Furthest Right

Culture Creates Cooperation

One of our enduring themes here has been the competition between the intuitive, organic, and structural understanding of life versus the world of categories, rules, and measurements. The latter limits the former, and the former expands the latter to the point where it loses control.

Organic forces like biology and culture expand outward through a process of division and combination like a sine wave stretching through time, showing that nature explores variation incessantly and keeps only what endures. Culture endures because it has both practical and transcendent unity.

This gives rise to, instead of a binary individualistic morality, a functional morality based on what strengthens the group and therefore raises the value of the position of the individual within it:

According to the theory of “Morality-as-Cooperation”, morality is a collection of cooperative rules that help humans work together, keep the peace, and promote the common good.

Curry has argued that there are (at least) seven distinct types of cooperation: (1) the allocation of resources to kin; (2) coordination to mutual advantage; (3) social exchange; and conflict resolution through contests featuring (4) hawkish displays of dominance and (5) dovish displays of deference; (6) division of disputed resources; and (7) recognition of prior possession.

[E]ach of these types of cooperation gives rise to a corresponding type of morality: (1) family values, (2) group loyalty, (3) reciprocity, (4) heroism, (5) deference, (6) fairness, and (7) property rights.

These correspond reasonably well to the work of Jonathan Haidt, who found a moral matrix of six factors, three of which are relevant only to conservatives:

The current American culture war can be seen as arising from the fact that Liberals try to create a morality using only the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity modules; conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all five modules, including Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity.

Individualist morality consists of symbolic value pairs that make the individual feel safer and more relevant, which is the only existential expression of power. Functionalist morality consists of a question of results to the order larger than the individual and the individual as well.

Some theorists have postulated a family-like basis to these values systems:

Moral Politics Theory (Lakoff, 1996) holds that political attitudes arise from moral worldviews that are conceptually anchored in contrasting family models—the strict-father and nurturant-parent models—while the political middle is morally “biconceptual,” endorsing both models simultaneously.

Overall, we found support for each of MPT’s assertions, suggesting that an important aspect of the conceptual and experiential basis of people’s political attitudes lies in the strict-father and nurturant-parent family models.

In other words, the Leftist approach takes the nurturant-parent approach that makes the individual feel better, while conservatives approach from the strict-father perspective that defends the order of the family by making it consistent with the rules of nature and the wider world even while defending against those.

As we attempt to reconstruct organic culture, it makes sense to realize that it can exist only in one of these viewpoints. Symbolic morality reflects the individual and fears of groups of individuals, but functionalist morality reveals what holds them together and allows them to function as a unity.

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