Our counties and towns are becoming increasingly segregated into “lifestyle enclaves,” in which ways of voting, eating, working, and worshipping are increasingly aligned. If you find yourself in a Whole Foods store, there’s an 89 percent chance that the county surrounding you voted for Barack Obama. If you want to find Republicans, go to a county that contains a Cracker Barrel restaurant (62 percent of these counties went for McCain).

Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about sacred objects.

If you want to understand another group, follow the sacredness. As a first step, think about the six moral foundations, and try to figure out which one or two are carrying the most weight in a particular controversy. And if you really want to open your mind, open your heart first. If you can have at least one friendly interaction with a member of the “other” group, you’ll find it far easier to listen to what they’re saying, and maybe even see a controversial issue in a new light. You may not agree, but you’ll probably shift from Manichaean disagreement to a more respectful and constructive yin-yang disagreement.

. . . Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something to say.

According to Haight in The Righteous Mind:

The most sacred value for Conservatives is to preserve the institutions and traditions that sustain a moral community.

The most sacred value in the Libertarian Moral Matrix is individual liberty.

Further, according to Haight – the six moral values for each group are:

  1. Care/harm
  2. Liberty/oppression
  3. Fairness/cheating
  4. Loyalty/betrayal
  5. Authority/subversion
  6. Sanctity/degradation

Haidt opines that Conservatives most “get it” and Liberals do not. He cites results from to reinforce his opinion.

On September 19, 2007, I visited this site and answered the Morality questions. I obviously lean more liberal than conservative (no surprise there).  Let me hear from you if you take this little quiz.

This 2007 result:

Just for the record, I certainly uphold and approve of the Pledge of Allegiance and dislike the fact that there is not prayer in school (probably because I grew up during a time when prayers were recited in schools). However, anyone can pray – anywhere – and at any time – even in school.

And yes,
I did spank my children (I did not beat them) – and I love them unconditionally.

And yes,
I respect and appreciate
family values
and community
and regular church worship
the value of belonging  to a fellowship of believers
I believe
in God and in Christ
in unmerited Grace
and I value life
and I believe
strongly in the sanctity of life
I believe that
a fetus is most certainly
a breathing, living, human gift and should be valued as such.

And yes,
I think we should help those less fortunate than ourselves
whatever gifts we have been given should be used for

And no,
I don’t believe in the death penalty
although there is a gray area
when I am not certain . . .
I do think there is Evil

I think that in many instances
should regulate their
own laws
without federal regulation and intervention

I DO think there should be
equal rights
for everyone
every one

I don’t think that
private life
should be legislated
and a woman’s body
is her body and her
decisions should be|
her decisions

I’m so thankful
I can express myself
without fear of reprisal
although I expect
there to be
disagreement and

” . . .nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change . . .”

– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


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