Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally! An Answer

I have been wondering for years why each time we in the US go to the voting booths, it is as if we are fighting the Civil War all over again (ahem, the "War of Northern Aggression"--I so love to say this). Fifty percent of us feel one way, 50 percent of us feel another and there is little common ground on which to agree.

Now, thankfully, I may have an answer. It came in this article.

The most important passage:

"Liberals and college students define morality as "how we treat each other," conservatives attach more significance to "supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way." Liberals recognize fairness and care as important moral virtues, conservatives add to that loyalty, respect for authority, and duty. The educated moral relativism worldview is fundamentally incompatible with the way like 50% of America thinks, and stereotypes about out-of-touch elitist coastal democrats are basically correct. Sigh."

Wow. Maybe this seems obvious to some people who are not living in a coastal bubble of liberalism, but this is fascinating to me. We have two different sets of morals people! I can't understand theirs and they can't understand mine. It is the Civil War! Wait, maybe this is kind of depressing, after all. How will we ever find common ground. Oh yeah, somehow we have to fit the "respect for authority (HA!) and loyalty" components into our rhetoric.

More interesting scientific conclusions:

"Conservatives respond instinctually, not rationally, to scary images, "facts," and institutions. Whether this is innate and biological or cultural seems still up in the air. Democrats can't with with logical arguments or even appeals to the innate rightness of concepts like "diversity" and "tolerance," because those aren't considered essentially good and important by the voters they're trying to appeal to. This does suggest that an appeal to old New Deal institutional concepts like the Welfare State might actually be effective, if they're wrapped in the flag and a sense of duty. Also scientists still consider the majority of Americans to be like a fascinating exotic backwards tribe and the fucking country is doomed."


Stephanie said...
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Stephanie said...

Ha! War of Northern Aggression. I've lived in Atlanta for 5 years and that still makes me chuckle. Anyway, great post. It is providing me with a little insight as to why I feel like slapping people who declare that "they'd die before voting for a Democrat" without any other rationale. I guess there's that loyalty in action.

Kristi said...

Interesting. I'm not sure we have to find common ground, though. I would be satisfied with more conservatives having their "come to Jesus" moment and seeing that the liberal way is the best way after all. ;)