Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Politics go to 11

Over on my local neighborhood google group, someone posted a link to this article about why people vote republican and then summed it up. I responded there where the discussion had sunk into an insane insult fest, but thought I'd put it out there for y'all to read. Brace yourself...I wax very prosaic.

"Did anyone actually read the article? I did. It was very well
thought out and incredibly well presented. If one only read the first
half then yes, the conclusion would be as (the original poster) put it:
"Folks like things simple. Too much thought and analysis is scary and
too complex (= boring). Even when the scary and too complex is the
reality and the simple is just a big fat lie, folks tend to choose the
simple. And if the ones who prefer the simple are in the majority, the
republicans win. Isn't that simple?"

But upon reading the whole thing, I found that this is the more key
factor that he addresses:

"In several large internet surveys, my collaborators Jesse Graham,
Brian Nosek and I have found that people who call themselves strongly
liberal endorse statements related to the harm/care and fairness/
reciprocity foundations, and they largely reject statements related to
ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity People who
call themselves strongly conservative, in contrast, endorse statements
related to all five foundations more or less equally. We think of the
moral mind as being like an audio equalizer, with five slider switches
for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a
much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans. The resulting
music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and
incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the
1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a
lasting political realignment."

To sum up that paragraph, the way a conservative sees the world is
actually more complex, not more simple. There are more factors
involved than what is just fair and right and how I care for others
around me. I find that, as a conservative, the things that are not
addressed in the politics of the Democratic party matter to me and
therefore I seek a party that will look to those things. While I
agree with many parts of the liberal doctrine, there other issues that
I weigh out.

No one would call me a fool or a moron if I respected my parents and
took care of them in their old age, in spite of whatever mistakes I
felt they had made in my upbringing. That is an example of authority/
respect. It's not a 'submit to my man' (ask my husband if this
happens! Ha!), 'the man', 'the church' (which allows me a place to
both question and be questioned in my beliefs) or any other kind of

No one would call me a fool or a moron if I told you that my Marine
baby brother is being deployed to Iraq tomorrow (which he is) and I
respect him, his choice to serve in this way (he joined AFTER we were
at war), and the military branch he serves and the work they do (which
is not all bad, in spite of what the media may say) because I love him
and he is an adult who chose to do a brave thing. You bet your sweet
butt I'll be there waving a flag when he comes home. This is an
example of ingroup/loyalty.

Lastly, no one would call me a fool or an idiot if I made it a
priority in my life to love and respect my husband as a partner and
friend and to be faithful to him and him to me in return. It's what
tons of relationship books are based on. It also doesn't make me a
fool to believe in something bigger than myself and to strive toward
that as an example of how to live in peace, care for others, and love
myself and others well rather than harming others, and serving only
myself sexually, emotionally and materially at the expense of those
who need me (these people are regularly lambasted here on the
listserve as 'degenerates'). Yet these are examples of purity/

I did find it interesting that Haidt stated that (my paraphrase) the
tempting part of his initial diagnosis was the seduction of claiming
the 'moral high ground' that the pleasure of diagnosis could lead to,
"blind(ing) us to what I think is one of the main reasons that so many
Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly
prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by

There have been a lot of assumptions on this listserve that people
vote republican because they are (I am) duped into it, because they
are simple minded and run away from the challenge of thinking through
things, because they are closed minded, racist, scared, and ignorant.
Yet I know for me, that is not the case. Haidt so very succinctly
states that "Until Democrats understand this point (the three other
principles of morality that come into play for conservatives), they
will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans
vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing
so." and I tend to agree with him. There are more issues at stake for
me and that drives me (and many like me) to do more homework, to ask
more questions, to dig deeper, to not be sucked in by either sides
brilliant speeches, but to think for myself.

Great article. I would have loved to see some intelligent discussion
about that instead of the crazed free-for-all that resulted."

The Musician

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...