Earlier this week, scientists from Emory University found that capuchin monkeys take delight in giving to others. They paired the animals with either a relative, non-related acquaintance, or complete stranger, and gave them a choice between two tokens. One of the tokens allowed the monkeys to enjoy an apple slice all to themselves, while the other rewarded both monkeys with the treat. When they were paired with a family member or acquaintance, most of the animals chose the latter.
The closer the biological relationship the more likely they were to share. People seem pretty good at sharing especially families, but as whole many of us are inconsistent. I’m left wondering about that mental check-list that people seem to go through to decide whether to share or not. I’ve seen some people act offended as though you’re assuming they can’t afford lunch or take hand-outs from coworkers. I suspect that in humans and other primates the sharing response is evolutionary behavior by way of the “selfish gene” effect. Ultimately what you’re doing is helping a relative or a member of the tribe survive so they in turn can produce more family. Unless its a double quarter pounder, then you probably have have unconscious desire to see the sharie have a coronary.
Jake Tapper asks: “What would the response be if Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and his wife Michelle had a pregnant unmarried teenage daughter?”
James Wolcott replies, What Would Newt Do?
I can answer that. Mona Charen, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would sprout bat wings and fangs and start divebombing, Peggy Noonan would issue a pained sigh that would ruffle nun’s robes from here to Hoboken, Laura Ingraham and Bill Bennett would engage in a finger-wagging contest to condemn our loose licentious liberal culture, and Jennifer Rubin at Commentary’s Contentions would crash into the wall doing cartwheels.
Probably like most people i feel bad for Bristol Palin. She is a minor that has been thrown into the public spotlight not just because of her mother and John McCain, but because the Right decided years ago to corrupt the greater meaning of the word values. A large group of humans in denial of their flesh and blood fralities should be a little scary, but they’ve been amazingly successful much like snake oil salesmen and rainmakers of days gone by. These are the people that read The Scarlet Letter in high school and thought that Hester Prynne was a criminal. All lessons about empathy being some kind of liberal propaganda. Then Bristol is stuck with a guy who’s MySpace page has the warning, “Ya f – – – with me I’ll kick [your] ass,” he added.