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Well, it’s apparently official. Those special people who consider the species as a whole do nothing for our downstairs parts.
According to the moral barometer of our time, America, no-one wants to bang a do-gooder.
Neuroscientist Molly Crockett conducted several studies to that end, suggesting that we strongly prefer deontologists (those who mostly do good for those that we know), viewing them as more moral and trustworthy than consequentialists (those who operate toward the greater good).
But, does that mean we’re just selfish? Probably. Should we mistrust the altruistic wholesale? Maybe.
In conversation with Vox, Crockett said that “When it comes to dilemmas, we find that generally people strongly favour nonconsequentialist social partners. We trust people a lot more if they say it’s not okay to sacrifice one person to save many others.”
Read: People are mostly interested in someone who is focused on their problems, not the prototypical addled urchin in the third world.
But is it our problem with them, or are they the problem? According to the work of Stanford psychologist Benoit Monin, we’re the problem…with them.
Crockett puts it thusly: “(Monin) essentially showed exactly what you predict, which is that people feel less warm toward people who are extremely moral and altruistic. His studies showed that the extent to which people dislike vegetarians is related to their own feelings of moral conflict around eating animals.”
I’m amazed that we manage to breed at all.