What are the foundations of your morals? Care to find out?

In previous posts, I have written about Jonathan Haidt’s theory of moral foundations and I thought it would be interesting to give my followers an opportunity to complete Haidt’s quiz.  Do you consider yourself liberal, moderate or conservative? Where do you score on the scale?

Or perhaps you’re a member of the “activist centre” as our new Premier likes to call her brand of extremism – just kidding, well not really.


Anyway, the whole purpose of the exercise is not to pull people apart but to bring them together, to better understand our motivations and opinions and to find the things we have in common. Alan Jacobs at The New Atlantis blog Text Patterns (http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/) summarizes Haidt’s theory and book nicely:

In his recent and absolutely essential book The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt tries to understand why we disagree with one another — especially, but not only, about politics and religion — and, more important, why it is so hard for people to see those who disagree with them as equally intelligent, equally decent human beings. (See an excerpt from the book here.)

Central to his argument is this point: “Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second. Moral intuitions arise automatically and almost instantaneously, long before moral reasoning has a chance to get started, and those first intuitions tend to drive our later reasoning.” Our “moral arguments” are therefore “mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly, crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives.”

Haidt talks a lot about how our moral intuitions accomplish two things: they bind and they blind. “People bind themselves into political teams that share moral narratives. Once they accept a particular narrative, they become blind to alternative moral worlds.” “Moral matrices bind people together and blind them to the coherence, or even existence, of other matrices.”

Complete the Moral Foundations Questionnaire at YourMorals.org (http://www.yourmorals.org/)

You have to register but it’s easy to do, there is no spam, and you are doing a service by contributing to the research. The quiz is located under the “Explore Your Morals” tab and it’s the first quiz in the list titled “Moral Foundations Questionnaire”. There are many other surveys as well, if you’re interested.

As you might expect, dear reader, the conservative cyclist scored high on four of the five foundations. On Harm, I scored near the average liberal position at 3.6; on Fairness (my lowest score), I scored 2.6, lower than both the average liberal and average conservative scores; On Loyalty (3.7), Authority (3.8) and Purity (3.3), I scored above the average conservative score.

738385 “Haidt found that in general, the moral mind of liberals rests on two of the five bases: Harm and Fairness. The moral mind of conservatives rests on these two bases, but also the other three: Loyalty, Authority, and Purity. Because of this, Haidt says, liberals have a much harder time understanding conservatives than vice versa.” courtesy of Rod Dreher

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