From: Francesca S. Alcorn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 26 Mar 2004 - 23:55:54 GMT
>At 03:23 PM 25/03/04 -0500, frankie wrote:
>>>Phrasing this in gene centered terms, it is a high advantage to
>>>live in a group. (If you think about it, humans who live entirely
>>>in isolated groups of one don't pass on any genes at all.) But if
>>>you do live in a cooperative group, you have to be alert for
>>>freeloaders. That means you have to put out signals that you are
>>>not a freeloader, and (along with others) punish any in the group
>>>who are taking advantage of living in the group but not doing
>>>their share. Recent research found humans have a psychological
>>>trait to punish those who take too much even when it is expensive.
>>Yes, and the conservative think-tank people play on this.
>I have never heard of conservative think-tank people using evolution
>or gene based arguments. An awful lot of them are creationists. If
>you have pointers to such I would appreciate them.
Sorry, didn't mean to imply that they were evolutionists, only that
their arguments appeal to that hardwired psychological trait of
punishing freeloaders that you were referring to. The one who comes
to mind is Charles Murray, who is one of the big proponents of the
"chronic welfare, african-american promiscuous single mother" meme. This kind of message trips all kinds of buttons, the "punish the freeloader" button, the "other" button (at least "other" to the white male power structure), as well as the punish button of those who feel it is their job to monitor and control the sexual "misconduct" of others.
A liberal might frame things quite differently, talking about the 3
million jobs lost since Bush took office (thus negating the
freeloader punishment button), call them our "fellow Americans"
(tripping the "member of my group" meme) and talking about how up until a few short months ago these people had worked hard to help drive the economy which supports our great nation (thus tripping the reciprocity button). Political rhetoric.
I have always thought of this as a "framing" issue - but now I wonder
if framing isn't really crafting a message which trips these
hardwired behavioral mechanisms (my ethology book calls them Fixed
Action Patterns and Innate Releasing Mechanisms - but it's all the
Here is a URL about "crafting a democratic message" in response to
Bush/Rove's tactics. It is interesting to read it in light of this
concept, it now seems a totally different article to me than it did
when I first read it a few months ago. I wonder if anyone has
developed a list of these FAP's which relate to social
enforcement/decision-making. I wonder if Machiavelli might not be a
good place to start.
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