Oct. 8th, 2008

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TED speeches are a bountiful source of insightful knowledge. One speech that was uploaded recently is by Jonathan Haidt on "the moral roots of liberals and conservatives", as the webpage title states it. It's a video well worth the 19 minutes of your time, and it's relevant to the current debates on politics and economics here in America.

(forewarning: the first few seconds are very loud)
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

His research group has found a set of 5 moral indicators that show a trend between liberal to conservative thinking that is common across cultures around the globe. Basically, conservatives have a "5-channel" morality of concerns that are more or less equal, whereas liberals have a "2-channel" morality in which two of the concerns override the other three. He points out that successful civilizations have likely used "every tool in the toolbox" and so he challenges liberals (and conservatives) to appreciate what insights the other side brings to the discussion.

In brief, his 5 indicators are:
  1. harm/care
  2. fairness/reciprocity
  3. ingroup/loyalty
  4. authority/respect
  5. purity/sanctity
In regards to the second item, he also shows an example in which both liberals and conservatives respond the same way to risk/reward assessment... and that cooperation decays without punishment. That insight plays very well into recent discussion about the initial financial bailout package and why so many people opposed it without any kind of responsibility laid at the feet of the people who brought about the crisis in the first place. Morality based on fairness/reciprocity which both liberals and conservatives share.

Plus, how often do you see references to The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch? :)

Watch the film clip. Again, it's 19 minutes well spent.
The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
- Sent-ts'an, c. 4700 RHH
It might make you a little more tolerant of the other side in the current political storm. "Righteous Minds" are designed to divide us from each other. That part works the same for both liberals and conservatives.

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