Trump received 74 million votes in 2020. This amazed and upset me a lot. The ongoing global warming crisis and the exhaustion of earth’s resources continue to arouse my concerns about our future. I wrote a longish essay on the subject in early 2022.
Here is the positioning statement from that essay:
Recently the intermingled phenomena of Trump, global warming, global capitalism, and the pandemic have raised questions for me about the capacity of our species to live on the earth in a sustainable trajectory.
How can we explain that 74 million Americans voted for a man who they had four years to observe in great detail. The 30,573 lies and misleading claims over four years 1 The painfully obvious narcissism. The meanness. The fact that his only legislative accomplishment was a $1.9 trillion tax give back to the rich and corporations.2His active role in assuring that hundreds of thousands of Americans died during the COVID pandemic who would not have if he had taken even moderate action to prevent it.3
Worse is to understand that this craziness in the land of the free is not a parochial phenomenon. All around the world one can find examples of similar behaviors among leaders (e.g. Bolsonaro, Orban, Xi, Putin, and others) and similar reactions by supporters.
The essay goes on to suggest that our nearly 300,000 year history of living in small tribal social units produced evolutionary adaptations in our culture that may now, in our mas societies, have become maladaptations, evolutionary mismatches, in our behaviors.
I’ve been pre-occupied over the last year with work on a forthcoming book, Capitalism – the actual workings, (more at CapitalismActualWorkings.com). Nevertheless, I continue to collect resources for a return to the evolutionary mismatch thesis.
Here is a podcast that fits right in. The Gray Area podcast of 6.22.2023 features a discussion with Professor David Samson, author of the just-published book, Our Tribal Future: How to Channel Our Foundational Human Instincts into a Force for Good.
Sean Illing talks with evolutionary anthropologist David Samson, whose new book Our Tribal Future delves into how tribalism has shaped the human story — and how we might be able to mitigate its negative effects in the future. Sean and David discuss how and when tribal organization came on the scene, what changed in human organization when it did, and how taking advantage of some positive aspects of tribal alignment could provide a path toward inoculating humanity against stubborn, regressive divisiveness.
I will publish a book review shortly.