One of my favorite things about conservatives is how difficult it is for them to lie directly about their deeply held beliefs. Sure, this is true of most people. The difference is that conservatives have a reason to hide what they really believe. The reason? Because what they believe tends to be rejected by society at large. Nearly every modern-day conservative holds one or more views that make them some, all, or a combination of racist, sexist, bigoted, or otherwise deeply selfish and tribal. This is because of their neural architecture which can most easily be summed up as that of ‘evolutionary throwbacks’. They are products of millions of years of tribalism as an evolutionary strategy. The problem with this is that modern civilization is deeply at odds with tribalism. Sure, tribalism has its place in society but civilization is about the equality, well-being, and opportunity for everyone in that society while tribalism is about exceptionalism for people who fit a certain profile or demographic.
Tribalism is an old evolutionary strategy that dictated that ‘different’ was at best suspicious and at worst a serious threat. If someone didn’t fit in with the tribe, they were the enemy until proven otherwise or ‘eliminated’. Fear of anyone who is ‘different’ is one of the defining characteristics of tribalism.
Important point: being far more tribal than non-conservatives, conservatives cannot afford to be ‘different’ from their tribe. At some primal level, conservatives literally feel existential dread over the idea of not fitting in with those whom they identify. So it’s much easier for them to simply believe what their tribal leaders tell the tribe to believe. Given that conservatives have far less of a tendency to apply intellectual rigor, this is literally a no-brainer for them. So, on the one hand conservatives know that only their tribe will accept and agree with what they really feel. On the other hand they know that what their tribe wants and believes, by the very nature of tribalism, is highly objectionable to everyone else. Therefore their default state, given their intellectual paucity, is to side with their tribe… but only when they are unable to escape the questions that might pin them down.
Want to try a fun game? I have done this dozens of times and the result is always the same. You can try too! All you have to do is ask them a question that has one of two possible answers where one answer is a societal truth and the other answer reveals their false but odious tribal belief. Wow, that’s a tough one! How do we come up with such a que…
Nothing says ‘Conundrum’ like adding Jordan Peterson to a pic.
Two things about this question: 1) The numbers are a conservative estimate (It’s closer to 9 times the wealth of the average black family). 2) It’s a true exclusive dichotomy; meaning that it can only be one or the other. There is no ‘in between’ because either it’s intrinsic or extrinsic.
Now, when you ask a non-racist this question, and they are aware of any of the vast statistics that demonstrate systemic racism in society, the answer is simple: “Systemic Racism”.
BUT, if you ask a racist this question, they will do everything they can to not answer it. You see, they know that what they believe is unacceptable in a civilized society. They WANT to say that ‘black people are lazy/violent/stupid/etc’, but they know that would sound ‘racist’. So instead they will resort to derision, deflection, ad-hominem, and literally anything else they can do to try to circumvent or delegitimize the question.
That’s right; they know they’re racist. This is because part of being in a tribe is believing that one’s ‘tribe’ is superior to anyone and everyone who isn’t a part of it.
As stated, I’ve run this little experiment dozens of times. In nearly every case where the subject is racist, they act as described above. There are a very small handful of shameless ones, however, who come right out and say it’s because there’s something ‘inferior’ about black people. More on that later.
So if you drill down and get a conservative to answer questions honestly, they will admit, eventually, that they believe ‘certain people’ shouldn’t have the right to vote. What ‘certain people’? Anyone who isn’t acceptable to their tribe. Why shouldn’t ‘those people’ have the right to vote? Because their tribe, as tribalism demands, must be exceptional. Tribalism is all about your tribe ‘winning’ and all other tribes ‘losing’. It is about your tribe having access to all the resources, controlling all distribution, dispensing all the justice, and maintaining primacy over everyone else. This is the tribal edict, because for millions of years it is how we survived.
Let’s take a moment to look at what necessitated tribalism: Fear.
Yes, it’s that simple. It’s also that brilliant. Most animals throughout evolutionary history have had to deal with fear. There was a lot to be afraid of when you’re made of what many other things need to survive.
“I wub Hoomans!”
Most animals dealt with threats by hiding, deceiving, or otherwise adapting as individuals. Herds were cool, but there was no guarantee of any individual’s survival. In a tribe, however, individuals enjoyed a great deal more security due to being a unified force that could kill things with great efficiency. It’s fair to say that our tribal ancestors experienced much less fear than the average rodent.
“Fur, Fear, and Fury.”
So what tribalism really means is “fear”.
It is not a coincidence that so many conservatives own guns, post pictures of their guns, and post pictures of themselves holding their guns. It’s not a coincidence that telling them about ‘immigrant caravans’, ‘Muslims flying here’, and ‘BLM thugs’ somehow gets them riled up enough to support a textbook demagogue. It’s no coincidence that their rise is concurrent with all of the lies they’ve been fed about Critical Race Theory, Vaccine Conspiracies, and a ‘Stolen Election’ to stoke their fear. It’s no coincidence that with the rise of Trumpsters, we’ve also seen the rise of assaults on people who aren’t straight, white, Christian, and conservative; people who aren’t in their ‘tribe’.
“No. We’re Totally Not Racist™! There’s one of our black guys right over there!”
Which brings us to an earlier point: They’re getting more brazen about admitting to what they believe. This happens when the tribe is unifying for a fight. They will have an ever-growing tendency to amplify their shared beliefs and fears. They will increasingly promote their beliefs as ‘justified’ in order to consolidate the tribe for action. What action? That brings us right to the point:
Democracy is a system where all members of a society have a say in its direction, character, and purpose. They see this as the ‘other tribe’ (they have trouble thinking outside of exclusive dichotomies) exerting influence and control over their tribe. To a tribe, that is an existential threat to its very survival. They believe that they are being threatened with extinction because if the ‘other tribe’ gets power, it will be just as hostile to them as they have always been toward others. This may sound crazy, but that’s because, dear reader, you know the difference between the aims of democracy and the desires of tribalism. “We expect of others what we expect of ourselves.” means that, not understanding that the rest of us have (mostly) evolved past tribalism, they absolutely believe that we, being the rest of society, will be just as bad as they are. Yes, that irony is lost on them. They see the balance of society as ‘just another opposing tribe’, just like they see science as ‘just another opposing faith’.
Just like all conservatives in history, today’s conservatives cannot stand the thought of the world changing around them. They can’t brook the idea that people who are different from them could be considered ‘normal’ because they believe that they are the standard of what should be ‘normal’ and everyone who isn’t like them should always be considered ‘inferior’ or ‘immoral’.
Their leaders, whether opportunists or true believers, are seizing on this moment to enact laws to suppress as many of their ‘enemies’ voting access as they can. Their ‘enemies’, of course, are people who aren’t ‘just like them’… and the easiest demographic to target is of course people of color.
They are desperate to hang on to their primacy over all other demographics. They are terrified that their perceived ‘enemies’ will take their power at the polls. They are right to believe that their power is shrinking because Republicans/conservatives are already a minority in this country. They are afraid that their only hope is to stop the majority from having power. They believe that there is one way to prevent that from happening:
They must end Democracy.
Because if they fail to do that, they won’t be able to impose their morality, standards, or will on the rest of us.
That terrifies them, and if you get them to answer honestly they’ll tell you, not in so many words, that only they represent what America should be… and they’ll destroy America to make it so.
HMU on Twitter too! https://twitter.com/TheGarthThe1