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Parasites and politics

What if you learned that your politics (or religion?) were influenced by a parasite you carried. Not something that made you irrational, but that tweaked your emotions or what you cared about. Like boosting your sense of empathy or other-identification, making you more left/libera. Or something else, for conservatives or libertarians [I don't feel up to coming up with a non-insulting plausible emotional modification for them, maybe someone still in those mindsets can]. Would you want a cure? Would you urge people to get the parasite? Likely, what other effects the parasite had might might matter; that could range from fairly neutral (like Toxoplasma in humans) to something majorly negative.

What if you learned instead that such parasites tilted people toward your political opposition?


This was probably the premise of a Greg Egan short story, but it's been a while...

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/387752.html#comments

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
resonant
Mar. 4th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
Also a David Brin story, where an organism transmitted through blood transfusions made people altruistic (and thus more likely to donate blood). Society became better. The person who discovered it kept quiet, but made sure he wasn't infected, because he wanted to know that he was being nice because he WANTED to be nice, not because he was made to.
harimad
Mar. 5th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
I don't think you can propose an emotional modification for any side without being insulting. By proposing empathy or other-identification, you've indicated you think conservatives are insular and/or xenophobic.

I am put in mind of a US'an political joke/observation, that anyone with a heart will be liberal and anyone with a brain will be conservative.
fellmama
Mar. 5th, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
Not USian--François Guizot: "Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head."
harimad
Mar. 6th, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the source!
fellmama
Mar. 6th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Also often attributed to Winston Churchill. I think maybe one might say it's a fairly universal sentiment.
mindstalk
Mar. 7th, 2014 04:21 am (UTC)
Universal among conservatives, anyway.
fellmama
Mar. 7th, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC)
Well . . . I do my best not to be too inflammatory in other people's spaces. (Except about anti-vaxxers.)
harimad
Mar. 11th, 2014 11:30 am (UTC)
Well... I first heard it from someone who's a social liberal and economic conservative.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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