); or 2) don’t apply to us. So I would suggest caution in assuming that libertarians are always “good guys.” Libertarians are humans too and subject to the same psychological forces as everyone else. Many come up pretty good on such measures. Some–not so much.

    • CT

      I don’t much about Hoppe but North is a religious totalitarian (a bloody nutjob in my opinion) and definitely NOT a libertarian.

      • CT

        I don’t *know* much … geez

        • Sharon Presley

          Hoppe is rabidly anti-gay.

          • CT

            Would Hoppe stone them? Because that’s the kind of society North would like to establish … shudder …

          • Sharon Presley

            He has said that a free society would have to physically remove them. No, it’s not stoning but not exactly libertarian, is it?

          • Sharon Presley

            In fact here is a *quote*: “They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such
            as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment
            worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed
            from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.”

            It seems to me that if one does that, one no longer has anything approaching a libertarian order!

          • martinbrock

            In the context that you omit here, Hoppe explicitly refers to a “covenant” community. The “libertarian order” that Hoppe advocates only permits members of this community to exclude “the advocates of …” from their community. These advocates may establish their own community excluding people intolerant of hedonism and the rest.

          • Sharon Presley

            There is a difference between what is allowed in a libertarian society and what is “libertarian.” I would argue that in a philosophy based on individualism, prejudice and discrimination based purely on group membership especially of the kind based on biology (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc) violates that individualist premise. I advocate for a “thick” libertarianism that is not strictly political. I thought that was part of what BHL is about. What you describe is very different. Personal preference is not the same as prejudice.

            So would prejudice against gays, etc be allowed? Yes. Would it be libertarian? No.

          • martinbrock

            I don’t know why free people must choose to be individualists. I’ve never been a social butterfly by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve never thought of myself as an individualist. I’m very submissive by nature.

            You might be shocked to discover just how thick my personal libertarianism is. My mother certainly would be.

            You called Hoppe “rabidly anti-gay”, but Stephan Kinsella, who claims to know Hoppe well, says he’s not. That’s the issue, not what a proper libertarian thinks. Do you claim to know Hoppe well?

          • Sharon Presley

            Here is a website debating that very point: http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2008/09/17/stephan-kinsella-lies-to-defend-bigot-hoppe?page=1

            I have personal reasons to believe that Kinsella is less than virtuous or honest. So, frankly, I wouldn’t believe him if he said the sun rose in the East unless I have independent proof.

          • Sharon Presley

            But here is a libertarian who I do think has integrity who has researched this issue: Charles Johnson. Here’s what he says: http://radgeek.com/gt/2005/02/08/hoppe_and/

          • martinbrock

            Neither source adds anything to Kinsella’s presentation of the facts. Saying that homosexuals have a higher time preference (are more inclined to consume than to invest) because they don’t have children is not my idea of “rabidly anti-gay”. The idea may be ridiculous as economics or as sociology, and it may be a heterosexist stereotype, but I reserve “rabid” and “bloodthirsty” for other categories of behavior.

          • j_m_h

            Looking at the link provided I’d have to say it’s weak support at best. While I agree that terms of covenants do matter it’s not clear that a) those who disagree and think differently (speaking of the Thought Police) are not inherently unlibertarian and b) changing or simply advocating changes of the terms are similarly not unlibertarian.

            The segregationist view expressed can only be accepted as libertarian is those advocating the view agree to a higher level of rules that ensure these other view points have similar protections to establish their local communities of values.

            Personally, I think the guys simply wrong — these different view about personal relationships have no impact on the alternatives until one takes the intolerant view the other views are wrong and cannot be tolerated so must be suppressed. Of course the assumption here is that the view targeted for suppression is not itself seeking to suppress other view. The fear that someone, one’s children or associates, might find these alternative views appealing is not the same as attempts to suppress.

          • martinbrock

            I agree that the “covenant community” idea is consistent with “freedom” only if people generally are meaningfully free to create a community based on any covenant they choose. A “covenant community” engulfing everyone is just a state, and Hoppe is a self-described “anarchist”.

            I don’t say that a community’s standards must incorporate a procedure for changing the standards, but I expect most people to prefer this sort of community.

            I do say that a community losing enough members must also lose some of its non-human resources. Preferences can change. If a million people prefer a particular standard in a particular community in one generation but only ten people prefer this standard in the next generation, either the community must change its standard or resources governed previously by millions must fall into other hands.

            I imagine this redistribution occurring through trade, but I also imagine a right of secession. Communities may divide as preferences diverge and schisms occur.

          • j_m_h

            Disclaimers first, I’ve not read anything to speak of by Hoppe (basically what’s been quoted in the link provided) or heard him speak. I’ve heard his name a bunch of times.

            The impression I take away from the what I’ve read due to this discussion is that Hoppe is not a libertarian himself really, he’s a conservative who wants to maintain a cert set of traditional values. I think he was smart enough to realize that a libertarian and anarchistic society would best allow him to live in a community of like-minded people.

            It’s not clear to me if his support for libertarianism (or anarchism) goes much past that level of libertarianism or anarchism. Note, I’m not saying that he doesn’t only that I don’t find anything indicating that in what, and admittedly it’s very, very little, I’ve seen.

          • martinbrock

            I don’t know much about Hoppe either other than the company he keeps, but other people I trust, like Tom Woods, cite Hoppe, and people say similar things about Woods that I know to be untrue, because I’ve read several of Woods’ books and lots other stuff he’s written, seen him speak many times and had dinner with him. Woods also has personally “conservative” values, but I’ve never much cared. My parents have personally conservative values too. Am I supposed to shun them or something?

            The whole point of libertarianism, in my way of thinking, involves people with diverse, even conflicting, values coexisting peacefully. If someone like Hoppe believes his values “superior” in some sense, he’s hardly alone. What is Pinker saying about his values in “The Better Angels of our Nature”? Someone advocating “universal rights” in the name of “better angels” is a theocrat. I don’t cut Pinker any slack for advocating his universal theocracy while avoiding only the letters “theo”.

          • j_m_h

            Just add color of skin and that could be a KKK platform.

          • martinbrock

            True enough. I have no problem with racists segregating themselves as long as they don’t impose their racist attitudes outside of their community. Why wouldn’t I want to know where the most committed racists live? I’d rather have them as my neighbors pretending that they aren’t racists for fear of state sanction? Do I really gain from this pretense?

          • j_m_h

            We’re in agreement on this — I’m not sure Hoppe is based on the Rockwell link. See my other comment.

          • martinbrock

            Where does North advocate stoning anyone under any circumstances?

          • Sharon Presley

            I’ll have the quote and citation for you later today. I’m not the only one who has seen it. See CT above.

          • martinbrock

            I’ll believe it when I see it in context. North is devoutly religious, but he’s a devoutly religious Christian, not an ancient Hebrew, and the Christianity that he devoutly believes hardly condones stoning anyone. In context, the worst thing it says about homosexuals is “judge not lest you be judged”.

          • Sharon Presley

            “Why stoning? There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution
            are available to everyone at virtually no cost. Second, no one blow can
            be traced to any person. In other words, no one citizen can regard
            himself as “the executioner,” the sole cause of another man’s
            death. Psychologically, this is important; it relieves potential guilt
            problems in the mind of a sensitive person.” See http://vftonline.org/VFTfiles/thesis/commentators/North/GNSS-chap6.htm You can go look for yourself. Let me know if you think I took it out of context.

          • Sharon Presley

            For more goodies about North, see http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/04/08/gary-north-the-libertarian-taliban/
            Everything is referenced.

          • Sharon Presley

            In fact here is some more: “Stoning
            is therefore integral to the commandment against murder. It allows men to execute God’s justice, but not in a way that might lead an individual to believe that he, and he alone, has the right to take justice into
            his own hands. Executions are community.”

            See, it’s the community who does it so it’s OK. Right.

            Martin: Why do you think just because someone calls himself a Christian that he therefore can’t be a nut job? You seem to be a bit naive on that count. There are lots of people who call themselves Christians who are bloodthirsty wackos and North is one of them. ‘Cause he’s not using the past tense.

          • martinbrock

            I don’t assume that someone calling himself a Christian can’t be a nut job. I only assume that he’s a Christian. Some Christians practice apologetics.

            My mother is a religious fundamentalist, and one of my closest friends became a Methodist minister late in life. We are and have long been friends despite the fact that I jetissoned conventional religion when I was twelve.

            I had this conversation with my friend decades ago, before he became a minister, and I remember the conversation well. At a class reunion, someone was leading a prayer, and feeling particularly disinclined to participate, I said, “I will not bow my head to a thing that would have me stone my own children for worshiping a god other than Yahweh.” Rick replied, “You’re taking that out of context.” I insisted that I had not taken anything out of context and would discuss the passage with him in detail, but he explained, “I mean that you’ve taken it out of historical context.” His point was that the Mosaic law was somehow “correct for its time” and that it’s not a feature of modern Christianity or even of ancient Christianity.

            Moses looks a lot like Hitler to me, and I have no more reverence for the Torah than for the U.S. Code or any other positive law, but I don’t therefore conclude that my friend is bloodthirsty whacko because he apologizes for his predecessors in an ancient religious tradition or constructs a legalistic defense of ancient practices.

            North thinks like a modern Orthodox Jew (who doesn’t want to stone anyone either), but that doesn’t make him either personally bloodthirsty or a whacko in my way of thinking.

          • CT

            Martin,

            I used to be a North fan (because I agree with him on money and banking). But then I started reading other more disturbing things about him. He’s a ‘Christian Reconstructionist’ and an avid fan of the late Rousas Rushdoony (he’s also married to his daughter). The quote Sharon provided you is accurate. Rushdoony also wrote a few books. Read them if you can stomach them. It’s disgusting. Although I’m an atheist I don’t hate religion or dislike religious people. But this is too much. Needless to say, I no longer read anything of North’s.
            As for Hoppe, I don’t know him personally and I don’t find the quotes Sharon has provided to be conclusive … but there is smoke. The quote about time-preference does lead me to suspect he might not be approving of homosexuality.
            As for the ‘thick’ versus ‘thin’ issue, I do believe it’s possible to, for example, firmly believe homosexuality is a sin and still be for equal rights but find it much more likely that this belief would lead to ‘unlibertarian’ ideals.

          • martinbrock

            I’m not a North fan and don’t know much about him except the company he keeps. I’ve heard him speak at a MI conference and read a few articles he’s written without becoming a fan, and I have no interest in the thousands of pages of Bible commentary that he considers the pinnacle of his life’s work.

            I believe that North is some sort of Christian Reconstructionist, but I find it hard to believe that he’s as bloodthirsty as Sharon suggests while maintaining warm relations with rabid Rothbardians. Say what you like about Rothbard. He was not a Christian of any sort.

          • CT

            “but I find it hard to believe that he’s as bloodthirsty as Sharon suggests while maintaining warm relations with rabid Rothbardians.”
            Rothbard’s belief that nothing is worse than the state is well known. Since he believed there was nothing more evil than the state, joining forces with odious characters such as North to help bring down the state was justified. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that many Rothbardians also would condone this political strategy (although I would certainly not).

          • martinbrock

            My point is that North joins forces with Rothbardians, not that Rothbardians join forces with North. Apparently, North has money, and I can believe every dollar looks equally green to Rockwell, but that doesn’t explain the contributions.

          • martinbrock

            You didn’t take it out of context. It’s the sort of apologetics that springs from a mind convinced of the inerrancy of a legalistic prescription, but it’s not advocacy.

          • Sergio Méndez

            North is not simply a christian, if my memory does not fail me. He is a reconstructionist, so he is in favor of living by OT laws, including the ones that says that people who commit homosexual acts should be stoned to death.

          • martinbrock

            I still haven’t seen North saying that homosexuals should be stoned to death. I believe that he writes apologetics for Deuturonomy 20:13, but he must also account for Romans 2:1, which immediately follows Romans 1:26 (the chapter separation being arbitrary).

          • CT

            Martin,

            You’ll never hear him say it explicitly. But all of the following is true:

            1) Gary North despises gays.

            2) Gary North’s hero and mentor (North’s own words) is the late Rousan Rushdoony.

            3) Gary North is married to Rushdoony’s daughter.

            4) Gary North is on record as saying he is a ‘Christian Reconstructionist’ (a cult which Rushdoony founded).

            5) Rushdoony has written and published at least one book which outlines the type of totalitarian Christian society he’d like to impose on everyone (and stoning gays, along with adulterers, blasphemers, etc., is part of it).

            6) North realizes that this society will not materialize until the majority is convinced of its superiority. He also realizes he can’t be too vocal about it until he gets a larger following.

            That’s all I’m going to write about this crazy asshole.

          • Sergio Méndez

            I am not sure that follows. Reconstructionists interpret those passages in the NT you cite in a very different way most Christians. So they are in favor of executing homosexuals (maybe not by stoning them, whatever ), and that is already pretty bad. And that is just one example of the many unlibertarian things that reconstructionism implies ( religious liberty will be gone, and not being a christian openly can be considered a crime).

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            It is sad because even a cursory understanding of the teachings of Jesus of Nazarath prove that these people, while calling themselves Christian, are at the opposite ends of the spectrum from the gist of his teachings.

    • Fallon

      One can condemn Hoppe’s attitudes towards gays, be very critical of his opinions on race, find holes in “argumentation ethics” and yet, still have admiration for his clarity and depth concerning democracy and economics.
      But why is that very few people look at the whole picture? Probably this is a reflection of the observer. Granted, Hoppe does himself no favors.
      If one ignores Hoppe merely because of his controversial and politically incorrect views– then that person is losing out.
      I am not blind to to some of the unseemly stuff—Maybe it is time to rescue Ludwig von Mises from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. If you catch my drift.

      • Sharon Presley

        You said: “But why is that very few people look at the whole picture? Probably this is a reflection of the observer.” I find that personally offensive. I didn’t say anything about his economics because it was irrelevant to the points being made. So why this sly attack for not saying something that was irrelevant?.

        • Sharon Presley

          However i do agree that poor Mises needs to be rescued from the Mises Institute. I would imagine he would be very offended at some of the things said there!

          • CT

            “poor Mises needs to be rescued from the Mises Institute”
            I would say something like the Mises Institute is required … perhaps just a change of management? ;)

        • Fallon

          Personally offensive, really? That you had a slight point is lost in your over-reaction. I am not in for your Nurse Ratched game.

          • Sharon Presley

            Overreaction? Is that the kettle calling the pot black? Or is it just a clever way to wheedle out of an obnoxious comment.?

            As I said, there are many forms of social dominance. One of them is verbal–being nastier than thou or through the use of bad manners.. I don’t want to play in your little dominance game either.

          • Fallon

            You win. Wake me up for meds.
            I want my mommy.

      • CT

        “But why is that very few people look at the whole picture?”
        Because you don’t need North for ‘Austrian econ’. There are plenty of other economists who do an equal or better job representing Mises, Hayek, Bohm-Bawerk, etc.

        • Fallon

          Yeah, but they are all nuts too. Pick one. Any one.
          Rather, it looks like the less of a nut the economist appears– the less confident you should be in their representations of Mises et al.

  • martinbrock

    I’m not inclined socially to dominate others by imposing an orientation toward humanism, socialism, feminism, universal rights, political progressivism or egalitarian themes in the Christian Bible (though all of these isms characterize my social milieu and way of thinking), but I am inclined to impose pacifism, because I don’t want others imposing on me either.

  • j_m_h

    I took a quick look at one of the original papers and wonder if they are not making too much of this. I didn’t read it closely by an stretch but I think an alternative take might be the experiment sets the players up to act in that way — they think that’s what the tester wants them to do.

    I think a more accurate test of this hypothesis would be to simply take a bunch of people who don’t know one another directly and then see what they do with the allocation without any guidance other than, say, a picture of the two for whom the allocation is being made.

  • Damien S.

    I’d suspect libertarians fall on both sides. Karma for the poor, toughness on crime, and defensiveness of existing arrangements of authority and inequality, are pretty compatible with libertarianism.

    Mike mentions Haidt; most specifically, Haidt found that libertarians tended to be low on all of his five original pillars (dominance and purity vs. fairness and care) while being strong on a ‘freedom’ pillar he’d overlooked. Also that they tended to be individualistic and low on empathy, while being systematizers. Libertarians “score high individualism, low on collectivism, and low on all other traits that involved bonding with, loving, or feeling a sense of common identity with others”

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/02/the-science-of-libertarian

    I noted while reading another part of Pinker that libertarians and utilitarians share a universalist and rationalist orientation, putting numbers on everything: market prices for one, utility estimates for the other.

    FWIW… I had some interest in following sports as a kid, but I think more the mechanics of it all than really caring about the local teams. No “school spirit” whatsoever. My swing from libertarianism to the left hasn’t changed that at all.

  • martinbrock

    I remember when any self-respecting “leftist” listing the isms of the better guys would have included “libertarianism” only qualified with “civil”, meaning speech, religion, association more generally, no cruel punishments, maybe no capital punishment, etc. Pinker substitutes “universal rights”. The better guys want rights, and they’re not saying which rights exactly, but the rights are definitely universal, so everyone must be subject to some authority enforcing respect for the rights, when the better guys decide what they are.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      The biggest problem being that they think of entitlements as rights.

      • martinbrock

        “Universal” is a bigger problem in my way of thinking. I don’t much distinguish “rights” from “entitlements” either, but I don’t expect many specific rights to be respected universally. Expecting any right to be respected universally is expecting a state, and expecting many rights to be respected universally is expecting a powerful state with the most central authorities constraining less central authorities preferring different rights, if only subtly different in some cases; otherwise, any specific rights that one imagines aren’t truly “universal”.

        People typically don’t want rights without exceptions. People want a right to speak freely, but they also want a right to be free of speech offending them. Some people want pornography restricted. Some people want racist speech restricted. Some people want sexist speech restricted. Some people want speech offending sacred icons restricted. A universal standard can’t satisfy all of these people simultaneously without restricting speech severely, so a single standard is inconsistent with the freest possible speech.

  • Kevin

    … and, perhaps, to their own destruction?

    Surely there are good and bad aspects of tribalism, but the commonality of favoring the survival and prosperity of people like yourself would be the tendency for people like you to survive and prosper.

    Is enlightened tribalism the group version of enlightened self-interest?

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