Share your Moral Foundations

Recently I watched an excellent TED talk by Jonathan Haidt on politics and morality.  In the talk Haidt has identified five foundational moral traits people have in various degree.  Haidt notices that Liberals value 2 of these traits highly while Conservatives more highly value the other 3 traits.  Haidt feels there is a way around the perpetual clash between conservatives and liberals.  He feels that political progress can be made by recognizing that all these foundations are useful even if we personally find some principals counter intuitive.  He feels we should view these qualities not as conflicting but as different tools.  He uses an image of Shiva and Vishnu to illustrate his point.  I was caught by how similar his view is to how I view Tara and Shiva in my shrine.

Haidt’s excellent lecture enticed me to his website where I took his on-line quiz to reveal my personal moral political foundations. His research has shown that liberals value #1 and 2 much more highly that conservatives while conservatives tend to value #3, 4, & 5 more highly than liberals. Five Moral Foundations

  1. No-Harm
  2. Fairness
  3. In-group Loyalty
  4. Respect for Authority
  5. Purity

My results (the green bar) show that for the classic conservative values (Loyalty, Authority, and Purity) I am far more liberal than even the liberals.  While on the classic liberal values (No Harm and Fairness) I am right between the liberal and conservatives.  This illustrates why I can anger both liberals and conservatives with my political opinions.

Haidt Survey Results

My position strikes me as classic for a libertarian (which I am, albeit a neo-libertarian, I guess).  So his model identified me pretty accurately.  So you can tell I like this model.  I love the view of the various modules of minds also and Haidt’s positive approach to community of people of different tendencies.  To discover your moral foundations, I supply the link below and suggestions on how to share them.

Share Your Moral Foundations

  • Go To YourMorals.org
  • Create an Account
  • Click on “Explore Your Morals” tab
  • Click on the “Moral Foundations Questionnaire”
  • After answering the short questionnaire, view your results
  • Cut and copy the table below into the comments or your blog
  • Translate your results into the table below — deleting my info

My Moral Foundations

No Harm:
Cons < ME < Libs
Fairness:
Cons < ME < Libs
In-group Loyalty:
ME < Libs < Cons
Respect for Authority:
ME < Libs < Cons
Purity:
ME = Libs < Cons

———
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21 Comments

Filed under Ethics, Philosophy & Religion, Political Philosophy

21 responses to “Share your Moral Foundations

  1. Sorry, I stay away from places that want me to create an account.

    Question, do you think that there are atheists in the US who aren’t liberal? For instance, are there any atheists who are actually hard-core, anti health care republicans? I ask because you live there.

    From this side of the international border line, you’all seem right wingers, since the mentality of people in a socialist nation so vastly differs from that of those who live in the capital of capitalism.

    In other words, in this country, even evangelicals seem liberal compared to most Americans.

  2. societyvs

    Part A answers:

    No Harm: ME<Libs<Cons
    Fairness: ME<Cons<Libs
    In-group Loyalty: Libs<Cons<ME
    Respect for Authority: Cons<ME<Libs
    Purity: Cons<ME<Libs

    I did Part B also:

    Equality: ME<Libs <Cons
    Equity: Cons<Libs<ME
    Retribution: Cons<ME<Libs
    Personal Responsibility: Cons<ME<Libs
    Personal Liberty: ME<Cons<Libs
    Freedom from Gov’t: Cons<ME<Libs
    National Sovereignty: Cons<Libs<ME

    I am pretty in the middle of these 2 parties it seems?

  3. societyvs

    Part C:

    Universalism: ME<Libs<Cons
    Liberal Purity: Libs<ME<Cons
    Authenticity: ME<Libs<Cons
    Waste: ME<Libs<Cons
    Self Control: ME<Cons<Libs

  4. @ Lorena :
    You are right, most atheists are liberal. But I think breaking down politics into a few realms helps avoid the simple two camp view.
    For instance, consider
    1) Domestic Economics
    2) International Economics (trade)
    3) National Security
    4) Social Policy
    5) Personal Freedoms

    So a person may be liberal in most of these camps but conservative in others. Someone could be pro-gay, pro-life and anti-government health care.
    BTW, when a site asks for account information, you can make it up. Create a fictitious location, date-of-birth etc. just as you have with your blog.
    I’d love to see your results on the questionnaire.

    @ Society :
    Thanx. So I wonder if your personal tendency to higher In-group loyalty and respect for authority are what assist you in remaining Christian even though you are rather unorthodox. I feel that the following is largely true: that our preferences create our beliefs and not that our beliefs create our preferences.

  5. Interesting survey Sabio

    No Harm: ME<Cons < Libs
    Fairness: Cons < Libs <ME
    In-group Loyalty: Libs < Cons <ME
    Respect for Authority: Libs < Cons <ME
    Purity: Libs < ME< Cons

  6. societyvs

    “So I wonder if your personal tendency to higher In-group loyalty and respect for authority are what assist you in remaining Christian even though you are rather unorthodox. I feel that the following is largely true: that our preferences create our beliefs and not that our beliefs create our preferences.” (Sabio)

    I tend to disagree with that assertion – nothing wrong with the assertion mind you – I just don’t think it matches up to the totality of my thinking.

    I tend to think the scale works both ways – I think my beliefs were created by what I learned (in this case in the gospels) and in turn my gift back to the teachings was to develop those ‘preferences’ to help develop belief. I think it can work both ways as we continue to grow and mature.

  7. Shawn Wamsley

    Sabio,

    Thanks for bringing the survey to attention – I like to help these kinds of projects.

    My scale on the Moral Foundations Quiz

    Harm – Me>Libs>Cons
    Fairness – Libs>Cons>Me
    Loyalty – Cons>Me>Libs
    Authority – Cons>Me>Libs
    Purity – Me>Cons>Libs

  8. Shawn & Society,

    I think you are charting your preferences incorrectly. The following is the correct order for libs and cons on theses issues:

    No Harm: Cons < Libs
    Fairness: Cons < Libs
    In-group Loyalty: Libs < Cons
    Respect for Authority: Libs < Cons
    Purity: Libs < Cons

    Remember, Libs value the first two stronger than cons. On the last three Cons value these higher than Libs. You put your "ME" somewhere in relation to these defaults.

    E-mail me your correct values and I will correct your comment, if you desire.

    @ Society :
    I tend to agree but I am a bit more cynical than you on this issue. 🙂

  9. Shawn Wamsley

    Sabio,

    What I put is correct.

    on Harm – Libs score higher than cons and I score higher than both

    on Fairness – Libs score higher than cons and I score lower than both

    on Loyalty – Libs score lower than cons and I am in the middle

    on Authority – Libs score lower than cons and I am in the middle

    on Purity – Libs score lower than cons and I score higher than both

  10. societyvs

    Holy, me and Shawn almost ahd the same answers – wow.

    I checked also, my answers are what the site says.

  11. Ooops, sorry guys, I was at work and did not notice that you boys did not stick to the convention I started with the < sign direction. So yours were opposite of mine and hard to compare easily for this weak mind. 🙂

  12. CRL

    Mine is up on my blog. I like the morals/politics connection; I believe I have read about is previously, but did not have an opportunity to see how I fit in. Thanks.

  13. geoih

    Quote from Lorena: “Question, do you think that there are atheists in the US who aren’t liberal? For instance, are there any atheists who are actually hard-core, anti health care republicans?”

    I don’t consider myself a liberal or a Republican. To use your example, I am hardcore anti-healthcare (at least the government version). The premises and justifications for government run healthcare are illogical.

    Perhaps you could explain what mentality supports socialism?

  14. geoih

    As usual, I’ll be Socratic and ask for more specific definitions of words like “fairness”, “loyalty”, “authority” and “purity”.

  15. @ Geoih

    (1) I’d like to direct you to the point of my post: Understanding moral intuitions is important in order to further political discussions. So instead of running off and debating Lorena here on the classic arguments about healthcare, rights, and politics, I am suggesting (with Haidt) that both you and Lorena explore your moral intuitions and share them (which ironically neither of you have done). A discussion at that level, I wager, may be far more productive than a hijacked thread just talking past each other on politics. THAT was the point of the post. Does that make sense?

    (2) As usual, geoih, allow me to direct you to the source: I will direct you to the source:
    MoralFoundations.org
    🙂

  16. Jason

    I noticed you and I were similar also. Though you dont seem to like to play fair. 😉

  17. geoih

    Quote from Sabio Lantz: “So instead of running off and debating Lorena here on the classic arguments about healthcare, rights, and politics, I am suggesting (with Haidt) that both you and Lorena explore your moral intuitions and share them (which ironically neither of you have done).”

    I wasn’t debating Lorena. She asked a specific question about atheists in the US and used healthcare as an example.

    I went to the linked sites and I think their definitions are lacking. For example, under fairness, they use terms like justice and rights, which they don’t bother to define either. The presenter in the video seemed to recognize the vagueness of these terms when he deliberately added a libertarian category when he was polling his audience.

    Thanks for your response. I’ll be sure to think twice before commenting again.

  18. @ geoih

    Yeah, my feeling from other works of Haidt that I read is that he is pretty left-leaning and biases both his definitions (as you point out) and solutions that way.

    Nonetheless, I think this approach of looking for dispositions as a major player in political and religious (as I emphasize) positions is promising and helpful.

    Thus, I felt, for instance, a dialogue between you (libertarian) and Lorena (leftist) would be interesting if it took place from this meta-position dispositional level rather from the classic philosophical/policy level.

  19. Ok, I’ll play along since I thought where the talk might lead is important (first saw it on Leah’s site)

    No Harm: Cons < ME < Libs
    Fairness: Cons < ME < Libs
    In-group Loyalty: Libs < ME < Cons
    Respect for Authority: Libs < ME <Cons
    Purity: Libs < ME < Cons

    I think I skewed the results, considering the 'transparency' of the survey. I mean, "if I were a soldier but didn't agree with my commander's orders, is it important to go ahead with the orders anyway?" [paraphrase]

    I'm still kinda proud though — I shot the gap in all 5!!

    Good luck with going meta on the convo though…

  20. Good luck on shooting the gap. Let’s see, that makes you a moderate conservative or a conservative liberal. Hmmm.

  21. I dismiss this TED analysis to the realm of macro- versus micro-. At a macro level, it is probably valid. But applying at a micro level what you can learn by studying populations has pitfalls, and is not always valid.

    Indeed, in the world of “evidence based medicine,” there are sundry and real risks when doctors blindly apply what they learn in the peer review literature to an individual patient. But, sadly, many doctors do so anyway, since, over the course of time, they think they will do less damage. While this belief may be valid, there will be collateral damage.

    As for Lorena’s silly comment about “anti-health care Republicans,” I defy her to find one prominent Republican who is against health care. More likely, she will find many Republicans who oppose too much involvement in the distribution of health care. And on this, I share their concerns.

    If you track the world’s worst catastrophes, you will often find that they are almost always the fault of governments, and are often unintended and unexpected.

    If an individual doesn’t obtain the proper health care, it is a travesty.

    If the government implements a policy that doesn’t provide the proper health care, it is a catastrophe.

    And, in general, when governments attempt to do things a legitimate government has no business meddling in, it fails, and often, catastrophically.

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