Do Liberals Use Five Foundations After All? A Question About Questions for Jonathan Haidt
By Bryan Caplan
Will’s latest blogging on Jonathan Haidt’s “five foundations” theory of morals inspires me to publicly ask Haidt a question that’s been bugging me: How hard did you try to include items about Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity that would specifically appeal to liberals? Examples that occur to me:
Ingroup/Loyalty: How much would somone have to pay you to vote Republican in an election if you knew the Democrats would win for sure? To cross a picket line?
Authority/Respect: How much would someone have to pay you to privately ask Clinton embarrassing questions about the Lewinsky affair? To dance on Martin Luther King’s grave when no one was looking?
Purity/Sanctity: How much would someone have to pay you to throw one McDonald’s cup out of your car window in Yosemite? To scream racial epithets in a sound-proof room?
I could be wrong, but when I read your research, it seemed like such questions were rarely if ever asked. If you included them, I suspect that you would discover that liberals, like conservatives, use all five moral foundations in a serious way. The liberal-conservative difference, in other words, is largely about which group they identify with, which leaders they respect, and what they consider sacred. Am I mistaken?