If a subject [knows] about their own ambition, their own desires for control or disinterest in and malice towards others, and see more of themselves in the group, there can be some projection. If Jones would suppress the rights of other religious groups through shady means, then that means that atheists or gays must want to suppress the rights of his religious group. If Alex knows that he holds disdain for women he finds unattractive or otherwise not a prospective date, then that means those women must hold disdain for him. This sort of projection is where a lot of the danger in these moral motivations live, and in recognizing this psychological phenomenon, it is easy to see how modern political and cultural rhetoric latches onto it.
PZ Myers on the humanist paradox.
Myers here is referencing work done by Kate Manne and, to an extent, Hannah Arendt who argue that, contra popular wisdom, much bigotry originates not from the refusal to recognize the humanity of an “outsider” group (i.e. dehumanization), but rather the projection of the bigots own worst intentions towards others. It’s the “do unto others before they do unto you” game.
This is, to put it mildly, not a very positive view on humanity (its corollary is basically that you can’t stop awful people from being bigots; you have to stop awful people from being awful people, first) but… hm.