The real differences between liberals and conservatives

Here’s a very illuminating talk by Jonathan Haidt about the moral mind. Watch it then scroll down for my take.

The graphs he shows are incredible, simply for the discrepancies between the two sides of the moral spectrum. I think he tries too hard to wrap his interpretation of openness around the findings, though.

Ultimately the talk fails because – as he himself states – the principles of open discussion and embracement of ideas and change are liberal virtues. While the comparison to yin and yang was inspiring, I’m not sure how applicable it is. Yin and Yang are two sides of the same coin, whereas in the current climate (or has it been forever?) political polarity is such that each party wants to be the whole thing.

A followup I’d love to hear would be about the effects of discussion, and “conversion” rates. Although Haidt mentioned that a child’s “blank slate” was malleable, he didn’t mention how rigid a person’s morality becomes. Can they change? I can’t help but come away feeling mildly depressed, especially when one end of the spectrum revolves around pack mentality, self-imposed seclusion and rejection of the facts.

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