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What Is Your Moral Universe?


chefranden
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Video: Jonathan Haidt: The real difference between liberals and conservatives

 

Jonathan Haidt's list of 5 moral imperatives. How would you value them on a scale of -5 to 5* and why?

 

 

• Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering.

 

• Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions.

 

• In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad.

 

• Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life.

 

• Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad.

 

These are from the following article of which I've only provided a few excerpts.

 

 

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

 

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...

 

 

... As part of that early research, Haidt and a colleague, Brazilian psychologist Silvia Koller, posed a series of provocative questions to people in both Brazil and the U.S. One of the most revealing was: How would you react if a family ate the body of its pet dog, which had been accidentally run over that morning?

 

"There were differences between nations, but the biggest differences were across social classes within each nation," Haidt recalls.
"Students at a private school in Philadelphia thought it was just as gross, but it wasn't harming anyone; their attitude was rationalist and harm-based. But when you moved down in social class or into Brazil, morality is based not on just harm. It's also about loyalty and family and authority and respect and purity. That was an important early finding."

 

 

...traditional value structure is very good for maintaining order and continuity and stability, which is very important in the absence of good central governance. But if the goal is creativity, scientific insight and artistic achievement, these traditional societies pretty well squelch it. Modern liberalism, with its support for self-expression, is much more effective...

 

 

...Shweder asserted -- and continues to assert -- that a range of ethical systems have always coexisted and most likely always will...

 

...Libertarian essayist Will Wilkinson of the Cato Institute -- one of many self-reflective political thinkers who are intrigued by Haidt's hypothesis -- puts it this way: "While the five foundations are universal, cultures build upon each to varying degrees. Imagine five adjustable slides on a stereo equalizer that can be turned up or down to produce different balances of sound. An equalizer preset like 'Show Tunes' will turn down the bass and 'Hip Hop' will turn it up, but neither turns it off....

 

 

Link to the whole article

 

*edited to match the equalizer idea

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• Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering. (3)

 

• Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions. (4)

 

• In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad. (1)

 

• Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life. (-1)

 

• Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad. (3)

 

As a liberal I'm not supposed to rate Purity/sanctity so high. But I find that this important if fairness is to be achieved. Greed for example leads to at least economic unfairness and should be repressed in favor of reciprocity.

 

I'm very suspicious of authority because it always seems to lead to unfairness even when it's intention is fairness. I'm much in favor of respect but only if it is earned. You might be a general or a senator but rank in itself does not mean one should be respected.

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Okay, now. This is why I like ex-christian.net so much. Not only is there always a lot of stimulating discussion, there is are a lot of great links to articles as well! Thanks chefranden.

 

I went to the yourmorals.org website and took the moral foundations questionaire. In light of the article, it was a very interesting experience.

 

They even put the results in this colorful graph.

 

moral_ob63.jpg

 

From the website:

 

In the graph . . ., your scores on each foundation are shown in green (the 1st bar in each set of 3 bars). The scores of all liberals who have taken it on our site are shown in blue (the 2nd bar), and the scores of all conservatives are shown in red (3rd bar). Scores run from 0 (the lowest possible score, you completely reject that foundation) to 5 (the highest possible score, you very strongly endorse that foundation and build much of your morality on top of it).

 

I think my authority rating is higher than it would normally be, because I believe children must be taught to obey authority, but on kind of a sliding scale. As children get older, I believe they should be both given freedom to make moral decisions, as long as they are capable of facing the consequences. A parent must know their child and know how to let loose off the reigns as their kid's moral compass develops.

 

But clearly, I think society should be just and take measures to alleviate suffering. Loyalty/purity, etc. fall in place behind the first two.

 

The paragraph where the article observes why the caste / order at all costs societies work so well was fascinating.

 

I'll be reading and re-reading the article and looking for the books and articles it references. I think I'll take more surveys too.

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• Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering. (5)

 

• Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions. (4)

 

• In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad. (-1)

 

• Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life. (-3)

 

• Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad. (-1)

I don't like the "in-group loyalty" thing,cause it looks too much like a sectarian mentality.And though a statement like "People should be true" looks fair I see no reason why "their group" should receive any preference here. As for "purity/sanctity",though cleanliness and health are good things I seem to value them rather low in everyday life anyway and I disagree with statements like "lust is bad",though I agree that certain applications of lust are bad (e.g. rape ) .

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Should Germans have been loyal to Hitler just because he was in charge?

 

Actually, quite a few among my fellow Germans of that time thought exactly like that. "Damn, we voted for him, we made him führer, we shuffled the deck now we must deal with it". :Hmm:

 

Add to that the oaths of personal loyalty to führer (instead of nation) that the Wehrmacht troops and officers had to take - well before the moron hurled the shit into the fan in Poland - and you have an additional level of "sense of duty" toward gawd that's grabbing you by the balls. Remember that even before the Austrian monster Germany was a very conservative and religious nation.

 

That said, back on topic... not fully decided on how little value I assign to points 3 to 5, but 1 and 2 hover around 4.5 here.

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5 • Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering.

 

5 • Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions.

 

0 • In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad.

 

Loyalty to everyone who matters is covered under harm/care and fairness/reciprocity. The phrase "betrayal" is inherently morally weighted and implies a negative, but no group deserves any respect when it has not earned it. A group that hurts you *should* be betrayed.

 

0 • Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life.

 

Authority is not inherently good, it's only good when it does good things. Any sort of authority needs to be evaluated on its own merits. There is no inherent value in powerful people or groups.

 

Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad

 

This last statement is confused, putting several differing moral ideas together into one. I think it's an attempt to gauge one's take on allowing people to do things that could affect themselves but not other people. Greed being added to the mix confuses it though, as that is covered by other earlier moral standpoints. Anyway, I'd still end up with two different ratings. It's very important for me to take care of myself, and keep myself healthy and sane, but it isn't any of my business what anyone else does. Those are two completely different moral issues, and I do not like them being lumped with each other the way this statement seems to.

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