“Imagine visiting a town,” Dr. Jonathon Haidt writes, “where people wear no clothes, never bathe, have sex in public, and eat raw meat by biting off pieces directly from the carcass.”
Dr Haidt’s site is yourmorals.org, where i got my fibre tested. I’m the green bars. You can see that I consider Harm and Fairness to be important moral values. I am less convinced on Loyalty, Authority, and Purity, as moral values.
The main point of the graph is not that my low scores reveal me as base, ill-bred and exquisitely suited to a career in politics.
It’s the difference between the blue lines and the red lines. Blue is the scores of people who identify as ‘liberals’ (in the American sense). Red is conservatives. They consider three extra categories to be just as morally important.
Included in these is ‘purity’. Liberals might consider the scene described in the intro as ‘in poor taste but not hurting anyone’. Conservatives might view it as immoral, on a par with harming someone. (Now, nobody’s saying liberals don’t care about loyalty, respect for authority and purity. But they might see these as functional or aesthetic concerns, rather than moral concerns.)
This explains the weird bits of your bible to a secular person. The stuff about shellfish, pigs and menstruation. Apparently some people feel these as moral issues. Now this doesn’t mean they’re right. We’re not obliged to acquiesce to someone’s homophobia just because they feel its a moral issue. But it does give us perspective that can help win arguments.
Note this: conservative morals are not offset by a major shortage on the things that liberals care about. Conservatives actually care about what liberals care about and more!
On the upside this gives them an unreciprocated perspective on issues that matter to liberals. On the downside they are far more likely to find their moral views contradicting each other.
Well, let’s have a look at a little quote from a website called americanthinker.com. It’s talking about closing Guantanamo Bay :
Obama’s hypocrisy and brutal inhumanity in light of recent events shocks even the most jaded among us. Americans had to listen to his daily tongue lashing about our morals and values as he defended closing Gitmo (home to the worst war criminals), admonishing us for the benign use of waterboarding in order to save thousands of American lives, and in his latest attempt to create a “torture” prosecutor.
Yet what was done at Gitmo was all done in defense of this dear country. It is a testament to our moral authority that Gitmo exists. Saner men would have lined up the enemy in front of a firing squad. It is a tribute to our moral superiority that Gitmo guards wear splash guards on their heads to protect against flying excrement and urine.
Obama’s strange attraction to savages and despots is repugnant and enormously dangerous in a world teetering on the brink. I, for one, am sick of being preached to by a man who increasingly seems to be devoid of the basic decency that is inherent in those who have the genuine moral sense to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong.
It seems nonsensical, until we understand that these people see ‘loyalty’ as a moral code. This means actions that protect the group (in this case America) can be warranted even when they may (to a liberal) seem ‘unfair’ or ’cause harm’.
Both sides think they are acting ‘morally’ and ascribe hidden motivations to the other. Liberals conclude the ‘american thinkers’ are racists;
While they think liberals hate freedom/America/God/etc/etc.
What Dr Jonathon Haidt’s research does is provide the first phrasebook for translation between conservatives and liberals. America needs it.
If you do surf to yourmorals.org, let us know what you think of the survey. Do you line up with what you expected?
What do you reckon about Dr Haidt’s theories? Are they on the money?? Are they even useful? Share your reactions below.