RE: Absolutist memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 30 Oct 2004 - 04:10:47 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Absolutist memes"

    --- Paul <> wrote:

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf
    > Of Keo Ormsby
    > Sent: 29 October 2004 21:04
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Absolutist memes
    > [snip]
    > >The point I want to make, is that this
    > interpretation does not say
    > anything >about whether a population with absolutist
    > memes will have a
    > better >survival rate than another with
    > rationalistic memes, or vice
    > versa. It >might, but it would be a side effect.
    > Perhaps one can suppose
    > that fear >memes in general populate a special
    > ancestral (i.e. genetic)
    > place in our >psychology, that make them important
    > for biological
    > survival. That would >account for Keith's keen
    > observation that
    > absolutist memes appear in >stressed/worried
    > populations, but I do not
    > think it is necessary to assign >a biologically
    > relevant selective
    > pressure, or a specialized inherited >psychological
    > process to each and
    > every kind of meme (absolutist, >rationalistic,
    > religious, etc.) It
    > sounds a little phrenological to me.
    > This is really getting interesting. Ruling out the
    > possibility of a
    > genetic biological relevance on selective pressure
    > or a specialised
    > inherited psychological process of memes with
    > regards to memes appearing
    > in a stressed/worried population; what process in
    > your view would have
    > to take place in order for the absolutist memes to
    > establish an ESS?
    I can think of an example where an absolutist mindset has remained in a population hat has had some significant economic success overall (ceteris parabis). Cuban exiles in Miami have been rather well off in many respects. Many lack the looming privation Keith often refers to. As a matter of fact some of the more extreme have enjoyed great privilege and status in the community. After finishing Ann Bardach's _Cuba Confidential_ I realize, from her discussion, that the CANF lobby has tamed down a bit, especially after Mas Canosa, the exile war horse, died. Yet as CANF became more moderate another more extreme faction emerged called the Cuban Liberty Council that takes a hardline stance on policy towards Castro's regime. So movements can have their absolutist elements and also a tendency to moderate their views. I don't know that fear is a factor that causes polarization of the extremist element in the Cuban exile situation (unlike fear of Palestinians might generate extremism in settler views), though it might silence the more moderate exiles from expression of their views. The Cuban exiles seem to be well off economically or at least we might rule out their economic situation being a factor in generating a since of relative privation. They might sense a loss of inheritance for the properties lost to Castro in Cuba though. What stresses and worries should they have that are any different than any other population in South Florida, at least that are connected to generating the absolutism of the anti-Castro ideology? I'd say this anti-Castro mindset have enjoyed a relative amount of stability over the years. Unlike Israeli settlers they are not fighting off Palestinians in their midst, though there are frictions between various ethnicities in the Miami area that have come about due to the mass influx. Yet these tensions are not related to the hatred of Castro, since Castro doesn't live in Miami (unlike Palestinians living in the occupied territories as a target of settler animosity).


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