Salon catches up with Chris Mooney: It may be the oldest question in the history of warfare.
Are The Others basically like us? Or are “those people” in The Other Tribe basically different? Perhaps even less than human?
Throughout history, the Great Souls have tended to go with the first reaction. The war-makers have tended to pimp that second point of view.
It’s tempting to think that The Other Tribe is unlike us, perhaps less than human. Our brains are wired to think that way. In prehistory, thinking that way may have been a survival skill.
Today, our brains are still wired that way, but such impulses are generally unhelpful. This brings us to what happened last month when Joshua Holland of Moyers & Company “caught up with Chris Mooney.”
Are modern conservatives basically like modern liberals? Or are Those People basically different? When Holland caught up with Mooney, that’s the question he asked.
Holland posted this introduction to their interview. Salon reprinted the piece last week.
We think we see Holland leaning. Do you?
HOLLAND (10/31/13): A growing body of research suggests that we are a nation divided not only by partisanship or how we view various issues, but also by dramatically different cognitive styles. Sociologists and psychologists are getting a better understanding about the ways that deep seated emotional responses affect our ideological viewpoints.We see Holland leaning in that synopsis. Here’s why:
Last week, Moyers & Company caught up with Mother Jones science writer Chris Mooney, host of the Inquiring Minds podcast and author of The Republican Brain: the Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality, to talk about what this research may tell us about the attitudes of those involved in the tea party movement. Below is a lightly-edited transcript of our discussion.
First, he says that liberals and conservatives are divided “by dramatically different cognitive styles,” by “deep seated emotional responses.” To our ear, he is leaning more toward different, much less toward alike.
We see him leaning in one other manner. As has been true through the annals of time, Holland only wants to discuss what this research shows about “the attitudes” of the other tribe.
Our attitudes are presumed to be right. Their attitudes need psychiatric explication.
This is how wars have always begun. We’ll spend the next few days reviewing this conversation.