It has been my experience that people are selfish in both their person and their ideals. It is natural for a human being to display self interest, presented with any number or kinds of evidence to the contrary people will still cling to the ideas they where raised with or prefer to believe in their adult lives. Sometimes it is habit sometimes bias, sometimes its even rational.
I find that I have attitudes that I find difficult to shake from my upper middle class upbringing. Because I made money I am dubious about those who don’t, because I am thin I am dismissive of those who are not, not pleasant attributes, I am embarrassed and ashamed when they present themselves. I like to think of myself as a fair person but I have my share of inbred bigotry that I have to deal with.
When I was made destitute I encountered people that detested me for my accent, manners and upbringing, these people came from poverty, broken homes and poor educations, they despised privilege. When I eventually went to work for an expensive escort agency I got to know the conspicuously wealthy, men who had almost unimaginable funds at their disposal, many of whom had come from entire generations of the same wealth. The despised the poor for their laziness, their failure to rise to wealth and their coarseness. They also despised the middle class for their crassness and their rise to fortune, and the threat they posed to the ‘order of things’.
Politicians despised their voters, liberals the conservative, and vice versa. The church leaders despised the immoral – that was particularly ironic to a prostitute servicing them.
What did I learn from this? That people lack empathy, the one thing that might unite us as people, we fail to see the good in each other for the bad and failings of one and other. Human beings are selfish thinkers, if there is a safe dogma we will stick to lit like fingers to superglue, because its easy, because there is safety in our little pier group and because change if not very difficult is next to impossible.
Most people would rather stick to what they grew up with, even if it’s utterly without proof, purpose or grounding in reality than do what is necessary to empathise or be just. Self righteousness is cheap especially if you are in a crowd, its far harder to turn and face the crowd and stand for reason.
This is true of politics, race, religion, national pride and many other things, yes they will tell you they are open minded, that they have examined the facts but they haven’t because the fruit rarely falls far from the tree.