Vonnegut on Partisanship

kurt_vonnegut
The line of thought that Kurt Vonnegut describes on p. 27 of Breakfast of Champions isn’t true of all people, but it is still distressingly common.

Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.

There is a good reason why Vonnegut’s depressing observation is true. Humans evolved as a tribal species, and we haven’t quite grown out of it yet. This is one reason an immigration debate still exists, even though economists decided the issue more than two centuries ago. More to the point, agreeing or disagreeing with people for merit-unrelated reasons is one way that people define their in-groups and out-groups.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s