Sunday, December 04, 2011

Affiliative Behavior: Oklahoma Edition

After Oklahoma State bested Oklahoma in their bitter football rivalry, fans stampeded on to the field, tearing down the goal posts, injuring several of their number, two critical. Such events, and much more catastrophic ones in soccer are all too common. Why do we do it? Why do we care about these professional or semi-professional athletes whose lives hardly intersect ours at all?

Regular readers may guess that I'm going to suggest that it's an instinctive human behavior with some evolutionary basis, and I do. The urge to attach ourselves to groups - football clubs, gangs, political parties, chess clubs, religions, tribes, nations - is too widespread to be an accident. It's also too obviously adaptive in the classic cases of tribes and gangs. The lone individual with no posse or tribe is an easy target and has no chance against the group.

One of my many beefs with libertarians is their obliviousness to this truth.