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Monday, November 17, 2008

The Moral Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals

Could it be that Liberals and Conservatives operate from two different sets of moral values and the Liberals simply do not recognize the moral values of Conservatives?

According to one study
, that is exactly right.

In a 2007 paper, Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham, a couple of social justice researchers, managed to come up with an explanation. Brace yourselves: it turns out that our beliefs are immoral.

Well, at least as far as liberals are concerned. These researchers determined that "there are five psychological foundations of morality, which we label as harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity." Conservative morality is based on some combination of all five of these moral foundations. There may not be an exact 20% input from each one, but they are all present. Liberal morality is based on only the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity foundations.

"Conservatives have many moral concerns that liberals simply do not recognize as moral concerns... liberals often find it hard to understand why so many of their fellow citizens do not rally around the cause of social justice, and why many Western nations have elected conservative governments in recent years."

Liberals are only concerned about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity. When we talk about patriotism, or respect for the country, or abortion, we are speaking from a set of morals and values that liberals simply do not see as being moral at all. In fact, liberals often believe that we have "non-moral motivations—such as selfishness, existential fear, or blind prejudice."

In 2004, "political liberals in the United States were shocked, outraged, and unable to understand how 'moral values' drove people to vote for a man who, as they saw it, tricked America into an unwinnable war, cut taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, and seemed to have a personal animosity toward mother nature." They couldn't understand it because unlike conservatives, liberals don't believe that ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity are actual moral foundations.

Take abortion. For conservatives, abortion is mainly a religious issue, and relates to the purity/sanctity moral foundation. For liberals, purity/sanctity is not a moral foundation. Instead, they may argue that from the fairness/reciprocity moral foundation, having an abortion allows the mother to avoid the unfairness of being burdened with a child she doesn't want. For liberals, those who are pro-life have no moral foundation to stand on, and the pro-lifers are attacking a very moral position. No wonder they think we're evil.

Patriotism? Forget it. There's no moral foundation to ingroup/loyalty as far as liberals are concerned.

Want to make a movie mocking a sitting president, or write a book about assassinating him? Who cares? Believing in authority and having respect for tradition is so old-fashioned, and not moral at all. If you're a liberal.

Gay marriage? "Conservatives and many moderates are opposed to gay marriage in part due to moral intuitions related to ingroup, authority, and purity, and these concerns should be addressed, rather than dismissed contemptuously."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This may explain why today's crop of artists make so little religious art.