Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Haidt . . . liberals, conservatives and libertarians

What do you think?

Looking forward to our discussion of The Righteous Mind next week and a consideration of this and other provocative issues raised by Haidt.

Liberal morality tends to rest on the care/harm and to a lesser extent on the fairness/cheating (equality) and liberty/oppression dimensions.

Conservative morality tends to rely on all six, with an emphasis on proportionality for the fairness/cheating dimension.

The libertarian moral framework rests almost entirely on the liberty/oppression dimension (with a small dose of fairness/cheating thrown in).

Haidt suggests that this gives conservatives the edge in understanding the concerns of the full political spectrum. It is not that conservatives don’t care about harm. They simply weight it differently. When conservatives and liberals undertake an ideological Turing test, where they had to answer questions as though they were the other, conservatives and moderates do better than liberals.

Haidt does not delve into the consequences of the narrow libertarian moral foundations in detail, but it raises the question of libertarian’s ability to understand and communicate with other audiences.

Interesting, this may well be on to the challenge that libertarians encounter in dialogue. I am thinking of Rand Paul's recent comment in which he referenced the "liberal wing" of the Republican Party. My reaction was one of confusion, amazement and amusement. If you hear his comment I wonder what your reaction might have been.

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