PBH310: Moral Psychology & Abortion


Heart Apologetics & Moral Psychology

Apologetics is about effective communication and persuasion, fundamentally about rhetoric (in the classical, non-pejorative sense): How can we change what people think about an issue, and offer a defence, in this case, of the pro-life stance that is persuasive?

But effective apologetics is not purely cerebral. Aristotle says that effective communication is ethos, pathos, and logos: build a bridge, touch the heart, then deliver the message. We need to not just win a debate, but to truly reach the person to be effective in apologetics - to change both the heart and the mind.

That's where heart apologetics comes in: Heart apologetics is about the emotional layer of apologetics, about responding to emotional blocks to accepting an argument. Fundamentally, heart apologetics is applied moral psychology. Moral psychology is about understanding how we think morally. Heart apologetics is being sensitive to moral psychology in our apologetics, about applying the insights from moral psychology to our conversations in order to be effective communicators to both head and heart.

Note that moral psychology is about how the mind actually works, not how it ought to work. Moral philosophy (or theology), and the field of normative ethics in particular, is about what is actually right or true. Here, in moral psychology, we are looking at functionalist and descriptive definitions - moral psychology looks at how the mind operates when thinking about morality (not at questions of objective right and wrong). This is not moral relativism - it's not a denial that there is an objective right and wrong, it's just not the focus of moral psychology. Moral psychology is about the “how” of moral thinking, not the truthfulness.

The Righteous Mind

For a guide through the field of moral psychology, I'm going to turn to Jonathan Haidt - whose name you'll see all over the Wikipedia article on Moral Psychology - and his landmark 2012 book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion, which draws on 25 years of groundbreaking research and which, I think, is full of wisdom for pro-life activists as a sort of textbook for a 300-level course in heart apologetics.

(Share some of my 2020-2024 journey in thinking about this.)

I'm going to pull out the core insights from Haidt's work that apply to pro-life activism, and leave aside philosophical bones to pick and worldview differences. We'll go through Jonathan Haidt's three principles of moral psychology, and apply them to pro-life activism: The Elephant and the Rider, the Six Taste Receptors, and the Hive Switch.

Part 1: The Elephant and the Rider

Activate moral intuitions

(Show, don't tell, that moral intuitions come first.)

Haidt opens the first chapter by asking the reader to consider this story, and whether or not the people in it did anything morally wrong:

A family's dog was killed by a car in front of their house. They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog's body and cooked it and ate it for dinner. Nobody saw them do this.

:?: Did the people in the story do anything morally wrong?

Or take this story:

A woman is cleaning out her closet and she finds her old American flag. She doesn't want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom. (Or if you're anti-American, insert the flag of your favourite country)

:?: Did the woman do anything wrong?

Haidt constructed many stories1) in his studies to produce a kind of moral dumbfounding (“I know it's wrong, but I can't explain why…”)

  • The well-educated people in Haidt's studies typically feel an initial flash of disgust, but then hesitate before saying the family had done anything morally wrong. After all, the dog was dead already, so they didn't hurt it, right?
  • But if you're not a liberal Westerner, like most people on the planet, you believe: “Some actions are morally wrong even if they don't hurt anyone” - but even if they couldn't explain why it was wrong
  • People would invent victims, like “what if someone saw her do it?” One kid said, “well the flag might clog up the toilet and cause it to overflow,” or of the dog meat, someone said they might get sick from it, etc
  • Moral reasoning is often the servant of moral emotions. Gut feelings can sometimes drive moral reasoning. Moral reasoning is sometimes a post hoc fabrication.
  • More on the particular moral feelings in part 2, but for now, let's think about the method here: intuitions first, reasoning second

Elephants Rule

Through much of his research, Haidt found that: Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. He sums this up with his analogy of the elephant and the rider.

Stop at 2:02

Jonathon Haidt illustrates this with a personal example:

On February 3, 2007, shortly before lunch, I discovered that I was a chronic liar. I was at home, writing a review article on moral psychology, when my wife, Jayne, walked by my desk. In passing, she asked me not to leave dirty dishes on the counter where she prepared our baby's food. Her request was polite but its tone added a postscript: “As I have asked you a hundred times before.”

My mouth started moving before hears had stopped. Words came out. Those words linked themselves up to say something about the baby having woken up at the same time that our elderly dog barked to ask for a walk and I'm sorry but I just put my breakfast dishes down where I could. In my family, caring for a hungry baby and an incontinent dog is a surefire excuse, so I was acquitted.

Jayne left the room and I continued working. I was writing about the three basic principles of moral psychology. The first principle is intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. … So there I was at my desk, writing about how people automatically fabricate justifications of their gut feelings, when suddenly I realized that I had just done the same thing with my wife. I disliked being criticized, and I had felt a flash of negativity by the time Jayne had gotten her third word (“Can you not…”). Even before I knew why she was criticizing me, I knew I disagreed with her (because intuitions come first). The instant I knew the content of the criticism (“ … leave dirty dishes on the …”), my inner lawyer went to work searching for an excuse (strategic reasoning second). It's true that I had eaten breakfast, given Max his first bottle, and let Andy out for his first walk, but these events had all happened at separate times. Only when my wife criticized me did I merge them into a composite image of a harried father with too few hands, and I created this fabrication by the time she had completed her one-sentence criticism (“… counter where I make baby food?”). I then lied so quickly and convincingly that my wife and I both believed me.

It's the moral flash I want you to recognize, your moral intuitions. This is your elephant.

Think about your own experience, talking to other people, but more importantly, reflect on yourself and your own moral psychology. What happens when you hear these words: vaccines, evolution, climate change, transgenderism, abortion, condoms, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, COVID-19, immigration, guns. What I want to to feel is the elephant - that strong affective response, the “gut feeling.”

In study after study, Haidt finds that moral judgment is far from a purely cerebral affair in which we're consciously reasoning (the rider), but actually “moral judgment is mostly done by the elephant.” For example, they hooked people up to fMRI scanners and presented them with trolley problem type moral dilemmas, and it was the emotional processing part of the brain that immediately lit up and that corresponded with the moral judgments made - not the conscious, cerebral logical part of the brain.

Does this not match our experience talking to people about abortion? This is why we have heart apologetics - it's not always a purely rational conversation. Does this not match your experience in discussions on a wide variety of issues? There are so many proxy battles being fought in typical moral and political discussions… FIXME elaborate

Haidt puts the elephant and rider into more academic terms with the social intuitionist model.

The Social Intuitionist Model

This is an academic, evidence-based explanation of heart apologetics, through the insight of the elephant and the rider: (Walk through each of the arrows, one by one.)

:!: Haidt talks about the application of the social intuitionist model for moral persuasion:

The social intuitionist model offers an explanation of why moral and political arguments are so frustrating: _Moral reasons are the tail wagged by the intuitive dog._ A dog's tail wags to communicate. You can't make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can't change people's minds by utterly refuting their arguments. […] If you want to change people's minds, you've got to talk to their elephants. You've got to use links 3 and 4 of the social intuitionist model to elicit new intuitions, not new rationales.

Therefore, if you want to change someone's mind about a moral or political issue, talk to the elephant first. If you ask people to believe something that violates their intuitions, they will devote their efforts to finding an escape hatch - a reason to doubt your argument or conclusion. They will almost always succeed.

Haidt offers a lot of insight into the dynamic of moral debates with this model, and the elephant and the rider analogy, and how to be persuasive and avoid fuelling motivated reasoning:

When does the elephant listen to reason? The main way that we change our minds on moral issues is by interacting with other people. We are terrible at seeking evidence that challenges our own beliefs, but other people do us this favour, just as we are quite good at finding error's in other people's beliefs. When discussions are hostile, the odds of change are slight. The elephant leans away from the opponent, and the rider works frantically to rebut the opponent's charges.

But if there is affection, admiration, or a desire to please the other person, then the elephant leans *toward* that person and the rider tries to find the truth in the other person's arguments. The elephant may not often change its direction in response to objections from its *own* rider, but it is easily steered by the mere presence of friendly elephants [social persuasion] or by good arguments given to it by riders of those friendly elephants [reasoned persuasion].

These are even times when we change our minds on our own, with no help from other people. Sometimes we have conflicting intuitions about something, as many people do about abortion or other controversial issues. Depending on which victim, which argument, or which friend you are thinking about at a given moment, your judgment may flip back and forth as if you were looking at a Necker cube. (FIXME)

And finally, it is possible for people simply to reason their way to a moral conclusion that contradicts their initial intuitive judgment, although I believe this process is rare.

In studies on IQ and moral psychology, they found that IQ was by far the biggest predictor of how well people argued, but it predicted only the number of “my-side” arguments. Smart people make really good lawyers and press secretaries, but they are not better than others at finding reasons on the other side. “People invest in buttressing their own case rather than in exploring the entire issue more fully and evenhandedly.”

On motivated reasoning:

The social psychologist Tom Gilovich studies the cognitive mechanisms of strange beliefs. His simple formulation is that when we want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe it?” Then, we search for supporting evidence, and if we find even a single piece of pseudo-evidence, we can stop thinking. We now have permission to believe. We have a justification, in case anyone asks.

In contrast, when we don't want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Must I believe it?” Then we search for contrary evidence, and if we find a single reason to doubt the claim, we can dismiss it. You only need one key to unlock the handcuffs of must.

Now, Haidt says that elephants are sometimes open to reason, not like a slave serving a master but a lawyer serving a client. The elephant is far more powerful, but is not an absolute dictator.

  • In a lawyer/client relationship, the client is usually calling the shots - but it can sometimes be possible for the lawyer to persuade the client to change their mind
  • In a healthy relationship, ie. in cultivating moral virtue, I think that the rider can gradually train the elephant so that there is a harmonious relationship and so that the elephant receives direction from the rider in a virtuous person, but the point is that this is not easy or immediate, it would take years of careful training because of the sheer power of the elephant, and our moral judgments are still elephant-responses first - just, they may be the response of a trained and well-formed elephant, if we work to train the elephant over the course of our lives

For pro-life activism:

  • Reflecting on our own elephant is hugely helpful for developing empathy for other people's elephants, if we can become aware of the elephant/rider dynamic in ourselves
  • When we are speaking to other people, we need to be conscious of speaking to the elephant and not the rider if we want to be persuasive and reach the whole person

And this leads into the second half, on how we can apply further lessons from moral psychology on how to be persuasive to other people's elephants.

Part 2: Six Taste Receptors

The first principle in moral psychology is that “intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second” - the elephant and the rider. Now, we'll take a look at the second principle to better understand other people, and the third principle for guidance on how to be effective at reaching them.

(Jonathon Haidt is writing as a secular liberal who went on a journey from breaking out of the matrix, becoming more aware of his own biases, and broadening his understanding of moral psychology to better understand and appreciate people with different ideological perspectives. The journey for most of us is a bit of the reverse, so I won't be following exactly his journey in the book, but the lessons he learned applied in reverse.(

Beyond WEIRD Morality

Jonathan Haidt rights as a secular liberal, breaking out of his liberal university bubbles and broadening his understanding of moral psychology by developing a better understanding of the broad range of human moral reasoning, rather than only the narrow range he was accustomed to and familiar with before.

In particular, he cites a lot of research on identifying WEIRD morality: that is, Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic morality.

He posed scenarios like the dog meat and flag rag, but also this one:

A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a chicken. But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

He opens Part II like this2):

I got my Ph.D. at McDonald's. Part of it, anyway, given the hours I spent standing outside of a McDonald's restaurant in West Philadelphia trying to recruit working-class adults to talk with me for my dissertation research. When someone agreed, we'd sit down together at the restaurant's outdoor seating area, and I“d ask them what they thought about the family that ate its dog, the women who used her flag as a rag, and all the rest. I got some odd looks as the interview progressed, and also plenty of laughter — particularly when I told people about the guy and the chicken. I was expecting that, because I had written the stories to surprise and even shock people.

But what I didn't expect was that these working-class subjects would sometimes find my request for justifications so perplexing. Each time someone said that the people in a story had done something wrong, I asked, “Can you tell me why that was wrong?” When I interviewed college students on the Penn campus a month earlier, this question brought forth their moral justifications quite smoothly. But a few blocks west, this same question often led to long pauses and disbelieving stares. Those pauses and stares seemed to say, You mean you don't know why it's wrong to do that to a chicken? I have to explain this to you? What planet are you from?

These subjects were right to wonder about me because I really was weird. I came from a strange and different moral world - the University of Pennsylvania. Penn students were the most unusual of all twelve groups in my study. They were unique in their unwavering devotion to the “harm principle,” which John Stuart Mill had put forth in 1859: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” As one Penn student said: “It's his chicken, he's eating it, nobody is getting hurt.”

The Penn students were just as likely as people in the other elevn groups to say that it would bother them to witness the taboo violations, but they were the only group that frequently ignored their own feelings of disgust and said that an action that bothered them was nonetheless morally permissible. And they were the only group in which a majority (73 percent) were able to tolerate the chicken story. As one Penn student said, “It's perverted, but if it's done in private, it's his right.”

This is WEIRD morality, the term taken from a 2010 cultural psychology paper: The Weirdest People in the World? Basically, the WEIRDer you are, the more you see a world full of separate objects, rather than relationships.3)

Jonathan Haidt goes on a journey to India and outside of WEIRD cultures to discover and study the descriptive reality of moral plurialism, that this WEIRD way of viewing morality really is weird and doesn't capture the broader moral domain across human cultures, discovering an ethic of community and ethic of divinity in other societies. And in particular, this WEIRD morality can't even explain WEIRD people's moral intuitions. e.g.

I also began to understand why the American culture wars involved so many battles over sacrilege. Is a flag just a piece of cloth, which can be burned as a form of protest? Or does each flag contain within it something nonmaterial such that when protesters burn it, they have done something bad (even if nobody were to see them do it)? When an artist submerges a crucifix in a jar of his own urine, or smears elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, do these works belong in art museums? Can the artist simply tell religious Christians, “If you don't want to see it, don't go to the museum”? Or does the mere existence of such works make the world dirtier, more profane, and more degraded?

If you can't see anything wrong here, try reversing the politics. Imagine that a conservative artist had created these works using images of Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela instead of Jesus and Mary. Imagine that his intent was to mock the quasi-deification by the left of so many black leaders. Could such works be displayed in museums in New York or Paris without triggering angry demonstrations? Might some on the left feel that the museum itself had been polluted by racism, even after the paintings were removed?

The second principle in moral psychology is that there's more to morality than harm and fairness. This is more of a lesson for WEIRD people, but it's also critical to understand the differences in how the left and the right think about morality.

Moral Foundations Theory

After breaking out of the WEIRD matrix, Haidt and his team starting doing a ton of research on what came to be known as Moral Foundations Theory, especially through their project YourMorals.org. Haidt says the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors - and what values by culture and especially by political ideology is how many taste receptors people are using as foundations of their moral intuitions.

  1. Care/Harm: sensitivity to signs of suffering and need, despising cruelty, feeling compassion and desire to protect individuals from harm
    • Liberal: e.g. vegan activists, “stop the genocide”, etc
    • Conservative: pro-life messaging on abortion or euthanasia, “save the children” concerns about porn or gender transition surgeries
  2. Liberty/Oppression: Equality, people are treated fairly based on what they have earned, and are not treated equally unconditionally; fairness and justice
    • liberals are most concerned about the rights of vulnerable groups, and they look to government to defend the weak against oppression by the strong. Conservatives, in contrast, hold more traditional ideas of liberty as the right to be left alone
  3. Fairness/Cheating: Proportionality, and ensuring everyone gets their due (both punishments and rewards)
    • Conservatives care more, and they rely on the fairness foundation more heavily (in terms of proportionality)
    • Liberals are often uncomfortable with the negative side of [proportionality] - retribution (“an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”)… care about proportionate rewards, but Caring and outweigh proportionate punishments
  4. Loyalty/Betrayal: loyalty to others, self-sacrifice, patriotism; recognizing, trusting, and cooperating with members of one's ingroup as well as being wary of members of other groups
  5. Authority/Subversion: respect for authority and rejecting of insubordination; makes us sensitive to signs of rank or status, and to signs that other people are (or are not) behaving properly, given their position; hierarchical community
    • The political right more often builds on the loyalty foundation
    • The political left more often values disobedience, subversion and challenging of authority, and skepticism of authority, etc
  6. Sanctity/Degradation (Purity): maintaining purity and preventing degradation; stems from the emotion of disgust that guards the body by responding to elicitors that are biologically or culturally linked to disease transmission
    • biologically linked to avoidance of disease and pathogens, powered by “disgust” as a signal of what to avoid
    • conversely, it's what we find to be sacred - when we value and what binds us together; “Why do people readily treat objects (flags, crosses), places (Mecca, a battlefield related to the birth of your nation), people (saints, heroes), and principles (liberty, fraternity, equality) as though they were of infinite value? Whatever its origins, the psychology of sacredness helps bind individuals into moral communities. When someone in a moral community desecrates one of the sacred pillars supporting the community, the reaction is sure to be swift, emotional, collective, and punitive.” (e.g. civil disobedience in tearing down the statue of Satan in the legislature)
    • e.g. Chastity as a virtue of purity, vs “your body may be a temple, but mine's an amusement park” bumper sticker

Three vs Six

Conclusion4) - maybe just read the bolded part, but use the matrices image to visualize while explaining:

Moral Foundations Theory says that there are (at least) six psychological systems that comprise the universal foundations of the world's many moral matrices. The various moralities found on the political left tend to rest most strongly on the Care/harm and liberty/oppression foundations. These two foundations support ideals of social justice, which emphasize compassion for the poor and a struggle for political equality among the subgroups that comprise society. Social justice movements emphasize solidary - they call for people to come together to fight the oppression of bullying, domineering elites…

Everyone - left, right, or centre - cares about Care/harm, but liberals care more. Across many scales, surveys, and political controversies, liberals turn out to be more disturbed by signs of violence and suffering, compared to conservatives and especially libertarians.

Everyone - left, right, and center - cares about liberty/oppression, but each political faction cares in a different way… liberals are most concerned about the rights of vulnerable groups, and they look to government to defend the weak against oppression by the strong. Conservatives, in contrast, hold more traditional ideas of liberty as the right to be left alone…

The fairness/cheating foundation is about proportionality and the law of karma. It is about making sure that people get what they deserve, and do not get things they do not deserve. Everyone - left, right and center - cares about proportionality; everyone gets angry when people take more than they deserve. But conservatives care more, and they rely on the fairness foundation more heavily - once fairness is restricted to proportionality. […] Liberals are often uncomfortable with the negative side of [proportionality] - retribution (“an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”)…

The remaining three foundations - loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degredation - show the biggest and most consistent partisan differences. Liberals are ambivalent about these foundations at best, whereas social conservatives embrace them (“the Conservative Advantage - a whole chapter”). (Libertarians have little use for them, which is why they tend to support liberal positions on social issues such as gay marriage, drug use, and laws to “protect” the American flag.)…

Liberals have a three-foundation morality, whereas conservatives use all six. Liberal moral matrices rest on the care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating foundations, although liberals are often willing to trade away fairness (as proportionality) when it conflicts with compassion or with their desire to fight oppression. Conservative morality rests on all six foundations, although conservatives are more willing than liberals to sacrifice Care and let some people get hurt in order to achieve their many other moral objectives.

This is the second principle in moral psychology: there's more to morality than harm and fairness.

So what do we do then with these findings to be more effective pro-life activists? We need to keep these taste receptors in mind as we speak to elephants (e.g. why do we focus so much in the pro-life message on care/harm and liberty/oppression? And not on sanctity or loyalty?), and we need to speak in a language that will be received by their elephant, not that will simply satisfy ours.

Finally, we turn to the third principle in moral psychology to develop deeper empathy, and learn a few more lessons that are relevant for heart apologetics and for the pro-life movement more broadly.

Part 3: The Hive Switch

This section needs a lot more work to smooth out the narrative. This isn't a script, but is very chunky and may need to be refactored/reorganized.

In Part III of the book, Haidt explores a lot of studies and a lot of evolutionary biology to make the point, from a descriptive, psychological perspective, that human beings are selfish, and groupish. He sums it up with this adage: we are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee.

The chimp part makes sense, as we share like 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees. But bees?

While our similarities to chimpanzees can explain a lot of our selfishness from an evolutionary biology perspective, it cannot explain our groupishness. In particular, one thing that sets human beings apart in terms of behaviour and psychology is that “it is inconceivable that you would ever see two chimpanzees carrying a log together.” Human beings have shared intentionality, we can collaborate and work together as a community in a way that chimpanzees cannot. Haidt refers to this ability to switch into “group” mode as “the Hive Switch.”

Haidt tells the story of the burst of patriotism he experienced in the wake of 9/11, despite being an unpatriotic liberal5):

In the terrible days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I felt an urge so primitive I was embarrassed to admit it to my friends: I wanted to put an American flag decal on my car.

The urge seemed to come out of nowhere, with no connection to anything I'd ever done. It was as if there was an ancient alarm box in the back of my brain with a sign on it that said, “In case of foreign attack, break glass and push button.” I hadn't known the alarm box was there, but when those four planes broke the glass and pushed the button I had an overwhelming sense of being an American. I wanted to do something, anything, to support my team. Like so many others, I gave blood and donated money to Red Cross. I was more open and helpful to strangers. And I wanted to display my team membership by showing the flag in some way.

But I was a professor, and professors don't do such things. Flag waving and nationalism are for conservatives. Professors are liberal globetrotting universalists, reflexively wary of saying that their nation is better than other nations. When you see an American flag on a car in a UVA staff parking lot, you can bet that the car belongs to a secretary or a blue-collar worker.

After three days and a welter of feelings I”d never felt before, I found a solution to my dilemma. I put an American flag in one corner of my rear windshield, and I put the United Nations flag in the opposite corner. That way I could announce that I loved my country, but don't worry, folks, I don't place it above other countries, and this was, after all, an attack on the whole world, sort of, right?

This switch into group mode, Jonathan Haidt calls The Hive Switch. We are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee. He says, “we are selfish primates who long to be part of something larger and nobler than ourselves.” (Note: these are psychological descriptions, not ultimate explanations - we're leaving theology and philosophy aside here!) The Hives Switch is what puts us into group mode, it's that transcendent, communal/communion experience. Think about any number of examples, of what are typically some of the most important experiences of our lives:

  • religious experience/encounter
  • awe in nature
  • a sports stadium
  • a rock concert
  • a meaningful and challenging experience that builds community (like a summer internship or tour)

FIXME example: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3x_fI_s4SV/

Collective ritual - Haidt says that human beings are conditional hive creatures. We exist on an individual level, but also as part of the larger society, as part of a community.

When this hive switch is activated, this leads to the third principle in moral psychology: morality binds and blinds. That is, the Hive Switch binds us together in community. But, it also blinds us beyond the in-group.


This is a side note, could skip

On community-building

  • Muscular bonding in warfare (acting as a unit in a whole), but also sports and raves, etc
  • Oxytocin simply makes people love their in-group more
  • Ways to nudge everyone's “hive switch” sliders a bit: (p. 277)
    • Increase similarity, not diversity. [connect with religious idea bundling] To make a human hive, you want to make everyone feel like a family. So don't call attention to racial and ethnic differences; make them less relevant by ramping up similarity and celebrating the group's shared values and common identity.
    • Exploit synchrony: People who move together are saying, “We are one, we are a team; just look how perfectly we are able to do that Tomasello shared-intention thing.” Japanese corporations such as Toyota begin their days with synchronous companywide exercises. Groups prepare for battle - in war and sports - with group chants and ritualized movements. (Example given of rugby haka) If you ask people to sing a song together, or to march in step, or just to tap out some beats together on a table, it makes them trust each other more and be more willing to help each other out, in part because it makes people feel more similar to each other. If it's too creepy to ask your employees or fellow group members to do synchronized calisthenics, perhaps you can just try to have more parties with dancing or karaoke. Synchrony builds trust.
    • Create healthy competition among teams, not individuals. As McNeill said, soldiers don't risk their lives for their country or for the army; they do so for their buddies in the same squad or platoon. Studies show that intergroup competition increases love of the in-group far more than it increases dislike of the out-group. Intergroup competitions, such as friendly rivalries between corporate divisions, or intramural sports competitions, should have a net positive effect on hivishness and social capital. But pitting individuals against each other in a competition for scarce resources (such as bonuses) will destroy hivishness, trust, and morale.

But also, critical, on how we form our political ideologies and identities, Haidt breaks this down:

Innate does not mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience. The genes guide the construction of the brain in the uterus, but that's only the first draft, so to speak. The draft gets revised by childhood experiences. To understand the originals of ideology you have to take a developmental perspective, starting with the genes and ending with an adult voting for a particular candidate or joining a political protest. There are three major steps in the process
1. Genes Make Brains: sensation-seeking / openness to experience vs threat sensitivity
2. Traits Guide Children Along Different Paths:
(a) Dispositional traits: broad dimensions of personality that show themselves in many different situations and are fairly consistent from childhood through old age
(b) Characteristic adaptations: traits that emerge as we grow, developed in response to specific environments and challenges that people happen to face
3/c. People Construct Life Narrative: The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor, and among the most important stories we know are stories about ourselves… a bridge between a developing adolescent self and an adult political identity

e.g. grand unified narratives of liberalism or conservativism from the book FIXME maybe skip Liberal:

Once upon a time, the vast majority of human persons suffered in societies and social institutions that were unjust, unhealthy, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were repehensible because of their deep-rooted inequality, exploitation, and irrational traditionalism… BUt the noble human aspiration for autonomy, equality, and prosperity struggled mightly against the forces of misery and oppression, and eventually succeeded in establishin modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, welfare societies. While modern social conditions hold the potential to maximize the individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is much work to be done to dismantable the powerful vestiges of inequality, exploitation, and repression. This struggle for the good society in which individual sare requal and free to pursue their self-deinfed happiness is the one mission truly worth dedicating one's life to achieving


Once upon a time, America was a shining beacon. Then liberals came along and erected ane enormous federal bureaucracy that handcuffed the invisible hand of the free market. They subverted our traditional American values and opposed God and faith at every step of the way… Instead of requiring that people work for a living, they siphoned money from hardwokring Americans and gave it to Cadillac-driving drug addicts and welfare queens. Instead of punishing criminals, they tried to “understand” them. Instead of worrying about the victims of crime, they worried about the rights of criminals… Instead of adhering to traditional American values of family, fedielity, and personal responsibility, they preached promiscuity, premarital sex, and the gay lifestyle… and they encouraged a feminist agenda that undermined traditional family roles… Instead fo projecting strength to those who would do evil around the world, they cut military budgets, disrespected our soliders in uniform, burned our flag, and chose negotiation and multilateralism… Then Americans decided to take their country back from those who sought to undermine it

FIXME idea bundling… binds and blinds is idea bundling… right?


FIXME :!: BLINDING to the other side, e.g.

p. 334 A study to try to saw ahot a “typical liberal” or “typical conservative” would respond to something:

Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretnding to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described thsemselves as “very liberal.” The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives. When faced with questions such as “one of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal” or “justice is the most important requirement for a society,” liberals assumed that conservatives would disagree. If you have a moral martix built primarily on intuitions about care and fairness (as equality), and you listen to the Reagan narrative, what else could you think? Reagan seems completely unconcerned about the welfare of drug addicts, poor people, and gay people. He's more interested in fighting wars and telling people how to run their sex lives.
If you don't see that Reagan is pursuing positive values of Loyalty, Authority, and Sancity, you almost have to conclude that Republicans see no positive value in Care and Fairness.

e.g. Michael Feingold, a threater critic for a liberal newspaper the *Village Voice:*

Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recpie for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. WHich is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.


So, we can learn how teams form, and how people gravitate to the left or right. And we can learn wisdom for building strong communities.

But for being effective communicators to the broader culture, to people currently outside the pro-life community…

  • We need to understand how abortion advocates may be thinking, working off different moral foundations, and we need to have empathy and be able to speak their language
    • (ie. people don't hold different beliefs and worldviews because they're evil terrible people, let's take the time to understand their elephants and their taste receptors, and speak to them effectively)
  • We also need to understand how abortion advocates may see us if they misunderstand our moral foundations, and be prepared to speak to the elephant in order to build connection and help lower their defences, etc - all the more reason to speak effective to their elephants and be sensitive and adapt our communication so that it's effective

Dale Carnegie uses a quotation from Henry Ford:

If there is one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from their angle as well as your own.

It's such an obvious point, yet few of us apply it in moral and political arguments because our righteous minds so readily shift into combat mode. The rider and elephant work together smoothly to fend off attacks and lob rhetorical grenades of our own. The performance may impress our friends and show our allies that we are committed members of the team, but no matter how good our logic, it's not going to change the minds of our opponents if they are in combat mode too. If you really want to change someone's mind on a moral or political matter, you'll need to see things from that person's angle as well as your own. And if you do truly see it from the other person's way - deeply and intuitively - you might even find your own mind opening in response. Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it's very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.


The three principles of moral psychology:

  1. Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second - the elephant and the rider
  2. There's more to morality than harm and fairness - the six taste receptors
  3. Morality binds and blinds - the Hive Switch (90 percent chimp, 10 percent bee)

These are the foundations of heart apologetics. In being effective communicators and apologists, we can not solely speak to the rider - we need to speak to the elephant, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, and be sensitive to human moral psychology if we want to be persuasive, especially across vast ideological and political worldview divides.

p. 22, typically focused on disgust and disrespect
p. 111-112
p. 113
p. 212-214
p. 219