Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior Evolutionary biologists have discovered the foundations of human morality in our not so distant realtives, the great apes. Now this is likely to drive the Christian wingnuts as crazy as Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin but I'll leave that for another post. There was one observation that came to mind today.
As Dr. de Waal sees it, human morality may be severely limited by having evolved as a way of banding together against adversaries, with moral restraints being observed only toward the in group, not toward outsiders. “The profound irony is that our noblest achievement — morality — has evolutionary ties to our basest behavior — warfare,” he writes. “The sense of community required by the former was provided by the latter.”Digby has observed that Republicans behave like a tribe rather than a political party. We had an example of this tribal morality today from Press Secretary Tony Snow.
Snow swallows own old words
"What kinds of conversations does executive privilege protect?…What are the limits on privilege?'' a newspaper columnist wrote in the spring of 1998 on a subject strangely familiar today."It's a different situation"! What's different? One thing and one thing alone, Bush is part of Snow's tribe and Clinton wasn't. Of course we have seen many other examples and in fact the Republicans have acted like none of the country's laws apply to their tribe.
"Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration,'' the columnist wrote. "Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything.''
"Sounds like you're reading an old column of mine,'' Tony Snow, the Bush administration's press secretary, said today, readily recognizing his nine-year-old words read back to him at a morning press gaggle in which Snow was arguing for Bush's right to protect the internal deliberations of his White House staff.
In March 1998, Snow wrote for the Detroit News, in which this column about a president's over-reaching assertions of executive privilege appeared. Today, he is press secretary for another president confronting an aggressive Congress. It's a different situation, Snow insisted today.