Saturday, November 26, 2016

ANS -- The Two Moral Modes, parts one, two, and three.

Really interesting stuff:  "No, Trump's genius was is recognizing there was a vast disaffected swath of the American public – possibly enough to carry a national election – who wanted what Hitler had sold. He recognized in the dyspeptic grumblings – about a black president; about job-stealing, terrorist foreigners; about Christian-oppressing gays and abortion-having sluts and welfare queens – a sentiment of wounded entitlement as of that point yet unvalidated by a politician."
My emphasis.  This is in three parts, which makes it pretty long.  At least read part one.  There's lots of discussion-type comments at the site.  I was linked to this discussion from a post by Doug Muder, which I may send you.  This was written in March and April.  
Find it here:  Part one is here:   

Siderea (siderea) wrote, 

[psych/anthro/soc, cur ev, Patreon] The Two Moral Modes, Part 1

[Read in black and white]

I have various things to say about Trump, and perhaps I will get around to saying a bunch of them.

But what most disturbs me about Trump isn't Trump.

It seems to me that an awful lot of the hand-wringing about Trump – and don't get me wrong, there's much worthy of hang-wringing about Trump – is a distraction, a displacement, a derail from the more uncomfortable thing staring us all in the face.

Sure, he's a terrible human being doing terrible things who will, given the chance, go on to do even more terrible things. But Trump didn't make all those people show up at his rallies. Trump didn't compel them there at gun point. Nor does he have some sort of mind-control device to "brainwash" the masses.

Trump, when informed his "pledge" pose, which he elicited at his rallies, bore a disturbing resemblance to Nazi salute, discontinued it; it was his followers who begged – and may yet still be begging – that he resume it.

Make no mistake: this is grassroots fascism. Trickle-up fascism, if you will.

Trump's genius is not Hitler's gifts of vision or rhetoric – though make no mistake he's a charismatic speaker. Hitler was a kind of intellectual, who convinced a people of his vision for a unified, fascist, triumphant, conquering, genocidal race-nation. Trump has no such vision, much less has he convinced anybody to get on board with one.

No, Trump's genius was is recognizing there was a vast disaffected swath of the American public – possibly enough to carry a national election – who wanted what Hitler had sold. He recognized in the dyspeptic grumblings – about a black president; about job-stealing, terrorist foreigners; about Christian-oppressing gays and abortion-having sluts and welfare queens – a sentiment of wounded entitlement as of that point yet unvalidated by a politician.

Trump's a business man: he saw what those people wanted in exchange for their votes, so he just... took them up on the deal. Trump's genius has always been in recognizing opportunities others didn't, and exploiting them; he is, if you will, a consummate opportunist. The situation he found in American politics was the political equivalent of economists' proverbial hundred dollar bill on the ground.

Trump's genius hasn't been being like Hitler, it has been recognizing that so very many Americans wanted to be like Nazi Germany. They were just waiting for a Führer. He just volunteered for the job.

I'm not suggesting this makes Trump a fine human being or adequate candidate for president of anything. After all, all I'm saying is that while he has no particular desire to murder whole populations, if his "base" does – if he figures it's necessary to keep on the good graces of those whose votes he is courting – he will be entirely willing to go along with it. Hey, gotta break some eggs to make oneself an omelet.

No, what I'm saying is that comparing Trump to Hitler strikes me as less profitable – and much less urgent – than the other comparison it implies: how like to the Nazi enthusiasts of Germany so many of us Americans seem to be.

The problem isn't really him. It's us.

Here's the thing. If I'm right that the situation was a hundred dollar bill on the ground, then Trump, himself, is somewhat immaterial to what is happening. It was almost inevitable. In a nation of 300 million people, we are abundantly blessed, in absolute numbers, with opportunists; for this we need but one with the right skills and resources. Somebody would eventually pick up the hundred dollar bill.

We have to get used to this idea that this is going to happen. In any sufficiently large population, just by the odds, from time to time you're going to have people who stumble across the great idea of pursuing their personal advancement by fomenting inter-group animosity. It's a tried and true recipe, and you can no more hide it from humanity that conceal how fruits ferment to alcohol; where the grapes of wrath flourish, someone will eventually recognize what heady beverage you can make of them. Someone always does.

Perhaps we, as a society, don't need to give them quite so much to work with?

Because, oh, we Americans do – as evidenced by the millions exulting to be lead at last by a candidate who titillates their most bilious fantasies.

This, too, is America, and we have to look it full in the face and not flinch away if we want to have any hope of dealing with it. Talking about the bad individuals who do bad things is not without merit, but too seductive a distraction from the more terrifying problem, which is that millions of Americans like Trump not despite what he says about those they consider others, but because of it.

We can conceptualize this any a number of ways, but I think one of the most useful is to understand it as, at the very least, a widespread critical failure to adhere to – or an outright rejection of – the Golden Rule, in any of its formulations.

I contend this has been writ large on American history all the way along, and if we don't do something about it, it will not go well for us.

This isn't news, right?

Black Americans have been saying this for hundreds of years. For much of the last century, they've been trying to get what MLK termed "white moderates" to just believe them that there is a substantial percentage of the US population that is murderously inclined towards them; for the last quarter century white moderates have had trouble believing even that there are many who are merely uncharitably inclined towards Black people. They (we?) would have probably continued in our obstinacy had it not been for ubiquitous cellphone video cameras.

But white moderates cling fiercely to the idea that there is lots of racism but never any racists. Certainly not like "back then" – explicit, unapologetic racial antipathy is something many racism-despising white people locate in a presumed-uneducated past. The idea that white people maybe were – oh, okay, definitely were – like that once upon a time, but they know better now.

In some ways, recent decades' consciousness-raising about institutional racism, implicit bias, and lingering historical inequities have made for a double-edge sword. It's not that these things aren't real and important; they are. It's that they also, despite being real and important, slot neatly into white people's desire to believe that racists are extinct. These concepts provide a way for people – possibly including you, gentle reader – to grant the existence of racism without having to believe there are (still) white people who feel entitled to treat certain people as mortal enemies deserving of no quarter, for no reason but race.

This is, when you really think about it, a curious thing: why is it that so many well-meaning, ostensibly anti-racist white people are emotionally resistant to admitting that that sort of direct, unequivocating, conscious "unreconstructed" racism really exists?

An obvious answer is "racism", and it has some merit. But I could have written the above about sexism and rape culture, too. About homicidal transphobia. About antisemitism and islamophobia. It's a pattern that keeps repeating, and is not specific to any one axis of oppression.

I think there's some better answers. I wrote about one back here: the implications – for your own well-being! – of finding out your society is much, much less just than you thought are terrifying. Another such answer is found by turning the question about, and asking what is it about the idea of people being unapologetically if covertly racist that so many white people find so threatening? What is it about the idea of people being flagrantly misogynist that so many well-meaning men find so threatening that they don't want to admit it's "still" a thing? What is it about this sort of bigotry that the people who do not participate in it but are not targeted by it find so threatening to admit exists?

I think it's this: racists scare them, too, because they recognize in that sort of aggressive, belligerent racism something that their whiteness does not protect them from. Bilious misogyny scares them, too, because they recognize in that sort of aggressive, belligerent sexism something that their maleness does not protect them from.

Think of it this way. You know how black-hating racists are usually totally okay with Native Americans and Latinos, and scrupulously egalitarian in their dealings with women? While women-scorning misogynists are non-judgmental about homosexuality and genderfluidity and really good at respecting the autonomy of the disabled? And culture-warrior homophobes are ardent protectors minority religious faiths? No? What's that? You say that that is usually not how it works?

That. That right there. That thing swimming just under the surface.

We all know that any given individual may have varying degrees of prejudice across differing axes of oppression – that a person may, for instance, be a champion feminist and not have their racism under control. But we also know this other thing. We know that there's this other thing out there, a thing that manifests in a person as a kind of gleeful disdain of any and all sorts of people. A kind of broad-spectrum bigotry.

It's not just racism, or just sexism, or just homophobia, or just xenophobia, or just any one specific prejudice. It's something deeper than any of those, that expresses any or all of them.

I think for most of the sort of people who hang out here and read the sorts of things I write, encounters with this thing I'm describing but not yet naming make one's skin crawl. Makes the hairs on your arms lift.

And it's this that so many well-meaning moderate people who disapprove of oppression and prejudicial unfairness want very, very, very badly to believe doesn't exist.

And it is this that has heaved into the light at last, in the person of Trump's supporters.

I'd like to propose that there are two modes of moral functioning that people seem to have.

They are based on two differing fundamental ideas about how morality is supposed to work. They differ in how extensive morality is understood to be. One holds that morality extends, at least by default, to all interactions between humans. The other holds that morality only extends to interactions with qualified humans.

The first I'll call Mode 1. In Mode 1, one's moral standard of conduct for interacting with other people by default (there can be exceptions) applies to all other human beings, simply for the fact of their being human beings. Given the demographics of who reads my stuff, Gentle reader, this is probably the mode in which you reason, and with which you are most familiar. Mode 1 is the mode of Kant's Categorical Imperative and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and the idea of the universal brotherhood of man. We could say (though it may be a bit of a projection) that the deep presumption of Mode 1 is that morality's whole purpose is to serve as a universal protocol whereby all people – all people – who follow it would be able to live in a productive and amenable harmony.

In the other, Mode 2, one's moral standard of conduct for interacting with other people by default doesn't include all human beings – and that is considered a feature, not a bug. There is some, somewhat flexible, mental category of people to whom one owes moral conduct – but then there's everybody else. In Mode 2, morality only applies to interactions with people in a certain set, and in dealing with people outside that set, morality doesn't apply.

I don't think Mode 2 is very familiar to most of my readers, because the forces that filter who comes here mostly only admit people of the professional classes, and in that class, the second mode is deeply socially unacceptable. Mode 2 remains more acceptable in other classes, but those who function in that mode know that the professional classes feel very strongly about it, and consequently they're mostly pretty scrupulous about not letting on, lest Mode 1 professionals ostracize them in outrage. Well, until recently.

In Mode 2, we might similarly say that morality has a social organizing function, but where Mode 1 tries to make all humans into one society, Mode 2 is about organizing subsets of humans to out-compete other subsets of humans.

That's a somewhat bloodless way of putting a very bloody idea. In its most benign form, Mode 2 is predicated on the idea that people have a right to band together to vie for limited resources. Imagine two villages racing to sail out to fishing banks first to get the best haul.

Of course, there's a less benign form: since in Mode 2, you owe outsiders no debt of morally moderated conduct, there's nothing saying that folks from your village can't sneak into the other village in the middle of the night and drill holes in their boats.

In fact, in Mode 2, there's not actually anything in morality saying one of the two villages can't just wait for the other village to sail back, holds heavy with catch, then slaughter them in their sleep and take the fish.

Now, the villagers might decide not do that because of fear of retaliation, but that's not the same thing as demurring out of scruples: consider what happens if they suddenly get reason to think they can get away with it.

Mode 2 can also be predicated on the idea that people have the right to band together to kill other bands of people and take their stuff. Also, the right to capture and kidnap outsiders and use them as one will: as laborers, as livestock, as sacrifices to one's gods, as playthings to torture or torment for entertainment, as various props in psychological processes.

We can call these Mode 2a and Mode 2b if you like, though, honestly, from the Mode 1 position they aren't really all that different, in how morality functions. In the Mode 2a example, the villagers in one village feel no moral responsibility about the hunger of the children of the other village, should they succeed in seizing the limited resource and their opponents go home with empty nets. The whole point of Mode 2 morality is that it tells you that this is fine: your moral responsibilities are only to your own village. If some other village's children go hungry, even because your village bested theirs, that's not a wrong that requires you moderate your behavior in response.

And, as I hope is obvious, the line between feeling that one has no moral responsibility not to, through one's actions, cause another village's villagers to starve to death, and feeling that one has no moral responsibility not to just slay them directly and take their stuff is a pretty fine line.

(As a side note we could say there's a 1a and 1b, as well: 1a holds that one should have equal moral responsibilities to all people; 1b holds that one should have a minimum moral standard that applies to all people, but one may, for reasons of group membership, have additional moral responsibilities to specific other people. But I digress.)

The thing about Mode 2 is that it's not just a neutrally held belief that, "Well, it's okay to ignore the consequences of your actions on out-group members if you feel like". It's an entitlement not to have to. It's understood as a kind of right – the right not to have to moderate one's behavior towards out-group members. The right to compete against other groups and win if you can.

Most crucially, it is the right to treat other humans – out-group members – as as much a natural resource to be exploited as ore to mine, timber to log, game to hunt, or livestock to domesticate. Mode 2 has in it – or can – a right to subjugate, as an outgrowth of this notion of group self-defense.

In Mode 2 resides this idea of usable outsiders. Morality is predicated on sorting humans into two groups: fellow in-group members to whom one owes a moral standard of conduct (e.g. you may not murder them, you may not steal from them), and out-group members to whom one owes nothing, and consequently of whom one is entitled to make whatever use one can impose by force or fraud.

A bunch of really interesting things follow from this paradigm.

I want to stop here and say that I don't think that in our society (for reasons I'll explain below) that much of anyone functioning in Mode 2 actually consciously thinks this way or thinks of themselves as thinking this way. Mode 1 is much too socially ascendant; Mode 1 morality is the public morality.

Indeed, that's why I expect a lot of readers to find my description of Mode 2 shocking. If you function in Mode 1, and live in a society which reflects back at you your own belief that Mode 1 is what morality is, then my proposition that there are large numbers of people who are morally reasoning in this other way, which is in flagrant contravention of Mode 1 morality, probably seems pretty outlandish. Surely, I hear someone thinking, people don't actually believe that? Surely people don't actually look at other humans beings that way? I mean, sure, in the past, in less developed countries, but hereNow?

*points at Trump rallies* Yes, here. Yes, now.

This paradigm explains why it is that societies seem to toggle so abruptly into a persecutory culture. A society – such as ours – may seem to be entirely committed to Mode 1, but actually have some large faction actually being Mode 2 functioning, who are just playing along with the norms of the Mode 1 majority. Some subset of these may be consider to be just biding their time until they think they can make a successful push for cultural dominance.

People functioning in Mode 2 haven't generally been able come out in public with their real feelings about, say, how we should handle terrorism or the poor or immigrants or minorities, because those opinions were Mode 1 offending. So they paid lip service to Mode 1.

But, of course, Mode 2 leaks out. You can see it in:

• A deep resentment that they are expected (by the norms of Mode 1 functioning people) not to pursue the subjugation of others, i.e. to moderate their behavior towards out-group members in accord with morality. They complain, "Why CAN'T we just bomb them into glass?". The idea of a "war crime" is pretty antithetical to most Mode 2 reasoning; to someone thinking this way, the idea that war has rules, like a game, is a grotesque curtailment of their people's (however construed) collective rights.

• A constant rules-lawyering around any Mode 1 exceptions they can find to "justify" treating out-group members without moral constraints, a la "Well, we're at war with them, so they're our enemies, so they're an exception to 'no torture'.". A lot of what comes across to Mode 1 people as victim blaming, e.g. "Stand your ground! It was self-defense" and "They were here illegally so they got what they deserved", are actually arguments as to why Mode 1 moral obligations should not be considered in force in that particular case – why Mode 2 conduct is not forbidden by Mode 1 in that case. It's Mode 2 functioning people trying to get away with Mode 2 functioning while arguing they're in compliance with Mode 1.

• An indignant fury that they are prevented from exercising what they consider their rights to subjugate, often framed in terms of a right to economic or group existential self-defense, a la "If we don't, they'll overrun us and destroy us all". Complaints about "political correctness" and "over-sensitivity" aren't just complaints about having to change how one speaks, but complaints at changes in what interactions are socially permitted to consist of: they're complaints about not being "able" (it not being considered licit) to be freely verbally aggressive and domineering to out-group members. Consider men clinging to a putative right to wolf-whistle at women on the street, and white people resentful about not being able to use the N word: these are aggressive, dominating behaviors, that are treasured prerogatives because they are aggressive, dominating behaviors.

• Ecstatic relief when someone validates the idea that, contra Mode 1, no, you don't owe outsiders any debt of moral conduct – which is precisely why so many people are greeting Trump as a liberator.

[psych/anthro/soc, cur ev, Patreon] The Two Moral Modes, Part 2

[Read in black and white]

[Continued from Part 1]

There's this tendency on the Left to characterize what I'm describing as Mode 2 as "hate". But I think that's a mistake, though a subtle one. Call to mind that which in your own mind you have experienced and called "hate". I expect it wasn't a happy occasion for you to feel it. It was probably accompanied by fierce anger, bitter sadness, revolting disgust, seething envy, and/or some such unpleasant feeling like that. It was not a good feeling, and, suffice it to say, you were probably not having a very good time when you had occasion to feel it. In fact, if you were feeling that feeling which you can readily identify within yourself as "hate", you were probably having a really rotten day.

Do the people at Trump rallies seem to be having a really rotten day?

Only if people having really rotten days whoop and cheer and smile and laugh.

Trump's supporters seem to be having a grand old time at his rallies – and any other occasions they have to express their political sentiments. And they never seem to be having so grand a time as when he (or they) are espousing his most aggressive, contemptuous, scornful, disrespectful, bigoted attitudes – which is what, when they do it, gets called "hate".

I'm not going to say you're wrong to use the word "hate" this way. The word has clearly come to mean this other thing, too: an attitude, rather than a feeling.

But having this one word mean these two quite different things leads to something I think is a dangerous confusion.

Lions don't hate gazelles. In fact, if you could ask them, I think lions would tell you they love gazelles – they find them delicious.[*] The man who apparently coined the phrase "keep her barefoot and pregnant" was describing what he thought necessary to "keep a woman happy"; he would no doubt be the first to tell you that he didn't hate women, he loved women – why else was he so solicitous of their contentment?

What the cheering throngs at Trump's rallies are feeling is joy. They're delighted by the uplift of being told, both implicitly and explicitly by Trump, that their Mode 2 morality is good, worthy, and valid. They're energized by and giddy to find themselves in a movement with hundreds of thousands of like-minded people. They're thrilled by the prospect of an overturn of the Mode 1 hegemony in American culture, and the possibility of making Mode 2 the dominant norm of the land. They're feeling glee.

Perhaps you bridle at the characterization. There's this thing in American culture – that I'm not going to explain today – where happiness and virtue get confused. For many Americans (and perhaps others), it feels really wrong to attribute "good" feelings to people doing something one thinks is wicked: if they are bad, the logic goes, they must be unhappy. (God, some Protestants taught, would not suffer the wicked to prosper, so those who are prospering must not be wicked.) Many Americans will all but turn themselves inside out contorting their logic to come up with some more palatable model of the inner life of those they think are sinners, rather than admit those sinners' plainly obvious rejoicing.

If it helps, we could perhaps separate out this other thing, this subjugatory behavior of expressing an aggressive, contemptuous, scornful, disrespectful, bigoted attitude, which Trump supporters do with such relish, by using another term for it. I propose revile. What they're enjoying that Trump does, and what they're enjoying having social sanction to do themselves in public, is reviling others.

Reviling is Trump's jam. Both individuals (such as his fellow politicians) and groups. When John Oliver reluctantly admitted that Trump's mockery of Rubio was "objectively funny" [YouTube], he was acknowledging that as an entertainer who has built his shtick on reviling people, Trump is a virtuoso at his craft.

This is why the topic of "bullies" often comes up in criticism of Trump. That is correct: one of the commonest ways that bullies afflict their victims is by reviling them, for sport and with gleeful relish, as entertainment and ego boost, and inviting others to join in with the reviling for their own enjoyment. And that is, in fact, what Trump does.

This recreational reviling that bullies do is a form of using others for emotional purposes; it is engaging in reviling because it feels good. It is subjugation of others for psychological purposes.

One doesn't have to hate someone to enjoy reviling them. Really, anyone will do for a victim, no? Reviling is its own reward.

One doesn't have to feel the feeling of hate towards someone to want to kill them. One doesn't have to feel hate for someone to be in love with the prerogative to kill them.

Nor does one have to hate someone to want to oppress them, to use their labor, their bodies, their suffering, to one's own ends. It is enough to note that it is useful and pleasing to oneself, and not believe one owes them any better.

That is, one doesn't have to hate someone to want to crush them, conquer them, exploit them. It is enough to enjoy the subjugation of others, whether in the sense of enjoying the fruits of another's labor, or enjoying the experience of dominating another.

In an important sense, Mode 2 says, "Why shouldn't I enjoy the subjugation of others? Why should I have to labor when I can make someone else labor for me? Why should I be deprived of the pleasure of watching the hapless be fed to the lions, or of having a subject people have to cast their gaze down and make display of obeisance when I pass? Why shouldn't I enrich the security and prosperity of me and my people by direct application of the sword?"

* Hilariously – or not – when I wrote this, I hadn't yet read this Huffington Post piece which observed:
Like many racial instigators, Trump often answers accusations of bigotry by loudly protesting that he actually loves the group in question. [...] 

Not long before he called for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country, Trump was proclaiming his affection for "the Muslims," disagreeing with rival candidate Ben Carson's claim in September that being a Muslim should disqualify someone from running for president.

"I love the Muslims. I think they're great people," Trump said, insisting that he would be willing to name a Muslim to his presidential cabinet.
I swear, I hadn't heard this.

Siderea (siderea) wrote, 

[psych/anthro/soc, cur ev, Patreon] The Two Moral Modes, Part 3

[Read in black and white]

[Continued from Part 2]

People functioning in Mode 2 are often fiercely jealous of what they see as their prerogative to subjugate others. If you make your living in the world by subjugating others, well, yes, threat to your prerogative to subjugate others is a threat to your livelihood, and an existential threat.

People have literally gone to war to protect their presumed right to subjugate other humans and keep them captive as livestock. I'm not talking wars of conquest with the purpose of subjugating those attacked. Almost three-hundred thousand Americans went to their graves for that cause, calling it self-determination, in one four year period alone – and, apparently, the vast majority of those who died for that cause had never and would never in their lives the economic and social privilege necessary to actually enjoy their treasured right to own people. Merely the principle of the thing, the principle that they were entitled to subjugate a population of their fellow humans, to exploit them as a natural resource, to base their society's economy on that exploitation of a subjugated people, was so dear to them they would fight and die for it – in staggering numbers. Somewhere between 750,000 and 1,000,000 Americans took up arms for that principle. [Wikipedia]

This problem hasn't gone away.

When people functioning in Mode 2 are enjoined to move to Mode 1, they resist, often indignantly, because by the terms of Mode 2, they're being deprived of their liberty.

There's a thing said in social justice circles, when the privileged cry that they're being treated unfairly, that the privileged often have become so habituated to their privilege, fairness, when it comes at last, feels unfair to them. That is, that the privileged are mistaken, and what they're mistaken about is fairness.

I think that's a real thing and really happens. But it's a thing that mostly happens to people in Mode 1. It's people who are in Mode 1 who think of fairness as something that is owed to all humans, universally. A person who considers fairness a bedrock moral principle for interpersonal conduct is then in a position to attempt to do fairness but get it wrong, for whatever reasons, such as being mistaken about things.

There's a difference between not being fair because one attempted fairness but got it wrong, and not being fair because one doesn't think fairness is required of one. Someone operating in Mode 2 does not object to the Mode 1 idea of extending fairness to all people because they're unclear as to what would be fair. They don't care what would be fair. Because Mode 2 morality says that fairness is simply not pertinent in this case, and that they're entitled not to have to be "fair".

Look at it this way. It probably has never occurred to you, personally, to go someplace far away, where the laws of your country which frown on such things don't extend, and kidnap someone, or several someones, for your personal use: to sell, to exploit for free labor, to torment for kicks and giggles. The idea is beyond bizarre. Quite aside from the "why would you want to" and "wow that sounds like a lot of work and dangerous because people don't usually cooperate with kidnapping" issues, there's the "holy crap why would you ever think that was an okay thing to do to someone else" issue, the "that's super illegal for a reason" issue, the "wow that is evil" problem. Of course you wouldn't do that: the notion is repugnant to the point of absurdity. If you're operating in Mode 1, it's so beyond the horizon of anything your moral sensibilities suggest is even remotely acceptable in interpersonal conduct, that it simply has never come up to be considered, much less rejected.

But people did this. Actual human beings actually did this, in great numbers. And people continue to do this, and various variations on it. It behooves us to ask What were they thinking, that they thought this was an okay thing to do? and any answer we venture to that had better be pretty robust.

The "they just acted that way because they didn't know better" argument is akin to the explanation of people resisting increased social justice because they have miscalibrated fairness. People in Mode 1 like it because it jibes with their introspection, because they think it's charitable ("they're not evil, they're mistaken and haven't had a chance to be good yet"), because it's self-congratulatory teleological-supremacist ("we can't expect past-people to be as morally enlightened as we now-people are"), and most of all because it's trivial and suggests a trivial remedy ("once they know better they'll stop").

And you know, there's people for whom that's reasonably true. And I'm not saying that education has no place in contesting Mode 2. But I don't think any of us can realistically argue that anybody today hasn't heard of the gospel of, e.g., Racism is Bad Mkay? or Thou Shalt Not Commit Genocide. People in Mode 1 persisting in believing that the Mode 2 functioning people around them just haven't heard of Mode 1 are the direct secular analogs of the sort of evangelical Christian who starts their pitch, "I bet nobody's ever told you that Jesus died for your sins."

Indeed – speaking of Christianity – one of the reasons that you can be reasonably sure that anybody in the West who is functioning in Mode 2 already knows about Mode 1, which, you'll recall, is the mode of You Have To Be Moral To Everybody Because Universal Brotherhood of Man, is because Christianity is militantly Mode 1. Mode 2 flies right in the face of Christianity.

In fact, all three of the big Abrahamic monotheisms look like Mode 1 attempts to channel, subvert, and generally manage Mode 2 morality.

Judaism teaches 1b, as if it were saying, "Okay, yes, if you want to special moral responsibilities to other in-group members, we can do that, but there has to be a floor, okay? There has to be a basic set of moral rules that pertain to everybody, whether or not they're in-group or out-group." Additionally, Judaism developed this clever idea that members have a moral responsibility to their god and their fellow in-group members to not treat out-group members poorly, because it is embarrassing, and tends to lead to violent reprisal that puts one's co-religionists at risk.

Christianity and Islam subvert (or attempt to) Mode 2 morality, by simultaneously teaching that (1) all co-religionists are to be regarded as in-group for purposes of Mode 2, (2) it is a moral obligation upon the faithful to get out-group members to join the religion, (3) it is forbidden to exclude anybody from the religion. It's as if they say, "Okay, sure, we can constrain moral responsibility to an in-group... but that moral responsibility includes inviting/recruiting everyone in the world to join our in-group."

Christianity and Islam can be seen as pro-Mode 1 hacks on Mode 2 morality, wherein, instead of confronting Mode 2 directly, in-group and out-group distinctions are allowed to persist, but are pragmatically defeated by designating (hypothetically, at least) all people part of the in-group. 
Obviously, this doesn't always work (q.v. history) and also there's some serious problems with making joining a religion a pre-condition of being treated as a person with any sort of human rights. I give them credit for trying.

We might imagine that the idea underlying such a hack is the hypothesis that what distinguishes Mode 1 and Mode 2 morality is conduct in the presence of the out-group, so one could induce Mode 2 functioning people to behave in a way congruent with Mode 1 by eliminating the out-group. Unfortunately there's two big problems with that.

The first is that the out-group isn't necessarily too keen on being eliminated.

The second is that that hypothesis is wrong. What distinguishes Mode 1 and Mode 2 moral functioning is not just conduct in the presence of the out-group.

In Mode 2, the in-group isn't too keen on the out-group being eliminated, either.

Well-meaning Mode 1 functioning anti-oppression liberals attempt to explain the behavior and mentality of people who are prejudicial and oppressive by assuming that being prejudicial and oppressive are results following from certain negative feelings or beliefs the oppressive are assumed to have about those they oppress.

Under such logic, male supremacism is a product of men believing false things of women or hating women; and white supremacism is a product of white people being mistaken about, e.g., black people or having feelings of contempt or fear of black people; and homophobia is a product of straight people thinking incorrect things about gay people or having irrational disgust towards them; etc.

It's understandable why well-meaning Mode 1 functioning anti-oppression liberals would think that.

For one thing, we attempt to understand others by introspection. If one only sees the world through the glasses of Mode 1, when one asks oneself "What would lead me to treat others that way", the obvious answers are things like "I would have to hate or fear someone very badly, or be very badly confused to think that it was okay to treat them like that."

For another, it's how people functioning in Mode 2 explain themselves to Mode 1 terms.

In a society dominated by a Mode 1 religion – Christianity – you can't come out and actually admit, "I don't think 'love your neighbor as yourself' applies to [group]". You have to have an excuse. "Well, sure, 'love your neighbor as yourself' – but Jews killed Jesus. And Muslims are in our holy land. And if we don't keep blacks in their place, they'll rape our women. Queers will rape our sons – but we love the sinner, just hate the sin. We only beat our children because we love them; same as our women, who can't help being innately immoral. Commies are atheists and will destroy our way of life. The poor will out-breed us if we don't starve them." Etc, etc, etc.

But that's all they are: excuses. They are meant to justify that for which people in Mode 2 have a very different pre-existing motivation. That's why these sorts of reasons multiply so rapidly, and are so often so stupid, and yet maintained so ardently.

In Mode 2, feelings of animosity and prejudices don't precede the inclination to subjugate others. They follow from it.

In Mode 2, the subjugation of others doesn't follow from prejudices about others or thinking the others are bad people, or being frightened of the others, or hating the others. In Mode 2, the subjugation of others is seen as an obvious good, either because it materially elevates the fortunes of one's own group, or because it's intrinsically pleasing, and because there's nothing saying it's wrong.

People functioning in Mode 2 see subjugating as a natural behavior any reasonable person might reasonably want to engage in.

Thus, people functioning in Mode 2 want to have people to subjugate – but they're not really fussy whom. It's as if Mode 2 says "Just so long as we have somebody we're entitled to oppress."

The Mode 2 desire to – and entitlement to – go around subjugating others precedes any particular antipathies, animosities, or enmities.

Consider this: to say that white Europeans ventured to Africa to capture or purchase already captured black Africans and transported them in great numbers to labor to death in captivity because white Europeans hated black people, or feared black people, or they thought black people inferior, is obviously absurd, but worse, it's a subtle sort of victim blaming. It locates the cause of white Europeans' subjugation of black Africans in their blackness, as if the reason white Europeans did what they did was because they had some problem with blackness.

Of course not. White Europeans enslaved black Africans because white Europeans wanted to have slaves. They thought it would be nice (for them) to force other people to labor for them for free; to trade, for their enrichment, in human beings as property; to live as a kind of superior class and enjoy lording the power of life and death over a great population of others.

That is: all the same reasons white Europeans had been enslaving and otherwise subjugating all the other people they subjugated. (Were you unaware that Europeans enslaved people of other races?)

It had nothing to do with what white Europeans thought about black Africans. It had everything to do with white Europeans' entitlement – their entitlement to subjugate.

This is one of the places where the thing I discussed, above, about being confusing "hate" and "reviling" really matters. If you hate or fear someone, if they disgust you, you probably don't want them around. Your natural inclination will be to avoid them – to open up all the space you can between them and you. But people functioning in Mode 2 feel entitled to have victims. They feel so entitled to have victims to subjugate they will cross oceans to acquire them. They will import them by the millions.

They don't want the people they subjugate to go away, because then they wouldn't have them to oppress. To put it crudely, people functioning in Mode 2 don't want those they subjugate to go away, because then whom would they have to kick around?

For this reason, not only will Mode 2 functioning people resist giving up their putative prerogative to subjugate others, they will also resist the above-described Mode 1 project of trying to manage Mode 2 by getting all humanity into the Mode 2 in-group. They will resist not having an out-group. "You can't leave us with nobody to subjugate! That's not fair!"

We can imagine Mode 1 and Mode 2 in dialog. When Mode 1 says, "okay, we won't ask you to extend morality to interactions with out-group members, but we insist you have a moral responsibility to the in-group to try to get as many out-group members as possible – ideally all of them – to join the in-group", Mode 2 replies, "WAIT A MINUTE, if everyone's in the in-group, then whom do we get to pick on, as an out-group?!"

At this point Mode 1 can do two things. One is to stand up straight, look Mode 2 in the eye, and say, "NO ONE. PSYCH! AHAHAHAHA! SUCKS TO BE YOU. NO MORE SUBJUGATING, KTHXBYE."

Mode 1 wrings its hands, and says, "But Siderea, if we did that, wouldn't Mode 2 just blow us off?"

Yes, Mode 1, they totally would.

"But we can't do that!"

Well, the alternative is to say, "Oh, er, I'm sure we'll come up with someone...." and string them along with promises that there will be somebody, soon, that you'll throw, as it were, to the wolves of Mode 2.

Quite aside from the fact that sacrificing a sub-population to buy off another sub-population with their blood is, from the Mode 1 morality point of view, entirely immoral and deeply evil, there's the problem with that plan: Mode 2 will eventually figure it out. Mode 2 will get very, very, very cranky that they keep getting promised that they'll get to have victims to subjugate, but nobody ever delivers.

And the first time a politician shows up and demonstrates that he gets Mode 2, and seems totally willing to actually give Mode 2 what it wants...?

Let me stop here and address some questions and reservations you may have.

I have been scrupulous in discussing Mode 1 and Mode 2 as ways people function, as opposed to ways people are, or as types of people.

I do not know whether functioning in Mode 1 and/or Mode 2 is in any way essential, or necessary, or fundamental to how a person is or thinks or behaves. I do not know whether people can change between Mode 1 and Mode 2, though I think people can move from Mode 2 to Mode 1 – I'm not certain of that though.

I don't know if predilection for functioning in one or the other mode is born into someone; I don't know if it's carved into us by our early life experiences. I do know that culture teaches us, or tries to teach us, which is the right way to be, and I see what seems to be evidence in history that it can work – I think we great mass of Mode 1 functioning people, today, are evidence of that, because I don't think there has, in three thousand years of Western history been such widespread acceptance and endorsement of Mode 1 as we see today.

I don't know if white people of European ancestry are any more or less prone to Mode 2 thinking than any other people on earth. To a great extent, I don't care. As a Mode 1 supporter, I view arguments about the comparative moral merits of Westerners with the jaundiced eye that recognizes in them the venerable rhetorical fallacy argumentum ad but mooooooooom everybody else is doing it. I am far more interested in how Mode 1 and Mode 2 moral functioning play out within Western culture, than how cultures compare.

I invoke the historical patterns of subjugation perpetrated by white people (especially straight, able-bodied, male people) of European ancestry, not because I think they are particularly historically terrible or condemnable in comparison with any other people on earth (though equally, I do not know that they are not), but because, for one thing, it is the corpus of examples that are most familiar to me, and, I expect, my readership, and, for another even more important thing, I am dealing with living in a country where, holy crap, check out what those white people of European ancestry are up to.

Which is where we started with all this: the great and terrifying mass of Americans who think Trump is just wonderful.

I am an unabashed partisan of Mode 1. Today, I am not grading on a curve. I don't care whether the people of the US are more or less given to subjugate than anybody else on earth; I care whether the people of the US are adequately non-subjugating to my tastes. I hope to convince you that they are not adequately non-subjugating to your tastes, either.

I wish to stress that I am not saying that sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc. do not exist. Nor am I saying that they exist only as manifestations of Mode 2.They can be primary. They can be primary in both Mode 1 and Mode 2 functioning people. But they look different when they are.

People can -- and do -- have prejudices, biases conscious and unconscious, empathy gaps, and failures to recognize their privileges regardless of which Mode they're functioning in. We can imagine someone who is functioning in Mode 2, who has various prejudicial notions about various ethnic minorities, but has targeted one in particular, or "foreigners", or "terrorists". Indeed, this may explain "model minorities".

Usually explanations of the model minorities phenomenon attribute their model minority status to some property of the minority in question; it strikes me as likely more fruitful to ask what it is about the oppressing majority that causes them to sort minorities this way. Perhaps America's model minorities are those ethnicities about which the white US majority still has prejudices and biases about, but which the covert Mode 2 faction allows into the Mode 2 in-group on sufferance, so long as the covert Mode 2 faction can continue to keep African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos in the out-group as designated victims. Thus people in model minorities in the US would encounter various amounts of discrimination, exclusion, bias, empathy gaps, and so forth – the casual, unintended, and even unconscious racism that arises from ignorance and implicit cultural messages, and which afflicts both Mode 1 and Mode 2 people – but would be spared the entitled subjugation other racial minorities are marked for.

This brings us to another of the interesting consequences of this model. To people functioning in Mode 2, it matters a lot what groups you are and are not in. Membership in demographics becomes hugely important – literally life-and-death important – and very fraught. Other people have opinions as to what groups you "really" belong to, q.v. "one-drop rule".

Under these circumstances, there's a motivation for those in the in-group to shove fellow in-group members back out over the membership boundary: if they're rendered an outsider, you are permitted to subjugate them. This is true on the scale of an individual, where discrediting someone's claim to in-group membership might effectively authorize you to kill them and take their stuff, as well as on the scale of whole groups, where the re-designation of a demographic as out-group could mean you get to kill any of them and take their stuff.

In a society in which Mode 2 is the predominant way morality works, identity and membership and the status of groups can become – or perhaps often are – highly contested. How safe a person is in that society from fellow members turning on them has a lot to do with how secure their identity claims are. And people who have the power to determine other people's identities have a lot of power.

Which, when you think about it, is something we still see in our society, despite the ostensible dominance of Mode 1: it's great that we have anti-discrimination laws, but unfortunately we need them for a reason. As I described above, people functioning in Mode 2 aren't inclined to cede what they see as their prerogative to subjugate.

So far, I've been discussing in-groups and out-groups as if one has a single, unitary identity, but of course that's false. We all have a great number of identities. We belong not to a single group, but reside in the intersections of overlapping and nested groups, both groups that have entitativity and simple demographic commonalities. We live in neighborhoods which are within municipalities within local regions within states within national regions; we belong to families and faiths and ethnicities and subcultures and classes and genders and political movements and sexual orientations and on and on.

This of course greatly complexifies things in some ways. But in others, the effect isn't very complicated: there are just more fault-lines along which to knap off subjugatable sub-populations, and the odds that any given individual can be construed as being in some out-group or another go way up.

One of the things that the reality of immanent intersectionality complexifies is keeping track of who's on whose side.

Just today, apparently Trump had a little goof with regard to how subjugatable women are or are not to his base. Some clever person asked him on the record whether he thought women who got abortions should be punished for it, and he answered in the affirmative. This, it turns out, was the wrong answer, even by "pro-life" standards. Women are supposed to mostly be on the in-group – heaven knows, he isn't going to win without 51% of the electorate – so it's just "abortion doctors" that it's okay to punish. Somebody clued him in and he walked back his original statement.

Folks in Mode 2 are keen to bewail "political correctness" as an imposition of Mode 1 poopy-heads, but really, it's just a basic exigency of functioning in Mode 2 that you need to be political: you have to keep track of a vast profusion of teams and players. Mode 2 requires a lot of political savvy and diplomatic skills just to manage all the information about who it is okay to try to subjugate and who it is not, and who is allied with whom and who is not as defenseless as they seem.

Frankly one of the reasons I'm so down with Mode 1 is sheer laziness. That shit was fine playing the occasional spy-thriller LARP, but I don't want to live that way.

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