Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The real difference between liberals and conservatives

Jonathan Haidt presents this talk, from the TED Conference. It's just under 20 minutes long and he lays out the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices.

1. Harm/Care

2. Fairness/reciprocity

3. Ingroup/loyalty

4. Authority/respect

5. Purity/sanctity

The center of his thesis is that political leanings are determined by where people fall on a major personality trait known as openness to experience

"Open individuals have an affinity for liberal, progressive, left-wing political views, whereas closed individuals prefer conservative, traditional, right-wing views." (R. R. McCrea, 1996)

In order to progress through our current political season, perhaps we all can benefit from the realization that both perspectives are necessary. Since we have been swinging towards the conservative for the last eight years, perhaps its time the balance shifts, how ever temporarily, towards the liberal to balance out the equation. 

He includes the following quote from a Buddhist visionary:

"If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease." Sent-ts'an, c. 700 C.E.

He then juxtaposes it with this:

"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." George Bush, Nov. 2001

Then he asks if we aren't also guilty of falling into the trap of being for or against.

Think about it...

1 comment:

  1. great post. I find myself a natural conservative with things like natures, resources, etc, but that is true conservation. I am also for having less govt, but realize that we need some since people appear to unable to manage themselves in a lot of ways. I guess I am liberal conservationist!