I am Mr. Beat Why won’t you listen to my political views? Why won’t you see things my way? I’ve got everything already figured out! And why won’t you just listen to m- Ok, I’ve calmed down a bit. But I just wish you would understand how my political beliefs are the best. Anyway, I’m sorry I got so worked up there. Hey, why DO people get so upset over politics? Doppelganger: Oh I know! Of course you do.
Doppelganger: Group identity and views on morality That’s great. That’s fine. I mean, you’re right. But let’s elaborate on this. Before we get into it, I should say that I was inspired to make this video by a book I recently read called The Red and the Blue by Steve Kornacki. Kornacki does an amazing job explaining how the United States has become so polarized politically just in my life time. And here’s a great way you can check out the book. By not reading it! Seriously, just listen to it, on Scribd. Scribd is place where you can listen to tons of audiobooks and, well, you can read them on there too. But yeah it’s a lot cheaper than actually buying them. It’s just $8.99 per month, which is also a lot cheaper than Audible. Scribd also has magazines, monthly live streams with celebrated authors, and a large library of sheet music for musicians. For a 30 day free trial, click the link in the description of this video. Thank you to Scribd for sponsoring this video. Ok, so let’s start with the fact that humans are tribal. This is evolutionary. Our ancient ancestors formed groups based on trust and cooperation. Humans are and always have been social animals, who are quick to see the benefit of forming groups and will go to great lengths to keep the group together. The longer we stay in groups, the more likely we are to have common goals and, more importantly, common morals. Here’s a little disclaimer- I probably should point out that I am also a human before we move forward with this video. So yeah, we humans are held together by these things called morals, or the beliefs and standards about how humans should behave. Morals hold us together but also makes us fear and hate other groups. And, we get pretty offended when individuals in our group want to leave and join another group. Humans have been around a couple hundred thousand years, and today we may think we are individuals, but we are still heavily dependent on groups. Some groups we have a much deeper sense of membership of. For example, we are usually pretty loyal to our families, or our religious group. However, we are usually not so deeply tied to our coworkers or classmates, for example. We have emotional connections to the groups we are loyal to. It really doesn’t matter what type of group it is. We can go all-in for any group, no matter how big or small, or no matter how nefarious it may be. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to start a cult. I’ll let you know when the Facebook page is finished. Once we are all-in, there is often no going back. The group becomes our identity, and our status in society becomes directly tied to the group. So why do we so often go all-in for political ideologies? Because politics is directly related to morals. Again, morals are the beliefs and standards about how humans should behave. Politics is about what the people in power do, and what they do directly affects the rest of society. Because we think our group is moral, then of course we passionately defend it and attack other groups. But here’s a great quote. “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples – while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” That quote was by someone who made my Worst Presidents video. George W. Bush. But it’s true. We tend to think we are more virtuous than others. We get so upset over politics because when someone criticizes are political beliefs, just like when they attack our religious beliefs, we perceive it as an attack on our identity. Look, at least politics is an important thing to get upset about. I mean, we get upset about petty things, like sports teams. I’m a Chiefs fan, and I used to passionately hate Raiders fans when I was younger, just because I was, you know, a fan of a group of these guys who tackle each other and fight over a small piece of leather and I didn’t want those other group of guys wearing the black and silver to get that piece of leather. Ok, let’s be real here. I still hate the Raiders. But I digress. In general, the more passionate we are about political ideologies, the less we know about issues. It might mean that we know a lot about one side, but even that’s a stretch. In reality, the more context and knowledge we have about both sides of the issues that divide us, the less emotional in general we are about politics. So how should we solve this problem of getting so worked up about politics when meeting up with families over the holidays? By the way, families get so upset because if one family member has different political opinions, it’s like they left the tribe. Well you could always “don’t you ever, ever, ever, ever, ever talk politics with your family.” Or, if politics does come up, you could try to stop talking about political parties or politicians. You could just talk about ideas and policies. You know, the boring stuff. I know if I find myself getting really worked up about a political issue, that’s when I need to shut up and learn more about the other side. I find the more I learn, the less I know anyway. So yeah, so, in conclusion, I don’t have anything figured out. So what are your theories for why we get so upset talking about politics? I’ve linked some great articles and studies below. There’s actually a lot of research looking into it. I’m taking next week off, but after that will be the glorious return of my Compared series. Thank you so much for watching.