January 4, 2021

How to keep tribalism from destroying your health with Dr. Allen Buchanan

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In his book, Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape from Tribalism, Dr. Allen Buchanan shows us how we evolved to be tribalistic and then developed morals past that. Only today, more and more we are being pulled back to our tribalistic roots and it is adversely affecting our health and relationships.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:15.380] – Allan
Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:16.490] – Rachel
Good Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:18.350] – Allan
I'm doing well. You know as we mentioned on the last episode, we are recording this early, so I'm still sitting in the same spot I was last week. We're still in Boquete. They were still going to David. Nothing has changed on that front. And I'm just this much closer to getting back to my coffee. So not a lot to change. You know, the same amount of snow in Michigan, same amount of non snow in Panama.

[00:02:42.710] – Rachel

[00:02:43.340] – Allan
But it's good to have this topic. You know, full admission. This was a this was a selfish topic. It was a very selfish topic with Dr. Buchanan, because when I saw the name of it, you know, I was like, OK, I'm going to read this book anyway.

[00:02:59.090] – Allan
And I you know, to let them send it to me for free, I'll have them on the podcast. But I do think based on what's going on in the world, that this is a really, really important topic because so many people are getting pulled into this mold. You know, why did we have more votes cast for the winner and for the loser in this election than any other election in history?

[00:03:23.660] – Allan
And the answer is they created a tribalism. A regression, if you will, and we all went in. And because we were fed fear, fed fear, fed fear, which is the fuel for tribalism, we fell for it and we ran in with sticks and knives and anything else we could grab. And we got but we got the vote on, you know, the arguments are their friends and family are breaking up and it's all happening because of our environment.

[00:03:55.930] – Allan
And so I was really glad to have the conversation. And while I'll admit, Dr. Buchanan got a little political on more the political side, I wanted to keep staring them over to the health side, if you don't notice that steering. But, you know, his book is both. It's those topics now are interweaving. They're not being separated. And so I think this is a really critical topic for us to be talking about.

[00:04:19.660] – Rachel
Perfect. Then let's get into it then.


[00:04:45.850] – Allan
Dr. Buchanan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:48.610] – Dr. Buchanan
Thanks for having me.

[00:04:50.260] – Allan
You know, your book, Our Moral Faith, that was a core couple of reasons that I wanted to get into this book. And I'm just going to admit this full out. This was selfish, the reading of this book having you on the show. I did it for purely selfish reasons because of things I'm seeing going on, behaviors that at times I find myself drawn into that I just know are not good for me from a stress perspective, and they're not good for me as being the kind of person I actually want to be. My outward moral image, if you will, as you put it in the book, I think.

[00:05:28.660] – Allan
And then I think the other the other part of this is and you pointed to someone, an individual, and he said he used the word what was that word was, oh, irritant. So I kind of want to be the trigger that gets people thinking, Okay, is this where I am? Is this what I'm doing? And is this what I really should be doing if I really care about my health, if I really care about my wellness?

[00:05:55.300] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, I think that's a good entry to the book is called, Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape from Tribalism, MIT Press. And yeah, I think I wrote the book for the same reasons that you found the book interesting. I was aware that we had a phenomenon that could be called tribalism in our society, and I became increasingly disturbed, quite irritated by the worry. And I recognized it as having terrible effects on individual health because of the stress that it creates.

[00:06:29.050] – Dr. Buchanan
And also on relationships. I mean, friendships are breaking up. Marriages are breaking up because people are so divided and divided in a really hateful way, I think, on a large number of issues. So I think it really does have to do with individual health and with the relationships that also with the effects of tribalism on society. I think tribalism is incompatible with democracy.

[00:06:54.820] – Allan
Yeah, I've done a lot of books, a lot of authors had on them on talking about longevity. And one of the core tenets of longevity besides moving eating better and all that is our relationships with people, that having a purpose, having a society around us, the kind of people where we feel part of something. And so I think a lot of people would think, oh, well, that's tribalism. But tribalism, the way you kind of define in the book, we talk about tribalism and cooperation.

[00:07:24.700] – Allan
It's not just the family unit. It's not just that closeness. There's a there's a there's a deeper part of it. And then there's also a bit of a darker side to it. Can you can you kind of talk about tribalism, cooperation and why that was really important to us, but how that also is very limiting, if that's all we have.

[00:07:44.350] – Dr. Buchanan
My book takes a kind of evolutionary approach to tribalism, and it argues that a tendency toward tribalism, toward dividing the world into us versus them, and attributing all the virtues to us and a lot of vices to them, that this is something that's rooted in our evolved psychology. Evolutionary theorists tend to believe that our moral psychology developed somewhere around four hundred thousand years ago at a time when we lived in a very harsh environment. Humans were in small groups, hunter gatherer groups. They were widely scattered. They were on the margins of subsistence, and there were no institutions or peaceful cooperation among these.

[00:08:25.790] – Dr. Buchanan
What that meant. Was that you encountered somebody from another group on the savannah, probably your best strategy was preemptive aggression, one to react hostility toward them because they could be a huge threat to you. And it was under the circumstances that we developed a capacity for the tribalistic mentality. But the good news is, our moral mind, our moral psychology is also very flexible, it's very plastic and under the right environmental conditions, we have the capacity to react or a more inclusive, non-tribalistic way.

[00:09:02.910] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, even though troublesome has these ancient evolutionary roots, it's not fixed. Tribalism itself has evolved. It used to be the tribalism just literally applied to people who were from another society. Now we have tribalism that's intra-societal. That is, we identify groups within our own society that we react to with the kind of hostility that our ancestors used to react toward literally different societies. And so that's the situation we're in now.

[00:09:37.500] – Dr. Buchanan
What I mean by tribalism isn't just a matter of dividing the world into groups. Everybody does that. I think that's probably inevitable for human beings. It's more than that. It's dividing the world into us versus them, and it's attributing everything good in our social world to us and everything bad to them. It also involves a kind of what I call a supreme emergency framing. That is, you tend to think that every issue is a momentous issue where everything is an existential threat.

[00:10:14.670] – Dr. Buchanan
For example, Sean Hannity has a new book and it's called Live Free or Die: America on the Brink. That sounds like we're under an existential threat. We conservatives under existential threat from those horrible liberals. Once you get yourself into the supreme emergency framing, then you'll be willing to infringe moral rules you otherwise wouldn't. It's a case of, well, now we can make exceptions to our moral rules because we're in this dire extreme emergency. So that's one feature of another feature is that tribalistic discourse really drives out truth-seeking and genuine argumentation. In favor of what I call sorting and signaling, sorting the world into us versus them and in a way that's sort denigrating to them and signaling our loyalty to our group, signaling our group identity.

[00:11:14.970] – Dr. Buchanan
If you look at totalistic discourse, it looks totally illogical. It looks like people are making all sorts of invalid infrances and they're accepting as authoritative sources of information that they shouldn't. And so you might conclude that their reasoning badly, but I don't think their reasoning at all. They're engaged in sorting and signaling. It just looks like this. And part of what goes on is that when you're the tribalistic mode, you clump together, all of the people that are opposing all the liberals are alike, all conservatives are alike.

[00:11:46.020] – Dr. Buchanan
And you also tend to get together issues. You're going to buy one bundle or another. There's no possibility of mixing and matching. Once you get into that mode, and you also this is another tribalism, you tend to think of the other the opposing group as all being the same, and they're all either irremediably stupid and misinformed or they're all irredeemably insincere. Now, once you regard the other in that way, you don't regard them as an equal that you can reason with.

[00:12:21.390] – Dr. Buchanan
Instead, they're just beyond the pale. And that means that you don't listen to what they say and you don't try to engage with them productively. In other words, tribalism rules out compromise and bargaining because it rules out basic respect or the other. But bargaining and compromise are essential to democracy. Democracy doesn't work well. So that's one reason why tribalism is a threat to democracy. But I think it's also a threat to something even more basic. And that is what I call the first great expansion.

[00:12:52.980] – Dr. Buchanan
I talk a lot about the progress of the book, and I think in the last three hundred years or so, in some societies, there have been two huge milestones of moral progress, what I call the first and second expansions of moral regard. The first great expansion is the recognition that all human beings have a basic equal moral status in modern terms, that we all have human rights just by virtue of being human. That's a kind of recognition of equality.

[00:13:22.800] – Dr. Buchanan
It's quite new in human history. For the most part, people in one group have regarded themselves as having equal status, but they regarded others as being of inferior status or maybe not having any moral standing at all. So that's the first rate expansion.

Second rate expansion is almost complete. It's the beginning of a recognition that at least some non-human animals count morally in their own right, that we're not just free to use them for whatever purposes we want. That they're suffering, there will counts. Now, these two great expansions of the circle of moral regard are pretty recent and they're still not completely carried out the way we live. But there has been huge progress. I think that one of the worst things about tribalism is not just that it undermines democracy, but that it undermines the first great expansion

[00:14:11.330] – Dr. Buchanan
I mean, think about it. Part of what it is to regard somebody as a genuine human being is to regard that as reasonable, as capable of being reasonable. But if you are in tribalistic mode. That's not how you view the other. You view the other as either irredeemably misinformed or stupid or as completely insincere and corrupt.

[00:14:38.160] – Dr. Buchanan
Let me give you example, the first way to categorize it, you ever heard the term Libatard in conservative circles? And the idea is that liberals, all liberals, are mentally retarded or developmentally disabled as you say now. Well, that means there are equal in terms of being somebody we could reason with, about how we all live, what our society should be like.

[00:15:05.990] – Dr. Buchanan
Let me give you one example of the other way of looking at the opposing group, and that is that's being insincere so that you shouldn't pay attention to what they say because they don't really mean it often. Rush Limbaugh says that. Democrats, liberals don't really care about immigrants. That their open borders idea is really rooted in their conviction that if you let a lot of people in the country go vote Democratic. Now, what's going on there? Well, what he's saying is that you shouldn't pay attention to the reasons that Democrats or liberals give for loosening border restrictions, because that's not what it's really about. Instead, it's a shift to condemning the character of the person who advocates. That's very convenient because then you don't have to engage with their arguments. You don't have to engage with their estimates of the facts of one policy or another. You just set them aside as people who are to be held in contempt. They're not worth trying to reason with because they're totally insincere.

[00:16:13.680] – Dr. Buchanan
Tribalism happens on the left as well as the right. And here's here's one example among many. Sometimes nowadays, student activists will prevent a speaker from speaking on campus. The strategy is to brand the speaker as racist or sexist. And then the idea is they don't have the right to speak at all. So they're shouted down. There's disruption of their attempt to say, what are you going to say? And this is, again, a matter of sorting, sorting out whether racist or sexist, and then we shouldn't pay attention to it. They don't have any rights to speak. And it's also a matter of signaling that we're against racism or we're against sexism when we do this. I think it would be far better if people were allowed to speak and then you engage with them and criticize them and explain why you think they're racist or exactly what you mean by racism. That's pretty squishy term.

[00:17:15.070] – Dr. Buchanan
So those are the kind of strategies that go on in tribalistic discourse. And you can see that is just a total breakdown of communication. There is communication within our group. We're sorting and signal and reaffirming our group identity, but there's not genuine communication with the opposing group and there's no cooperation with the opposing group, I mean, tribalism makes for great cooperation within our group. Great solidarity, right? And a kind of groupthink but they end at independent thinking, and that does facilitate the kind of cooperation with our group. But that cooperation comes at the expense of a complete inability to cooperate with the opposing group.

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[00:19:11.200] – Allan
I wanted to get into this because I was thinking about, you know, what the impact that this is having on my stress levels, watching my friends go at each other and pile on. And, you know, it's going down one trail of thought with someone and they're saying some things. And then, of course, the comments that follow. And you're like you're you know, you're talking about another human being. You know, you're not. I mean, granted, you're somewhat anonymous on this platform. So you can have this conversation without being in someone's face and having to say it while you're looking them in the eyes and recognizing, Okay, they're human like me. And I'm saying this to someone human. But now we're in these constructs of social media. Where it almost feels like here's this this wall that's protecting me, that will allow you to say anything you want to say.

[00:20:06.810] – Allan
With our ability, which is actually kind of fascinating when you think about it, that we can continue to adapt and change. We have a plasticity of our brain, of our bodies. And now we're getting into this book of our moral beliefs and attitudes and how we treat the world, how we treat animals, how we treat people. We have this ability to change. But we're not turned on to that yet. So like I said, I want to be the irritant that gets people thinking about why am I in this tribe while my piling on? Why am I happy that that someone in Texas is getting covid? Why would I ever be happy about that? But I see that on Facebook all the time.

[00:20:52.080] – Allan
And it's spilled over into ideologies that are really dangerous. So, you know, should you be wearing a mask? Should you avoid large groups? Should you get a vaccine? Should you? And so there's all these stories and you're trying to think through what actually is happening? What's the actual best course of action for me? And unfortunately, when you get tied into this tribalism, you lose that ability to have your own opinion because the social cost is just too high. To say I agree with you on the mask issue, but I disagree with you on the vaccine issue, whichever side of that you're on, and almost no one can do that and have that conversation, because as soon as you start to say, I don't agree with you here, they immediately now just have a checklist of everything else that you're supposed to believe and who you voted for the last 20 years. And you know how you live your life and how terrible you are. You become to them, even if that's not really who you are and you almost lose the capacity, you can lose the capacity if you let it, of being able to step back objectively and look at these, particularly health issues. Now, politically, you can believe what you want to believe and you can go down the route you want to.

[00:22:17.070] – Allan
But as soon as you start dehumanizing people and as soon as you start letting your objective reasoning go away. I just, the danger here is just phenomenal. Just off the charts. I don't know how to explain it.

[00:22:34.010] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, it is. And you really hit the nail on the head when you said, if you say you might disagree on this thing, that people automatically put you in a box and distribute all sorts of other things to you. That's the clumping of that. And that's what makes it so inhibiting of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. I mean, if if I'm with a group of people who are generally of the liberal persuasion and I suggest that I think that maybe the Second Amendment is not such a bad idea so long as it's interpreted as allowing significant regulation of firearm ownership, automatically put in the sort of NRA nut category. And the liberal people that I'm talking to will automatically assume that I'm also against legalized abortion. That I'm also in favor of all sorts of things that I'm not really in favor of. But knowing that you'll be lumped together in that way, that you'll be sorted. Is very, very inhibiting.

[00:23:38.430] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, I like the fact that you're emphasizing the notion that sort of autonomy or thinking for yourself. I think there's a larger collective version of that. And that's why the title of the book is Our Moral Fate. What I argue in the book is that which kind of morality is predominant in the society, but what kind of moral agents we are depends a lot on the environment. It's not an environmental determinism. There are two two factors here. One is the moral mind or our evolved capacities for having morality. The other is the environment.

[00:24:15.830] – Dr. Buchanan
And the point is that there's an interaction between these two factors so that the moral mind, if it's in a very harsh kind of environment, will tend to express itself in tribalistic way. Or if people think that the environment is much more hostile than it really is because they've been propagandized or imbibed in an ideology, then the moral mind is going to react with an exclusive negative tribalistic. On the other hand, if the moral mind is operating in an environment that's more favorable to inclusion, that is where the costs of treating other human beings that are not in your group as our equals. When those costs are lower then we're free to act in a more inclusive way.

[00:25:06.090] – Dr. Buchanan
And so here's the real kicker about this thing. Human beings are different from all other animals on the planet that we know. We are really extensive niche constructors. We construct our environment. We do this continually. We don't just construct it once and one way. We're constantly changing the way we construct environments.

[00:25:28.140] – Dr. Buchanan
And that's very liberating. If it's true that what kind of morality we have, what kind of moral agent we're going to be depends upon what sort of environment we're in. If we learn about how the bottom line responds to different environments, that in principle we can take charge of our moral fate. I think this would be the highest form of autonomy and maybe the highest form of creativity that human beings ever had. In the past, we've created environments, but we've done it for all sorts of reasons and without any understanding of how it affects us morally.

[00:26:03.450] – Dr. Buchanan
But if we could at all a science of institutional moral design, that's kind of a mouthful. But I think you get the idea that for the first time in human history, we could really take charge of ourselves. And it's essential to be human that we have morality, that we're moral agents. And so we could learn to shape that aspect of us. That would be fantastic. That would be nothing that ever occurred in human history.

[00:26:30.120] – Dr. Buchanan
Now, we can do some of that on an individual basis. For example, you could just not participate on Facebook or Twitter. And that's what I did for pretty much. And you can try to guard yourself against getting into these Internet echo chambers where everybody believes the same thing and they just hyper each other in the more extreme views. There are some things that individuals can do on their own without institutional change.

[00:26:57.600] – Dr. Buchanan
But I think in the long run, if we really want to beat tribalism and if we want to realize the best potential of our moral nature, it's going to take some society-wide institutional changes.

[00:27:11.850] – Allan
Yeah. When you talk about the niches and everything, I think many of us have, for a lack of a better word, relegated the creation of our environmental niches to Facebook and Twitter. And the reality of it is that Zuckerberg and Dorsey get more zeros in their bank account through tribalism than they would if we all actually were being inclusive and actually having the right conversations and getting to the true truths versus what is collectively the ideology of our tribe.

[00:27:47.640] – Allan
You had something really important because you were talking about what we needed to have to kind of build that niche, just trying to build an environment that's there. And one of the things you talked about was freedom of expression. And so I'm going to read the phrase that you used in the book, what you said in the book, because I think after I get through doing this, what I would ask you to listen to is or think about is how this relates to Facebook and what it does, because I think Facebook is really smart. I think they know what they're doing. They know exactly what they're doing and they're doing, in my opinion, they're doing this. And this is to have the freedom of expression you need – this requires, among other things, that control over communication technologies be dispersed so that no one person or group can monopolize them and thereby constrain freedom of information and expression and curtail the exercise of critical moral reasoning.

[00:28:38.190] – Allan
Now, governments do that all the time. In history. they've always done that. They've always wanted to control the narrative. But for the first time in history, we now have public companies that are creating these environments that we adapt and adjust to. And they create this divide, they basically pull us from being inclusive and wanting to get to true truths, to picking a side and fighting it out.

[00:29:05.620] – Dr. Buchanan
Yeah, I think that's exactly right. I think that Facebook's strategy assumes that it has an interest in the fact and stoking tribalism because tribalism makes for more frequent use of Facebook. So I think that's why I think this is what you said. This is not new in history. But governments have always tried to control the environment in which we form our beliefs. But whether it's going to deliver a function of government policy or it's just something that emerges from people pursuing their own interests and in the process of doing that, creating new niches.

[00:29:45.330] – Dr. Buchanan
The point is that we've been controlled by other people like this, mainly the more powerful, richer people who play the larger role in shaping our social environment. And when they do that, they don't do it with an eye to maximize our moral potential. They do it for all sorts of other reasons that are completely unrelated. And so, in a way, we've been suffering a kind of domination that we hadn't realized. And now the form the domination takes Facebook and Twitter. So, again, the question is, can we learn enough about the relationship between the moral mind and social environments that we can take charge of our own moral fate rather than letting our moral fate be determined by others who don't care about what happens to us morally, but are just pursuing their own interests in constructing a certain kind of nich will be to their advantage.

[00:30:41.580] – Allan
And if we don't, you know, then we risk going down a line of where there is no reason and therefore we're harming ourselves. And like I said, just the stress of it. The seeing, the constant battling, and you think, Okay, it's going to be over when this happens and then no. It's not and it's going to be over when the no it's not. It's it's going to keep going. You mentioned Hannity's book, and I couldn't help thinking back.

[00:31:09.600] – Allan
Well, Pat Richards was that we got Pat Robertson, I think was the guy back in the 80s was right. And it could have been the same title. It's the same concept. We were we were doomed in the 80s. And yet here we are 40 years later, still kicking. And so I think we don't have to be so fatalistic in thinking that this is doom and gloom because it's not. There is a way forward. We are adaptive.

[00:31:39.840] – Allan
We can we can we can make ourselves better. And we just have to open up ourselves to understand that the inclusivity for other human beings and seeing them as human and inclusively to seeing that animals deserve fair treatment and proper treatment. And, obviously, we're not going to stop meat eating any time soon, but we can be kinder and better about how we do these things. And that's where I think that morality comes in.

[00:32:09.450] – Allan
It's affecting the quality of our food. It's affecting our stress level. It's affecting our willingness to do the objective things that are best for us just because, again, we're following an ideology that's limiting and we've got to get past that limit if we're truly going to reach out and take care of our country, of our world, of our environment and, of course, individually, ourselves. And if we don't do that, then we're paying a big price. To think we're right.

[00:32:43.640] – Dr. Buchanan
Thinking you're right, this is really important. One of the features of the tribalistic morality that I haven't is this kind of certainty, certainty really a kind of arrogance that is, that our side knows exactly what's right and we have nothing to learn from the other side. That's a characteristic feature and it's incredibly hubristic on any serious political issue. I don't think most sane people should regard themselves as having the last word and being completely right and not in any need of modifying their views in the light of what somebody else might think. But that's it. I mean, people in the tribalistic mode, they act as if all the major political issues in the democracy have already been settled, that we know exactly what's going on across the board on all the important stuff.

[00:33:37.970] – Dr. Buchanan
And that's just that's the kind of stubborn, arrogant attitude that really prevents any engagement with people who hold different views from yours.

[00:33:49.190] – Allan
I've really appreciated this conversation. And I loved the the the thought process that you walked us through the detective story and enjoyed the jab you had on palaeo guys and what they actually probably ate back in the day.

[00:34:04.800] – Dr. Buchanan
It was a good portion of human flesh, in many cases. I'm not a fan of taking the paleo diet very seriously. Allan, can I mention one last thing before we conclude just people where they can get the book again? The title is Our Moral Fate: Evolution and Escape from Tribalism by Allen Buchanan. It's published by Animality Press. If you go to Amazon and just type in my name or the title, you'll get information about the book, a brief summary. You'll get how you could order to settle it. Or you can go to the MIT Press site and Google either my name or the title. And you'll also come up with information. I tried to write this book in a way that was accessible for a broad audience. I think I succeeded. That was quite a challenge for me because I made a career of writing these stodgy scholarly articles and books and I was groomed to do that in my academic career. But this has been a kind of fun and challenging to try to write for a broader audience. And I think I succeeded. I think it's I've been told a number of people that it is accessible, that it's not something that requires a scientific background or philosophical background. And that's important because these are issues for everybody. I really wanted to reach everybody in writing this book.

[00:35:22.700] – Allan
Dr Buchanan, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:35:32.680] – Dr. Buchanan
Well, I think one thing is to try to prevent yourself from getting immersed in this tribalistic culture. I think it's really bad for you. I think there's steps that you can take. You can avoid certain websites or certain media outlets and maybe you can cut down your Facebook time or you can learn just not to respond. You can train yourself not to respond to everything you see on Facebook.

[00:35:58.210] – Dr. Buchanan
And I think, again, the main point is to try to school yourself, to regard the people you disagree with as your equals and as people that potentially you can reason if you can do that, that will be a huge step in the right direction. Another way to avoid ill health effects of tribalism is just to turn off the media or at least to turn off any media that look like they have political content.

[00:36:29.580] – Dr. Buchanan
I know a lot of people have done that to me. I do it to some extent. I mean, there are times where if I continue to look at what's going on politically, I know I'll just make myself sick and to no avail. So there's a kind of self-restraint that's involved in keeping your health and keeping your relationships intact. I mean, look, I have to confess, I'm more of a sort of moderate to liberal persuasion. My wife is extremely conservative and we had to work very hard not to let tribalism infect us and destroy our relationship.

[00:37:05.260] – Allan
Absolutely. Well, as you said earlier, I do believe you've made the book accessible and it is available on Amazon. I'll make sure to have a link in the show notes for this. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/467, and I'll be sure to have a link there.

[00:37:20.320] – Dr. Buchanan
Dr. Buchanan, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:23.710] – Dr. Buchanan
Well, thank you for your excellent comments and questions.

Post Show/Recap

[00:37:30.940] – Allan
Welcome back.

[00:37:32.320] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow!

[00:37:33.940] – Allan
What tribe are you and what tribe or you in?

[00:37:37.420] – Rachel
Allan, I walk the fence. I'm telling you, I am the most middle of the road person you could ever meet.

[00:37:44.320] – Allan
Yeah, well, politically, I'm a Libertarian and a lot of people say, oh, you noncaring… because, I'm not in their tribe and I don't really care when they start going down that line. I actually do care very much and I do a lot to help people. But I like being able to do it on a voluntary basis. I like having access to information that I can make decisions on.

[00:38:06.370] – Rachel

[00:38:06.730] – Allan
An interesting tidbit I'd like to share with you today is that we had Dr. Cowan and Sally Fallon Morell on the show a couple of weeks ago and that gets published out on YouTube. So there's an audio version of this podcast. It's just the picture of the logo and then it just runs on YouTube. They didn't like the topic and they didn't agree with what the message was, which, again, I don't know that you and I really fully agreed with or, you know, say, Okay, we're going to say yay or nay, we're on this. We're like, okay, it's information adults take over. Well, YouTube decided no. So YouTube pulled the video and issued a warning. So I haven't been put in jail, but I've had one of my babies taken away. And so, yeah, you won't find that on YouTube.

[00:38:57.700] – Allan
You won't find Dr. Cowan and Sally's book on Amazon. Amazon is not carrying it.

[00:39:04.120] – Rachel

[00:39:04.840] – Allan
They carry his other books. They carry her other books, but they are not carrying this book. So recognize that, yes, tribalism is about environment, as we talked in the podcast. The places we go, Google, YouTube, because YouTube is owned by Google, so I have to believe YouTube is blocking stuff, Google is blocking stuff, Facebook is blocking stuff, Twitter is blocking stuff and deleting stuff.

[00:39:35.840] – Allan
It's revisionist information that you're using for your health and fitness. And if you don't think that's a problem, all you have to do is look back and look at what the sugar industry did years and years ago to demonize fat and get scientists. They paid scientists to say sugar is fine.

[00:39:56.060] – Rachel
Hmm. That's crazy.

[00:39:57.830] – Allan
And if they can do that and then the government acts on it by creating a food pyramid that benefits the food companies. And social media is going to follow that line because we have social media back then. We just had the government in the news agencies and now the news agencies and the social media are picking tribes. So your access to health information, because like one of my favorite people to to read and I don't always agree with him is Dr Mercola. He's fascinating. And he knows a lot. He knows a lot. He pretty much can't be on the social media stuff because they block him. So he has his own newsletter. You have to now subscribe to a newsletter, the old school way. You know, give me your email address and he sends you the articles because Google won't show his content. You can start searching for Dr. Mercola. He won't show up the way he did before he used to be number one search when you click on to look up something that you want to know something about. And if Dr. Mercola had written about it, he used to show up really high on the search. Not anymore, I'm guessing, because I have that article out there. If you typed it up to look for Dr. Cowan and Sally, you probably won't find my article either. Google's probably not going to show that page and they'll probably eventually penalize the whole site because I have that content on there. So it's scary.

[00:41:25.760] – Allan
It is. It's really concerning because the the beautiful part about science is that it's always changing. There's always something to be studied. There's always something to be restudy, to reanalysed. There's always new conclusions to be drawn. And it just changes so much that it's it's hard to imagine that just old studies or old news or something that's just new and different are being cut out of the most popular ways that we get information these days. And that's online.

[00:41:59.150] – Allan
Yeah, well, one at one time, everybody thought the scientists thought that everything revolved around the earth and for anyone to come and say no, I think I think it's the other way around. I think we're revolving around other things. And so it's not as just, you know, it's not everything we're all revolving around us. Something's going on and we're probably revolving around other things. And for someone to do that, they were heretic. They were they were dangerous. You know, an idea is dangerous.

[00:42:33.190] – Allan
And I would say it can be when it's part of a tribalism driving a behavior of anger and distrust and fear. And so, yeah, if you're if you're afraid of this thing and your tribe tells you to be more afraid and you're more afraid, and that's why there's this comedian called JP Sears and I think he's hilarious, it's satire. He will sit there and pick and pick a pick, a pick all this stuff of, you know, how you're supposed to be afraid. The media says you're supposed to be afraid. So you have to be afraid because the media says you have to be afraid. And but that's that seems to be a pretty strong message out there that keeps coming every day. And it gets clicks. It creates a whole series of memes and headlines. And you follow those headlines in those memes.

[00:43:24.370] – Allan
And many times if you actually read the article and then they have a link to a source and then you go to the source and you're kind of like, that's actually what they said. But you wrote a really great headline because I was yeah, you got me, you know.

[00:43:40.720] – Allan
And so I just think that we have to take that step back. If you find yourself being pulled in to the tribe ideology, realize, 1) a political candidate should not be giving you medical advice

[00:43:56.320] – Rachel

[00:43:56.320] – Allan
Let's just put that out there. If you're following the medical advice of a political candidate, elected or not. Probably not a good idea. Do your own homework.

[00:44:06.000] – Allan
If you believe that everything they tell you is true, if it's in the media, it's true. You need to take a step back and do a little bit of work because there'll be a headline about an allegation or a headline about an investigation or a headline that says one thing. And they've picked one piece of information. And therefore, they can use that information to scare you.

[00:44:35.430] – Allan
So I'll just I'll put it out there, with the vaccination. They tested tens of thousands of people and four of the people who got the vaccine got Bell's Palsy. It's a face paralyzing palsy and it's typically temporary, but it's kind of concerning if that is a causal effect, which it's hard to say, which is four. There it is. But interestingly enough, none of the placebo group got it. So it's another data point. It's a little data point in a little bit of data. And I know a lot of people say that's a lot of data and a little number relative to that many people because it is a small percentage.

[00:45:15.540] – Allan
But, you know, if you had a point, two percent chance of getting a horrific disease, that, yes, you're OK from covid, but you get this other disease, is that the choice you wanted to make? And I don't you know, again, for me personally, I respect what they've done and why they did the things they did and all of that and the fact that the vaccine is going to be free for the people that want to take it.

[00:45:41.190] – Allan
But the instant that they say must, which employers are going to do for the government and which you don't have a choice if you want to get your stimulus check, if they actually tie it to a stimulus check. I want you to really think hard about what they're doing and why they're doing that. Why are they enticing so many people to do something that they wouldn't otherwise want to do?

[00:46:03.180] – Allan
And that's herd mentality. That's tribalism. That's fear and reward. And so they're they're basically playing on our human nature, creating an environment. And I just want you. And that's why when I do these podcasts, you know, I've had vegans on, I've keto people on, I've had carnivore on. I had even had a raw paleo and I even tried some of it. I had raw eggs and I didn't die. Oh my God. And they weren't even done. They weren't even the processed clean eggs that you have in the United States. These were just the chicken laid the egg. There's still a little bit of poop on the egg and the carton. So, yeah, let's eat.

[00:46:48.330] – Allan
But I think you have to have the subjectivity. Or you really aren't making adult decisions about your own health.

[00:46:56.260] – Rachel
Well, you just said it right there, making it your own adult decisions about your own adult health. Yeah, I mean, you do need to think things through. And like you said, discussing between the myriad of diets between vegan and carnivore. You have to make these decisions based on your own experience. And I've been vegetarian and I survived it, but it wasn't the most healthiest choice for me. I've been keto now for a little over two going on three years, and it has worked for me. So, I mean, everybody else has to make their own decisions based on their own experiments, trials, accidents, whatever it takes. You know, we're adults. We can make our own decisions.

[00:47:37.630] – Allan
Yeah. Part of the reason and it's maybe it's the libertarianism in me that I don't like some of the stuff, the mandates and the requirements and this and that and the other is that it puts us on a very slippery slope. And what I mean by that is we have a crisis, particularly in the United States, but it's growing. Everywhere else is adopting the standard American diet is obesity, and it leads to so many other health concerns. And the question would be, if you walked up to a grocery store and walked up to a restaurant and you wanted to get some food and they said, OK, I need you to download this app. And it's going to tell us how many steps you took today. And if you haven't taken 8000 steps today, we can't serve you. I know that maybe that sounds crazy.

[00:48:27.190] – Rachel
Totally crazy.

[00:48:28.440] – Allan
But, it's a mandate for the health of the country if we're going to pay more for health care every year because more and more people are getting sick this next generation, they're telling us that their life expectancy would potentially be shorter than our own and not because they're riding without, they're actually wearing helmets when they ride their bicycle. So they're safer. They have more safety equipment in the cars. You know, it's not the mom, one arm restraint right in the front seat of the car. We take much better care of our children these days. So for the protection to be that their life expectancy is shorter than ours should, ding, ding, ding.

[00:49:16.690] – Allan
And we can't expect the government to do this for us. Because every time they take it on as a topic it gets picked up by someone like a First Lady. It's managed for talked about for eight years as an undertone. And it helps and affects nobody. And so it's not just to talk about thing. You've got to embrace your own health. And that's why I'm bothered by the tribalism and now the censorship, I'm not going to call it censorship because it's not really censorship. YouTube doesn't want on their platform. Fine, it's not on YouTube's platform.

[00:49:51.370] – Allan
But I think you should have access to information to draw objective choices. You know, I'm with you, Rachel. I don't think necessarily that 5G is a cause because they're getting it in countries that don't have 5G yet. So if you don't have 5G there, how did someone get it? And the resonation principle of my brother gave me chickenpox, which resonated, and I never got along anything. So if his body told my body something, I wouldn't listen to it.

[00:50:21.910] – Allan
So, no, I don't necessarily agree with them, but that doesn't mean that they don't have the right to have their opinion, and that some of the science they put in there is true that they haven't isolated this virus. The test, you know, the positive negatives, false lots of false positives. Maybe some false negatives. I don't know. That's a little harder to know because it's asymptomatic cases. You test positive, you assume you have it. You wait the ten days and you move on with your life.

[00:50:51.460] – Allan
So I just think we need objective information. If you see a headline and it either you really agree with it or you really disagree with it, because that's what they want. They want you to be polarized by it. You get polarized by a headline. If you care about that issue, if you really care about that issue enough that you're angry now or scared to a little bit of reading.

[00:51:13.000] – Rachel
More reading. Yes.

[00:51:14.890] – Allan
You know, not just that article, but look up articles on the other side of that argument and really sit down and say, what do we know? Okay, I know we've given this vaccine to twenty, thirty thousand people. Yes, there were four cases of Bell's Palsy. There were two deaths. And we know that. Now two deaths out of twenty-two thousand is lower than the death rate for covid, particularly for people who are at risk for other comorbidities. So maybe, maybe a good choice for a really healthy young person. You know, is it a bit is it a good choice to make those? And we need the data, we need the information, and if you just look at a headline, you know, headline says Bell's Palsy cases, then suddenly now you have your reason to be an anti-vaxer. Then the headline on the other side is going to make sure to caveat that with zero point zero two percent, which is no higher than the standard rate of Ball's Palsy in the general population.

[00:52:14.520] – Allan
And, you know, when they gave this other vaccine, there was a I think they had heart attacks and they said, well, that was no higher than the standard for heart attacks. And yes, it happened to be that his was the placebo group that had the heart attacks and the non-placebo group didn't. So does this actually cure heart attacks? And the answer that was also no. So realize the small bits of data make a choice, but make it an informed choice. Not just my tribe says this therefore.

[00:52:43.860] – Rachel
Well, exactly. And I just want to take it one step further and go visit your doctor, make a schedule of video consultation with your doctor, because they're the ones that have all of your past blood results. They have your past illnesses and surgeries. And you can discuss carefully with your doctor all of your concerns whether or not you're going to have an allergic reaction, even though you've never had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before. I mean, it's worth just discussing with your doctor and having somebody who's actually seen all of your medical history help you make an informed decision and not base your decision over one headline or another. Like really take a closer look to what this means for you as an individual.

[00:53:28.390] – Allan
Yeah. And then the other side of this and one of the core reasons that I wanted to to get into this topic with Dr. Buchanan is this is if you find yourself getting angry at someone over their opinion, you really got to rethink your priorities. If you're letting this hurt relationships, it's one thing to push the unfriend on Facebook for someone that you went to high school with 30 years ago, 40 years ago, that's one thing.

[00:53:58.440] – Allan
But to sit there and say, I'm not going to talk to my mother, brother or sister spouse again because they are an anti-vaxxer or they're, you know, they're a masker or whatever you want to whatever your side of this conversation is because you're in that tribe, you really need to rethink that because, you know, I've had enough people on talking about longevity and we know it's the social bonds and relationships that keep us tied to this earth to have a good, long, healthy life.

[00:54:30.840] – Allan
And so this is this goes a lot deeper than just saying, oh, I have to be right. I have to agree with my tribe. I don't I can't afford the social cost of not agreeing with my tribe now that I'm in this tribe. But the social costs of being in that tribe are lost relationships, a lot of anger and stress in your life and a lot of fear. And some of that fear may be warranted, but in many cases it's not.

[00:54:55.800] – Allan
And because that's fear is what's driving you in that tribe. It's what's keeping you tied to that tribe is the fear, either the fear that they're going to take something away from you or the fear that that other tribe is going to kill you because they're evil. And that's what tribalism is all about. That's why I thought this was a really good episode to have. I hope YouTube doesn't block it, too, because their secret is out. But I just, you know, just recognize what social media, what the news media is doing to you.

[00:55:31.350] – Rachel
You mentioned fear. But I also want to bring up the anger part of it, too, because, you know, for all this time, we could get along no matter where people sat and the on the aisle, right or left in the middle or whatever. But it's gotten it's escalated to a point where it's making people angry and they're saying such inflammatory things. And it's not just about cherry picking the facts to prove your point.

[00:55:59.100] – Rachel
It's the name calling, it's the degrading. And it's the I'm right. And you're not it's just not the there's no good side and bad side. And it's been really hard to you know, like I've said before, I just live and let live. You know, people need to make their own decisions based on what's important to them in their lives, whether it's about politics or eating or vaccinations or whatever. But you just because you made your choice doesn't mean everybody else has to have that exact same choice.

[00:56:35.010] – Rachel
You have to respect other people's opinions and their abilities to do the exact same thing, make the choices that are best for them. And that name call or shame or that's the part I think that's driving people apart is the ugly part of it all.

[00:56:48.900] – Allan
Yeah. And as Dr. Buchanan put it in his book. It's a heady read, this is not you know, this is not light reading that you're just going to do on a Summer day sitting on the beach. You know, this is something that you're going to be some concepts and you really have to wrap your mind around what he's saying, what he's trying to prove out. And he does it from an evolutionary perspective. So it's tied into a lot of evolutionary sociology, archaeology, science stuff, but it's not so deep. It is written for the everyday person. But there's a lot of big, long words in there, some that you might even have to look up. I did.

[00:57:24.910] – Allan
But, you know, the objective of tribalism is to dehumanize the other tribe, because we need you to act against the other tribe to further bring you into this tribe, so it's a dehumanization. And so when I read on Facebook, “That's good they're getting covid because they did this.” Or they all pose in a picture with that guy so they all deserve to die. And I'm like, no, nobody deserves to die. No, if that's human. And then the other side of it is if they come on my property, I'm going to just shoot them. And I'm like, no, no,

[00:58:08.130] – Rachel
That's fear, fear and anger.

[00:58:11.370] – Allan
Just recognized that that's what the tribe is doing. It's it's helping you and your brain dehumanize another human being. That's not that's not the direction we were headed as human beings. We were headed towards more inclusion. We were headed towards where we recognize the basic human rights of every single person. And we have begun this this exploration into the rights of animals. He was them calling them non-human animals. And in the book, it's just kind of funny, like nonhuman animals. I guess some animals are human.

[00:58:49.230] – Rachel
I don't know.

[00:58:50.970] – Allan
In the book, we didn't discuss it in the interview, but he said he had been seeing some documentaries and some information on octopus and how smart they were and how creative they were and how playful they were. And I actually saw a documentary on Netflix myself where the guy was going out every day and visiting this octopus and he built a relationship with an octopus, much like you would, you know, like a dog, like, you know, another animal.

[00:59:19.110] – Allan
And he said up until that point, you know, the thought process for him was it's not like me. It's not like a dog, you know, I wouldn't kill and eat a dog, and that was where, he had lines of, OK, I'll eat animals, but I'm not going to eat vertebrates because I know they feel pain and I don't like the way they're farming them. Okay, so since I know that the factory farms work this way and I know that's because I'm not going to eat this, I'm not going to eat that.

[00:59:46.440] – Allan
I know they feel pain and I'm so I'm not gonna eat that. But he would eat octopus and then he saw this documentary, started understanding the nature of the octopus and how intelligent it was, creative and all that. So he just he can't tolerate eating octopus. So realize that you have this flexibility if you open up your brain and let information in. And then when you learn something, dive in a little deeper and really get a good foundation for why you feel the way you feel and it?

[01:00:18.980] – Allan
And guess what? Regardless of what that is, octopus is delicious, by the way. It doesn't make you a good or bad person. It doesn't make you less moral or more moral to have that position. It's just your moral position. And if you're sticking to your foundation of who you are by the nature of being you, you're being moral.

[01:00:43.290] – Allan
Yeah, yeah. Live and let live. Yeah. And respect other people.

[01:00:48.390] – Allan
And so, yeah, that's why I tell people go to a farmer's market, talk to the farmer and find out how they're treating the animals that you're eating. And if you're not happy with the way then don't buy that. And you know, so realize the factory farms are, they treat these animals so poorly. But if that's what you're eating, that's what you're eating. So just recognize where you are, how you're acting and make sure it's consistent.

[01:01:11.820] – Allan
You need that moral consistency. And then when you realize new information and that doesn't go along with what you thought, do the research get the understanding and then you have the plasticity to adapt your morality based on your new understanding. But if you stick with a tribe, if you're in that regressed state of being in a tribe, you're not going to be open to that. And that's a shame.

[01:01:37.650] – Rachel
Yes, absolutely. That sounds about perfect. It's a good place to teach people that they can make their own decisions.

[01:01:46.410] – Allan
You can make your own decisions. Yeah, good. Good. All right, Rachel, this has been a good talk. I really appreciate it.

[01:01:51.240] – Rachel
Very good.

[01:01:52.110] – Allan
I'll talk to you next week.

[01:01:53.640] – Rachel
That's great. Take care.

[01:01:55.170] – Allan
Be safe.


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