06 September 2012

Moral politics

are different depending on what team you're on.

Motivated reasoning is a well described psychological behavior. It is not surprising that it would apply to political beliefs, even, or perhaps especially, on wrongly-held false beliefs.

I'm not sure where this is surprising that conservatives would be identified as more strongly motivated. Moral research shows two parts that weren't mentioned in the above.

1) Liberals may think they are more morally motivated, but they are only more morally motivated a particular strain of moral reasoning (such as harm reduction and fairness). Conservatives are more so on a variety of other moral basis (such as disgust or loyalty). This would mean that conservatives have a sector of moral beliefs that they are more motivated on than most people.

2) Liberals are usually identified as highly open to experience, which in turn means highly open to nuance and uncertainty of experiences. Conservatives are described opposite. A need for closure has a greater tendency to avoid trying to understand and cohere conflicting ideas, facts, and opinions into your own worldview.

I do think the "team" tribal affiliation that has consistently attacked university level research (along with media coverage) as having a liberal bias has called into question the validity of non-conservative sources of information. But I think that's probably more describing the mechanics of this disparity than its causes.

Totally unsurprising conclusion: libertarians are weird in that they don't moralise.
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