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Ch. 7: The Moral Foundation of Politics 
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Post Ch. 7: The Moral Foundation of Politics
Ch. 7: The Moral Foundation of Politics



Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 7: The Moral Foundation of Politics
Chapters 6 and 7 can probably be taken together. Haidt agrees with Hume's analogy of "sentiments" with physical tastes such as bitterness and sweet; the moral sentiments (or intuitions in Haidt's terms) are triggered just that automatically when certain stimuli are presented. Haidt and his research partner theorized that six moral receptors (5 of them identified in Chap. 7) cover the universe of our moral lives. They are all paired opposites. Haidt usually refers to them by just the first term for brevity (e.g., Care instead of Care/Harm).

He has already made the point that WEIRD morality relies mostly on Care and Fairness. This reliance can lead to us WEIRDos trying to deny the urging of a dominant, irrational sense that something about an action just is not right, that it is repugnant. The extreme case is represented by the murder/suicide pact described in gory detail on p. 146. Not to say that what occurred between these two men--although consensual and not harming anyone else--is wrong seems blatantly morally wrong, indeed a violation of a sacred principle. Restricting moral judgment to Care and Fairness results in moral dumbfounding when an individual confronts such a violation of the Sanctity module.

Haidt's major point that when we look at politics, we see different triggers activating the same module goes a way toward explaining our political divisions. Authority/Subversion is prominent in the partisanship over President Trump. His supporters seem to view his exercise of authority as a righteous cause, spurning objections that he tramples on longstanding democratic values. Trump's opponents have exalted an alternate authority--rather surprising, perhaps. coming from the liberal side--which is the rule of law (having an echo of law and order). That is the authority whose existence Trump threatens. So maybe it isn't entirely true that liberals are stuck in their Care and Fairness cage. During the impeachment proceedings we also saw the Democrats stressing the sanctity of virtue in our politics, and attacks on Republicans were largely based on their degradation of the same.



Last edited by DWill on Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Ch. 7: The Moral Foundation of Politics
DWill wrote:
. . . So maybe it isn't entirely true that liberals are stuck in their Care and Fairness cage.


I totally agree, DWill.

These days, I'm rooting for Democrats because the GOP under Trump has become almost entirely divorced from its conservative past. For the foreseeable future, Democrats seem to be a better bet for promoting stewardship of the environment, virtue in politics, and protecting the rule of law and democratic principles. It seems that Trump's party only cares about increasing the profits of corporations. As such, maybe we are seeing a reorientation of our political parties in America. It does seem that Democrats have a real shot at expanding beyond the care/harm foundation and will become more attractive to voters.

I've never been one to identify as a conservative or liberal, but ten years ago, I would have described myself as more or less moderate conservative. Ever since McCain selected Palin as his running mate, I've felt disenfranchised by both parties. But so it goes. Haidt is sort of reminding me why I do lean conservative (at least toward what conservative used to be). But like Haidt, I would very much like to see Democrats branch out into areas that Republicans have forsaken.

I'm very sorry for not contributing more to this discussion. I've highlighted many passages during my reading, but I just don't feel I have much to add to the conversation. DWill is doing a fabulous job summarizing each chapter though.


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