Many of you may remember Jonathan Haidt's revelation last year that conservatives evenly distribute their ethics among five dimensions -- care, reciprocity, loyalty, authority, and purity -- while liberals conern themselves only with the first two of these. Haidt's morality test, and much else, is now online.
Here are my results compared with liberals and conservatives:
Holy moly! Φ is even more right wing than the right wing! Indeed, he is the moral inverse of liberals: neglecting the first two categories in favor of the last three.
And yet . . . consider some of the questions, wherein we are asked to express our level of agreement with the following statements:
One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal. [Emphasis added here and elsewhere.]
Uh . . . no? I would say one of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless human being. Sure, we shouldn't cause animal suffering for no good purpose, and a sadistic delight in the suffering of an animal is likely a leading indicator of some deep psychological problems. On the other hand, the little boys who throw rocks at squirrels have committed something less than a war crime.
Respect for authority is something all children need to learn.
Is there really any debate about this? I'm guessing the only people who answer NO have never spent any time in the company of children. Which may, come to think of it, describe most liberals.
It can never be right to kill a human being.
I doubt anyone really thinks this. I suspect the people answering YES suffer from a momentary poverty of imagination. I know for a fact that many good liberals, confronted by someone harming a child, would in fact be willing to push the button on him.
Chastity is an important and valuable virtue.
Again, does anyone really doubt this? Granted, the short-term opportunity costs of chastity, particularly for men, may be higher than most people are prepared to pay. Granted as well that we think differently of what chastity means for the young versus the old, for men versus women, for those who choose it versus those who have it thrust upon them. But again I would argue that anyone who doesn't think it "valuable and important" is either morally insensate or has never had a teenage daughter.
But notice the asymmetry in the questions. To get a "conservative" score, the test-taker has only to acknowledge that purity, authority, and loyalty are, in fact, virtues at all. To get a "liberal" score, in contrast, the test-taker must elevate harm and reciprocity to paramount status. Notice the absolutist words like never and worst in the "liberal" questions, and their absence in the "conservative" ones.
Sad. Given this imbalance, I would have expected that more conservatives would have scores like mine, and the liberals to have more evenly distributed scores. The fact that they are not says something disappointing about conservatives and liberals both.