Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Of Liberals, Conservatives, Rationalists, and Moral Foundations


The world is pretty good; all we have to do is not ruin it.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL I just finished reading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. The book got attention mainly for its claim that political liberals recognize only two-and-a-half of the six foundations of morality: Protection from harm and freedom from oppression, plus justice in the sense of equality, while political conservatives recognize those plus justice in the sense of just desserts, and three more: Loyalty, respect for authority, and sanctity.

What immediately struck me is that there is an obvious reason for this division. The history of the world prior to 1789 is dominated by horror stories inspired by the conservative moral principles. Loyalty to groups often led to killing or oppression of outsiders. The authorities that demanded respect could be reactionary, barbaric, and corrupt. Witch hunts and pogroms were common as ways to find impure, immoral, blaspheming, or otherwise offensive people, and subject them to terrible deaths.

On the other hand, before the modern era, it's harder to think of really bad things done by groups who were trying to protect or free people. You might come up with examples, but they are rare and debatable.

The split on justice reinforces the point. Liberals like equality of outcome. "Why is that man a slave and that man a master?" is a clearly positive question. Conservatives also like to be sure people get the rewards and punishments they have earned. Retribution has often been a terrible scourge that led to cycles of horrific violence.

The Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, took place in Europe and the future United States from about 1690 to 1789. During that century, it was easy for thinkers to conclude freedom, equality, and taking care of the poor and weak were the great goals of society, as the revolutionary French slogan "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" attests. The French Revolution is also where we get the modern political connotations of "left" and "right."
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Featured Videos