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How to make a Conservative, a Cartoon by Hugo Freitas (in English) and the phenomena of Jonathon Haidt

2016-05-25

Here’s a link to an insightful cartoon that explains a great deal of what is now scientifically figured out about how people become conservative or liberal, hippies or preppies.  This is based on the work of Jonathon Haidt in the book “The Righteous Mind”, that is on his interpretation of recent scientific studies about human (and animal) development.  Here’s a link to Haidt’s website.  He’s got a lot of interesting essays on line in addition to his book.  The cartoon was originally done in Brazil, so it is translated to English.

The original refers to a split in the student society of a university into two groups: “hippies” and “preppies” ( to loosely translate the original terms ) who display disparate personal and social characteristics somewhat typical of the nicknames given and who live in separate groups.  The original university, was, I think, in Brazil, and it was a large state university.   It is interesting and important for those of us in the US to be aware that there are huge areas of cultural ferment in other countries (such as Brazil.)

I took a look at the website that the book’s author maintains.  Jonathon Haidt doesn’t like the new phenomenon of “trigger warnings” in university classes.  These warnings are posted when “scary” material is going to be discussed, things that might upset certain people.  He calls it “vindictive protectiveness.”  I think it’s a little silly but relatively harmless to point out to people who are  unaware that certain awful things are going to come up.  It kind of puts everything out in the open so that everyone knows that there’s going to be some action.  On the other hand, it might seem to some that people are being coddled when this sort of thing is said.  I don’t know.

There’s a lot more controversy there.  There is an issue where some people claim their own frailty and demand that it be “respected” or else “coddled.”  This is what he calls the “victimhood culture.”   There is also an issue that some call “microaggressions” that is, little things that people do or assume that are disrespectful of others who are sensitive to their own victimhood.  This gets even more silly to me, but I don’t mind.   Let the controversies roll.  It sounds like Jonathon Haidt has been made into a conservative.  Not me.

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