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Wed May 24, 2017, 08:34 AM

Liberal values are principles. Conservative values are subjective.

I grew up in a fairly conservative part of the country, and so my worldview began as fairly conservative. By the time I was about 22, though, my values had shifted quite a bit, and some things that I thought were important when I was young fell away as I thought about the world and how it worked.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Moral Foundations theory, researched by Jonathan Haidt and others, that posits five main axes of human morality. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory#The_Five_Foundations) Liberals only really care much about two of them, which are:

Care/Harm and

Fairness or Justice/Cheating.

Conservatives care somewhat about those moral axes, but they hold equal importance for three others:

Loyalty or Ingroup/Betrayal

Authority or Respect/ Subversion

Sanctity or Purity/ Degradation

To my mind, the Liberal axes are relatively straightforward to measure and implement as policy. It is easy to see if people are being cared for or harmed, and it is also pretty easy to calculate the maximum good for the maximum number of people, a la the utilitarian philosophers.

In the same way, the principle or fairness and justice is slightly subjective, but it is relatively easy to see if rules are being applied to people equally by imagining the situation applying to others, or a blinded experiment where you didn't know who was who. Again, it is possible to evaluate this relatively objectively and make policy around it.

The additional Conservative axes are much more subjective (at least to my thinking - do you agree?) Conservatives sort of believe in care and fairness, except they use the other three axes to screw over people they don't like. An innocent black man is gunned down by cops? Well, the police have authority over him so don't think about it. A Republican clearly breaks the law? Well, they are in my Ingroup, so IOKIYAR. Brown people get bombed into oblivion? Well, they have an impure religion (unlike mine) so we don't have to care what happens to them.

And Conservatives have shifting definitions of Ingroup, Sanctity, and Authority, too. They can change them at a moment's notice to fit whatever their feelings are at the time. Rich Republicans must have authority over me (they think) because they wouldn't be rich unless they are smart, so I give them my loyalty. But f*ck those Limosine Liberals!

Also, think about a rich white straight American man in a foreign country where he struggles with the language and is starting to feel homesick. In his journeys he meets a woman of color, who is also an American and grew up near his hometown. Suddenly, this Outgroup woman will be treated as his Ingroup, because she connects him to home. But let the same woman be bludgeoned by police for protesting, and he will think nothing of it.


tl;dr? I think Conservative moral axes are subjective and easily used to defend hypocrisy. That is why I moved away from them as a young person, and that is why I don't believe they are good ways to build policy or personal morals.

Conservatives suck, in other words, and are hypocrites. But you knew that.



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Reply Liberal values are principles. Conservative values are subjective. (Original post)
ProfessorPlum May 2017 OP
ProfessorPlum May 2017 #1
Initech May 2017 #2
ProfessorPlum May 2017 #3
cally May 2017 #4
ProfessorPlum May 2017 #5
MrScorpio May 2017 #6
Snotcicles May 2017 #7

Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 09:21 AM

1. self-kick, because why not

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 09:35 AM

2. Conservatives love symbols.

They don't care about America, children, the Bible, or Jesus. They just love their symbols. They don't know or care about anything having to do with the constitution, or American history or Christianity. Give them a flag, a Bible, a gun, and a baby, and they're, I don't want to say happy, because they never are, maybe content?

As George Carlin said "Politicians hide behind 3 things - the flag, the Bible, and children. I consider these things to be symbols, and I leave those to the symbol minded."

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Response to Initech (Reply #2)

Wed May 24, 2017, 09:56 AM

3. Right -

and they imbue those symbols with whatever values they happen to be pursuing at the moment. The bible says to be kind to others, unless it says to slay infidels. The flag says to value freedom, unless it comes to obeying your masters. children mean that we love "families", unless your family doesn't fit out definition of it.

built on liquid definitions and hazy "values".

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 11:09 AM

4. Kick

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 05:45 PM

5. Another kick

I'm actually interested in what people think about this. Are liberal values less subjective? What drew people towards progressive values and away from conservative ones?

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 05:59 PM

6. You've just explained why just about all wingers are both hypocrites and assholes

Pointing all of that out to them will only make them double down on their own hypocrisy and assholism.

They'd never admit how wrong they are, but that's never the point. The point is to let them know that YOU KNOW how wrong they are, allow them to paint themselves in a corner and focus on why they're wrong, even as they try to wiggle out of that corner.

Great essay.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 06:03 PM

7. Just the description of the labels does it for me... Liberal, Generous.... Conservative, Stingy. nt

 

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