Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mature Morality

So, I'm over at Pajamas Media and reading through a comments war I come across this. The context is uninspiring, but this stands out as brilliant. It is a response to the Leftist's snark (in red).

Me, I would have simply answered, "yep". Goy does a better job.

So basically what you are saying is that a conservative (right-wing) morality is a more mature moral position than that of a progressive (left-wing)?"


What I recognize in the data produced by Jon Haidt’s and his colleagues’ research is that self-described “liberals” (actually leftists) are attracted to a selective, incomplete morality, while self-described “conservatives” (actually, classical liberals) subscribe to a comprehensive, holistic morality – as measured based on a set of five intuitive ethics* identified in the data produced by Haidt’s research – the only wide-ranging research of this kind conducted to date.

What I recognize in reading Haidt’s and others’ work regarding the nature of morality and human psychological development, is that morality is learned, and is a function of individual maturity, recognizing that individuals also mature intellectually, sexually, chronologically, spiritually, emotionally – all at potentially different rates.

What I recognize in the thesis Haidt consistently presents on this topic (e.g., if you watched his TED video or have read any of his papers) is that sustainable societies, that have contributed to the progress of humanity, did so by “using all the tools in the toolbox” (per Haidt), that is, by subscribing to a comprehensive, holistic morality, not a selective, incomplete one. I also recognize that, based on this understanding, Haidt – a self-described atheist and liberal academic – consistently advises his liberal colleagues to more closely examine their own lack of moral diversity and accept that a comprehensive morality is valid.

What I infer from the above – at least in the context of what makes for a truly progressive, sustainable society based on Haidt’s criteria (which I agree with) as demonstrated by America’s history – is that the selective, incomplete morality subscribed to by the left is akin to moral adolescence, whereas the comprehensive, holistic morality exhibited by classical liberals is akin to moral maturity.

Your characterization of what motivates conservatives isn’t based on anything factual. What motivates conservatives (actually, classical liberals) is freedom, individual liberty, individual responsibility, true fairness, charity for the truly needy, religious faith, respect for authority and cohesive national identity aimed at preserving all that, i.e., preserving the way of life they deem valuable. Again, this is all found in the research on this topic.

It’s pointless to proceed down a path littered by nebulous definitions of “left-wing” and “right-wing”. These concepts contribute to a completely distorted understanding of political ideology.

The ideology furthest to the Left results in an omnipotent State, that is totalitarianism – everything inside the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State. That is the human condition under which everything is politicized and every facet of human behavior is totally regulated by the State, by definition.

At the far Right of the political spectrum is no government whatsoever – Anarchy.

In the middle – at the Center – is the Republican form of representative, democratically elected government guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution that is the gift of classical liberalism.

- Left-wing – term most commonly used to refer to support for changing traditional social orders or for creating a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and privilege.

This of course is the condition to which leftists claim to aspire. Notably, however, this aspiration has never actually been achieved using leftist ideology – and not for very long even when it comes close to doing so. In fact, societies governed using leftist ideology have universally turned out to be anything but “egalitarian” and have, more often than not, self-destructed under the imbalance of morally adolescent ideology, with attendant loss of life in the tens of millions (e.g., Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Che, Castro, N. Korea, Vietnam, Ethiopia, etc.). The USSR is the most famous recent example. The dying EU-cum-EUSSR will be the next.

Socialism and leftist ideologies will always fail. The reason is simple: you can’t undo four million years of Darwinian evolution with a slogan and some redistribution of wealth at the point of a gun.

Unlike bees, termites, ants and other various forms of life which self-organize as an egalitarian colony, each dedicated to the needs and wants of the rest, human beings are individual organisms first, and social organisms second.

Capitalism and the Republican form of Government guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are, to date, the best means of harnessing humanity’s basic instincts, given our Darwinian forebears. This is proved by America’s rise from literally nothing to the world’s only cultural, economic, scientific and military superpower in a scant 200 years, followed by the slow decline we’ve experienced as socialist – morally adolescent – ideology has come to control more and more of our social policy."

*Five moral precepts: fairness, harm, authority, in-group and purity.

I have no familiarity with or opinion about Mr. Haidt. And I'm not endorsing Goy's interpretation of him. I just like where he ultimately took his argument.

The Gunglinger


  1. You are quite wrong Gunslinger, it means a hell of a lot. It means his entire presidency is a carefully studied act. It is only when meeting unscripted occasions that the mask comes off and then it is

  2. I'm assuming this comment was meant for the Robot President (previous) post, right?

    And, your argument persuades me.

    Which makes it even creepier.

  3. Thank you so much for passing along "Goy"s pretty much sums up my own take on "Left Wing vs. Right Wing" folderol/blah blah.Just yesterday I tried to delve into a potentally-interesting book ("The Dynamite Club") about anarchist bombings in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris,but the author's definition on Right-Left were so skewered (Yale history prof) I said "ef it" and returned it to the PubLib. I woulda merely said "yep",also, to Lefty-snark comment. Which explains why I'm getting ready to watch yet another dvd of "The Wild Wild West" tv shows. You know,plots full of evil assholes trying to perfect the world,and willing to destroy people,in order to carry out their "vision".Sounds familiar...

  4. Yeah,nothing like a little science fiction to take your mind off your

  5. That is an excellent summation by Goy, right on the mark.