How can something as seemingly trivial as a mask divide us so deeply?

It’s all about our moral matrix. Here’s a previous show we did that includes more information in the web post, including links to Jonathan Haidt‘s book The Righteous Mind, our episode on the Elephant and Rider metaphor, and more.

So, how many of you guys have just fricking had it with the amount of conflict that is going on because of COVID-19. So, recall COVID-19 becomes a thing, the next thing you know, within seconds it’s deeply politicized. So, family members are at each other’s throats. Everyone online is hating everyone else. Are masks good or are they the devil? Is a lockdown good? Is it a disaster? Does the economy matter? Do people matter? Is there a difference? All these questions we see all the time, it’s polarized across the Cable News Networks, which are designed to polarize us, and in social media which is designed to polarize us.

And so what I wanna talk about today is, why is it that good people on different sides of these issues can continue to be good people doing what they think is right while hating the other side and villainizing them, and how we can transcend this to actually be better citizens, more productive, less angry, and actually have debates instead of shutting down debates saying, okay, let’s actually talk about this. Because we’re all gonna assume that we’re coming from a place where we wanna do good in the world.

Now, there are always exceptions on the fringes to that. So, I’ll just put that out there right now that you’ll have psychopaths, you’ll have extremists who are so entrenched that you cannot reach them. But in general, most Americans just really want what’s best for their families, their communities and their country, right? Can we agree on that? So, if we believe that, let’s start with a basic premise. Jonathan Haidt, who’s a psychologist, quite famous guy, recently did another Sam Harris podcast episode. I cite his work of “Elephant and Rider,” elephant being our unconscious emotional mind and rider being our conscious strategizing, planning mind that’s much smaller and newer to the scene.

Well, it turns out humans are not rational creatures. We are emotional, moralizing creatures. What that means is there’s lots of evidence, and he lays this out in his book, “The Righteous Mind” that humans are actually born with a kind of moral sense, a moral matrix. And he posits that actually all humans pretty much have a similar palette or taste buds for morality that are like five or six different things. And I’m just going to pull up your your comments here and on my laptop so I have them while we’re talking. Excellent, there we go.

And these are the following, so, one sense of morality that we have is around care versus harm. So, do we care and show compassion for fellow people? And how far does that compassion extend? Is it just me? Is it my family? Is it my tribe? Is it my state? Is it my community? Is it the globe? Is it all conscious creatures? So, that’s one particular taste bud, care versus harm. And that’s very, very important. And when you look at how people think about this pandemic, it really kind of stratifies a lot on care versus harm.

So, on the left, people who tend to have a more left leaning elephant tend to really value care versus harm in a certain way. Like how compassionate can we be to immigrants. to the poor, to people who are disadvantaged, other races, others in general, right? So, that’s a particular thing. When you look at what’s happening with COVID-19, when you look at masks for example, or lockdowns for example, you really weaponize care versus harm and you really jazz it up because people start, their moral sense gets really outraged if they feel that people are behaving in a way that is gonna harm others. So, we can talk about masks in a second because we wanna fill in the moral palette so that we can understand why it is people go so nuts about the whole mask thing.

So, the second moral taste bud, that we’ll talk about is fairness versus cheating. So this is another sense that everybody’s born with and everybody has different flavors of these tastes buds. Like some people like sweet, some people like salt, we can taste all the flavors, but we value some more than others. Savory versus… you know, that’s the analogy you make. But in morality and in how our elephant works, our unconscious mind, right? That is conditioned and somewhat genetic, but can be trained with a lot of work and it’s a lot of work.

We have this sort of matrix of morality. So, fairness versus cheating is one that is very acutely felt both on the left and the right. The left sees fairness versus cheating in the terms of how can a rich guy like Trump not wear a mask and everyone else has to wear a mask. Or how is it that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poor? This isn’t fair. How is it the rich can cut in line at Disneyland, whatever it is, fairness versus cheating. But on the right , that same moral sense is valued quite highly, but it’s seen as how is it that someone doesn’t work and gets welfare? How is it that someone who hasn’t built a business and isn’t employing people can tell us what to do with jobs. You see what I’m saying? So, how you sort of interpret that is kind of your own personal spin on how you taste that morality. Now each of these, each of these senses, none is more right than the other in an absolute sense. They’re different emphases and different flavors of morality.

So, we have a care versus harm, fairness versus cheating. So what’s next? If you think about… Sorry, I’m just making sure your comments are coming. Here we go. Ashley Stewart’s here, “I really need to listen “to that podcast with John Haidt. “I keep getting distracted.” Exactly, it’s great. He’s fantastic. I’ve invited him on the podcast multiple times. He has directly blown me off because he goes on much bigger podcasts and good for him because he does such a great job. He’s a personal intellectual hero of mine. If anyone knows him, tell him he needs to come on my show.

The third moral tastes bud I wanna talk about, and then we’re gonna tie this into COVID-19, okay is… And again, this is a way you can understand that crazy uncle that you disagree with his politics. Understand that this comes from a sense of his moral matrix, his moral taste buds and how he values them. So, the third one is loyalty versus betrayal. Now this is a fascinating one because a lot of times we think of loyalty as in-group versus out-group. So, a more right leaning version of that is, Hey, it’s our community versus immigrants and others who would come in and disrupt our tradition and that sort of thing, right? On the left it’s more, hey, are you loyal to these sort of the ideology and the dogma of the left? And this is where dogma comes into it.

It’s true on the right too. Are you a party line person? And if you’re not, what happens to you now on Twitter? You get canceled. So, social media has weaponized loyalty versus subversion. If you say something out of sync, you are gonna get sunk by your own people. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to Sam Harris, it’s happened to John Haidt. They all get attacked for saying things that are outside of the orthodoxy of whatever their sub-group they’re supposed to be in. And generally with intellectual elites, it’s often on the left.

And that’s where I lived for a long time until I escaped from the matrix and was able to see all of it and go, “Wait, there’s validity everywhere.” And not only that, but now I can speak a language and connect with people that otherwise I had villainized out of ignorance, right? So, this idea of loyalty versus subversion is gonna come back because now if you’re talking about COVID, when we talk about anything that deviates from the orthodoxy of your side. Like if you’re in healthcare, if you say, “You know what? “I think masks don’t have a lot of evidence behind them. “I’m not sure why we’re pushing them so hard.” Oh, good luck to you. You are gonna get devastated, right? Or if you’re on the right and you say, “I think aggressive lockdowns are gonna probably “save a lot of lives. “Maybe will do those and we should mask up.” The right’s gonna be like, “What’s wrong with you?”

Right, and I’ll turn and say, and I’ll tell you why, because of the next taste bud, Liberty versus oppression. This is one of my favorites because this is very, it’s a very strong sense in me. And it’s something that I value. So, I always see the world slightly biased through Liberty versus oppression. So, this idea that we’re free to make decisions. That people aren’t telling us what to do versus whether it’s a state, whether it’s a family member, whether it’s part of your own tribe pushing back on you and telling you how to live your life, or how to think. People rebel against that, who value this particular thing. Now, this is where the mask controversy really lights up because if you talk about masks, right?

Okay, let’s assume that there’s good science for masks, which there isn’t. Let’s assume that there is, in other words, the science hasn’t been decided yet. It’s still evolving as is all of this. There’s some data supporting it, and then there’s a lot of absence of data so we don’t really know. And there’s some data saying people touch their face more if you wear a mask. Now, which data you pick depends on where your moral matrix sit. You will pick data to support what your elephant already believes morally. So, if Liberty versus oppression is an important one for you, what that says is, “I am not gonna let anyone tell me that I have “to wear a mask on a outdoor trail system or in a store.” Forget the fact that if it’s a store’s policy, they’re a private business, and they have the Liberty to behave how they like.

But the point is people will really, really push back against masks if they have a strong Liberty versus oppression. And this goes for guns and this goes for anti-vaxxers. You can’t tell me what to put in my body, right? Now, I’m not painting this as a negative. I’m saying this is a moral palette. So, with masks, and this tends to… again, it’s across the political spectrum, but on the right there’s more of this, “Hey, you don’t tell me how to behave. “This is a free country. “I’m gonna do what I want to do.” But then you have the left really valuing this care versus harm and looking at that and going, “But you’re harming people “because you’re not wearing a mask. “You’re getting up in people’s face. You’re protesting in a state Capitol “and getting in people’s face without a mask. “You’re harming others, and that’s where your Liberty ends.”

Now, this is where everybody… If you think of it like a one of those little graphic equalizers, these different moral flavors are bouncing up and down and people are feeling them in different ways. And you have to understand that the way that Joe feels that moral palette is gonna be very different than the way Jane over here feels that moral palette. And the fact is, since they’re not thinking about the other person’s moral palette, by default they’re in battle mode. This person is immoral in my mind, therefore an enemy and other, and they need to be demonized. Loyalty versus betrayal.

Now, when we’re thinking about this, let’s think about another moral taste bud, authority versus subversion. So authority, meaning you listen to the law, you respect the hierarchy, right? And people who don’t respect the hierarchy are subverting it. Well , so this is interesting. So both political sides have hierarchies. The left likes to say that they’re subversive and they do this, but the right has its own conspiratorial subversion arm. So, conspiracy theorists are trying to subvert the authority structure. They find that moral taste bud to swing towards subversion. It’s more important to fear authority and subvert it because Liberty versus oppression is higher, right?

So, now you start to see, okay, how could it be that really people who are trying to be good, who are conditioned a certain way, have a different moral matrix than you could see the same piece of news and the same newscast completely differently, and entirely differently based on what their moral palette is. By the way, the last moral taste bud per se, is sanctity versus degradation. Now, this is an interesting one. Sanctity meaning it can mean many different things, but it’s a kind of a disgust reaction to certain behaviors. Uncleanliness, certain beliefs, certain foods, right? And that disgust reaction is built into us because it keeps us safe from poison and things that are harmful. But it can be applied to other aspects.

So, a sanctity versus degradation may be a religious thing. It could be that people who really don’t like masks could have this feeling that, “The mask is gross. “I don’t like it on my face. “I’m breathing in my own CO2.” Whereas someone who feels masks are very helpful, there’s a disgust reaction to breathing in someone else’s germs or accidentally harming someone else with their own germs. And that disgust reaction causes them to wear a mask. So, you can actually have different actions, different beliefs based on the same moral taste bud, but how you value it and how you interpret it. And this is why people are so politically divided because they don’t realize that the other side is just as moral. They just have a different taste palette, different matrix than you do.

And the problem is when we wall ourselves off into our own moral matrix and ignore the other side, don’t listen to them and then start to treat them as others, start to demonize them and then weaponize what we’ve evolved to do, which is attacks on our beliefs or those of our tribe are felt, verbal attacks are felt as physical. If you look at fMRI, the same parts of the brain that light up if you’re physically attacked, light up if your beliefs are attacked. Well, now you weaponize that with social media which creates echo chambers. Facebook is the worst for this by the way. But Twitter, YouTube , it doesn’t matter, it will send you down your own echo chamber and the other side is villainized.

And look, I learned this myself when I was in the echo chamber. I was in the liberal echo chamber coming from the Bay Area, moved to Las Vegas, started doing a lot of ZDoggMD stuff and would say things that I thought everyone must agree with because I’m in this bubble. And people would push back and be like, “What do you mean? “That’s completely stupid? “Why would you say that you’re an a-hole?” And I’m like, “What?” And I started to realize because my own moral bubble was not challenged by outside belief, even though I grew up in a very conservative part of the country, central Valley of California, and my parents are quite conservative. And so it took me understanding John Haidt sort of premise to wake up and go, “Oh, wait.”

And you know what happens, something magical, you listen to the other side and you go, “You know what? “They have good points on a lot of things.” “They’re coming from a good place “and these are good people. “How was I villainizing them? You would judge someone based on their politics or whatever they post on Facebook or whatever, and that’s the normal default reaction. But we’re better than that, It’s the 21st century. We can’t get beyond this. We’ve gotten worse because of social media. We’ve gotten worse because the game on social media is not to find truth, is to score points against the enemy. So you, your own tribe, loyalty versus betrayal, your own tribe rallies around and you score points. You get more followers of your own kind. I’m guilty of this, every time I attack the anti-vaccine people, I’m growing my own tribe and outraging the other side. Now, I’ve gave reasons for why I do that and we do plenty of stuff where we’re talking to people who are more on the fence and we’re trying to rationally discuss it.

And I’ve always made the statement that I actually understand the average anti-vaxxers moral palette, Liberty versus oppression, sanctity versus degradation. “My body is a temple. “How dare you inject toxins in it?” Right? Care versus harm. The pro-vaxxers will say, “You’re harming people “that have nothing to do with you through your actions.” Whereas the anti-vaxxers will take care versus harm and say, “You’re harming my child with your “one size fits all.” So, if you can understand the other side, then you can more effectively actually accept them as human beings and then persuade. If you think you’re right, we’ll then persuade them in a way that’s respectful. It’s very hard to do, but it’s not impossible.

Now, let’s tie this back in to COVID. Since, this thing began, it’s been politically polarized and let’s just look at masks, and you guys know that my elephant is like very high on the Liberty versus oppression, but also high on care versus harm. And I’ve actually done personality tests where I’ve looked at this. I’m extremely disagreeable, but also very high in compassion. So, these things stress me out when they’re in tension, right?

So, with masks it’s interesting like I think if everyone had a surgical mask, even though we don’t have great data that it helps, there’s some anecdote, there’s some correlation. There’s not a lot of, if people are using them correctly and they’re good masks. Okay, compassion says, “You’re gonna harm less people.” Liberty versus oppression says, “Okay, but now you’re “gonna ask me to wear a dumb bandana “that I have no idea how to use. I could potentially harm myself from using it wrong, “touching myself, having false sense of security, “not great data showing that works.” “Well, now you’re infringing on my ability “to go out in the world.” I’m not talking about going into a grocery store. I’m talking about like on public trails and not have to wear a constricting mask when I think the risk is low. But if I even discuss it online, I’m villainized as some kind of anti-science person. Why? Because the majority of healthcare professionals have that care versus harm as a very powerful thing. And they don’t see the Liberty, their Liberty versus oppression is secondary to that.

So, you can’t even have a conversation without being villainized. Loyalty versus betrayal, right? And if you question the dogma, authority versus subversion, you’re branded as an outlier or a renegade or whatever. And actually the conspiracy guys will say, “Well, this is what you’re doing to us. “You’re not letting us speak, “and you’re branding us as some outlier, “but we’re just challenging the dogma.” Well, okay, that’s great. That’s why I think they should have free speech. I don’t think you should censor them, but I think you should counter with good rational, critical thinking, which we’ve talked about. And when you do that…

See, critical thinking should transcend all of this. That’s what we’re trying to grow. Understand we’re humans and we have these values, they’re different across different humans. But you can actually overcome that by growing the rider, the part of your neocortex and frontal cortex that does rational thinking, can appreciate all sides of the story, can weigh the evidence, can recognize its own biases, and can make decisions. So with masks, let’s not shut down good scientific debate. I know really smart scientists who are being shouted down for questioning that dogma. And it’s the same with lockdown stuff, right? So you can say, okay the lockdowns work, they didn’t work. Listen, let’s be honest, we don’t know entirely. Anybody who says they know is trying to sell you something and you shouldn’t trust them. We don’t know. What we do know is we’ve thrown out a lot of critical thinking here and we’re thinking with our elephants. That’s what’s really happening in this COVID crisis. Our elephants have run a muck on both sides of the aisle and down the center, and the critical rational thinking has disappeared.

So this video today is a way of trying to create a structure in our mind of how we can love our fellow Americans who don’t agree with us. How, if you’re a Biden supporter, how can you love a Trump supporter and go, “man, I see their moral matrix. “This is how they feel about the world. “I see it totally differently.” I mean, and that, that’s the thing. You can have the same piece of evidence, the same news cast, the same show, and people with different moral matrices will pull out of them completely different conclusions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each could sit down and go, “Hey Bob, Hey Joe. “Hey Bob, I know my moral palette really values “this and this and this. And when I see this, I just get so outraged that people “are dying because these individuals aren’t willing “to wear a mask or to stay at home or whatever.’` And then Bob can say, “I totally get it. “I can understand why you’d feel that way. ”

As someone who really values liberty versus oppression “and authority versus subversion “and sanctity versus degradation. “I feel like we’ve degraded our sense of tradition, “our culture in America of open freedom and our economy, “which is going to harm lives. “And I feel like that’s why lockdowns aren’t a good idea. “And that’s why I resonate with whatever “Trump is saying right now or “whatever who is ever saying right now?” And they could go, “Oh, I totally get that. “So, I wonder if there’s either a comfortable middle “or there’s any data that we can see that might persuade us “one way or the other regardless “of what our emotion is telling us.” I mean, this is real. Is it a pipe dream?

No, because this is how we used to have conversations on college campuses and in our civil discourse. We don’t have it anymore because that’s not the game anymore. The game now is to score points against an enemy. We are our own worst enemy here in the U.S. we really are. Could you imagine if we could just sit down and have that conversation? This is something that many people don’t… They think I’m crazy when I say this. I love to sit at a dinner table or meet a new person, and immediately talk about religion and politics but those are the two taboos. Why? It’s because I’ve really gotten decent at understanding moral matrices and whatever they say to me, I can actually respond with compassion instead of reactively and with emotion. And it took a lot of practice to do that.

I’m overjoyed when people tell me their stories. Even if I disagree, I pull some wisdom out of it, and I understand who they are from a moral matrix standpoint, a lot of which is beyond their control, by the way. We often don’t choose our moral matrix. It’s conditioned or genetic. There’s a lot of it that is beyond our control. So, we have to love people for who they are. Now, if they’re causing harm in the world, then you push back and you argue, but you do it from a place of love. It’s a huge challenge. I struggle with it a lot. You guys have seen me lose my ish on this show, but in a way, sometimes you have to let your elephant rage and then rein it back in, and talk about why you let it rage, how you let it rage, what was wrong with letting it rage and why you feel better for letting it rage.

We’re human beings in the end, guys. That’s really the bottom line. I hope this was useful. I don’t know. Let’s read some comments. “Preach it,” says Doug Wilson. “Me too, Oh my God, you’re amazing. “Thank you,” Jonny Edwards. I know, right? Talking about religion and politics and that’s the thing, religion is a fascinating one because if you really get to the heart of why people have that, whatever belief they have, you really have to love them. You really do, because they are coming from a place… It took me years to come to this. I used to really look down on people with religious beliefs because again, I was in that same bubble, that atheistic scientific coastal elite bubble. And which by the way is a great bubble to be in. I highly recommended it as your first bubble, but then I think we should transcend whatever bubble we’re in. Having grown up in a very different bubble early on, and chafing against it because my inborn moral palette was a little more care versus harm, fairness versus cheating. And so it was really interesting to just from my own journey to kind of now look back on it and go, “Oh, this is interesting “how this moral palette, “this moral matrix has influenced who I am.” Let’s read some more comments.

Pinned comment, Jesse Truvia, “I watched a man ride his motorcycle down the highway “with his mask on, shaking my head, but no helmet. “So, I guess the possibility “of a crushed skull, not that important.” Right, so what does he value? Right, what does he value? He’s wearing a mask, so he values some degree of care versus harm for others, some degree of maybe for himself, maybe he’s obeying the law about the masks but not the helmet. So, and there can be cognitive and emotional dissonance within an individual for any given thing. It’s really, really interesting. ”

Pinned me some more, Logan, these are great. “Maybe you should go to Washington “and teach them how to work together.” Oh, good luck, Sherry. Washington derives on polarity. We have to transcend it. It’s how are we going to get anything done? It’s it’s not gonna be possible. “What masks studies been well-designed,” Mary Laparod. Not many. And people will share a lot of articles depending on what their biases on masks. And every time I read them, I’m like, I’m not convinced one way or the other. What convinces me about masks more is a more communitarian argument because I do tend to understand that a little bit. I say, okay, let’s say we don’t know, and the precautionary principle says, but it’s safer to use the masks than not. Now we don’t a hundred percent know that’s true because mask can cause harm if done incorrectly. False sense of security, get too close to people, don’t wash your hands, touch the mask, touch your eyes. But let’s say it doesn’t, if that’s true, if we had the resources, everyone should have a couple surgical masks and when they go out to crowded places where social distancing is impossible, if they wore masks, we would bend the reproductive number down and we could really control the virus. So I understand that theoretically, we don’t really have a lot of great data beyond correlation data, looking at what Asia does, and some, you know, little bit of dah, dah, dah, looking at how droplets are spread and that sort of thing. So again, I have to check my own bias, which is, I think the cloth mask thing is a real oppressively bad idea. Now again, and I’ve said some of that may be irrational based on my own elephant, but some of it is just talking to very smart people who understand this stuff and they’re not… Again, if you’re going to do masks, we should’ve done it very early with real masks. We didn’t have real masks, and that’s I think part of the problem. I think the powers that be would have said everybody should wear a mask if we had enough PPE, but they did not want to deprive frontline healthcare professionals, which absolutely is appropriate not to do. So again, you can imagine the difficult situations these public health officials are in. And that’s another thing we should have compassion for these guys. It’s easy to take a dump on them, right? Because we get to hear different things all the time. This is a brand new thing, we don’t understand what’s going on.

And you know, when John Haidt was talking with Sam Harris, Sam Harris has a moral palette that is very, “I need to be right.” I’ve noticed this. And John Haidt’s moral palette is more, “Hey, I kind of understand moral palettes.” And so they were talking about this and Sam said, “Well, you know, if people just realize that if you stay home.” And John said, “But Sam, the thing is we don’t really know. “Let’s be honest, the data is still forthcoming. “We’re not sure how to handle this.” And that’s why people will look at, well, is it Sweden? Is it Denmark? Is it the U.S? Is the great Britain? Is it Taiwan? Who’s got the right model? And we just don’t know, and so we have to admit that and understand, okay, let’s try to get more data. Good, quality evidence that is agnostic to moral palette.

Okay, Donna Wofford has a pin comment. “Are we missing acquired immunity by isolating?” Okay, so this is a great question. And again, this is a question that you should be able to ask no matter what side your elephant is on. acquired immunity or herd immunity or community immunity means that you’ve been exposed naturally to something, have developed immunity in the form of antibodies typically and are now resistant to that re-infection. Which means you’re not gonna pass it to somebody who’s vulnerable. Now this is the mechanism to develop an end of a pandemic because people end up becoming immune, and the virus has no hosts and it just peters out.

So this could happen one of two ways. You can naturally be exposed to the pathogen, say measles, or you can be vaccinated against it. Well, if given a choice, vaccination, which is safe and effective if you do the trials correctly, which we have for the existing vaccines, but we hope to do for a new vaccine, if they’re safe and effective, it’s much better to have it community immunity obtained through vaccines because you don’t suffer the downside of natural immunity, which is getting the disease potentially being injured or dying. And with COVID-19 the vulnerable population, particularly older people, although younger people can get it and people with comorbidities, although healthy people can get it, can die or be very, very sick from this. So, just letting it run through the population. We should be able to ask that question, should we do that? But then you have to then weigh care versus harm. You’re gonna kill a lot of older people. And the early models were really saying that something like 5% of everyone over 65 would die if we let this thing run. While now we have no idea if that was a true model because we changed our behavior, and so we don’t know. There’s a lot of unknowns. These are all guesses and predictions based on maps that may not represent the actual territory they’re trying to map. But that’s a good question to ask.

With this disease we don’t know, and that’s why this whole Stanford seroprevalence study was so controversial because if what they were saying was true, then it was 80 times more prevalent in the community, it means people are already developing herd immunity. We ought to just let it go because it’s not as fatal as we thought. Well, it turns out there are a lot of problems with that trial including who was funding it, which was, one of the CEOs of JetBlue I think. And so there’s controversy there, which we talked about in the original video, but it’s come out even more lately. And again, even that controversy, if you look who’s pushing it, it’s always the more liberal leaning news outlets. Because again, moral palette, wealthy entrepreneur wants to fudge data so that economy will reopen, right? So, that’s that care versus harm. Whereas the rights like, Hey, wealthy entrepreneur makes jobs, saves lives by keeping people from dying by suicide because they don’t have jobs, we should let him go. Understand both sides instead of villainizing them. And you can question the data and you can also question when people are behaving purely elephant and go, “Hey, I see what’s happening there. “That’s not good. “Please don’t do that. “And I can’t take you seriously “when you’re that lost in your elephant, “you’re not being mindful of what’s going on.” And that’s why I think the best communicators of this stuff are very rational. And they put their biases out on the table and they say, “Oh, this is what I feel. “But the data seems to suggest.” it’s very, very important to be able to recognize that.

Okay, Jessie Yang in a pinned comment. “How do you generate compassion for those who are racist or sexist and cause harm based on those beliefs?” What a great question, Jess. So, we talk about seeing another side. Now, racism and sexism are really fascinating because, and this is another reason this is another thing I talk about with people the minute I meet them often, and people are just like, “Huh.” is race. So, I will try to figure out what’s your background? I may even take a guess, and when I’m wrong I’ll go see what an idiot I am. So, tell me, you know what? And you get into someone’s sort of a little bit more about who they are. It’s such a taboo thing to talk about. It helps that I’m a little off white. So, for some reason people give me a license to just ask anything. Whereas I have friends who are white, they’re like, “I would never ask that, people think I was a racist.” And that’s part of it. So, short of Frank, open racism and sexism, a lot of people have implicit bias that comes out in ways that people who are sensitive to it will recognize.

But people who are not will not. And again, it will be perceived through your own moral palette if you’re talking about care versus harm, Fairness versus cheating, race is an important part of that. Like it’s not fair that African Americans were enslaved in this country. But then the right will say, but now it’s not fair that a Caucasian person is discriminated against just for being Caucasian because they have privileged or whatever. So there’s different ways of looking at this. Now racist and sexist in a open way where it’s just clear that it’s happening, at that point, the only way to deal with that is to disengage or to say, “Listen what happened to you?” Not what’s wrong with you? “What happened to you that made you this way?”` Because this is not a productive way to be in the world. And so something happened to you. Was it your upbringing? Were your parents racist? What is it? It’s very rare that someone was just born a racist. There’s a lot that goes into it. And so you can have some compassion for them even in the setting of that while not condoning for a second what they’re saying, what their belief structure is or the harm that they’re doing. Let’s read some more. It’s a great question. Tom Erickson, “People need to be educated “on research designs and limitations.” That’s so important because people, and you got to understand not only that people, people share articles to back what their moral matrix says or their elephant says, but they don’t have the ability to critically look at that article. And whether it’s anti-vaccine people or pro mask people or pro whatever people, it doesn’t matter, the antilock down people will pull articles out and say, Hey, this is what it shows pro locked down people. You have to be able to look at, okay, what’s a case control trial? What’s a retrospective trial? What’s a prospective trial? What’s a randomized control trial?

And we need to have that understanding. Also, what are the biases in this study? Who’s funding this study? What journal does it appear in? Because there are predatory journals that will publish you that have no scruples. The peer review is a sham and peer review is imperfect. And this is why science has to be grown, not feared or shunned, it needs to be grown so that we can have better tools in the public to understand this. Now, not everyone’s capable of this. It’s kind of tough, critical thinking sometimes, and not everybody’s has that gift to do that, but most people do and you can train them. And the ones that don’t, you can at least make them an emotional argument and say, “Okay, well I understand what your palate is, “your moral matrix. “Let’s speak in the same language about it.” Let’s read some more. Oh, here’s a good one. Amanda Johnson, “How do you balance care versus harm “when it comes to kids returning to school?” What a tremendous conflict that is, right? Really, really feel that for a second. Okay, kids are stuck at home. They may not be getting as good an education. If they’re disadvantaged or poor, they are potentially living with a single parent who is getting very frustrated. There could be people living in abusive households where now they’re with the abuser all day. These kids are not getting their regular vaccinations because the parents are afraid to take them to the doctor. So, they could get sick from a measles outbreak or mumps, whooping cough. The harm of not going to school is tremendous. But then you look at do kids get really sick from COVID? Mostly not. There are these cases of this auto-immune, Kawasaki-like multi-system inflammatory syndrome of children MIS-C, but they’re very rare still. So the danger directly to children isn’t great.

But then if the children get infected and come home and infect grandpa, that’s a problem. So you can see how there isn’t a black or white. So what do? You have to weigh all of this and different, good people have good intent, will have different solutions. Is it social distancing at school? Is it let it run through the child age population, and protect older people from them? So continue to distance with older people. And that’s easy for rich people to say, but hard for multi-generational families living in a small space who are economically impoverished to do. And that’s where you get into care versus harm. Fairness versus cheating. It’s really tough. Sanctity versus degradation. Really, really tough. Great questions. And Joe Scavo is sending 200 stars for a Doc Vader rant. We have a goal. If we make our a hundred thousand star goal, Doc Vader we’ll do a crazy rant. So thanks for the stars, everybody who sent them. All right, I think we did a thing here today. This is what I want you guys to do, I want you to think about your moral matrix around COVID and why it might influence how you’re seeing this, what news you watch, what stations you tuned to, what echo chambers you’re in. And I want you to try to reach out and look at some other echo chambers from a standpoint of pretending that you have a different moral matrix that values slightly different things. And, and you’ll start to understand and have compassion for people that you thought were beyond hope. Now again, there will always be people on the extremes where it’s just tough and you have to disengage because it’s too exhausting for anyone’s elephant. And that’s okay. They’re rare, you guys. I know it doesn’t feel that way because social media amps it up, but those people are rare.

It’s more likely that people wanna do good in the world, wanna be good citizens and help each other and help themselves in their families. They just have different ways of doing it, different ways of feeling it. So share this episode, leave a comment. Thank you to all the supporters who make all this show possible. I couldn’t do this stuff without you, especially during these difficult economic times. I’m so happy that you choose to spend 499 supporting us when I know it’s hard. And if you can’t do it, please unsubscribe. It’s actually very easy to do. I keep forgetting to tell you how to do this “cause it’s not in my best interest. I have to override my elephant going, “Don’t tell them.” If you need to unsubscribe from the show, go to Manage Supporter Benefits on my Facebook page and click that. And then you can click Manage Subscription and you can unsubscribe. So I don’t want to take your support if you’re having trouble or you’re unemployed or you’ve been furloughed, okay, that would not be good. So, we will all survive this, but it’s gonna have to be working together. All right, share this video. I’ll put it up on YouTube as well. And I love you guys. We are out. Listen to that elephant, listen to it, but don’t get lost in the sauce.

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