The Moral Mind In Action

This category contains 15 posts

The Elephant in the Room

I think The Asteroids Club, and more broadly Haidt’s Yin/Yang metaphor of the relationship between liberalism and conservatism scrupulously, though possibly not intentionally, avoid discussing the elephant in the room and strongly steer discussions toward liberal thought patterns and conclusions. I made a suggestion on the Club’s web site for some reading materials about the Asteroid of Entitlement Spending.  … Continue reading

How To Better Articulate Conservatism (and Liberalism too)

As he began his tenure as president of The Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint said that “Conservatives need to better articulate their message if they are to prevail in the war of ideas.”  (1) In The Washington Post he wrote, “Conservative policies have proved their worth time and time again. If we’re not communicating in a … Continue reading

Openness To New Ideas Is Not A Moral Foundation

The character trait of openness to new ideas and experience is a consequence of a lack of moral foundations. If moral foundations really do result from natural selection then it is likely they allow us to see and react to real world threats to our individual and collective survival.  One who employs only half the … Continue reading

Response to “Conservatives Good, Republican Party Bad”

NOTE:  Haidt has published a follow-up to his “Conservatives Good, Republican Party Bad” post, here:  I Retract My Republican-Party-Bad Post.          ========================================================= On the blog section of the website for his new book “The Righteous Mind,” Jonathan Haidt posted a short essay entitled “Conservatives Good, Republican Party Bad.” I posted a comment to Dr. Haidt’s … Continue reading

Liberty, Equality, Justice, and Fairness Mean Different Things in Different Moral Matrices

The moral matrix we live in shapes our perceptions of the world, and even our understanding of the meanings of words.  For example, Haidt introduced the Liberty/Oppression moral foundation in the talk he gave at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.  He discussed how the six-foundation and three-foundation moralities attach different connotations … Continue reading

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft: Conservatism is the Seedbed of Liberalism

When there’s food on the table there are many problems. When there’s no food on the table there is only one problem. – Proverb I believe that the six-foundation morality – “all the tools in the toolbox” – puts food on the table by allowing humans to create cooperative societies. Those societies then provide the … Continue reading

The Complex Nature of Human Society and Interaction

Human interaction – society – is complex; intertwined.  It is full of subtlety and nuance.  There’s seldom a direct cause and effect relationship between any two things.   A single cause can have multiple effects, and vice versa.  Subtle changes can have profound and unpredictable effects, and the linkages among the myriad causes and effects is … Continue reading

Liberal and Conservative Moral Visions

If reason and Moral Foundations are the result of natural selection then chances are quite good that all of them contribute in some way to our individual and collective survival and well being.  Unlike our physical adaptations – for example our eyes, ears, arms, legs, and opposable thumbs – reason and Moral Foundations are cognitive … Continue reading

Liberal and Conservative – Reason and Experience

Before stumbling upon the work of Jonathan Haidt I had developed my own ideas about the roots of liberalism and conservatism, and how the two sides seem to think differently. Even though I approached the topic from a perspective that is entirely different from his I think my own conclusions are compatible with his findings. … Continue reading

Liberal and Conservative – Individual and Community

It follows from the liberal employment of  primarily, the foundation of harm/care, and less so, fairness/cheating, and liberty/oppression, that liberals tend to be concerned almost exclusively with the individual.  In “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations” (1) Haidt describes the harm/care and fairness/cheating foundations to be at the core of liberalism, … 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