Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Great Divide

Conservative are from Mars, Liberals are from Venus...

Reason magazine has an interesting article on the increasing political divide in this country. It's no surprise to anyone that moderation is decreasing and battle lines are hardening. Jonathan Haidt explores the reasons for this and has developed a pretty good theory. Even though I think there's some anti-conservative bias in there, it rings pretty true to me. What do you think?

Here he give a thumbnail sketch of the Moral Foundations Theory he has constructed for analyzing ideology:
Moral Foundations Theory, which outlines six clusters of moral concerns—care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation—upon which all political cultures and movements base their moral appeals. 
Political liberals tend to rely primarily on the moral foundation of care/harm, followed by fairness/cheating and liberty/oppression. 
Social conservatives, in contrast, use all six foundations. They are less concerned than liberals about harm to innocent victims, but they are much more concerned about the moral foundations that bind groups and nations together, i.e., loyalty (patriotism), authority (law and order, traditional families), and sanctity (the Bible, God, the flag as a sacred object).
Libertarians, true to their name, value liberty more than anyone else, and they value it far more than any other foundation. (You can read our complete research findings, including our report on libertarians, at www.MoralFoundations.org.) 
The Liberal Narrative
“Once upon a time, the vast majority of human persons suffered in societies and social institutions that were unjust, unhealthy, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were reprehensible because of their deep-rooted inequality, exploitation, and irrational traditionalism.…
But the noble human aspiration for autonomy, equality, and prosperity struggled mightily against the forces of misery and oppression, and eventually succeeded in establishing modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, welfare societies.
While modern social conditions hold the potential to maximize the individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is much work to be done to dismantle the powerful vestiges of inequality, exploitation, and repression.
This struggle for the good society in which individuals are equal and free to pursue their self-defined happiness is the one mission truly worth dedicating one’s life to achieving.”
The Conservative Narrative
The Reagan narrative goes like this:
“Once upon a time, America was a shining beacon. Then liberals came along and erected an enormous federal bureaucracy that handcuffed the invisible hand of the free market. They subverted our traditional American values and opposed God and faith at every step of the way.
…Instead of requiring that people work for a living, they siphoned money from hardworking Americans and gave it to Cadillac-driving drug addicts and welfare queens. Instead of punishing criminals, they tried to ‘understand’ them. Instead of worrying about the victims of crime, they worried about the rights of criminals.
…Instead of adhering to traditional American values of family, fidelity, and personal responsibility, they preached promiscuity, premarital sex, and the gay lifestyle…and they encouraged a feminist agenda that undermined traditional family roles.
…Instead of projecting strength to those who would do evil around the world, they cut military budgets, disrespected our soldiers in uniform, burned our flag, and chose negotiation and multilateralism.…Then Americans decided to take their country back from those who sought to undermine it.”
Reagan campaign rhetoric doesn't quite paint an equivalent narrative to the reasoned liberal one he uses, but that's a minor quibble.  He doesn't do it to denigrate those of us on the right; he does it to show how conservatives, unlike liberals, use all six foundations.

Go take the Moral Foundations Questionnaire and see how you stack up against liberals and conservatives.  Once you register, go to the "Explore your Morals" tab and scroll down past the first box of surveys where you will find the Moral Foundations Questionnaire.  

Like any survey it has it's flaws related to how respondents interpret the meaning of words, but I found it interesting.  Here are my results.  Blue is the liberal average, Red is the conservative average, and Green is my score.



32 comments:

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Interesting survey, thanks for posting the link.

I scored about middle of the road; half-ish aligned with left or right, and half-ish not close to either.

And you're correct of course, there is a lot of gray area in the choice of wording, as is the case with almost every type of survey I've seen.

Always On Watch said...

Damn. I registered, then couldn't get the site to load to take the survey. Perhaps the site is too busy right now -- as all of Silverfiddle's many readers try to access the site.

Thersites said...

...and all the time, I believed that conservatives were more "courageous" and liberals more "temperate". My bad. ;)

Plato, "Statesman"

STRANGER: The courageous soul when attaining this truth becomes civilized, and rendered more capable of partaking of justice; but when not partaking, is inclined to brutality. Is not that true?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Certainly.

STRANGER: And again, the peaceful and orderly nature, if sharing in these opinions, becomes temperate and wise, as far as this may be in a State, but if not, deservedly obtains the ignominious name of silliness.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Quite true.

STRANGER: Can we say that such a connexion as this will lastingly unite the evil with one another or with the good, or that any science would seriously think of using a bond of this kind to join such materials?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Impossible.

STRANGER: But in those who were originally of a noble nature, and who have been nurtured in noble ways, and in those only, may we not say that union is implanted by law, and that this is the medicine which art prescribes for them, and of all the bonds which unite the dissimilar and contrary parts of virtue is not this, as I was saying, the divinest?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Very true.

Ducky's here said...

His willingness to bring up the welfare Cadillac meme helps remind us that Randoids are from Uranus.

Don't even start on with the bullshit about the military and "projecting strength".

The Libertarians are from Uranus goes on about promoting the gay lifestyle and the usual boilerplate nonsense.

Silverfiddle, you know why Catholics oppose gay marriage? it's the first step to married priests.

Anonymous said...

Well, I got lost in the long list of different tests, and took 8 or 10 just for the hell of it. The process is enthralling.

Guess what?

I don't seem to belong in any clearly identifiable category.

Why am I not surprised?

I'm all over the map, but tend to err on the side of compassion and forgiveness, if that could be considered error.

It would be very easy to tailor one's answers to suit the presumed requirements and preferences of an examiner. I could easily pretend to be liberal or conservative, if I felt it would secure employment or more favorable treatment by someone in a position of authority, etc.

I wonder how many people really answer these surveys with complete honesty? Don't most of us have a built in need or desire to be deemed acceptable that usually overrides any distaste we may claim to have for hypocrisy?

We want to be liked. We want to be hired. We want to keep our jobs. We want to gain a position of power or influence in an organization, THEREFORE, we usually give way to an inordinate compulsion to dissemble.

I wish it were not so, but life involves a tremendous amount of game playing. It may be shame to have to admit it, but telling the truth is no way to win friends and influence people.

In order to survive all of us must learn to put on an act of one kind or another.

Now HERE's a bumper sticker for you:

LIFE IS A MASKED BALL.

Cheerio!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Just for fun consider the following. Comments are more than welcome:


THE PARABLE of the SINKING SHIP


Why Mankind is a Fallen Species



An ocean liner is sinking. There aren’t enough life boats to save all the passengers and crew. What should be done?

Communists declare it unjust that not every passengers can be saved from drowning, ergo, all passengers in life boats should be dragged out of the boats by those floundering in the water and be forced to drown along with everyone else. In a society that fully embraces Social Justice all must die.

Socialists declare that all Jews, then black and latino women and children should be saved first. Then the mentally retarded and the cripples, then the poorest, and most unattractive white women and children, and then women and children from the middle class -- if there’s any room for them. Rich women and children should be excluded completely, even if there’s room for one or two. Men of any and all strata must be consigned to Davey Jones as a matter of principle with the single exception of bearded Marxist professors and Community Organizers.

Christian Conservatives declare all woman and children who have been Born Again should take to the lifeboats followed by those who have openly expressed willingness to turn their lives over to Christ, if they survive the ordeal. Clergymen should be permitted to survive, if there’s room. The rest can go to hell where they properly belong.

Libertarians might say, “Every man for himself. Only the strongest, the fittest, the smartest and the most ruthless deserve to survive anyway. If there’s a woman who can bash my head in with an oar while I’m trying to throw her out of a lifeboat, she deserves to survive, and I don’t. Glug! Glug! Glug! Children? Well, we can always make more babies when we get back to shore, can’t we?”

Paleo-Conservatives might say, “The brightest and best looking white Christian men, women and children should be given their pick of the lifeboats first -- families should not be separated. Then the strongest, most capable and willing blacks and Hispanics should come next, because -- after all -- we’re going to need a few servants if we ever get back home again, aren’t we? Save as many farmers and factory workers as you can, because someone’s got to raise the crops and run the mills. The wretchedly poor, the chronically ill and the feeble would be better off dead anyway, wouldn’t they? So let ‘em drown. College professors, news reporters, and union organizers should be pitched off the boat at the first sign of trouble -- after first being knocked on the head with a sledge hammer.”

All of which indicates that Jeremiah was probably right when he said, “The [human] heart is ... desperately wicked ...”

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: And your acid comments show you to be an angry, frustrated, twisted-up old man.

I posted this for people to comment on what divides us, not to take cheap political shots.

For your gratuitously stupid and insulting comments that had nothing to do with the article, you get the Sphincter of the Day Award!

Congratulations!

Now go discharge your quacking flatulence somewhere else. We're tired of your noxious gases.

conservativesonfire said...

Wow! I think I came out to the right of Atilla the Hun.

Darth Bacon said...

Ducky: And your acid comments show you to be an angry, frustrated, twisted-up old man.

I posted this for people to comment on what divides us, not to take cheap political shots.

For your gratuitously stupid and insulting comments that had nothing to do with the article, you get the Sphincter of the Day Award!

Congratulations!

Now go discharge your quacking flatulence somewhere else. We're tired of your noxious gases...


BRAVO, it's great to see a blogger with the good sense that you have Silver.

Ducky's here said...

"In a perfect libertarian world, it is therefore possible for rich people to buy all the beaches and charge admission fees to whomever they want (or simply ban anyone they choose). In a libertarian world, a self-organized cartel of white people can, under certain conditions, get together and effectively prohibit black people from being able to go out to dinner in their own city. In a libertarian world, a corporate boss can use the threat of unemployment to force you into accepting unsafe working conditions. In other words, the local bullies are free to revoke the freedoms of individuals, using methods more subtle than overt violent coercion.

Such a world wouldn't feel incredibly free to the people in it. Sure, you could get together with friends and pool your money to buy a little patch of beach. Sure, you could move to a less racist city. Sure, you could quit and find another job. But doing any of these things requires paying large transaction costs. As a result you would feel much less free.

Now, the founders of libertarianism - Nozick et. al. - obviously understood the principle that freedoms are often mutually exclusive - that my freedom to punch you in the face curtails quite a number of your freedoms. For this reason, they endorsed "minarchy," or a government whose only role is to protect people from violence and protect property rights. But they didn't extend the principle to covertly violent, semi-violent, or nonviolent forms of coercion.

Not surprisingly, this gigantic loophole has made modern American libertarianism the favorite philosophy of a vast array of local bullies, who want to keep the big bully (government) off their backs so they can bully to their hearts' content. The curtailment of government legitimacy, in the name of "liberty," allows abusive bosses to abuse workers, racists to curtail opportunities for minorities, polluters to pollute without cost, religious groups to make religious minorities feel excluded, etc. In theory, libertarianism is about the freedom of the individual, but in practice it is often about the freedom of local bullies to bully. It's a "don't tattle to the teacher" ideology.

Therefore I see no real conflict between Ron Paul's libertarianism and his support for the agenda of racists. It's just part and parcel of the whole movement. Not necessarily the movement as it was conceived, but the movement as it in fact exists."

Wish I knew the author.

Ducky's here said...

... in other words Silverfiddle, what divides us is people carrying on the meme of welfare Cadillacs but doing it in a way that tries to give it respectability.

You don't go to Reason magazine to get a comprehensive account of what the left believes.

Sorry, but when this tactic is used the only response is to attack it, expose it as bullshit and see if there is a way to move on.

The Libertarian right is bankrupt and it is time to heal thyself physician and quit thinking that throwing around some nonsense about your love of liberty without addressing the issue of the power structure and how to make it work is anything but a dead end.

Whether you are part of it or not, Libertarianism has been badly co-opted and needs a serious overhaul.

Jersey McJones said...

Oh, Ducky, you know libertarianism is what it always was - the political philosophy of spoiled, suburban, white teenagers. (I got banned from Reason's Hit 'n Run board for writing that! LOL! Nick Gillespie is such a little smarmy punk.) "Reason" my ass. They should call it "Selfish Rationalizing."

JMJ

Ducky's here said...

No Jersey, the current conservative line is a lead in to Feudalism and all these would be Libertarians assume they will be the ones with Droit du seigneur .

It's as if they haven't evolved from the 1400's.

Still touting Reagan. They watched the largest upward income transfer in history, got reamed, didn't utter a peep and now they're back to lecture us.

Mark Adams said...

Liberals take “care” and hold ”loyalty” to “degrade”, as long as it “harms” and “oppresses” “liberty” by empowering “authority” to enact “fairness” by “subversion” and “cheating” American “sanctity”. It’s a “betrayal” of the founders.

Interesting post, Silver.

Silverfiddle said...

...And progressivism has worked so well...

Sounds like we have a fwustwated Kwacker on our hands.

I presented two narratives from a putative neutral third party that included a conservative narrative that I did not think was exact and certainly not flattering, and the Beantown Quacker, squawks and honks like somebody stepped on his tail feathers.

You purport to be a smart man, Ducky, but I sometimes question your reading comprehension.

Sam Huntington said...

Reports of Ducky's intelligence are greatly exaggerated.

The Debonair Dudes World said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Debonair Dudes World said...

Mitt's speech last night was a really good one, he has to keep that spirit up. speech last night . The more I see of Mitt Romney , the more I like him. If he keeps hitting Obama with the enthusiasm that he showed last night, I think he's going to do alright.I know that I will give him ny full support in November.

We know that Obama is going to do whatever it takes including getting the price of gas down and I think he will also announce an earlier withdrawal from Afghanistan. He's going to do whatever it takes to win. What I am saying is that I wouldn't put anything past him. Even allowing illegals to vote with and the Attorney General looking the other way.
Why else would anyone have anything against having to showing your ID card prior to voting, when showing your ID Card could stop voting fraud.

Leticia said...

I went to sign up but then the laziness bug hit me and I am like "eh..." I know with most surveys I tend to fall on "very conservative"

But will save the link, because I do enjoy doing surveys, but my boys are home from school, laundry is calling, etc.

The Reagan, "Instead of requiring that people work for a living, they siphoned money from hardworking Americans and gave it to Cadillac-driving drug addicts and welfare queens. Instead of punishing criminals, they tried to ‘understand’ them. Instead of worrying about the victims of crime, they worried about the rights of criminals."

That is so true!!! It cannot be denied.

Ducky's here said...

Huntington, is that your best game?

Man, strictly short bus.

Silverfiddle said...

Huntington knows how to read and stick to the topic at hand.

Learn a lesson, Quacker.

Ducky's here said...

… Instead of adhering to traditional American values of family, fidelity, and personal responsibility, they preached promiscuity, premarital sex, and the gay lifestyle …and they encouraged a feminist agenda that undermined traditional family roles...

Reagan campaign rhetoric doesn't quite paint an equivalent narrative to the reasoned liberal one he uses, but that's a minor quibble.

-----------

If that ain't you touting the Reagan meme then I would really like your expert analysis, Silverfiddle.

It does sound as if you are stumping for the patriarchy. You sound like Khamenei the other day going on about traditional family values (which isn't surprising since fundamentalists are all brothers under the skin).

Now why don't you and Sam throw down your gloves, give me your best game and tell me in what way you and the family values crowd aren't just shills for the patriarchy.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Are you a dumbass?

I am not "touting" anything. I have presented two narratives used by some professors conducting a study. I didn't write them and I am not using them to score any points.

I did not do this to provoke. I did it to ask people what they thought of the man's theory.

Apparently you are a dumbass, and an illiterate one at that who just enjoys provoking others.

You're apparently frustrated. Maybe you should go take some secret service therapy, it might loosen you up.

Thersites said...

What's wrong with Europe's patriarchy, ducky? It beats aegyptus' (Danaan, his bro)... but you never distinguish.

Anonymous said...

Ducky,

For Christ's sake get back to AA!

Z said...

Blogger Ducky's here said...
Huntington, is that your best game?
Man, strictly short bus."

Fascinating comment, Ducky. Most everyone here's echoing what I've said to you for years and you ignore them but when Sam Huntington doesn't hit you hard enough you miss it?
How much criticism do you have to hear before you're satisfied? :)

utterly fascinating

Liberalmann said...

Reagan is closer in your description of a liberal these days. The Tea Party loons would boot him from the GOP

Ducky's here said...

Social conservatives, in contrast, use all six foundations. They are less concerned than liberals about harm to innocent victims, but they are much more concerned about the moral foundations that bind groups and nations together, i.e., loyalty (patriotism), authority (law and order, traditional families), and sanctity (the Bible, God, the flag as a sacred object).
-----------

And he makes that absurd claim based on an uncontrolled sample?

And you call me a dumbass?

Look at his description of "sanctity" and what he chooses as the symbols for sanctity. You don't buy into his symbols? Well you must not use that foundation.

And that's your best game?
The left is not going to allow the fringe right to control the definitions. Rather than ask what someone may find sacred or what constitutes patriotism the argument is confined to your dogma.

Yeah, you use all six foundations and liberals feel but don't reason and on and on.

Or maybe it's because I scored an absolute zero on the authority scale.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Did you say you were a zero? I can believe it, but not on the authoritarian scale.

You're making us laugh now. You are the ultimate authoritarian, pissing down your leg and quivering like jello at the thought of free human beings ordering their own lives without Big Brother Leviathan looking over their shoulders to make sure they follow all the progressive rules.

Look back at the pathetic little anti-libertarian screed you ingested from democrat underground and soiled my blog with. you call that thought?

And what is it with you and challenging everyone with your "best game" crap?

You want a game? Get a ball and jacks and go play with yourself in the corner and leave the adults alone.

I invited people to comment on the article and the study, I expressed my reservations about it myself. You finally got around to it, but your incessantly bitter blather has curdled the thread, as usual.

Finntann said...

As far as the test goes, I scored as follows:

Harm 2.7
Fairness 2.7
Loyalty 3.6
Authority 4.0
Purity 1.3

Ducky, as far as Libertarianism goes... where the hell do you people get your information?

Libertarianism while it may espouse minarchy is not anarchy.

As a Libertarian, I am not out to abolish OSHA, nor am I about to throw women, elderly, children, and anyone I can sneak one in on out of the lifeboat (FT) by sheer virtue of my immense physical strength and superhuman cunning.

People who advocate a return to feudalism or the law of the jungle are not libertarians, they are anarchists.

The main premise of libertarianism is that victimless crimes are not crimes at all. You want to shoot yourself in the foot, that's fine by me... but it's gonna hurt and I am under no obligation to pay for your medical care. You want to shoot SF or FT in the foot, that's a different story.

Nothing in libertarianism precludes public property, nor does it condone racism, which is anything but a victimless crime.

There are conditions in which eminent domain has valid uses, unfortunately for you liberals, political favoritism for your business cronies building a shopping mall is not one of them.

The main problem with eminent domain is that the governments perception of fair market value is seldom based in reality, as is its perception of public use, while a shopping mall may offer public benefit, the use is private and commercial, not public.

Racism in a public business is unacceptable, racism in a private club however is a different story, as the government has no right to mandate who you associate with. But it has to be private, meaning other members of the general public can not just walk in and sign a membership card to be served (believe it or not, I've been in counties in Oklahoma that bans the public sale of alcohol, but private clubs are okay... and all you have to do to get served is sign a membership card).

Nothing in libertarian philosophy allows for abuse of employees, racial discrimination in business or employment, or for polluters to pollute (some might argue that regulating pollution is a state issue not a federal one, I however am not one of them, unless the pollution is going to be permanently confined to the state in question).

As far as religious toleration, Baptists are not required to welcome Catholics with open arms. A church is not legally mandated to tolerate dissent and can ask any of its members to leave. It is a voluntary association. I would say that Muslims wishing to become Protestant would be welcomed in a Protestant church.

If the Protestant church wants to hold a fair for its congregation it would certainly be within its rights to exclude people who were not members, but if it were to allow Hindus (or Catholics), it would certainly be obligated to allow Muslims as well.

I would have to say that neither you, Jersey, nor your 'author' have the slightest concept of what Libertarianism is about.

I think you would find that Libertarians would probably agree with you on many social issues tht do not involve government, where we differ is on the role and power of the federal government.

Power when you wield it is mighty fine, the question is how fine is it when you dont? How tolerant of government power are you going to be when the next Christian Revival (however unlikely you think that may be) rolls around? I think there have been eight or nine of them in our history.

Cheers!

Finntann said...

More on topic, I think that the fatal flaw in the study is it aligns itself with our bipolar (pun intended) left-right political system.

Most political models fail in that they are two or three dimensional, whereas politics is multi-dimensional.

As I see it, there are multiple axes.

Power: Authoritarian-Libertarian

Economic: Laissez Fair-Regulated

Property: Private-Communist

Social: Conservative-Liberal

Fiscal: Conservative-Liberal

I wound up splitting Economic and Property for the simple reason that in the Soviet Union, business was owned by the state but very poorly regulated.

If I had to characterize the USSR I would say it was Authoritarian, Laissez Faire, Communist, Socially Conservative, and Fiscally Liberal.

While the soviets were officially areligious, they were socially conservative in that social behavior was strictly enforced and social deviance from what was the party line was not tolerated.

You may argue that Communism and Laissez Faire economics are incompatabile, but the soviets did a horrible job of self-regulating industry and business.

Honestly the more I think about it, the more I think the economic axis is poorly defined, perhaps the transaction side of economics needs to be separated from the production side of economics. For in the USSR the transaction side was heavily regulated, in fact set by the state, but the production side was given relatively free reign so long as they made their quotas.

Should there be a religious axis?

Well you get the point, the political spectrum is much more complicated than the currently used models.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

A nation, organization, or individual devoid of wit, humor, and irony is a dreary, grudging, joyless entity lacking in affection and probably unworthy of survival.

Life is much too precious and too wonderful to be taken too seriously.

If our nation is to die, it will not be from persistent Economic Deprivation, Lack of Productivity, the crying need for "Equality," and "Social Justice," or from Nuclear Holocaust. Instead we seem fated to perish from a virulent epidemic of Terminal Earnestness -- a deadly disease conjured up in the scheming minds of arrogant intellectuals with a God-complex.

As the immortal bumper sticker says,

SHIT HAPPENS!

Sooner or later its going to happen to you, so be prepared to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again." In the meantime

"Whenever [you] feel afraid
Just hold [your] head erect
And whistle a happy tune,
So no one will suspect
You're afraid.

"When trouble is drawing near,
Just strike a careless pose,
And whistle a happy tune,,
So no one ever knows
[You're] afraid.

"The result of this deception
Is very plain to tell,
For when [you] fool
The people [you] fear,
[You] fool yourself as well ..."


~ Richard Rodgers -- The King and I

Someday, every one of us will get sick and die. There's nothing that you, or I or all the legislation and money in the world could do to change the facts of life. It's what we do before the inevitable Dead End arrives that matters. So relax, accept the essential injustice of life, do whatever you can to make things better for yourself and your loved ones, then settle back and enjoy the ride.

~ FreeThinke