In a fascinating 2009 academic paper by four social psychologists, The motivated use of moral principles, UC Irvine students who identified as politically conservative were found to be racially evenhanded. When given the scenario about killing Chip to save 100 Harlemites, conservatives were no more or less likely to agree it’s the right thing to do than when told to ponder killing the man with the cornerback’s name to save 100 classical musicians.
In striking contrast, liberal students displayed greater bloodthirstiness when presented with the scenario that gave them an opportunity to kill the WASP to help the blacks. This liberal desire to shove a white man to his death to salvage blacks rather than a black man to salvage whites was extremely statistically significant. (…)
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, most memorably illustrated in the “Principles of Newspeak” appendix to 1984, argues that language is power.
The more complex the concept, the more difficult it is to think about it without there being an accepted term for it in our vocabulary.
For example, philosophers talk endlessly about the “trolley problem” not because it’s a well-designed thought experiment (it’s not), but because they have a phrase for it.