Category Archives: Politics

I’m not a politician, and I don’t belong to a party. These are just my attempts to work things out for myself.

Rand vs Gandhi

gandhiThis post is a response to fellow blogger Daedalus Lex. He asks the question, “How does one live a good life?” and provides two mutually exclusive answers. Continue reading

Politics and purity

purityPolitics and purity make strange bedfellows.

Here I’m discussing how the moral foundation of Purity influences our political tendencies. This is the last of the five core moral foundations that I’ve been examining in this series. The others were Caring, Fairness, Loyalty and Authority. Continue reading

Politics and authority

authorityAuthority can be a very good thing. Without it there is crime and lawlessness. There are kids on the street at midnight throwing bricks through windows. Authority is a necessary glue to hold society together.

The psychologist Haidt defines it as:

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.

But too much authority may be bad for us. History teaches us what authoritarian governments look like. They look like this: Continue reading

Politics and loyalty

loyaltyIn this series of articles, I’m exploring the psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s core moral foundations and in particular how they relate to our political beliefs.

Loyalty is the third moral foundation, and Haidt defines it like this:

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.“

Tricky definition. On one hand, loyalty is a virtue. Self-sacrifice for the group is as virtuous as it gets. And the opposite (betrayal) is clearly a negative quality.

And yet, self-sacrifice for the group is the attitude of a suicide bomber. It’s what drives young men to kill for their country. It pits “us” against “them.” Is this really a virtue? Continue reading

Politics and fairness

fairnessOK, raise your hand if you believe in fairness. Ha! I tricked you. I haven’t yet defined what fairness means. Continue reading

Politics and caring

caringThis article is part of a series looking at the Moral Foundations Theory of Haidt & Graham  and how our core moral beliefs relate to our political choices.

Today I’m considering the first moral foundation – that of Care. It’s probably what most people think morality means, but in Haidt’s system it’s just one of several factors. Continue reading

Politics & core moral values

moralsDo you know your core moral beliefs? According to the Moral Foundations Theory of Haidt & Graham there are at least five of them, and they can be measured.

These core values determine whether you are fundamentally liberal (left-wing or Democrat) or conservative (right-wing or Republican). You can even take a test to score your values and find out where you sit on the political spectrum. Continue reading