There are many divides in the world right now. But there’s one divide, deeply embedded into the core of human nature, that helps explain many other divides. What I’m referring to is a source of human personality variation that is built right into our DNA: antagonism. By really zooming in on this trait, and understanding how antagonism interacts with environmental conditioning and messaging, we can gain a greater understanding of one of the most prominent divides in the world today: populism.
Perhaps the most important interaction in the world today, however, is that between antagonism and populism. The core feature of populism is an anti-establishment message and a focus on the central importance of the people. The anti-establishment message portrays the political elite as corrupt and evil, and disinterested in the interests of “the pure people.” According to John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, the essential divide among populists is “the people versus the powerful.”
In a recent series of studies, political communication professor Bert Bakker and his colleagues conducted the largest and most systematic investigation into the question: What happens when antagonistic citizens receive an anti-establishment message? They found strong support for the notion that the anti-establishment message of populists resonates the most with highly antagonistic people. This finding was confirmed in seven countries across three different continents. Antagonism predicted support for populists for both right-wing (Trump, UKIP, Danish People’s Party, Party for Freedom, SVP) and left-wing (Podemos, Chavez) populists. Scott Barry Kaufman, “The Personality Trait That Is Ripping America (and the World) Apart” at Scientific American
This isn’t science; it is a political harangue, aimed at people who would be insulted if the same terms were applied to them. But science media seem to bde losing the ability to distinguish, which will make them less useful as sources of information about science.
For what it is worth, the main driver of populism today is the fact that top-down bureaucratic policies often don’t work out for voters, prompting big upsets in the polls. That happened in Canada’s two biggest provinces this year, Ontario and Quebec. The election of populist governments usually means that numerous bureaucrats are looking for new employment, which means that we will hear from their cronies that society is going downhill in the most awful way. And new terms like “antagonism” (a 2019s Word of the Year hopeful?) do sound more educated than mere whining would.
Note: Re the “past lives,” as explained earlier to a commenter, consider the statement from the “past lives” paper: “Among children who report memories of a previous life, gender nonconformity is strongly associated with a purported life as a member of a different sex. This association may offer insights into contributors to gender nonconformity in children who do not express such memories.”
The most likely explanation is that the children in question are highly suggestible. But that account of the situation, however well-evidenced and clinically fruitful, won’t validate transgenderism. Quite the opposite; it implies that transgenderism too is an elaborate fantasy.
But whoops, transgenderism is a Big Cause now, as Nature amply demonstrates. The transgender lobby explicitly seeks validation of beliefs, not an adequate account of them. One politically correct outcome of their demands can be that past lives research is tacitly accepted in science journals as part of the acceptance of transgenderism if that’s what the lobby wants.
We shall see. As they used to say, he who dines with the devil must have a long spoon. And too many of the people we are encountering seem to be eating with their fingers.
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See also: Science journal embraces reincarnation research in support of transgender ideology
Sceptic asks, why do people who abandon religion embrace superstition? Belief in God is declining and belief in ghosts and witches is rising