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The Telegraph’s Ed West reviews Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, which looks at why some people become conservatives and some liberals (sic) and asks why both sides inevitably start to demonise each other:

Haidt suggests that human beings have six moral foundations, a desire for care over harm, fairness, liberty over oppression, loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and that these govern our politics and religions. Surveying tens of thousands of self-identified liberals and conservatives with a series of ethical questions, he concluded that those on the Left were only really motivated by the first three, but (social) conservatives care about all six, roughly equally.

Seems they’re not stupid or evil afterall (blimey!) but they are rather stunted, ill-developed, and possess only half of the qualities conservatives.

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12 thoughts on “LEFTISTS NOT STUPID OR EVIL?!

  1. “but (social) conservatives care about all six, roughly equally.”

    Well actually, there are seven. Conservatives also care about what the Telegraph writes and are seemingly prepared to swallow anything that tastes nice.

    Because a closer look at what Haidt wrote will reveal something rather different to that emerging through the Telegraph filter:

    (from Wiki)
    ——–
    Haidt found that Americans who identified as liberals tend to value care and fairness considerably higher than loyalty, respect, and purity. Self-identified conservative Americans value all five values more equally, though at a lower level across the five than the liberal concern for care and fairness. Both groups gave care the highest over-all weighting, but conservatives valued fairness the lowest, whereas liberals valued purity the lowest. Similar results were found across the political spectrum in other countries.

    ———-

    So Conservatives are generally rather tepid in their values, but definitely value fairness and care less than Liberals do, according to H.
    Also remember that H defines Loyalty not as loyalty to friends or family, but only as loyalty to nation, tribe or larger group – i.e. a need to belong and seek safety in numbers.
    Respect he defines as respect for authority (hello, Pete Moore).

    And as for that Purity thing…. well, let’s say the three characteristics Conservatives score higher in were also the three virtues most nurtured among those obedient and pure marching Aryans a while back.

  2. So a conservative discovered that other conservatives are morally superior to liberals! Colour me surprised

  3. Noel,

    “Well actually, there are seven. Conservatives also care about what the Telegraph writes and are seemingly prepared to swallow anything that tastes nice.”

    LOL 🙂

  4. There seems to be a spate of these allegedly academic studies proving either the left or the right to be lacking in something. Those of us in the centre may be tempted to believe them all.

  5. You can take the moral foundations quiz here.

    I took it a couple of years ago and my scores were:

    Harm- 3.2
    Fairness- 2.3
    Loyalty- 2.6
    Authority- 2.3
    Purity- 1.8

  6. Thanks Ross – I am a sucker for these kind of things

    Harm- 3.3
    Fairness- 4.4
    Loyalty- 1.8
    Authority- 1.6
    Purity- 0.5

    No idea what all that means.

    I have to say reading the comments on Ed West’s column was interesting. The sheer nastiness and misanthropy (as often seen on here) is what strikes me. That and the name-calling.

  7. I always think those quizes are meant for the other man. For example, this one asks

    When you decide whether something is right or wrong, to what extent are the following considerations relevant to your thinking?
    Whether or not someone showed a lack of respect for authority.

    The answere is, however, assessed in conservative terms. Thus, a conservative may think it’s important that someone shows respect for authority.
    Someone like me would on the other hand think it’s important that someone does NOT show respect for authority.
    Both of us will then mark the same – very important – but mean the opposite.

    But in any case:

    Harm 3.8
    Fairness 4.2
    Loyalty 2.3
    Authority 1.7
    Purity 0.5

  8. There seems to be a spate of these allegedly academic studies proving either the left or the right to be lacking in something.

    Yes, and Springsteen fans want to re-start the ovens next Tuesday. Some university study told me so.

    I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

    William F Buckley,

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