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The moral center of liberals and conservatives


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I know most people are too lazy minded, and want quick quotes, but I came upon this the other day and thought it was well-worth recommending. It is a social psychologist Jonathan Haidt giving a TED speech on how liberals and conservatives are different, on what is important to them, and what influences their values. That sounds boring as hell, I know, but it surprisingly isn't. It's funny and extremely interesting. It goes a long way to explaining why liberals and conservatives think and react differently to so many things, and why they have such different priorities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOQduoLgRw

 

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From the other thread, we were talking about the definition of progressive.

For social matters, that definition lines up with the centre-left (called 'progressive' sometimes) but what about reforming labour laws, and the social safety net?  What about trade deals?  These recently were conservative mantras and now... well...

Things have switched at least twice with some of those.

I'm part way through this Ted Talk btw.

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14 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

He's 100% right about "stepping out of the moral Matrix".  You can't see clearly on an issue when you're biased and already rooting for one side of it.

Haidt says 'open' people are liberals. They value change and diversity, and speak for the oppressed and want change and justice, without regard to cost, even if it leads to chaos. On the other hand 'closed' people value order and speak for institutions and traditions. 

Haidt divides our moral framework into five categories.

Haidt puts our sense of morality into five distinct categories.

Harm/care
Fairness/reciprocity
Ingroup/loyalty
Authority/respect
Purity/sanctity

Open people ie liberals, only embrace the first two, and generally place little value or even oppose the last three. Closed people, ie conservatives, embrace all five. So it's not that they don't value harm/care and fairness/reciprocity, but they have these other values which they take into consideration.

And since the two types are operating from these different different moral belief systems to begin with it makes it extremely difficult to even understand each other, which in turn makes it very hard to discuss issues which run counter to the different values they hold. 

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37 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

From the other thread, we were talking about the definition of progressive.

For social matters, that definition lines up with the centre-left (called 'progressive' sometimes) but what about reforming labour laws, and the social safety net?  What about trade deals?  These recently were conservative mantras and now... well...

Things have switched at least twice with some of those.

I'm part way through this Ted Talk btw.

I would say the social safety net is the best example of the difference between the two. Liberals, as per above, care deeply about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity, so all they're interested in is a strong social safety net to take care of people. Conservatives, on the other hand, while they also care about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity also have these other values which influence their thinking about what too generous a social safety net does to society in terms of thinks like costs in taxation and damage to work ethic.

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1 hour ago, Argus said:

 

1) Open people ie liberals, only embrace the first two, and generally place little value or even oppose the last three. Closed people, ie conservatives, embrace all five. So it's not that they don't value harm/care and fairness/reciprocity, but they have these other values which they take into consideration. 

1) Yes - but if you look at the graph (click pause at 9:00 of the video) liberals value harm/care and fairness more.

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1 hour ago, Argus said:

I would say the social safety net is the best example of the difference between the two. Liberals, as per above, care deeply about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity, so all they're interested in is a strong social safety net to take care of people. Conservatives, on the other hand, while they also care about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity also have these other values which influence their thinking about what too generous a social safety net does to society in terms of thinks like costs in taxation and damage to work ethic.

Anyway - I feel like I tried to frame discussions like this in the past and failed.

Simply put - I want to know how much anybody is willing to pay to bring refugees to Canada.  Given that we have diffferent morality, that is the only question to me.  I felt that the perception was that I was casting aspersions by framing the question this way.

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1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

1) Yes - but if you look at the graph (click pause at 9:00 of the video) liberals value harm/care and fairness more.

Yes, because they don't value any of the others much at all. Thus the clash which occurs between these values among conservatives is much less present, and liberals are able to exorcise their sense of generosity with less restraint.

Edited by Argus
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1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

Anyway - I feel like I tried to frame discussions like this in the past and failed.

Simply put - I want to know how much anybody is willing to pay to bring refugees to Canada.  Given that we have diffferent morality, that is the only question to me.  I felt that the perception was that I was casting aspersions by framing the question this way.

Okay, just don't accuse me of always turning the discussion to immigration.

We already pay billions to bring refugees to Canada, and billions to keep them alive afterward. Yes, it's generous, but what is the generosity costing other Canadians? You are a man who is, I perceive, comfortable, as am I, and have less need of government services than poor people. Remember that taxes are finite. What we spent on refugees we do not spend on poverty alleviation, on education, other social welfare schemes and health care.

As an example, let's look at a municipal public housing system. Generally speaking the waiting list for poor people to get into public housing is many years long. However, there are two lists. One is for homeless people, especially homeless families. Those get priority over everyone else. When refugees are brought here by the federal government they are not provided with housing. That's the city's job. They go onto the 'homeless' list, which prioritizes them over all those thousands and thousands of families who have been waiting years on the regular housing list. They go immediately into motels/hotels until they can be slotted into a house or apartment. Everyone else gets pushed back further down the list. And when the next batch of refugees comes over that happens again.

So when you ask what I am willing to spend, consider that the real cost is not to you and I but to poor Canadians. Then the conversation becomes a little more complex in moral terms.

Just raise taxes? There's a limit to that before you start damaging your economy, which in turn damages everyone. We're pretty much at that limit now with the taxes going over 50% for higher income earners. Much more and we'll start driving them out of the country, which robs of of income taxes but also their drive, ambition and skillsets, and the jobs those bring.

 

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While on the topic of refugees/immigrants I might point out that perhaps one aspect of the clash over this topic, here and elsewhere, between left and right, derives its basis from the fact liberals place very little importance on one of the moral aspects conservatives value, that being ingroup/loyalty. So it is that while conservatives worry about how taking in all these foreigners will affect our culture, values and traditions, and weigh that against other aspects of morality, liberals simply don't care much, since they place so little importance on that aspect of morality.


The previous discussions between you and I on this subject would seem to perfectly illustrate Haidt's point here.

Edited by Argus
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Liberals don't value fairness more than conservatives. They each just have different ideas of what "fairness" means.

Liberals are more focused on equality, and more equal power and wealth etc between people to ensure that as many people as possible are given a chance to live good, healthy, happy lives free from oppression and suffering, while conservatives see some social hierarchy or social/economic stratification as natural and desirable because it rewards/incentivizes things like hard work, creativity and individual efforts. Many conservatives might even see some suffering as desirable and natural since it builds character, and "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger".

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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1 hour ago, Moonlight Graham said:

Liberals don't value fairness more than conservatives. They each just have different ideas of what "fairness" means.

Liberals are more focused on equality, and more equal power and wealth etc between people to ensure that as many people as possible are given a chance to live good, healthy, happy lives free from oppression and suffering, while conservatives see some social hierarchy or social/economic stratification as natural and desirable because it rewards/incentivizes things like hard work, creativity and individual efforts. Many conservatives might even see some suffering as desirable and natural since it builds character, and "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger".

I just typed a long reply and hit some key causing it to all disappear.   Very frustrating. 

I don't think you have it correct.   Conservatives believe in obtaining the same good things for people but just believe in achieving it in a different way.  Conservatives believe prosperity and happiness is best achieved by private enterprise.  They believe private industry is the best creator of wealth and jobs not government intervention and meddling.

Liberals believe in big brother government, and tax and spend policies.  That is what Pierre Trudeau did and that looks like what Justin is doing now, by creating a big deficit.  They somehow have the idea that this will create a strong economy.  But it won't.

Also Conservatives believe in personal freedom and respect for individual's rights while Liberals believe more in big government meddling in the social sphere.  Example is M103.

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2 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

Liberals don't value fairness more than conservatives. They each just have different ideas of what "fairness" means.

The old axiom of equality of opportunity vs equality of results should be brought up here. All too often liberals use inequality of results as a defacto argument of unfairness. And if they can't spot the unfairness they call it 'systemic'.

Quote

Liberals are more focused on equality, and more equal power and wealth etc between people to ensure that as many people as possible are given a chance to live good, healthy, happy lives free from oppression and suffering, while conservatives see some social hierarchy or social/economic stratification as natural and desirable because it rewards/incentivizes things like hard work, creativity and individual efforts. Many conservatives might even see some suffering as desirable and natural since it builds character, and "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger".

See above. I don't think conservatives have a problem with equality, but they start getting antsy when equality is achieved by government taking lots of money from some people and giving it to other people who didn't do anything to deserve it. Let me present a cliche'd sort of argument.

Bill and John are the same age, go to the same school and are in the same classes. John studies hard and makes the honor roll. Bill parties, ditches school often, does drugs, and drops out of school to work at a car wash. John goes on to university, which he partly pays for through working on weekends. He gets his bachelor degree, then goes back to get his masters, agonizing over his masters thesis for months. He graduates and gets a good job that pays lots of money.

Meanwhile, Bill has been working off and on at low skilled jobs, going on pogey for long periods of time, getting drunk a lot and smoking pot. After years of this Bill says "Hey, he has so much more money than me! Give it to me!" And the liberals say "Ahhh, you're right! Look how unfair it is that John has so much and BIll so little! We must take away a lot of John's money and give it to Bill because this will be "fair".

Conservatives think that Bill having way less money than John is already fair.

 

Edited by Argus
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17 hours ago, Argus said:

Okay, just don't accuse me of always turning the discussion to immigration.

We already pay billions to bring refugees to Canada, and billions to keep them alive afterward. Yes, it's generous, but what is the generosity costing other Canadians? You are a man who is, I perceive, comfortable, as am I, and have less need of government services than poor people. Remember that taxes are finite. What we spent on refugees we do not spend on poverty alleviation, on education, other social welfare schemes and health care.

As an example, let's look at a municipal public housing system. Generally speaking the waiting list for poor people to get into public housing is many years long. However, there are two lists. One is for homeless people, especially homeless families. Those get priority over everyone else. When refugees are brought here by the federal government they are not provided with housing. That's the city's job. They go onto the 'homeless' list, which prioritizes them over all those thousands and thousands of families who have been waiting years on the regular housing list. They go immediately into motels/hotels until they can be slotted into a house or apartment. Everyone else gets pushed back further down the list. And when the next batch of refugees comes over that happens again.

So when you ask what I am willing to spend, consider that the real cost is not to you and I but to poor Canadians. Then the conversation becomes a little more complex in moral terms.

Just raise taxes? There's a limit to that before you start damaging your economy, which in turn damages everyone. We're pretty much at that limit now with the taxes going over 50% for higher income earners. Much more and we'll start driving them out of the country, which robs of of income taxes but also their drive, ambition and skillsets, and the jobs those bring.

I took my response to a more appropriate thread:

 

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I took my response to a more appropriate thread:

There was nothing inappropriate about that post being in this thread. We are discussing the morality of decision making. Why should you have it moved over to an immigration thread merely because we were using refugees - which you brought up - as the focus of that morality decision making?

I answered your post in the immigration thread as an immigration question, but of course, with nothing related to the morality of the decision making process we were talking about here. Moving it was ill advised, in my opinion. But you could have another go at a reply on morality grounds here.

Edited by Argus
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On 2017-04-08 at 7:04 PM, blackbird said:

Also Conservaas Ltives believe in personal freedom and respect for individual's rights while Liberals believe more in big government meddling in the social sphere.  Example is M103.

I disagree.  Many conservatives are just about as big government as liberals, only for different things ie: military spending.  Conservatives say they believe in personal freedom, except when they don't like something contrary to their ideology and want to control it just like liberals ie: banning abortions, birth control, wearing hijab/niqab, legal marijuana etc.

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1 minute ago, Moonlight Graham said:

I disagree.  Many conservatives are just about as big government as liberals, only for different things ie: military spending.  Conservatives say they believe in personal freedom, except when they don't like something contrary to their ideology and want to control it just like liberals ie: banning abortions, birth control, wearing hijab/niqab, legal marijuana etc.

Conservatives have never said a word against birth control.  The Pope and RCC is against it but not the Conservative Party.  Yes there are many Conservatives opposed to abortion.  But the Conservative party has never had a leader that would do anything about abortion.  However,  I don't know if the majority of CPC members oppose abortion.  It is a bad thing and should be outlawed.   I don't think most Conservatives oppose someone wearing the hijab/niqab on the street but they probably oppose it during the immigration ceremony and if one is a public servant.  There should be no religious symbols if one is serving the public.  I think most Canadians agree. 

Liberals are more in favour of controlling people's lives as with M103.  Conservatives no so much.  That's why Harper opposed the long form census.  Too intrusive in people's lives.  Trudeau brought it back.  I believe Liberals meddle in the Arts and culture by funding Canadian arts groups and culture.  Also I think they have used government to control what television channels Canadians get and what movies we watch.  There are movies Americans get on Netflix for example that Canadians do not get I believe.  This is all liberal social engineeering.  Big government knows what's best for you.

Yes Conservatives are strong on support for the military.  Looks like Trudeau is going to cut back on spending for the military.  Liberals are a little more pacifist than the Conservatives.  That's why Trudeau withdrew our fighter jets from the fight against ISIS.  NDP is strongly pacifist.

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13 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

I disagree.  Many conservatives are just about as big government as liberals, only for different things ie: military spending.  Conservatives say they believe in personal freedom, except when they don't like something contrary to their ideology and want to control it just like liberals ie: banning abortions, birth control, wearing hijab/niqab, legal marijuana etc.

You are conflating Liberals with liberals and Conservatives with conservatives. The desire to have big government controlling a lot of things might be an outrgrowth of liberal values but it does not represent liberalism, for example. Now abortion, birth control and the hijab are aspects of conservative values in that conservatives to place an important value on ingroup/loyalty and purity/sanctity. Liberals tend to disdain such things.

Edited by Argus
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On 2017-04-09 at 11:08 PM, blackbird said:

Conservatives have never said a word against birth control.  The Pope and RCC is against it but not the Conservative Party.  Yes there are many Conservatives opposed to abortion.  But the Conservative party has never had a leader that would do anything about abortion.  However,  I don't know if the majority of CPC members oppose abortion.  It is a bad thing and should be outlawed.   I don't think most Conservatives oppose someone wearing the hijab/niqab on the street but they probably oppose it during the immigration ceremony and if one is a public servant.  There should be no religious symbols if one is serving the public.  I think most Canadians agree. 

Liberals are more in favour of controlling people's lives as with M103.  Conservatives no so much.  That's why Harper opposed the long form census.  Too intrusive in people's lives.  Trudeau brought it back.  I believe Liberals meddle in the Arts and culture by funding Canadian arts groups and culture.  Also I think they have used government to control what television channels Canadians get and what movies we watch.  There are movies Americans get on Netflix for example that Canadians do not get I believe.  This is all liberal social engineeering.  Big government knows what's best for you.

Yes Conservatives are strong on support for the military.  Looks like Trudeau is going to cut back on spending for the military.  Liberals are a little more pacifist than the Conservatives.  That's why Trudeau withdrew our fighter jets from the fight against ISIS.  NDP is strongly pacifist.

I wasn't talking about the CPC, I was talking about conservatives as in the ideology.  As in, right-wingers.

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11 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

I wasn't talking about the CPC, I was talking about conservatives as in the ideology.  As in, right-wingers.

I gave you a lot of information, carefully thought out, but you responded with a one sentence comment.  So I don't know if you agree with the various details I gave you.  The ordinary conservatives (not necessarily a party member) I believe favours birth control.  Even the Catholic church people mostly ignore the prohibition against birth control I heard.  I think most of what I said would also describe ordinary conservatives, not necessarily party members.

A woman working in the Liberal government at Global Affairs is reported to have written a book for elementary non-Muslim school children to teach them with pictures to wear Niqabs or Hijabs to school to make  Muslim students feel comfortable.  This is completely wrong and demonstrates the kind of extreme social engineering Liberals will try.

Edited by blackbird
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4 hours ago, blackbird said:

I gave you a lot of information, carefully thought out, but you responded with a one sentence comment.  So I don't know if you agree with the various details I gave you.  The ordinary conservatives (not necessarily a party member) I believe favours birth control.  Even the Catholic church people mostly ignore the prohibition against birth control I heard.  I think most of what I said would also describe ordinary conservatives, not necessarily party members.

A woman working in the Liberal government at Global Affairs is reported to have written a book for elementary non-Muslim school children to teach them with pictures to wear Niqabs or Hijabs to school to make  Muslim students feel comfortable.  This is completely wrong and demonstrates the kind of extreme social engineering Liberals will try.

 

I'll refer to conservatives/liberals as rightwingers and leftwingers from now on to avoid confusion with the Conservative & Liberal parties.

I agree with most of what you said earlier, disagree with some of it.  I don't have time right now to go through it point by point.  My original point was just that both rightwing and leftwing people can be for big government and controlling social and cultural aspects of society through government laws.  They just do it in different ways, as you pointed out.  Ie: rightwingers tend to value tradition, while leftwingers value diversity and tolerance of foreign cultures/people.  That's like the "open vs closed" aspect from Argus' original video in this thread.  I don't think either approach is inherently "better" or "correct", it all depends on the specific situation, and what your personal moral philosophy is.   If you value diversity, ok fine.  If you value tradition to protect your culture, like Quebecers do, that's fine too.  Everyone will have their own opinion on that based on what's most important to them.

I would agree with you that many conservatives do value smaller government in some senses, like the longform census as you said.  But at the same time, liberals will be against something like the PATRIOT Act or Bill C-51 too.  Unless you're a libertarian, I think many of both rightwing and leftwing people value big government and small government, just in different ways.  Some lefties valued big controlling government with Communist governments, but some righties also valued big controlling government with Fascist governments & other dictatorships.  It's hard to generalize.  Big government is a means to control the masses in order to achieve whatever goals you're after, and that isn't necessarily a right or leftwing tactic. 

It's also stereotypical to say righties in the USA value small government, but that's usually in the economic sphere with regulations &  social programs etc., yet these same righties also approve of spending huge gov budgets & debt on a massive global military infrastructure, while lefties rack up debt differently via social programs/handouts etc.

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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