Culture, anger and negotiation
With upcoming Brexit negotiations in Europe and emotions running high, it is
going to be a bumpy ride. Britain wants free trade and border control. Europe
wants to set an example to stop other black sheep leaving the fold.
A question in negotiation is the extent to which you are cool and
professional or whether you should express emotion. Anger in particular is a
tricky one as it easily provokes the
The result is either one side capitulating (which is the implicit purpose of
anger) or a stand-up fight where reason flies out of the window. Culture can
make this a doubly dangerous game as we misunderstand the likely reactions of
the other side. For example Adam et al (2010) found that students from different
cultural backgrounds who used anger in negotiations could suffer from a
significant backfire effect.
Yet anger, used carefully, can have a helpful effect. Adam's experiments made
this work when subjects were warned beforehand of cultural tendencies of the
other side to become angry. When you come from a culture where public displays
of anger are disapproved of, then seeing anger can be alarming as you assume the
other person has lost control of themself. Yet there are also cultures where
non-expression of emotion means you are not really committed. If you know if it
is normal the other side to express anger, then you will be less likely to be
aroused by its use.
If you are faced with the anger of the other person, the first step is to
bite your tongue. Do not get provoked into unthinking reaction. Take a break if
needed to cool down, or just say nothing. Then think about why they may be
anger. Is it something you said? Are they deliberately trying to manipulate you?
If you have said something that could reasonably be interpreted as a
provocation, apologize but do not offer negotiation concession (this is often
the target). If they are trying something on, you can even turn things to your
advantage, even by winding up the argument, being 'insulted' yourself or
otherwise working for your own advantage.
A way to make anger work in a Western context is to remain relatively calm
while indicating in words that you are feeling angry, for example by politely
saying something like 'I am becoming very frustrated' or even 'I find that
insulting'. When working across cultures, a good understanding of whether anger
is acceptable (or even expected) can also help you choose your strategy and
hence be successful.
Adam, H., Shirako, A., & Maddux, W.W. (2010). Cultural variance in the
interpersonal effects of anger in negotiations. Psychological Science,
21, 6, 882-9
Anti-Political Correctness as Power
Political correctness is a term that first appeared in about 1990 as a
criticism of liberal values that promote equality and fairness. It has never
been a real term to promote fairness. Instead, it was only an insult, a
denigration that declares attempts at fairness as being excessive, wrong and
We are naturally biased. We unfairly criticize and act against the interests
of others. We seek out reasons, real or imagined, for those who are not like us
to be wrong and bad. We excuse our ill-treatment of them and justify
punishments. In this way, we build our identity. We are not like them. We are
good and right.
We are also biased towards people who are like us, who share our beliefs and
values, who are similar in all kinds of ways. We seek out such similarity and
focus on being the same. This is the basis of tribalism, of bonding like-minded
people into a cohesive, supportive unit, of creating a powerful 'we' who can
defend ourselves and oppose others.
A tricky tribal problem lies the social rule of caring for the vulnerable,
who are less able to care for themselves. This can make them an uncomfortable
burden and an acid test of morality. Helping our friends is good, but helping
the vulnerable is extra-good. For some, this has been a path to social
superiority as they champion the weak and chastize those who do not provide
This championing is, by definition, laudable. Yet it has also led to
unexpected, immoral effects. Over the past decades, attention to the vulnerable
has escalated at a steady rate. For some, this has not been fast enough. For
others, it has spiralled out of control. In particular, those just above the
'vulnerable' level feel especially hard done by. They see the weak getting help,
with massive funds being used to help the helpless minority. Yet their own
majority position has been losing out as their standard of living is constantly
eroded and jobs threatened or lost. Worse, they feel themselves now at the
bottom of the social order as positive action and other support lifts the
vulnerable above them. They can't even tell biased jokes like they used to, that
made them feel momentarily superior, without the PC police kicking them back to
Feeling ignored, mistreated and downtrodden, many in this underclass had
given up voting, considering it a waste of time as neither of the major parties
seemed interested or able in improving their lot. So when some canny politicians
woke up to this situation, they realized here was an untapped source of great
Paradoxically, the majority parties who had adopted the politically-correct
position of helping the vulnerable (even if they dragged their heels in
practical action) were unable to take advantage of the opportunity. Those able
to grasp the politically-incorrect nettle have been thick-skinned demagogues and
parties on the political fringes. With conventional rules of politics cast out,
they play to their audience, giving voice to common bias and making bold
promises that seem politically suicidal or financially impossible, yet which
their audience laps up.
This style of politics has been labeled 'populism' by a cynical mainstream.
In some ways it is indeed cynical as it tells people what they want to hear, yet
impossible promises have long been a political ploy. Politics is a performance
and playing to the crowd an essential game.
If the dirty truth be known, there are many more beyond the lower classes who
still have plenty of bias and who have tired of ever-escalating
politically-correctness. There are also those of power who have smelled
opportunity in the shifting winds of opinion and played canny backroom games.
The result has been bombshell referenda and elections where the PC-free have
gained power. Even those not elected have found themselves listened to, if not
in awe then at least in fear.
Has the game changed for good? Is political correctness a thing of the past,
a blip in history? I think not. A thing creates its opposite and the shocked
mainstream is regrouping and good people will come to the aid of the party. The
war of politics is never finally won and I expect more battles and further
swinging of the political pendulum.
We live in interesting times and the one thing I don't expect is boredom.
Leave, Remain or Stay: Small words that may have
changed the world
Since 2016, Brexit has been all the talk in the UK. It has also gained a
great deal of interest in Europe and around the world as international trade and
migration are seriously affected by this. The UK's vote to leave the European
Union was a contentious and surprising one. Those who wanted to stay in Europe
were expected to win, but were pipped at the post by a narrow margin.
In closely-fought contests, even the smallest things can make the difference
between winning and losing. In this case, we can look at the words used, and how
these might have been used to bias the results.
Initially, the vote was going to be a simple answer to the question 'Do you
want to leave the EU?' However, someone realized that this would cause bias
because, as all sales people know, people are generally more likely to answer
'Yes' than 'No' to any question. We like to feel positive and 'Yes' just seems
better. The 'Yes' campaign (to leave) would hence have an advantage.
So they changed the question to 'Do you want to leave or remain in the EU?'
Now the choice is 'Leave' or 'Remain'. This seems better, but they are still not
equal. 'Leave' is a nice, simple, one-syllable word. 'Remain' is a two-syllable
word that is more likely to be used by those with greater language
sophistication. A word that is more equal to 'Leave' would be 'Stay'. Why was
this not used? It is a single syllable and is sociologically simpler than
To make this even more biased, the actual voting slip had two choices:
'Remain a member of the European Union' and 'Leave the European Union'. The
first choice is longer than the second choice, again making the 'leave' option a
cognitively easier one to make.
For want of a syllable, the UK's future, as well as that of Europe and the
rest of the world, has been changed forever.
Our two greatest challenges
In our lives we need to face many challenges, some of our own choosing and
some that are thrust upon us. Sometimes they are troublesome, sometimes they are
interesting, and sometimes they are exciting. And no matter how we feel about
them when we face them, we feel good when we overcome them. Indeed, studies such
as Czikszentmihali's 'Flow', have shown that challenge is a great path to
Two of these challenges that we must unavoidably face are perhaps the
greatest challenges that we face during our lifetime.
As a child, we live in the cocoon of the family where much is provided for
us. But this does not last forever. At some time we must face life, striking out
by ourselves, becoming independent and self-sufficient. We go from being child
to adult, from receivers to providers, from students to workers. We have total
choice in all things, but have to face the consequences of our choices.
A difficult transition here is that children are often happy to receive more
authority, gaining control over their lives, but they do not like having
responsibility, with nobody to rescue them and nobody to blame but themselves.
Many people show a failure to complete this transition to adulthood as they
avoid responsibility and try to blame others when things go wrong. It can also
be seen when people feel that they are still somehow a child rather than an
adult well into their 20s and beyond.
As an adult, we grow older and must eventually face the inevitability of our
own deaths. With luck, this comes with old age, but can appear at any time. It
can be a surprise and it can be the end-stop of a terminal illness. When we are
young, life seems infinite, but gradually the horizon gets closer. We busy
ourselves with our lives and ignore it for as long as possible, but aches, pains
and the death of loved ones increasingly reminds us of our own impending doom.
It catches us up as the value we place on the remainder of our life seems
constant, such that the older we get, the more we value each day.
We may find religion, science or philosophy to help explain what it is all
about, yet we must still face our death. A question here is in the difference
between dying and being dead. Being dead may be easier to accept. Religion
promises a glorious afterlife, while science suggests non-existence removes
worry or pain, although the philosopher in us worries at the loss of identity.
The process of dying can be a more immediate worry, as it suggests pain or
perhaps the loss of mental function and consequent identity.
As a young person, we must face life. As an old person, we must face death.
Both are inevitable. While others can help, we must ultimately face these
challenges alone. If we can do this, we will have cleared the way to a happier
Knowing, ignorance and self-knowledge
If you take any subject, you can have a range of knowledge about this,
ranging from no knowledge to full knowledge. Few people exist at the extremes of
this spectrum, though many have little knowledge and a good number may have a
lot of knowledge (but not total knowledge).
There is a second, reflexive dimension on knowledge, which is the
self-knowledge of knowing about your knowledge, in particular knowing what you
do not know. In other words, this is the ability to see the spectrum of
knowledge in any given subject and place yourself upon it, saying 'I know this
but I do not know that'. A paradox of learning is that, as you gain more
knowledge, you realize how much more you have yet to learn.
It can become problematic if you do not know what you do not know, as this
can make you arrogant as you assume you know everything. This can be seen in the
'curse of ignorance', where people are not only ignorant, but are also ignorant
of their ignorance. This does not mean they have no knowledge. Indeed, they may
be very knowledgeable. Yet they are still ignorant of some things, and this lack
of self-knowledge can lead to combative argument.
Why might we not know what we don't know? Sometimes it is because we simply
have not encountered a sub-domain of knowledge. People who understand Newtonian
physics may feel they know how atoms work, even though they have not encountered
quantum mechanics. Sometimes also, we actually do know there are things that we
don't know but feel uncomfortable about this, so we pretend that what we don't
know is unimportant or simply does not exist. This is where we turn to deception
rather than accept ignorance, even as we condemn ourselves to remain ignorant.
The best position is always to accept your ignorance, and always be ready to
learn. This requires a certain amount of humility, which often needs sufficient
self-confidence to publicly and cheerfully admit ignorance. Yet it is a position
from which we can each grown and learn, increasing both our real knowledge as
well as discovering more ignorance as a route into a learning future.
Do, Lead, Help, Nudge or Watch
In your life, whether it is at work, in volunteering or wherever, you can
often see a whole set of activities going on or where some action are needed. A
way to look at these are as 'projects', where there is an intended outcome
following a certain amount of work. These 'projects' can be of any size, from a
few minutes to several years. A critical question for you (or a group you are
in) is 'What should I/we do about it?' Here are five options.
Sometimes all you need is to roll up your sleeves and get on with it. When
something clearly needs doing the best approach is to do it rather than talk
When you are going to do something, either taking the lead or doing it all
yourself, there are three questions to ask:
1. Do I have the energy for this? (Or might I give up?)
2. Do I have the resources I will need? (From money to wheelbarrows)
3. Do I have the support I will need? (Including practical help and formal
Particularly when we fear failure or criticism, we can get lost in the safety
of meeting, talking and planning. While it is usually good to communicate,
sometimes all you need to do is say 'I'm doing X. Did anyone want to join me'.
Then just get on with it.
Some jobs you can do yourself. Other work is just too much for one or needs
the expertise, resources or influence of other people. In voluntary contexts and
where you do not have direct authority, this means you will need to influence
others, motivating them to join your cause.
Leadership is a highly skilled activity, but if you are good at it you can
get a lot done. It means being able to see both the big picture and how all the
parts work together. It also means building such good relationships with the
people involved that they want to help you and one another succeed.
At other times the project may not be yours to do. Perhaps you lack the
energy to lead it or someone else already has the bit between their teeth.
Perhaps you as, have been asked to help using our expertize, or maybe they want
a bit of extra grunt work during a critical period.
Whatever the reason, on these types of projects you are a helper, not a
leader. This makes life a bit easier as you do not have to chase people and be
at every meeting. You can hence just do your bit and leave the worrying to other
In some projects you may have no active role, yet still have a concern for
the outcomes of the work. This can be frustrating, as you want to steer the ship
yet are neither the captain not the crew.
This is the position of the activist. Typically with concerns for social
issues, they agitate, irritate and work to influence the decisions of those in
power. Lobbyists, too, seek to nudge, cajole or otherwise influence the
Sometimes you have little influence, but are still interested in what is
going on, for example so you can prepare for the outcome or discuss it with
others. In such projects, you should just sustain a watching brief. Get hooked
into information streams as you can, such as email distribution lists, notice
boards, etc. and then just keep an eye on things.
If necessary, you can change your status on a 'Watch' project, for example if
you become concerned that things are being done wrong or that your interests are
not being examined,
Organizing for local support and action
I work with a local 'town team' organization, whose goal is to help the local
community improve. Our strapline is 'better together' and we want to make the
town and area 'a great place to live, work and visit'.
Our challenge is that other local groups are rather inward-looking, concerned
about their own affairs and unwilling to take the larger picture or look out
into the future. Changing minds happens at every meeting and we need to be
careful to keep our stakeholders happy. When you live in a small town, you can
easily alienate many people with one bit of carelessness.
We were having the classic 'who are we' discussion the other day and I
summarized the possible organizational role into an increasing level of
1a. Facilitating conversations. We did this in bringing together
various groups from the county council to disability and cycling people to
discuss a project to repave the high street. To be successful, this requires
that we achieved a position of trust, sitting between all parties, which means
not giving preference to any one, of helping everyone to be heard and holding
back those who want to dominate. Facilitation in general means holding lots of
conversations, helping people speak and listen to others. It means holding back
1b. Local activism. In some work we have taken the position of experts
and cheerleaders. For example in the high street project, some of our members
pushed for particular solutions. Contrary to the facilitation role, this may
mean being partisan. It may lead some people we work with to not want future
involvement with us. It may mean other groups feel we are treading on their
turf. This oppositional dynamic means activism requires lots of energy to push
through resistance, wear down the opposition and enthuse others to join in.
There also seems a choice between this and facilitation. While we could do both,
the dynamics of trust would make this difficult.
2. Volunteer projects. The easy way to get things done is to do them
yourself. A simple example was when we got together to clean up a rather tatty
car park. This role needs far less interaction with others, other than to find
people to help and ensuring any opposition is minimized. It is a good way to get
successes under the belt and evidence that we are a force for good. People like
to associate with success, making this approach a good way to attract other
3. Funded projects. In making improvements around the town, some
things will need money, for anything from a bit of cement to paying for
contractors to do major work. We did a presentation day for the town that needed
money to hire the hall, print literature and so on. We would also like to do
bigger things, from improving sports facilities to setting up a catering
college. To do this means finding and managing money. It means understanding
grant systems, how to apply for funds and keeping the funders happy as you use
their money. This needs a prudent organization with the systems and expertize to
attract and handle funds.
4. Managed projects. A step beyond getting funding which typically
goes straight to a supplier, is to become more involved in the project, actively
managing what is going on. We have not got to this as yet, but other town teams
are doing such activities and it becomes necessary when funded projects require
more active involvement. When you are a volunteer, becoming a manager can
increase significantly the time you need to spend on the project, especially if
you are managing the activities of other people. It turns helping when you can
to working as you must. Even if you employ a professional project manager, you
still need to manage the work of this person. It typically will require more
formal project meetings, risk management, reporting and all the other aspects of
5. Managed services. The highest level of activity that we have
considered is in musing about the future, for example where local councils are
seeking to divest responsibility for local assets such as parks and town
buildings. In such cases the assets would be given to local trusts who would
then become responsible for their upkeep. Managing projects is a short-term
activity with a clear end goal. Managing services is ongoing work, quite
possibly with permanent employees and contractors, and requires a long-term
Which path we take, whether to stay at the lower levels or reach into more
active roles, will depend first on the energy and consequent commitment we can
The polarisation of society and a way back to
Have you noticed that
politics has got rather fractious of late? Politicians are taking extreme
views and refusing to work with one another. Little real work gets done amid the
fruitless cat fight, which contributes further to electorate contempt. And not
content with that, in-party schisms are commonplace, often as ever-more radical
wings rip away at the traditional body as toleration gives way to right or left
wing ideals. The electorate, too, split and raucous, see opposition politicians
and their supporters as bad and even evil, rather than wrong and misguided.
This intolerance is also seen in society and religion and may even be seen in
terrorism and consequent reactions. The internet, too, is bound up in this
malaise. Anonymity and remoteness enabled extreme views to be expressed without
fear of recrimination. Indeed, the simple buzz of power that trolls get from
being nasty reflects our basest nature. Social media has also encouraged more
extreme views in the shock-horror of gossip. In the search for affirmation, we
band together into online tribes where we stroke one another's egos and attack
out-group others lest we, too, are castigated for not being true enough to
friends and tribal values.
Polarization is a
classic us-vs-them tactic, where taking an extreme position casts those who are
not like us at the other extreme, making them clearly 'not us'. This extreme
psychological distance enables us demonize and dehumanize them, reducing them to
faceless 'things', such that we can harshly criticize them, unfettered by common
decency and social values that constrain our interaction with humans.
In other words, polarization is an easy short cut for the lazy and
thoughtless who need approval more than reason. It is also the refuge of the
insecure, who find the complexity of the real world too much to handle.
Polarization can also be seen in the distribution of wealth, at least in the
'western world', where there has been a gradual return to elitism with the '1%'
super-rich, more people struggling to get by, and a general collapse of the
middle classes. Where once a booming middle class with enough wealth for some
luxuries was an aspirational possibility for many, now it has been eroded to the
point where markers of affluence, for example home ownership, are becoming more
and more of a distant possibility.
When you take away hope,
you get hopelessness, and while some resign themselves to this fate, enough
others are rebelling and may yet become a powerful political force, where the
have-nots face off against the minority haves. For a long time the political
right have fooled many with emotional appeals and empty promises that play to
their fears, yet there also is a rising anger that is finding a voice of its
Moderation comes from appreciating and accepting others, but it also draws
criticism from the righteous extremists. To be moderate means you cannot be
mild. Handling complexity and intolerance takes fortitude of spirit. In the
middle ground you cannot dehumanize as you seek true understanding. It means
negotiating, giving and taking, and sometimes accepting situations that seem a
The pressures of an ever-faster life leads steadily from moderation to the
easier extremes where we only have to look in one direction. Yet that polarized
position brings new dangers. In a moderate society you can
trust most people, even those
who are not like you, to be civil and kind. But when things polarize, you see
enemies at the gate and even inside the citadel. Where the defining emotion of
moderation is love, fear rules the polarized.
So how do we get back? How do we create a kinder, more considerate society.
The hardest first step is to stop fearing others, which leads to hating less.
Yes, when you extend your hand to those who you have reviled, they may well try
to bite it. But then moderation is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage
and conviction to face critics from all quarters without slipping back into more
And yet. Many of us know and prefer moderation. We consider kindness and
civil society a great thing. Yet our fears hold us back. The good news is that
society is more of a pendulum than a weight that drags us inevitably down.
Moderate leaders will emerge and the silent majority will gratefully swing
The only question is where you will be in this movement.
Understanding American Politics: It's Self vs
Social, not Haves vs Have nots
A classic understanding of the political system in America (and generally in
Western, democratic countries) is of the Haves vs the Have-nots. But this is not
accurate, even as a simple model.
Classically, the Haves sit on the political right. In America they are called
Republicans. Elsewhere they are called Conservatives. They have most of the
money, and are focused on keeping it and getting more. In life, they are the
senior managers and business owners (or perhaps their families). They like power
but not taxes. They live expensively and away from the common people.
In opposition, the classic Have-nots are on the political left. In America
they vote Democrat. Elsewhere they may be called Labour. They have relatively
little money and are focused on survival. They live close to one another in
small houses. They gain power through banding together in large numbers. When in
power, they seek to protect jobs and increase welfare.
Yet if this was the simple truth, a democracy would always be run by
Democrats. By definition, there are many more Have-nots than Haves. So what's
A key factor is that there are third and fourth groups.
The Haves can be broken into two groups. The Have-lots are the 1% elites who
are wealthy enough to buy much of what they want without worrying about cost.
They may have inherited wealth, been successful in business or been in a
high-paying job for many years. In politics, they are likely to be Republican,
where they seek low taxes and limited regulation. Their concern for others is
seen in their foundations and charity balls. Tax-deductible, of course.
The Have-enoughs are the classic middle classes who have achieved the
aspirational independence, picket-fenced home and all. They work hard in
professional jobs or as reasonably successful business owners. They live
comfortably but are still prudent. Politically, they may well be Democrats, with
liberal views around preserving the environment and helping those less fortunate
than themselves. They may also be aspirational to become a Have-lots (or fear
becoming. Have-little) and so adopt a Republican position.
The Have-nots can also be divided into two. The real Have-nots are actually
Have-nothings as and include vagrants, those on welfare and those who depends on
charity. The may fall into this category for various reasons, including being
runaways, having disabilities, and having fallen on hard times despite doing
their best to support themselves (and possibly dependents too). While not a
small group, they are not huge either and often lack direct political power.
Their cause is often championed by those in higher groups, most typically
Democrats. The Have-nots are unlikely to be politically active and may not even
have voting rights (which means they are not attractive to political parties).
A large group who are often called Have-nots are more accurately Have-littles.
These are the mass who work in low-paid jobs and for who life is a touch-and-go
struggle as they try to avoid becoming a Have-not. They include people who have
worked hard for many years and who are tired and disillusioned. In political
communications they get patronising labels, such as 'hard working families'
which tacitly recognizes the survival trap that keeps them near the bottom of
A further group that spans several levels are the 'Vulnerables' and include
all groups containing people who can be the recipient of bias and unfair
treatment. These include migrants, ethnic and religious groups, those with
different sexual preferences, people with disabilities, women, older people and
so on. Their disadvantages can be a spur to action when they define their lives
through fighting through adversity. In this way they can become Have-enoughs
and, occasionally, Have-lots. Overall, though, they are largely spread through
the Have-littles and into the Have-nothings.
While opportunity still exists, it's not what it was. A common experience is
of hard-working Have-littles losing their jobs as globalization led to cheap
imports and industrial wastelands. Where they can, many have clung on in
lower-paid and insecure jobs, as zero-hours contracts and the 'gig economy offer
them scant lifelines. And, to add insult to injury, they see Vulnerables getting
preferential treatment as liberal-minded Have-enoughs implement 'fair' policies
that erode what little advantage they had. Vulnerables get welfare as the Have-littles
struggle to make ends meet and, paradoxically, seethe at the unfairness of it
all. Women and people of ethnic and diverse groups get promoted as positive
action policies rebalance management ranks. To add insult to injury, Have-littles
may see Environmental, health and safety laws as laudable but dangerous as they
destroy jobs and are yet another thing that gets treated as more important than
the ignored Have-littles.
A paradox of the Have-littles is that while they might be expected to vote
Democrat, many vote Republican. This is the Republicans' secret sauce. By
selling an anti-liberal message, promising greater security, and crafting
evocative emotional appeals, including against welfare and environmentalism,
they acquire a rich harvest of votes. While this may not be popular with
Vulnerables, it gives voice to the fears of the many non-vulnerable Have-littles,
in particular communities which are dominated by non-vulnerable men whose
authority is accepted by others around them.
This creates an interesting skipping pattern, where Republicans skip liberal
Have-enoughs in pursuit of the Have-little majority, while the Have-enough
Democrats skip many of the Have-littles to try and help the more deserving
Vulnerables and Have-nothings. A reverse effect happens too, as the Have-littles
envy and rail against Have-enoughs who are their immediate seniors or an
annoyingly well-paid professional, from dentists to consulting engineers.
Out-of-reach Have-lots, however, are idealized and idolized as celebrities and
potential champions who will save the Have-littles, just as the Have-enoughs
seek to save others.
The perception of fairness has a particularly polarizing result as different
groups believe themselves entirely right in wanting what they think is fair.
Have-lots think it fair that they keep their high but hard-won incomes and to
run their businesses as they think fit. Democrats seek a balanced fairness,
where Vulnerables get special treatment to compensate for the bias they receive
(Vulnerables of course agree with this). Have-littles want jobs and to not be
the victim of Democratic bias that gives Vulnerables unfair advantage.
An electoral dilemma with Have-littles and Vulnerables is that their
disillusionment with politicians and the state means that many do not vote. This
can harm political parties, particularly when a significant community leans
towards one or another party. Ethnic groups, for example, are far more likely to
vote Democrat. If such groups can be energized, for example as done differently
by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, they can have a huge electoral impact.
Taking this slightly larger segmentation, we can question again the rationale
for voting Democrat or Republican. Have-lots Republicans want to keep their
millions so want low tax. They also like few regulations that constrain their
businesses. Have-lots and Have-enough Republicans fear losing their lifestyle
and the crime that threatens this. Have-little Republicans just want more
security, which translates first into decent jobs. They often live in tough
areas and so also fear crime.
Have-some Democrats take a wider, more social view. Have-little Democrats
feel their plight more as a community, for example being oppressed because of
the shade of their skin. Their concern extends further than the self and more
into social concerns.
A simple conclusion is that the Republicans appeal to the basic human drivers
of fear (Have-littles) and greed (Have-lots) while Democrats have the more
difficult task of appealing to compassion (Have-enoughs) and community
(Have-nothings). Why? Because fear and greed have a self- or family-focus, while
compassion and community appeal to those who are other-focused or we-focused.
Yes, it is a simplification. There are socially-minded Republicans and
selfish Democrats. Yet Self vs Social makes more sense as a characterizing model
than Haves vs Have-nots, as discussed above.
A further way of understanding this is in the collision between capitalism
and democracy. Capitalism encourages wealth and the self-based view. It rewards
individual success and assumes social concern will naturally arise from this.
Democracy is the check on capitalist selfishness. While people may still be
selfish, the public nature of democracy encourages a strong social concern.
What does this mean for politicians? For Democrats who seek to address
natural Democrats, they should appeal to social values and ethics. To appeal to
those with Republican leanings, they should make financial and security appeals.
Meanwhile Republicans might woo Democrats by emphasizing community and the
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