Monday, January 1, 2018

Haidt and the Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives

            A reader pointed me to the video linked to above, as well as some articles concerning Haidt's ideas. (See, e.g., this PDF of Haidt's paper "Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations" and "Jonathan Haidt on Psychology and Politics" at The Volokh Conspiracy). I suppose the best summary, though, is the one offered in a comment to a Zero Hedge article:
       Everyone should familiarize themselves with Jonathan Haidt's work. He defines five basic moral foundations: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Authority/Subversion, Loyalty/Betrayal, and Sanctity/Degredation. 
        When Haidt looked at the political spectrum through the lens of his five moral foundations, he discovered that liberals/leftists are, quite literally, morally defective: they only acknowledge the first three of those moral foundations. They are morally blind to Loyalty/Betrayal and Sanctity/Degredation. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize all five dimensions, and use them all in their daily lives. 
        Think about this, and you'll know it to be true. For example, liberals tolerate all manner of sexual degeneracy because they lack a disgust response; it's also why they are generally dirtier and less healthy. 
       An interesting byproduct of this deficiency that Haidt discovered is that liberals cannot accurately describe a conservative, or predict their behavior; conservatives on the other hand can accurately describe liberals and their viewpoints, and predict their behavior. Asking a liberal to describe conservatives is like asking a colorblind person to describe the difference between green and red. 
       This is why liberals are, in fact, wrong about everything. They simply aren't fully-developed human beings.
 And, to me, it is telling that Haidt's paper (cited above) showed the liberals are, at minimum, incipient traitors and whores:
Liberals refused to make trade-offs on most of the individualizing items but were more willing to perform actions that violated the three binding foundations. Conservatives, in contrast, showed a more even distribution of concerns and reported more unwillingness than did liberals to accept money to act in ways that violate Ingroup, Authority, and Purity concerns.
       What is interesting to me is how well this tracks r/K theory as applied to politics. For instance, Anonymous Conservative, in his book The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans, writes concerning liberals (i.e., r-selected individuals):
        Of greatest import to our treatise here, r-selected organisms will exhibit a psychology that is programmed with five primary traits. They will be driven to avoid all competitions and conflicts, and to be as comfortable as possible within an environment devoid of any intra-species competitive stresses. They will be programmed to mate promiscuously, as early in life as possible, as often as possible, and with as many mates as possible. The r-psychology will be programmed to embrace low-investment child-rearing, such as single parenting, and lack concern for the competitiveness of the children reared under such schemes. Such a psychology will also exhibit a simultaneous tolerance for early sexualization of offspring. Finally, it will also exhibit a reduced perception of in-group and out-group, as well as a reduced perception of any conflict between such groups.  
        A good example of this strategy in nature is the innate psychology exhibited by the rabbit, which exists in fields of grass it will never fully consume. Rabbits are docile, prone to flee from danger, they mate promiscuously, mothers raise offspring alone, they lack any sexual mores, and they exhibit no loyalty or interpersonal bonds with peers. ...
The promiscuity and low-parental investment manifests in several ways:
Liberalism is also tolerant of promiscuity, and tolerant of early exposure of children to sexual behavior and information (even proposing early sexual education of children as young as five). Liberals are also embracing of such low-investment child-rearing strategies as single parenting, or other unconventional (ie. non-K-type) styles of parenting – even when they are not solely designed to produce competitive ability in the children being raised. For liberals, the emphasis is more on the right of individuals to be parents, rather than the rights of children to be raised in as optimal a fashion as possible.
[As resources contract] [t]hey will also probably exhibit more aggressive sexual drives and less sexual restraint, including less drive to monogamy and more drive toward promiscuity, rape, and even embrace of earlier age-at-first-intercourse (extending to pedophilia and homosexual pedophilia in the more extreme cases). They will have less rearing drive triggering care for the rearing of children and protection of them, more selfish attitudes, and just generally a less pro-social nature.
AC theorizes that a lot of the r-select behaviors are the result of a defective or deficient Amygdala. In that regard:
Monkeys with amygdala damage are also less discriminating in the foods they consume, as discussed (less ability to experience aversive stimulus makes all foods palatable). The disease avoiding trait of disgust may also be an amygdala-mediated cognitive function, and be less present in r-strategists. Both traits could make r-strategists less likely to survive pandemics, and thus make many diseases not only psychologically adapting towards K, but selective for its genetic underpinnings, as well.
In short, liberals are not only morally deficient in a metaphysical sense, but in a very real psycho-biological sense as well.

        The K-selected (i.e., conservative) is, in most ways, the opposite of the r-selected:
       Inherent to this psychology will again, be five distinct traits. Among these will be an inherently competitive psychology, more tolerant of the competitive failures of others. K-selected organisms will tend to be averse to promiscuity, and supportive of monogamy. Such individuals will also exhibit a drive to see high-investment, two-parent rearing normalized, and avoid other low-investment forms of offspring-rearing, not solely focused on the success of offspring. K-selected organisms will also seek to prevent their offspring from mating too early, and risking violence in the mating market before they are mature enough to fend for themselves. Finally, in group-centric species, there will be a deep, innate drive to exhibit loyalty to in-group, and hostility to out-groups.  

        The best example of this psychology in nature is the wolf. Wolves are aggressive and competitive. They are highly sexually selective and monopolize mates. They invest heavily in offspring, discourage their young from mating until maximally mature, and compete in packs, where each individual exhibits a profound emotional attachment to its pack-mates. The idea of not exhibiting loyalty to in-group, not disregarding out-group interests, or the perception that all wolves are members of the same global wolf collective would be completely unimaginable to them. As such they are perfectly designed psychologically to compete for limited resources, in an environment in which someone will lose out. They are also perfectly designed to produce offspring capable of functioning in such an environment and carrying their genes forward to future generations as well.

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