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June 7, 2006

The Puzzle

Here, from Alan Ryan, one way of stating the difficulty nonbelievers often have understanding believers (and New York liberals have understanding poor Republicans in Kansas):

The puzzle remains: Why do we succumb so readily to appeals based on the irrational forms of identity--ethnic, racial, religious--rather than to appeals based on the rational forms-- economic above all? Or, to put it in dramatic terms: Why do identity politics so often rest on hatreds that do as much damage to the aggressors as to their victims?

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at June 7, 2006 9:38 PM


I think humans have two problems (well, more than that, but for purposes of this article, 2). First is an inherrent inferiority complex. We all want to be "better" and we, unfortunately, often fool ourselves into feeling better by putting down others (kind of the schoolyard bully philosophy). Second, we have a unique ability to think "It won't happen to me". In this case, we do not recognize the harm we do ourselves when we unjustly criticise others.

I'll leave the other multitude of problems for another day.

Posted by: JustinOther at June 8, 2006 5:30 AM

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