The Righteous Mind

I'm reading Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind, and it's helping me understand conservatives a lot better.

Haidt breaks down the five innate moral "taste receptors":

  1. care/harm
  2. fairness/cheating
  3. loyalty/betrayal
  4. authority/subversion
  5. sanctity/degradation

People on the left like to focus on victims, people who have suffered harm. They want to care for them. The right want to care for members of their own group who have shown loyalty, such as soldiers.

The left see fairness as redistribution of wealth. The right see fairness as their right to keep what they've earned and for others to earn based on their ability.

The right really likes loyalty. When America is at war, you rally behind the president, no matter his flaws. Of course, politicians know this and like to exploit it. The 

The right is also big on authority. You respect your parents, the elders, police, people in authority.

And they're big on sanctity. Homosexuality is seen as a degradation of the human body. Maybe they even believe in only having sex after marriage.

The left doesn't really seem to respond too strongly to the latter three. Maybe loyalty for the left is denouncing haters like neo-nazis and other people seen as oppressors?

Some spiritual people on the left do appreciate sanctity in the form of detoxing the body and mind.

I can see value in all of these. Understand these have given me a deeper respect for conservatives and where they're coming from. And for some of the shortcomings of the left, in particular how ineffective they are at appealing to people's emotions.


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