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Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe -- And Here's Why It Matters

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 10:27 AM
Original message
Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe -- And Here's Why It Matters
http://www.alternet.org/story/138303/conservatives_live_in_a_different_moral_universe_--_and_here%27s_why_it_matters/

Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe -- And Here's Why It Matters
By Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune.com. Posted April 25, 2009.

Liberals and conservatives have highly different moral priorities. And we have to understand them if we want to accomplish anything.

Jonathan Haidt is hardly a road-rage kind of guy, but he does get irritated by self-righteous bumper stickers. The soft-spoken psychologist is acutely annoyed by certain smug slogans that adorn the cars of fellow liberals: "Support our troops: Bring them home" and "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

"No conservative reads those bumper stickers and thinks, 'Hmm -- so liberals are patriotic!'" he says, in a sarcastic tone of voice that jarringly contrasts with his usual subdued sincerity. "We liberals are universalists and humanists; it's not part of our morality to highly value nations. So to claim dissent is patriotic -- or that we're supporting the troops, when in fact we're opposing the war -- is disingenuous.

"It just pisses people off."

The University of Virginia scholar views such slogans as clumsy attempts to insist we all share the same values. In his view, these catch phrases are not only insincere -- they're also fundamentally wrong. Liberals and conservatives, he insists, inhabit different moral universes. There is some overlap in belief systems, but huge differences in emphasis.


In a creative attempt to move beyond red-state/blue-state clichs, Haidt has created a framework that codifies mankind's multiplicity of moralities. His outline is simultaneously startling and reassuring -- startling in its stark depiction of our differences, and reassuring in that it brings welcome clarity to an arena where murkiness of motivation often breeds contention.


...more..
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent article. Thanks for posting. K&R
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The River Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
2. He Makes Some Good Points
but fails, I think, to take social evolution in to account.
That the cons value authority, loyalty and "purity" more than fairness
justice and harm reduction simply points out that conservatives
are still stuck in a past when everything in our lives was controlled
by monarchies and the church. You had to submit and believe just to survive!

We liberals would happily let conservatives inhabit their own moral universe
IF they would just quit trying to impose it on the rest of us.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
3. Certain types of people deserve to be pissed off
Fuck them.

I don't see those bumper stickers as attempts to assert common values. They're attempts to point out to the rightwing jerks that we're the ones with admirable values, and their values are despicable.

Fuck them, I say again.
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Mechatanketra Donating Member (903 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Ah, the bloodless academic.
It's all well and good to say "different factions have different views on morality".

Big deal. I know this. Damn few people, and basically no culture, views themselves as "evil". The Aztecs didn't think they were being monsters when they were cutting out hearts and pouring rivers of blood down their temples — they thought they were saving the freaking Earth and keeping the sun burning.

It's not enough to recognize that different groups have different definitions of "moral" behavior, because not all of those "moral sliders" are created equal. What do you get when "Group loyalty" intersects with arbitrary "Purity", for instance? In one iteration, you get miscegenation paranoia. Add "Authority/respect", and you've got a recipe for an apartheid regime. Everyone thinks they're basically the good guys; but some of them are wrong.
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AZCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Maybe.
It's also possible that everyone thinks they're the good guys, but all of them are wrong.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. That's far too simplistic
Justice and altruism are universal values. They may not be the ultimate values, but they're as good as we humans can aspire to right now.

On the other hand, things like loyalty, deference to authority, and purity are tribal values. Somebody upthread suggested they were medieval -- but they're nothing that up to date. They go back, most likely, to the late Paleolithic, when small family bands of a couple of dozen individuals were giving way to larger tribal groupings, with complex rules about us vs. them and who it was okay to marry and with chiefs or councils of elders to make the decisions.

The United States is not just one big, overinflated tribe, though conservatives would like to see it that way. It was based on 18th century social contract theory -- on the idea that people join together for their common good, giving up some portion of their freedom in exchange for security and prosperity -- and our allegiance as Americans is solely to that ideal. This is why the presidential oath of office is a promise to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States -- not the nation, not its citizens, but the intangible contract by which we have all agreed to live.

There may be two kinds of values -- but only one kind went into the founding of this nation, while the other kind is far more inclined to destroy it.

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I enjoyed that
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 08:39 PM by G_j
great post, an enlightened synopsis,
I think most of our Congress-people would do well to read the last part.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. So I guess the dimwit slogans Conservatives use are counterproductive too?
Why don't they need to understand us to accomplish something? Isn't this the "touchy-feely" stuff the conservatives so love to ridicule? He sounds like a pompous ass. Sometimes pissing people off is the right thing to do. It has nothing to do with "insisting we all have the same values", it has to do with asserting your own values, and defending them.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for posting. This fits with
my layman's understand of liberals generally favor support of the individual over institutions. Conservatives generally support groups/institutions over individuals.

I think he's also right for us liberals when he says that we should frame our arguments in moral terms so that they appeal to conservatives. I've said as much whenever the old South-bashing threads come along. In his parlance, the South (as a political entity) has a high degree of in-group loyalty.

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ThirdWorldJohn Donating Member (525 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
9. And a Liberal reading - United States of America - Love I t or Leave It
Should I think that I am hated by the totalitarian torture loving right? And they do not put bumper stickers on their vehicles telling me that they arm themselves from hate and just use self defense as a pretext. Like the man in Houston that saw a burglary and was told to stay inside the house by the 911 dispatcher, but instead decided to shoot and kill two men and use the self defense excuse in court?

Haha give me a break. Freedom of speech needs to be accepted by all. Most KKK members in the South belong to the Baptist church. That is where their morality comes from. That is why religion should be a private matter and not used by the political parties to justify their positions or to get support from the brain numb religious morons that do not think for themselves.

It is the conservative religious right that bomb Federal buildings and abortion clinics. Do you think they do that because a bumper sticker pissed them off. They do it because God's book teaches that wrongs are a target for their wrath. And they are as much religious extremists as Osama.

They are the violent supporters that must be feared. Not the Liberals that just want to live in peace and not see their tax dollars used to invade a country because of lies. Give me a break.
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radiclib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
11. "Support the Troops:Bring Them Home" is "disingenuous"?
For years now we keep hearing the same canard, that "you can't support the troops without supporting the MISSION!" The fuck you can't. I want my military actually defending me, not being used as cannon fodder for illicit invasion and occupation. "It just pisses people off." Oh, fuckin' dear! :mad:
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I'm with you there
if they are too (sorry but) stupid to get the truth, it's not my responsibility. I think those phrases are the truth. Deal with it, as they say.
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