The psychological traits that shape your political beliefs | TED talk

I mean, you just did exactly that, explained why terrorists do what they do.

When the accusation is, “They hate us for our freedom”, then thinking beyond the slogan, and actually using a bit of critical thinking as to what exactly it was that caused people to have this sort of reaction is not “counterbalance”, it’s what we should be doing in the first place.

Maybe the point is that the “conventional orthodoxy” is in fact wrong.

The fact that it doesn’t apply to all minority causes should give you a clue that your premise is fallacious, and that there actually is a reason why they would disagree with the uncomplicated view. Not just to be disagreeable, but to point out that there is another side to many issues, and by simply defining them as “bad”, is not just lazy, but also irresponsible, as it does not actually address the problems that we are trying to confront, it doesn’t give any actual path to resolving those conflicts.

For instance, you just made the accusation that young progressives are just trying to spite the majority. A very simplistic and almost entirely wrong way of summarizing the reasons for their efforts. If someone were to explain why your effortless summary was wrong, would you consider that to be “counterbalance”, just trying to spite the majority?

I don’t think that anyone said anything that absolute.

But, that there are external factors, with a very good dose of luck involved, is a fairly liberal view.

The idea that there are no external factors, including luck, tends to be a conservative point of view.

I say it’s pretty obvious. Look at what success you have. Now, take away society, civilization, everything. Leave you on a desert island or in the middle of an unpopulated forest. Do you think that you will be as successful as you are?

It’s easier to believe that when you’re succeeding, when you have a job and can buy the things you want and need. If they were disabled, they’d be gladly taking government money and come up with all sorts of justifications for it.

It does seem as though the conservative mindset prefers a simpler narrative, often calling attempts to explain unwanted behaviors as excuses or defense of it.

There is often a resistance to understanding the “other”. To empathizing with and comprehending the motives and drives of someone else.

Understanding why others may do things that we don’t want them to do is better for creating an understanding. In either tolerating those behaviors as we come to the realization that they are not actually harming us, or in understanding the roots of the behaviors that do cause harm, and addressing those, rather than just demonizing those who perform them.

The idea that “it’s just natural to…” is often given as an excuse for these simplistic and oft times caricatures of another’s position. The problem is, is that the natural thing, the instinctual thing, is almost never the correct thing for the world we live in. Nothing in our world is natural, so following your instincts will more often than not lead you to the wrong conclusions.

I’m not taking any position on the validity of Haidt’s theories, but that isn’t what the names of the moral foundations mean. The full names are all pairs of a positive moral value and its opposite – “care / harm,” “fairness / cheating,” “loyalty / betrayal,” and so on. The idea isn’t that there are people who are in favor of oppression, or of harm or cheating or betrayal, the idea is that there are people who are most likely to think in terms of care vs. harm when they decide whether an action is moral, and others who are more likely to think in terms of loyalty vs. betrayal, and so on.

You think a psychopath is as crazy as someone who shows compassion to all living things? :dubious:

Someone who believes that ants have a right to live no less their own is a bit more than just showing compassion.

It’s one thing to not pour molten aluminum down an anthill because it makes cool artwork.

It’s another to prevent someone from building a house or a road because there is an anthill in the way.

@k9bfriender (Thank you) hit it pretty darn well.

Here’s a different formulation. How many psychopaths are there? Sources vary, but a couple percent of the population is a decent ballpark. Certainly less than 10% and more than 0.1%. How many people think an ant’s life and a human’s life are equivalent? One heck of a lot smaller percentage.

If we interpret the term “crazy” to mean “statistical outlier behavior that causes problems for self or others”, we see that psychopaths are far more numerous but far more harmful per capita. The ants=humans folks may be pretty harmless, but they are waaaaaay out there on the rarity scale. That’s what earns them the “crazy” moniker too.

Not that my off-top-of-head example was meant to have any deep psychosocial or psychological significance.

She’s right for the simplified model she’s discussing. However, there really isn’t a way to reconcile the points of view because of something she has identified which is the profit and power that comes from exploiting and weaponizing the differences. And since the brain is biological and governed by physical law there will always be differences in how reality is perceived and processed and with the stakes so high, i.e. tremendous power and wealth, folks will always work to exploit those differences.

So I agree with her assessment but disagree that there is a solution.

This is a nice thing to believe, but it kind of blows up when you show them evidence that life is manifestly unfair for nonwhite people. It eventually becomes “I played the game of life fair and square, and nothing else really matters to me.”

Folks will always try to rob banks too, but if you design decent security at your bank and have a decently effective police force you can greatly reduce the incidence of bank robberies and the attendant harm.

Or one could throw up their hands and declare: “The problem’s insoluble, so why bother trying?” Note I’m NOT suggesting you’re saying that here. Just that some people some in some places have suggested that. Which is mere cynicism.

Kant called human nature “crooked timber”. From which people must try to build a straight enough society and a straight enough government. Deciding and implementing those “enoughs” is not trivial. But no worthwhile goal is.

Right, a system like the US’s where there are deliberate mechanism to divide power is the security you are talking about. This is why pure majority rule was wisely constrained.

The problem of getting the right and left or any two competing ideologies to reconcile is pointless though. Mainly because we are genetic creatures with differences and even if the current two party incarnation isn’t inevitable in a system like ours settling into a two party system is practically inevitable.

The safe guards have to be institutional and they have to have some level of indoctrination into the belief of certain axiomatic moral principles. Unfortunately, the safeguards themselves are under attack and there really isn’t a defense against that is there?

They generally just disbelieve the evidence. “No, those black people do have a fair life and did have a fair chance, it’s just that they insist on behaving the way they do, committing crimes, being troublesome in school,” etc.

Well said. If the House Ethics committee had teeth, if the SEC’s insider trading sleuthing was powered by AI and its suspicions made public in real time, if … then we’d have a hope of containing the criminal element in politics.

Which is a different, and much more tractable beast than the partisan element in politics. Which itself can be (semi-)contained by things like outlawing gerrymandering, mandated truth in political advertising, and full disclosure of the financial interests of all candidates and high officials, a full and truthful accounting of the money flow to all foundations / PACs, etc. and a full disclosure of who actually controls them, etc.

As I said recently in another thread, one of my brothers was a poli sci major 40 years ago. His pet saying then was: “What America needs is better Americans.” We can insist on an ethical and honest but nevertheless partisan political system. But we need to be ethical and honest ourselves to force it there.

As you almost say, that’s a tall order right now.

I feel like that was the dominant attitude for a long time, but in the Trump years it seems like folks have capitulated on disputing the evidence. It’s no longer “why should I believe this” but “why should I care”.

Right, if the evidence doesn’t fit their preconceived notions, then they refuse to believe the evidence.

This is why we end up having people disconnected from reality. Once the choice has been made to believe only what reinforces your belief, then it becomes easier and easier to just create your own reality that is nothing like the one that actually exists.

This is a very real problem that is causing quite a bit of difficulties in our society right now.

Of course this is the idea. Placing moral values on a good/bad spectrum has literally no other purpose except to suggest who’s closer to the bad side or good side (unless you want to argue that ‘oppression’ has some positive connotation that I’m unaware of).

Haider’s particular mission is to use pseudoscience and word tricks to euphemize the negative valence of some conservative positions using phrases they find flattering, and neutralize the positive valence of liberal positions by phrasing them in some bland academic terminology.

Watch one of his youtube lectures sometimes. He loves leaning on the phrase “social justice” and eliciting eyerolls and laughs from the crowd, because of course his audience is conservative, because of course his performance is all a grift to make them feel better about their shitbag beliefs.

No, this is not what he is doing (or if it is, he’s picking a very strange way of going about it). This is Haidt’s central claim about the differences between liberal and conservative ideas about morality, per moralfoundations.org:

The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/harm foundation, with additional support from the Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all six foundations, including Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation.

You may agree or disagree with this set of ideas, but in no way can you parse these two sentences to mean “conservatives are on the good side of this moral spectrum, and liberals are on the bad side.” What they do mean is “When liberals are evaluating whether an action is moral, they primarily ask whether it’s caring or harmful, but they also think about whether it’s fair or not, and whether it enhances liberty or oppression. Conservatives also think about these three things, but in addition, they also consider these three other things that liberals don’t particularly care about one way or another.”

Gosh, so you mean conservatives use even more moral foundations than liberals? And how can liberals be completely indifferent to betrayal, subversion or degradation? Don’t they see the value of authority?

I’m sorry, there are just so many showstoppers here to name them all, but when you offer up ideas like “authority” and “sanctity” as positive things to base your morality on, you’re making pitches for authoritarianism and ethnic cleanliness. There is no third-eye of morality that makes you see morals that others don’t; there are only ways to rationalize the actions necessary to elevate your in-group above others.

I’m not saying there aren’t interesting ways to talk about the psychology of political morality, but Haidt hasn’t found it. He’s just running a grift for wealthy right-wingers and enlightened centrists.

To demonstrate this a different way, there are also conservatives who evaluate morality on whether the action benefits whiteness or detracts from it. There’s no sense debating this; most white supremacists reliably vote for conservative Republicans. At one point it was actually codified into law that one drop of negro blood neutralized any whiteness.

I could invent any number of moral scales to demonstrate the uselessness of this theory. Hitler? He thought we should kill millions of Jews, I think it should have been zero. We’re the same sort of people, just approaching a complex moral question from different sides of a spectrum.