Wired differently: How moral foundations structure political thought

This post is part of an ongoing series looking at the level of conscious control humans have over their political thoughts and decisions.

The first part of this series examined areas of political thought that are predominantly unconscious: our genes, coupled with unperceived environmental cues, have a significant effect on our political thoughts and behaviors, going as far as to influence our votes.

Next I’ll be examining how our conscious thoughts are informed by more fundamental cognitive functions, such as morals and frames, which are semi-conscious; that which we are aware of and able able to articulate but rarely override.

But first, some background.

Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist at New York University, has done groundbreaking work in identifying the various foundations that guide our moral, and by extension political, thought. Each of us evaluate moral behavior on a six-channel moral equalizer of sorts, interpreting information we receive from the environment through our various moral filters (you can check out your own moral profile at yourmorals.org).

The foundations are:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

Moral compass via Shutterstock

Moral compass via Shutterstock

2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

In my original post in this series I mentioned that:

…we often find that when we come across someone who disagrees with us, especially on political issues, they aren’t just wrong; something about the way they are thinking must be off, or at least different, compared to ours.

That difference can often be chalked up to differences in the settings of our individual moral equalizers. For instance, a person’s position on marriage equality will depend largely on the degree to which they prioritize the fairness or sanctity foundation. Those who oppose marriage equality aren’t being bigots for the sake of being bigots (OK, some of them are), they are wired differently than us; they are thinking in fundamentally different ways.

Moving into this week, I’ll walk through some current issues with the six moral foundations, along with the unconscious factors discussed earlier this week, in mind. From immigration reform to Obamacare, our political discourse is structured in moral codes. Deciphering these codes provides insight into what we’re thinking, what the other side is thinking and how we can better communicate to solve real moral issues.


Jon Green is a graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. A veteran of the campaigns of Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and President Obama in 2012, he writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGreen8, and on Google+. .

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  • hollywoodstein

    That’s rare and I hope you don’t stop.

  • hollywoodstein

    the r’s didn’t post, but you know what I meant, peace.

  • hollywoodstein

    yes, it’s rare the perfect word presents itself.

  • hollywoodstein

    Hate to draw you in after I made God angry, but I appreciate you courage to post you sentiments. Others texted. I will get you all later, I know who you are, lol.

  • hollywoodstein

    Don’t be so sure.

  • hollywoodstein

    So you are telling me I am acting not like an adult. Can I make the inference you are telling me I am acting like a child?

  • hollywoodstein

    so are you advocating violence, or being figurative amongst adults on the internetz.

  • hollywoodstein

    First rule of Writing: Write what you know.

    Second rule of Writing: Know what you don’t know.

    First rule of Critical Thought: Question Authority

    None of that was followed here. Witness:
    First, that isn’t even true on the face of it.
    Full blown sociobiology has remainded controversial for reasons not even explained.
    And then, even while these subjects have remained. They are still hotly debated.

    The whole point of this series is that while these subjects are “hotly debated” in the political sphere, they’re accepted in the psychological community

    This is cult like thinking. Those outsiders will question our belief system, but we, in the insular world of psychology, Scientology, Mormons ( insert cult here), know what’s really true.

    Full stop. Period.

    Anyone looking for enlightenment could stop looking here.
    And knowing the history of your subject, knowing other schools of thought, knowing opposing viewpoints, and it couild go on.
    But doesn’t anyone at the Americablog batcave still use the Mr. Google? Doesn’t anyone type into the Google Machine, critics of sociobiology, or critiques of evolutionary psychology, or critics of Haidt, although my sources say there may not be enough hate for haidt,+since he hieghts cum height since he is too busy selling himself.

  • hollywoodstein

    Presume I’m a troll of the garden or not variety.

  • hollywoodstein

    Or take your time and get back to me.

  • hollywoodstein

    Okay, an investors question, and I don’t want to imply I am an investor, especially after this little contretemps, but share what you feel comfortable with.

  • hollywoodstein

    but be counseled there is a pretty good penetration of that business school and the rest of it by the PTB and the MIC.

  • hollywoodstein

    a friend texts that tj’s university was making noises about putting together the infrastructure, so that could be an option too.

  • hollywoodstein

    All things considered, I guess I should be happy that mirror weighed in.

  • hollywoodstein

    From my texts it seems I would have had a lot of likes if I hadn’t pissed off Dad.

  • hollywoodstein

    et tu karmanot? Are you afraid to touch the woodstein.

  • hollywoodstein

    If TMI to an outsider whose pissed you off, miss woodstein understands.

  • hollywoodstein

    okay, a better question is this, what would you do if you could do anything you wanted? Are you happy where things are now?
    Nothing wrong with that.
    Or do you have a dream of where this could go?
    And what would it take to do that?

  • hollywoodstein

    I made god angry.

  • hollywoodstein

    I don’t know about which dc area schools do production, ( for that matter you could do it overseas). I once sponsored a semester long jury prize where architect grad student’s competed to design one of my houses, under the tutelage of a retired all star professor who refused to take a new project. hollywoodstein can be sneaky.
    But after living there a week I noticed how well they had sited and designed it so that the light painted every room at exactly the right time of day that I felt guilty, and decided to pay the winning team their first proper fee. Hollywoodstein had money then, and tuition was reasonable, but still the persons appreciated the gesture.

  • hollywoodstein

    karmonot, if it’s ok with you i’m just going to take it easy tonight.

  • hollywoodstein

    And some beadboards there are some of those too.

  • hollywoodstein

    I do have some old Mole Richardsons you can have, pro stuff, but younger digital guys have trouble color balancing them. It’s simple as pie, but all they know is fluorescent, you’re luck if they know xenon, and forget about carbon arc.

  • hollywoodstein

    If you don’t want to try the studio, short term, long term, that’s ok, no hard feelings. It may not even be there, or it could be water damaged who knows I haven’t been to that warehouse in awhile.

  • hollywoodstein

    Lawyers.

  • hollywoodstein

    As a blanket apology I have no animus. I only want to have some fun and share. Me and my gals sit around do work while getting drunk and throw stuff at the screen. Some of it sticks. Evidently, this one broke the window.

  • hollywoodstein

    He wasn’t gay. His crime? Wearing a pink tie.

  • hollywoodstein

    This stuff matters. I had a friend in Russia who was beaten to death by a mob that was whipped into a frenzy by a politician who among other things cited the authority of the new science of sociobiology.

  • hollywoodstein

    It’s a bit of a straw man to say that you think kids have something to say, and by implication I don’t believe same.

    Of course they do. I was a kid once. I published as a kid. I work with kids. I wish I could be a kid again. I wish someone would call me a kid.

    But you wouldn’t ask a two year old about history, and you wouldn’t ask a college freshman to teach a graduate level course.

    And I wouldn’t expect an undergraduate to write content up to the level of your audience.

    You have a lot of smart people who read your blog, Phds., M.D.s, JDs, and many others whose are super smart and well versed regardless of their education. Some of them have taken a lifetime to attain the knowledge they have. They’ve come to expect at least a graduate or professional level of discourse.

  • hollywoodstein

    And on the scale of one to whats possible, I think calling a college person a kid in the way I used it clocks in at about a two.
    I’ve seen people use fanboy, girl, little child, newbie, gal, oldster, grandpa, etc, used everywhere all the time, even here.
    If these little digs are your new standard you are going to be doing a lot of deleting.

  • hollywoodstein

    Sorry, I was using the Bugs Bunny mobster voice, More like

    come here kid, see, you’re doing it all wrong see, let me show you the ropes here, see.

    I know pretty obscure.

    Hey the can’t all be miracles.

  • hollywoodstein

    I think you are missing the compliment here. The line was an expression of bewilderment, not a personal attack. It was first said by the gf of my secretary upon reading a previous post by said author, about politics I think, because we’ve all come to expect great writing and great content from your blog and this was so out of character that she was speculating about the reason this author was given valuable page space.
    My original vote was someone read an internship.
    Then I showed them this post, and the both said, Yep, must be, and had a laugh
    So it was meant as a funny critique of the content, ( and maybe a headsup), not as a personal attack.

  • hollywoodstein

    Actually I may still have a professional studio set up in storage. Let me check when I get back.

  • hollywoodstein

    And I’m not just posting that because I’m in trouble with God;)

  • hollywoodstein

    Have a fundraiser for AmericaBlog studio. I’ll chip in the first hundred.

  • hollywoodstein

    14 hours is a long day for anyone.

    I think it is a good enough idea to follow through on though. It could add real value to the blog. File it away, but here’s what it takes.

    For speaking you can get away with a two light set up and a back drop. If you want to get fancy you can add a kicker, an eyelight and a bounce board to fill in the shadows. Not necessary.

    Digital recorder for the voice over.

    You can use a pie chart on an easel or stick figures if your message is powerful enough.

    Animation / editing packages are pretty powerful soup to nuts and pretty cheap considering that it used to take a quarter million to do what these things do now better for under a thousand..

    If you can get over the unpaid intern aspect of it, a lot of people would do work gratis especially if it is for a good cause. There are a lot of young people who bought a Red camera who are not shooting anything. Go on some software user or filmmaking web sites and float the idea. You would be giving them something of value which is a chance. I’m sure you could work something.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Videos aren’t easy when you already work 14 hours days. I’d love to produce my own videos, but it’s all I can do to produce the content (I edit most posts and do a lot of rewriting, in addition to writing my own, and am responsible for dealing with the ad guys, the tech guys, and all the administrative stuff.) So it’s a good idea, but I need to figure out how to get the college kids helping us in a way that adds value but doesn’t make my day even longer since I”m usually writing at midnight every night for the next morning’s posts.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That comment was fine. It was one of your only ones where you stayed to the facts and didn’t get personal.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That “kid,” as you so condescendingly call him, is one of the best writers I’ve met in my life. For any age. And I’m sorry, but I think “kids” have something to add to the conversation. You comment is again arrogant, rude, mean and condescending. It’s not that hard to simply disagree and state the facts. Why do you have to make it personal?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And you don’t think that’s rude or a personal attack, suggesting that one of my writers is fucking someone because you disagree with, or don’t like, his post? Are you listening to yourself?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The binge here isn’t mine.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You mixed that line in with another rude personal attack. I’m not going to take the time to edit your comments in order to take out the all the personal attacks and save the ‘good’ stuff. You keep bragging about being an adult while Jon G is a child, then start acting like an adult. I shouldn’t have to be your nanny, editing your comments to weed out the hateful, personal attacks.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Again, you post a personal attack on the writer rather than simply disagreeing and posting facts. You start with facts, then you slam him personally. It is rude, it is inappropriate and it’s a violation of our rules. You are free to disagree with anyone here, but don’t go after them personally. That’s what you’re doling. Stop it, please.

  • hollywoodstein

    Thank you Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • hollywoodstein

    That’s right. I thought set it up in the intro.

  • hollywoodstein

    If you knew who said it, you’d fall off your chair.

  • hollywoodstein

    I was wrong.

  • hollywoodstein

    Thanks again.

  • hollywoodstein

    Thanks Mirror.

  • hollywoodstein

    And if you read the thread I was beginning to explain why the construct is so wrong it is not even wrong, before this thread got shut down. I was going to continue with my discussion of the founding of sociobiology, the founding work of Travers, J.B.S. Haldane, E.O. Wilson and others, altruism, kin selection, et al, till today, and the political and social reaction to it, including contemporary accounts and some chestnuts of whether some of the scientists Marxist ideology influenced their work or the other way around, and other back scenes drama, etcetera.

    I was then going to segue to how the social sciences have had an inferiority complex vis a vis the hard sciences, and over the years have often tried to legitimize themselves by glomming on to hard science paradigms, particularly, in the fields of psychiatry and psychology in trying to explain human behavior and the mind, have tried to adopt quantifiable explanatory paradigms constrained by their times, for example the mind is like a factory, or the mind is like a computer. These simplistic constructs have often been used to justify discrimination in the name of science.

    Currently, psychology, especially the specialty social psychology, after fiercely resisting it, has glommed onto the powerful explanatory power of evolutionary theory, and/or sociobiology. Overall, This has been healthy for psychology, and it has also led to a lot of persuasive sounding quack pseudo-science, which is why I referred over to Pharyngula where they enjoy detailing some of the excesses of social psychology, as in gay mice do this, so gay men do that.
    Also, the pharyngula community welcomes newbies and PZ Meyers is known to take bright enthusiastic kids under his wing. The evo devo aspect is absolutely necessary for understanding how the brain actually gets wired, and you need to know it if you’re going to talk about wired brains, and Meyers would gladly offer some references and guidance if you catch him at the right time, sometimes he’s just too busy. This assistance would accelerate anyone’s understanding of the complexity of the problem.

    In fact, warning more unsolicited advice ahead, instead of hanging a tenderfoot out on the net where a HollyWoodstein might happen, why not have Haidt write a piece and ask PZ to respond. It’s amazing how gettable some ungettable people are if you ask, though phone calls usually work better than email. You could have weekly fora, as in Foreign Policy Friday. Ok, now I’m kibbutzing and wasn’t asked.

    There’s more but woodstein is tired and needs to take a nap.

    To the young man I apologize. I did not mean to be cruel. I meant to be kind.

  • mirror

    Haight: “At first I disliked watching Fox News and reading National Review.
    But within a year, I began to see that the conservative vision of
    morality, history, and economics was just as coherent as the alternative
    liberal vision.

    Once I lost my feelings of repulsion and anger toward conservatism I
    discovered a whole world of ideas I had never encountered. Some of them
    struck me as quite good, e.g., the value of institutions and traditions
    for creating moral order; the principle of federalism (which failed
    spectacularly on civil rights, but is valuable in most other cases); and
    the glorification of earned success while being critical of efforts to
    achieve equality of outcomes without attention to merit. I now hold the
    view that left and right are like Yin and Yang. As John Stuart Mill put
    it in 1859: ‘A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or
    reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political
    life.'”

    John A.: Just unpack a little of that. Seriously, just start with how Haight doesn’t recognize a moral value from the institutions and traditions of the left, only the value of the “moral order” created by institutions and traditions of conservatives. It goes on and on. Should Jon, you, or anyone not be deeply suspicious of the starting assumptions of this guy as an authority on anything? Yes, unless you are trying to find a happy “middle” place in the Village.

  • hollywoodstein

    Though, for the record, I have to say you being brave enough to put yourself out there, and share that you teared up when sharing a video of our shared humanity is one of the things that first endeared me to this blog.

  • mirror

    as does “facile.”

  • mirror

    “Haidt being to sociobiology what Deepak Chopra is to quantum physics.” LOL. Kind of gets to the whole problem here.

  • hollywoodstein

    Well then, sadly you went on a indiscriminate binge of deleting. I was wrong in telling a friend who called to congratulate me for my Prop8 brief binge that this site allows for rough and tumble debate. Evidently, if you step on the wrong toes it behaves just like DailyKos.

  • hollywoodstein

    You should also take to heart the idea of producing your own content. I think you would be great at it.
    Videos are easy. Animations are easy. The software is mature. If you don’t want to take a few months to learn it, have a contest. There are plenty of college kids who would love the opportunity to put that they made content for a national blog on their resumes.

  • hollywoodstein

    Mean and vicious. I was just being fierce. There’s a difference.
    If you read the posts I was actually trying to help the kid, (obviously bright and enthusiastic), that there might be contexts and caveats to be acknowledge before plunging headlong into this subject. Saying he’s not ready is the truth. The truth is meant to help both him and this blog.
    And frankly, if he took miss woodsteins advice and read some of those books and was more aware of the historical context and the abuses this science has been put to, including abuses of gay people, he would be better able to frame this discussion.

  • hollywoodstein

    What was so vicious. Implying that he must be sleeping with someone because his posts have been so facile that no one can understand why you are giving him the platform. Believe me I am not the only one to think this.
    Or perhaps noting that Americablog is not living up to its potential. That sometimes there is more fluff than meat, by mentioning the string of videos that teared you up. I didn’t realize you had such a thin skin.

  • hollywoodstein

    The subject of human nature is fundamental and complex and deserves a better hearing than it is being given. If you don’t know someone who is expert in the field please find someone who is. That is legitimate.

  • hollywoodstein

    And if you read between the lines or read the lines themselves I was trying to provide some historical and philosophical perspective to the bogus construct that is on offer in this post. Including some books that might help the author or any readers seriously interested in this.

  • hollywoodstein

    And the line you deleted about Haidt being to sociobiology what Deepak Chopra is to quantum physics, was given to me by a Nobel winner. Cutting yes. Legitimate yes. But I guess too personal.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, sadly, you went on a binge of posting vicious comments, and as a result, some good stuff gets deleted too.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You are being a jerk. You think this is criticism? You have written nothing but personal attacks against him for several days now. Your comments have been mean and vicious. If you don’t think his argument holds up, explain why. The fact that he’s younger than you is not an explanation as to why he’s wrong.

  • hollywoodstein

    You’ve censored some legitimate commentary.

  • hollywoodstein

    I should think too you are an adult who can countenance criticism as well.

  • hollywoodstein

    I should think Jon Green is an adult who can defend himself in the crucible of debate.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    If they did I suspect after these comments you’ve earned it.

  • hollywoodstein

    And spiders. Spiders are good. And you wont think they love you.

  • hollywoodstein

    Qh, Coche-Dury, last bottle, makes it even better. Hopefully, this will be the knck out punch. Otherwise well have to switch to red. Or port.

  • hollywoodstein
  • hollywoodstein

    Ah, music..

  • hollywoodstein

    better drink more.

  • hollywoodstein

    My head aches like someone hit me with a two by four.

  • hollywoodstein

    what am I still doing up?

  • hollywoodstein

    promise.

  • hollywoodstein

    Also, too, mr. jon green, raise some animals over time. Not some furry, domesticated ones you can project anthropomorphic ideas onto, but some that you can observe over time. If it fits your trajectory try worms, and something legal but wild like some birds.
    Commit to a decade.
    They will teach you more than anything an idiot like Haidt will teach you.

  • hollywoodstein

    now yes, a little Coche-Dury for breakfast.

  • hollywoodstein

    Ohm.

  • hollywoodstein

    damn you karmanot,
    in the nicest way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pan6eranlangit Arta Dinarta
  • hollywoodstein

    If only my therapist understood me as well as my karmanot.

  • hollywoodstein

    lololololololoololololololololollol………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • hollywoodstein

    Lol

  • hollywoodstein

    I wish. Read on. Witness.

  • hollywoodstein

    the great orange spot really has become a scientology like cult. I keep a presence there by showing only one of my personalities.

  • hollywoodstein

    yes, thank god.

  • hollywoodstein

    My beloved karmanot, you have no idea.

  • hollywoodstein

    karmanot, dtopl, pldxz

  • hollywoodstein

    Yes, I think we are tesstintgt the boudnaries of the graat Orange Satan.

  • hollywoodstein

    Thsnk god youo weighte din now I can blame yuu.

  • hollywoodstein

    No, karmanot. Dont’ enbcorourage.

  • hollywoodstein

    karmanot, y[our not helping..
    tonite

  • hollywoodstein

    lerv

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It would appear he’s sleeping with Sybil at the moment.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank god!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    A hard working bodhisattva would go there…go! go!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Deepak Chopra? OMG I just had a major adgita attack.

  • hollywoodstein

    So hear he has been given a favor.

  • hollywoodstein

    So Green Jon Green. Consider this a gift.
    First, you sound like a smart kid who has come across some arguments he likes.

  • hollywoodstein

    So Mr. Jon Green, see, if you are going to be on the grown up stage see, Miss HWS, could help you see. But MHWS is not going to hep you ifin you are wrong headed.

  • hollywoodstein

    See.

  • hollywoodstein

    K, MHWS was once young, smart, beautiful and ignorant too. However, she was fortunate enough to have a front seat at a seminal moment of a seminal debate, and in a rare moment weakness is willing to share.

  • hollywoodstein

    You sound a little green mister green Sorry Miss Hollywoodsteins 6th grade class couldn’t resist.

  • hollywoodstein

    See.

  • hollywoodstein

    Listen kid. I likes you kid see. You’re a good kid see. And I want you to do good kid see.

    But when Americablog cleaved off Americablog Gay, see. I didn’t expect to see you see. I expected Americablog to add some scotus, some natsec, and some congress critters see, peeps who read the footnotes, see. Like emptywheel.net, see. I expected them to add some lifestyle food and wine, see. They could have gotten some free samples see. I expected them to create their own content see. Instead, we still get a lot of gay on the front page which is understandable since it is the defining civil rights issue of our time see. But along with income inequality, republicans are stupid and some trolling of videos on youtube.com that make John tear up is the extent of it.

    See.

    No growth see.

    Of this amazing natural platform that they’ve created, see.

    So disappointed see.

    So yes Miss Hollywoodstein should get her own blog, thanks Markos, see. We thought Miss Holly Woodstein’s Little Shoppe of HOrrors, see. But that’s been done before so we were leaning towards, Queerer than You Can Imagine for wonky nerdy types, but no one has read J.B.S. Haldane, including probably the green Mr. Jon Green.

  • hollywoodstein

    Hopefully, we’ll pass out before anything bad happens. Keep drinking.

  • hollywoodstein

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and pass out before anything happens.

  • hollywoodstein

    You really shouldn’t you’ve had to much. Mrs. Mcgillicuddy said not to let Bruiser post.

  • hollywoodstein

    This isn’t DailyKos.

  • hollywoodstein

    No they already hate me. I’ll be banned.

  • hollywoodstein

    Cruel to be kind, do it. Do it!

  • hollywoodstein

    Don’t do it he’s just a kid.

  • hollywoodstein

    And your choice of a self promoting gadfly like Haidt cum Height for this discussion is like using Deepak Chopra for a discussion of quantum physics.

  • hollywoodstein

    And looking at your bio, we see why.

  • hollywoodstein

    Honest Jon, your posts come off as sophomoric.

  • Sweetie

    I would restate sanctity/degradation as more dominated/less dominated. The religious belief that bodily denial (fasting, genital mutilation to reduce sex drive/pleasure, sleep deprivation, celibacy, castration, forced silence, et cetera) is about social domination. It’s about keeping people in their places, maintaining the religious/political authority by keeping bodies and minds dominated by the authority.

    There is a reason why “make love not war” is a mocked notion in our culture. It’s not because love-making actually is “degradation”. It’s because it’s a threat to the violence needed to maintain the status quo and its power structures. What is actually degrading is the irrational bodily denial, not the natural appreciation of things like hunger, lust, and sexual/emotional gratification.

  • hollywoodstein

    Yes, I’ve wondered who he is sleeping with too.

  • Jon Green

    The whole point of this series is that while these subjects are “hotly debated” in the political sphere, they’re accepted in the psychological community. You’re more than welcome to check out my links to what is almost exclusively peer-reviewed academic literature if you think that I’m missing sources or background information.

  • mirror

    I’m afraid Jon Greens pieces on these subjects all rely on some hotly debated assumptions which his is putting forward as settled.

  • condew

    Fairness/cheating was “reformulated” to proportionality, “more strongly endorsed by conservatives”? What, did they get a grant from David Koch?

    I’d say altruism is basic to the liberal/conservative split. Empathy is just not there in conservatives. They just cannot put themselves in the other man’s shoes, They can put themselves in the other man’s situation but they cannot imagine having the other man’s opportunities and capabilities; no matter who they may try to empathize with, they can only be themselves in that new situation. They can’t imagine coping with that situation with less intelligence, less training, less strength, or poorer health. Therefore all people who are less successful than themselves are just gold-bricking; they could do better if they just tried harder and were “willing to work”.

    I have not even seen empathy for people who did succeed and then lost; their answer is “They should have made better decisions.”; oblivious to any idea that we are all constantly making decisions with incomplete facts, and that sometimes people in power are deliberately concealing essential facts.

    I’d really like to know what happens to libertarians/conservatives who fall on hard times. Do they accept public help like Ayn Rand did? Do they commit suicide? Do they become more liberal? When they, themselves fail, how do they cope?

  • Kes

    Re: “Authority/subversion” … “This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions.”
    What’s the basis for this huge assumption? Other than evolutionary psychologists who like to sit there and armchair philosophize about what our early human/hominid ancestors may have been like (often in the course of trying to “explain” [ie justify] such things as a “tendency” towards sexism, racism, homophobia, and other types of bigotry), does any serious academic field adopt this underlying presumption? Stating that hierarchy is intrinsic to humans is making a definite stand in a very contentious and ongoing debate. The questions of whether hierarchy is “foundational” to human culture, or whether authoritative hierarchy has been historically universal (or even all that common) among our primate ancestors, are some of the most hotly and widely debated questions about early hominid (and later human) culture. I’m leery of any model which passes off such an assumption so quietly, and as a first principle at that!

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