The Independent Whig

The Independent Whig has written 375 posts for The Independent Whig

The Tyranny of Reason

  The first principle of moral psychology is intuition comes first and reasoning follows, where “follows” means both 1) comes after and 2) takes direction from.  All reasoning is motivated reasoning, the purpose of which is to justify, defend, profess, and persuade others of, our own intuitive sense. And yet, practically all social and political … Continue reading

The Blame for Partisan Divisiveness Starts With Early Education

Kids score higher on reading comprehension tests when they have prior knowledge of the material they’re reading than when they don’t. Kids with “bad” reading comprehension score about the same as kids with “good” reading comprehension when neither group has prior knowledge of the material. By the time they get to college most kids have … Continue reading

Lee Jussim’s Twitter Thread Illustrates The Cognitive Theory of Politics

The Twitter thread below after the double line (e.g., ======) by Rutgers professor of psychology, Lee Jussim ( @PsychRabble ) provides supporting evidence for the Cognitive Theory of Politics.   The Cognitive Theory of Politics maintains that the political left and right are best understood as psychological profiles, each of which experiences the world in its … Continue reading

The Cognitive Theory of Politics Fills the Hole in Moral Foundations Theory

I’m rereading The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion for a project I’m working on. As you know (I hope) the seeds for my Cognitive Theory of Politics are in there. One of them is Haidt’s discussion of WEIRD vs Holistic style of thought. Another is this quote: Enlightenment thinkers … Continue reading

The Social Cancer of the West? (by way of Cancer Talk #4: The Next Phase Begins)

If natural selection is survival of the most adaptable then the clear winner is cancer. This is a key takeaway from The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which I’ve been listening to in my car this week during my commute. Cancer adapts to its environment. Treatment may at first push it back … Continue reading

Moral Foundations Perform Many Functions but are Insufficient to Fully Describe Morality

I believe that Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory as described in his book The Righteous Mind, in the many academic research papers he’s published, and in talks he’s given, many of which are available online, indicate that Moral Foundations perform many functions.  1) They are the primary colors of the moral spectrum from which every morality … Continue reading

Nine Challenges to Moral Foundations Theory

In this post I accept the invitation to submit challenges, constructive criticisms, of Moral Foundations Theory that was issues by its authors.  I’ve written about these challenges in other posts.  In this post I summarize them in one place and provide links to the other posts, related essays, and other sources. [NOTE: This post is … Continue reading

The Partisan Divide in One Image, Five Different Ways, Plus Bonus Text

  ================================================================================================== ================================================================================================== ================================================================================================== ================================================================================================== ================================================================================================== Jonathan Haidt’s body of work supports the argument that the best metaphor for describing liberalism and conservatism is that of Flatland and Spaceland, where liberals are two dimensional “square” Flatlanders and conservatives are three dimensional “sphere” Spacelanders.  Here’s his summary of Flatland from page 182 of his book The Happiness … Continue reading

Cancer Talk #3: Why Cancer Talks? To Embrace the Idea of the Happy Warrior.

These Cancer Talk posts are selfish. There’s no altruism behind them; no sappy sense of “If I help just one other person then maybe my experience will have been worthwhile.” See Cancer Talk #1: Framing and Perspective. I’m writing these posts for me. I find writing to be cathartic, therapeutic, and educational. It helps me … Continue reading

Change the Path or Change the People?

The American Constitution and capitalism are successful because they change the path. The French Revolution and communism/socialism/collectivism fail because they try to change the people. Changing the path and changing the people are defining characteristic traits of the Constrained and Unconstrained visions, which is to say of conservatism and leftism. It causes no end of … Continue reading

I Support Viewpoint Diversity


A politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities. We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.

An Interpretation of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory

This sidebar lists a series of posts which together make up an essay relating Moral Foundations Theory to today's politics, and even a little history, as viewed through The Independent Whig's six-foundation moral lens.


Venn Diagram of Liberal and Conservative Traits and Moral Foundations and