We hold these instincts to be self-evident

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[tweetmeme source=”blogbrut”]One reason that political arguments are so often uncivil is that the motivations arise from such deep, instinctual sources. Through some combination of genetic predisposition and childrearing practices we differ on things such as which rate of change is most comfortable, which degree of hierarchical structuring, and so on. And we have different levels of creativity, self-discipline, religiosity, novelty seeking, extroversion, and so on.

It’s hard not to feel that people with radically different preferences than you are anything but stupid, bad, weak, immoral, and so on, because these preferences feel so obvious, and the opinions derived from them so self-evidently true.

This illusion is compounded by the tendency to congregate with others that share our instincts, and to seldom speak openly and deeply with those who don’t.

To top it all off, each of these groups is usually manipulated by what might loosely be termed a “sociopathic” type, who prey on the sincere for material advantage or just to feel like a big-shot. This creepy type is often over-represented among the most visible representative of each group. The tendency is to look at them, rightly conclude they are vile, but then generalize it to the entire group.

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