This is a very important post because it is a critique of a critique on everything that is wrong with liberals by an evolutionary psychologist. There will be a total of three posts. This first topic is about facts and feelings and how they relate to Donald Trump.
I just got done reading “The Parasitic Mind” by Gad Saad, and the book was enjoyable because it was lucid… Saad claims to not have any skin in the game and is an apolitical Canadian. But he sure does favor what a typical conservative does (i). Saad is an evolutionary psychologist, which is not a problem. The problem is that he does not know how to present sensitive issues of status to the public. He wrote his book to combat liberals’ attempts at destroying freedom and truth. These are the same aspirations that every conservative has. Saad believes that parasites disguised as “thought patterns, belief systems, attitudes, and mindsets” have made liberals unable to think clearly about the facts. What are these facts? Saad being as eclectic as he is has them in his book. He targets the usual suspects, including relativism, feminism, victimhood, social justice warriors, and political correctness.
Any system that is built on a false understanding of human nature is doomed to fail. Building a society where the primary objective is to protect one’s fragile self-esteem from the dangers of competition will only lead to a society of weakness, entitlement, and apathy. Life is necessarily competitive; society is necessarily hierarchical. It does no one any favors to pursue a utopian vision of society where no one’s feelings are hurt.
The above quote sums up Saad’s grand vision and understanding of human nature. This means there is no place for equality or equity. Although he claims that humans are both competitive and cooperative, he fails to discuss the egalitarian aspects of cooperation. If we exclude the work of Wilson, Boehm, Waal, and others, then perhaps we can conclude that we are selfish to the core. But there is a good case to be made that our moral emotions give us the capacity to be empathetic towards in-group and even out-group members. Saad wants to convince us that his argument is based on facts. It is not. It is based on a preference for a worldview that assumes that life is a struggle for survival. This is a belief that he bought into. It is not a matter of fact (iv). Saad sits on top; it is in his best interest to believe in legitimizing beliefs. He’s legitimizing a world of absolute meritocracy. We know of his ilk.
Liberals Voted Irrationally Against Trump
In the political arena, Drew Westen has shown in The Political Brain that emotion is both central and legitimate in political persuasion. Its use is not an illicit appeal to irrationality, as Enlightenment thought would have it. The proper emotions are rational. 
Saad gets it right when he points out that separating rationality from passion gives a false dichotomy. Neuroscience shows that this dichotomy is fiction because we reason with emotion. When it comes to political reasoning, which is moral reasoning, emotions are very pertinent. Saad claims that liberals did not support Trump because of their visceral hate and contempt for him. We did not like his brazen disposition and political incorrectness. Instead, we should have been looking at the facts like his experience as a successful businessman or his stance on issues of importance. Well, that would not have been a fruitful avenue to take. Besides people vote based on their gut feelings on whether they like the candidate or not. This means that Trump’s beliefs, personality, mannerisms, and behaviors did not align with our preferences. It can easily be argued that it is rational to not vote for Trump based on those reasons (i). In fact, emotions are so important that voting on values almost always trumps one’s interests .
This is not good enough for Saad since we must use conscious reason to calculate and maximize our self-interest. This is a form of reasoning that people seldomly engage in. It has its roots in the Enlightenment era and is used in economic models as a form of means-end rationality. Real reason uses metaphors, frames, prototypes, and emotion and ninety-five percent of our reasoning is unconscious . So why are we holding liberals and conservatives to unattainable standards? Because we want to believe that we are rational; it makes us feel smart (ii). Now, some decisions are more cognitive-intense than emotional, but we are talking about political reasoning not which mutual funds to purchase. If rationality is about goal-oriented behavior and how we feel towards a candidate is important to us, then it is completely rational to vote based on preferences-values and not our interests. Although our “interests” are usually framed in terms of pecuniary or quantifiable ends, it can be argued that our values become our interests.
This will no doubt be interpreted as irrational because we are supposed to use unemotional reasoning in order to calculate what is in our best interest. It is a stigma to say that likes and dislikes were involved in our decision-making process. But why should quantifiable interests be more important than values? Moral psychologists have documented the rich tapestry of emotions that we experience when issues of status, rank, power, control, fairness, loyalty, caring, safety, sanctity, inclusion, exclusion, equality, and freedom arise, which are exactly what politics and moral reasoning evoke. These emotional experiences make life meaningful and allow us to share identities and beliefs, which makes us tribal. These shared beliefs allow us to cooperate with a collective vision in order to press our interests. Although tribalism certainly connotes irrationality, it can be rational to want to be ideological (iii).
Facts, Truth, and Everything Is Relative
Saad goes on to say that “Any human endeavor rooted in the pursuit of truth must rely on facts and not feelings .” Although this statement is technically not true, we know what he means. Saad means that we cannot base truth on a hunch, we have to be aware of our bias, and we cannot reject or accept facts solely on our dislikes or likes. I say “solely” because neuroscience explains how we experience “truth” in terms of affect (think of emotion) as we simulate “truth” to see if it fits our understanding. In other words, we interpret facts and reason with emotion. In fact, scientists devise hypotheses based on confirmation biases. In principle, it’s the competing confirmation biases that give us truth. So Saad’s statement is misleading if we are concerned about objective truth.
But the above is not the real reason for Saad’s claim of truth. The real reason is that he wants to portray liberals as people who cannot be taken seriously. We can therefore be dismissed by more serious-minded intellectuals. Conservatives have made a business out of saying “facts don’t care about your feelings”. Conservatives are tough, no-nonsense people, so this is what we should expect. This should not intimidate anyone because it is only revealing their own feelings since it is an appeal to their ego. Still, emotions help interpret facts and play a role in what we value, which is important. Liberals know that in order for these values to be matters of fact that we must restructure our beliefs. If we believe that political correctness is moral, then the next step would be to ask about its efficacy; that is, does political correctness improve the status of marginalized others? This is now empirical.
Truth is a kind of illusory rule-following, the purpose of which has long been forgotten; it’s a “mobile army of metaphors” that become “enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically” by people in charge. Nietzsche
There is a common misunderstanding about truth and facts. We already unraveled the role of feelings in interpreting facts and reasoning. But what about “it’s all relative”? Conservatives hate this statement. Presumably, it delegitimizes their beliefs which they want to be absolute facts. Saad and scientists want to believe that absolute objective facts exist so they can make predictions. Objective facts exist, but they must be relative to the interpreter. So there are only relative objective facts and not absolute objective facts. Saad is not giving “it’s all relative” the proper treatment. Think about how ideologies frame abortion. Conservatives frame it as “a baby”. Liberals frame it as “a cluster of cells”. Therefore, abortion is immoral for conservatives and moral for liberals within their respective frameworks. Both statements are matters of fact. Both worldviews are right. Although philosophers would call these distal beliefs since they are hard to prove, this is legitimate reasoning that people engage in. A hard relativist would say that everything is relative to a point of view and not one point of view should be elevated over the other. Science, in my view, is the final adjudicator, so I disagree with the hard relativists. Contrary to what Saad says, morality is not absolute. Unless we define it as “well-being” since there is a biological argument for this. But morality has been expanded to moralities by Haidt, who is in charge.
i) Saad is not a political conservative, but he holds their worldview. Saad has stated that he is a libertarian, which is two steps away from a conservative. Cognitive scientists have developed models for two different modes of reasoning that are seen across cultures, which are used by both conservatives and liberals. Saad would agree perfectly with the reasoning of a “strict-father morality”, which is the mode of thought that conservatives use.
ii) Rationality is a big topic. Philosophers have defined all kinds of rationality. In the everyday sense, it means someone who does not give in to their passions in order to serve their long-term interests, not being too emotional or impulsive to pursue what’s most important, or that which is agreeable to reason. We favor this definition because serving our long-term interests has survival value. It is also a social norm that we follow. People want to be seen as smart enough to protect their long-term interests. Notice how Saad uses this to draw criticism that we are not rational. Even so, it is rational to vote based on values, which involve emotion.
iii) If liberals wanted to use reason-based rationality, they could certainly weigh the pros and cons of their candidates. They could evaluate them based on intelligence scores, personality inventories, past voting records, and stance on issues that serve their interests. But people do not have the time to engage in this type of reasoning. If we are honest, then these would have come after the fact anyhow as most reasoning is post hoc. We feel first and then justify with reasons, especially when it comes to people and politics. It turns out that it is a good heuristic to vote for party affiliation because it increases the probability that one’s perceived interests will be carried out and values will be upheld. Moreover, our gut instincts about Trump turned out to be more than correct.
iv) Biological life can be a competitive and cooperative struggle for survival. But it does not have to be. We have the capacity to help those who can’t compete and to protect against the corrosive effects of exaggerated social hierarchies. Evolution is more accurately defined as the survival of a species in terms of adaptation to ecological niches. Saad’s entire argument for a worldview of absolute meritocracy rests on what he claims is a biological imperative. He is conflating stuff. This will take a post to explain.
 Lakoff, George. The Political Mind.
 Saad, Gadd. The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense
 Westen, Drew. The Political Brain.