Multiculturalism fails due to “behavioral immune system”

A new paper suggests that the human “behavioral immune system,” which generates feelings of disgust, can account for many of the failings of multiculturalism.

Lene Aarøe, one of the authors, has this to say:

The research results provide new understanding of why society does not absorb the new arrivals and why integration fails. Those who are very concerned about the risk of infection are those who are most reluctant to seek out social contact with immigrants–something that we otherwise know fosters tolerance.” (The immune system may explain skepticism towards immigrants)

“The behavioral immune system functions according to a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach,” said Michael Bang Petersen, co-author of the study. Furthermore,

People with birthmarks, physical disabilities, abnormalities and something as innocent as a different skin color are subconsciously considered disease carriers by the hypersensitive,” Petersen said.

The paper is here: The Behavioral Immune System Shapes Political Intuitions: Why and How Individual Differences in Disgust Sensitivity Underlie Opposition to Immigration.

The concept of an instinctive “behavioral immune system” was somewhat new to me. I understood the basic idea but did not appreciate how much our feelings of disgust can be involved in our feelings toward people and places.

From the paper’s abstract:

We present, test, and extend a theoretical framework that connects disgust, a powerful basic human emotion, to political attitudes through psychological mechanisms designed to protect humans from disease.”

Just last night, my partner and I had a conversation about how we both tend to avoid a neighborhood drug store in the winter because it is stuffy and there seem to always be sick people waiting for orders.

We said this before I read the paper this morning. It was a good confirmation for me of the concept of an instinctive “behavioral immune system.” Hand washing, food washing, keeping clean, avoiding crowds and so on are all “behavioral immune system” responses.

The authors of the paper extend their findings to musings on multiculturalism, a credible extension in my view.

In this respect, I want to make this point: Just because you have overcome your disgust with the people of another culture does not mean that they have overcome their disgust with you.

And this point: The “progressive left,” consciously or not,  has been using the “behavioral immune system” against people who want to see immigration laws enforced or strengthened. The left even uses the sciencey word “xenophobe” to arouse feelings of disgust for people who disagree with them.

Indeed, arousing disgust for their opponents on any issue is a main technique of the left. And they usually signal this technique by the use of special vocabulary words, such as “xenophobe,” “homophobe,” “rayciss,” “supremacist,” “deplorable,” “regressive,” “not who we are,” and so on.

That most of the spokespeople for the left live in wealthy MSM and DC political bubbles is why so many Americans are disgusted with them.

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