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Thread: Why Most Liberals Are Intellectually Incapable of Understanding Conservatives

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    Why Most Liberals Are Intellectually Incapable of Understanding Conservatives

    An interesting theory by a guy who started his research with the purpose of helping Dems win elections, but he stumbled on a deeper understanding of the differences between the two groups. In short, and you will have to read the article to understand the conclusion, liberals have a hard time understanding conservatives because conservatives place more importance on moral areas while liberals don't care or see these as negative.

    Why Most Liberals Are Intellectually Incapable of Understanding Conservatives

    Jonathan Haidt is a center-left social psychologist who has been doing fascinating work on the differences between liberals and conservatives for over a decade (His work on social media is really good as well). Haidt has said publicly that when he started studying the differences between liberals and conservatives, he was just looking for ways to help Democrats get elected, but when he dug into the way both sides saw the world, he realized that he had stumbled on to something much bigger.


    This is a very basic explanation of Haidt’s “Moral Foundation Theory” that explains those differences.


    It starts with the idea that none of us are born as a blank slate. Not only do we have different genetics (which is uncontroversial), but we have built-in programming that leads us to look at the world a certain way. Like genetics, it’s not an absolute determination, but it predisposes us to look at certain ideas in a more positive or negative light. Initially, there were 5 areas people were measured on (they’ve considered adding others). Here’s how they break it down:

    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]The five foundations for which we think the evidence is best are:

    [/COLOR]
    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]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.[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]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.][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]3) Loyalty/betrayal (Ingroup): 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.”[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]4) 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.[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=var(--print_on_web_bg_color, #1a1a1a)]5) Sanctity/degradation (Purity): 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).[/COLOR]

    Here’s the really interesting thing about how conservatives and liberals score when they’re tested in these areas. Liberal scores tend to be very high in the first two areas (Care/Harm & Fairness/Cheating), but low in the other areas. On the other hand, conservative scores tend to be roughly comparable across the board, albeit slightly lower than liberal scores on Care/Harm & Fairness/Cheating. Here’s an example of what that looks like from a Jonathan Haidt Ted Talk:


    Liberals have a lot of trouble understanding conservatives because conservatives pay a great deal of attention to moral areas that liberals don’t care much about or may even see as a negative. Because of this, liberals have a great deal of trouble intellectually understanding the conservative view of the world. Haidt has discussed this as well:
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    His TED talk on this subject:

    The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so. -- Ronald Reagan

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    Notice, recalling a recent discussion on authoritarianism, conservatives are much higher on authority than liberals. Now, this does not translate necessarily to authoritarian government. It is found more in hierarchical structures of authority in society, family, church, clubs, universities, and other social institutions.
    The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so. -- Ronald Reagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Notice, recalling a recent discussion on authoritarianism, conservatives are much higher on authority than liberals. Now, this does not translate necessarily to authoritarian government. It is found more in hierarchical structures of authority in society, family, church, clubs, universities, and other social institutions.
    And liberals are the opposite. They want authoritarianism at the government level and are largely against those intermediately organizations between the State and the people (expect for Unions).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    And liberals are the opposite. They want authoritarianism at the government level and are largely against those intermediately organizations between the State and the people (expect for Unions).
    Top Down from the highest Government levels that they of course will be running for your own good.

    And with modern Progressives moving so quickly in the direction of speech controls and various forms of society controls I don't buy good intention arguments any longer.
    "Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual" - DUNE Messiah by Frank Herbert

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    'Liberals care more?' Since when? Oh, they surely virtue signal more, express their feelings more, but that doesn't translate into actually sincerely caring more.

    As for the loyal dog more resembling a Conservative, no sale. Democrats will circle the wagons fiercely fighting for their D guy, and far more Dems vote "D" simply based on that letter beside their name(s).
    Conservative, otoh, will look at the candidate, the accusations, then what he's actually done, and make a decision based on that. No, not loyal puppies, necessarily.

    Maybe I missed something, but it sounded like he said that Lib's believe that authority has nothing to do with morality. I'm with those who already posted that Lib's tend to be more the federalists, while Con's, the anti-federalists.

    What he had to say about Purity was interesting. Cons = more religious purity, while Libs = more food purity. Hadn't thought of it that way.

    If you're passionate about the truth, you will be a good listener.

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    So liberals score high on care and fairness.

    Conservatives scored high on Authority, Group Loyalty and Purity.

    We already knew that, and it paints liberals as the moral ones.

    That is, unless you think obedience to authority, tribal loyalty and a sense of sanctity are what defines morality. That would be why Haidt did not refer to the conservative position as being moral. That was how a conservative interpreted it.

    It's more that conservatives can't understand liberals, because they can't understand why liberals put more importance on moral areas.
    Last edited by mamooth; 06-26-2022 at 06:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamooth View Post
    So liberals score high on care and fairness.

    Conservatives scored high on Authority, Group Loyalty and Purity.

    We already knew that, and it paints liberals as the moral ones.

    That is, unless you think obedience to authority, tribal loyalty and a sense of sanctity are what defines morality. That would be why Haidt did not refer to the conservative position as being moral. That was how a conservative interpreted it.

    It's more that conservatives can't understand liberals, because they can't understand morality.

    So liberals score high on care and fairness.

    Conservatives scored high on Authority, Group Loyalty and Purity.
    Incorrect. While liberals score high on care and fairness, conservatives score high on those two and also on Authority, Group Loyalty and Purity.


    Your premises are false.
    The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so. -- Ronald Reagan

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    Liberals are incapable of understanding MOST things.
    “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” - Barry Goldwater

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus View Post
    Liberals are incapable of understanding MOST things.
    Mamooth obviously didn't understand the OP.
    The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so. -- Ronald Reagan

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