Individual v Environment

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Conservative         -                     Liberal
Individual              -                     Environment


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[...] when it comes to the cause of human suffering, liberals tend to believe in exterior causes, whereas conservatives tend to believe in interior causes.

That is, if an individual is suffering, the typical liberal tends to blame external social institutions (if you are poor it is because you are oppressed by society), whereas the typical conservative tends to blame internal factors (you are poor because you are lazy).

Thus, the liberal recommends exterior social interventions: redistribute the wealth, change social institutions so that they produce fairer outcomes, evenly slice the economic pie, aim for equality for all.

The typical conservative recommends that we instil family values, demand that individuals assume more responsibility for themselves, tighten up slack moral standards (often by embracing traditional religious values), encourage a work ethic, reward achievement, and so on.

The important point is that the first step toward an integral politics that unites the best of liberal and conservative is to recognize that both the interior quadrants and exterior quadrants are equally real and important. 

We consequently must address both interior factors (values, meaning, morals, the development of consciousness) and exterior factors (economic conditions, material well-being, technological advance, social safety net, environment) - in short, a truly integral politics would emphasize both interior development and exterior development.

[Ken Wilber]
A Theory of Everything, p.84


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I would say that the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way.

When Republicans say that Democrats "just don't get it", this is the ‘it’ to which they refer. Conservative positions on gays, guns, god, and immigration must be understood as means to achieve one kind of morally ordered society. When Democrats try to explain away these positions using pop psychology they err, they alienate, and they earn the label ‘elitist’. But how can Democrats learn to see - let alone respect - a moral order they regard as narrow-minded, racist, and dumb?

I [...] began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.

In several large internet surveys, my collaborators Jesse Graham, Brian Nosek and I have found that people who call themselves strongly liberal endorse statements related to the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity foundations, and they largely reject statements related to ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity.

People who call themselves strongly conservative, in contrast, endorse statements related to all 5 foundations more or less equally.

We think of the moral mind as being like an audio equaliser, with 5 slider switches for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans.

The resulting music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the 1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a lasting political realignment.

The Democrats must find a way to close the sacredness gap that goes beyond occasional and strategic uses of the words ‘God’ and ‘faith’. But if Durkheim is right, then sacredness is really about society and its collective concerns. God is useful but not necessary.

The Democrats could close much of the gap if they simply learned to see society not just as a collection of individuals - each with a panoply of rights - but as an entity in itself, an entity that needs some tending and caring. Our national motto is e pluribus unum ("from many, one").

Whenever Democrats support policies that weaken the integrity and identity of the collective (such as multiculturalism, bilingualism, and immigration), they show that they care more about pluribus than unum. They widen the sacredness gap.

[Jonathan Haidt]
What Makes People Vote Repulican?


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What I think happens however, in most political debates that polarise around these issues, is that people differ on which aspect of causation needs emphasising in any given situation. It is the legitimacy of the emphasis on interior/exterior factors that is often questioned.

We can see that a more integral approach would be to recognize that in most real life policy debates there are both interior and exterior factors at play. 

Which factors are the most pressing and need to be focussed on and solved is what any mature debate should be about. (Of course we need to trust one another that we are all trying to make society less miserable and not scheming to further the interests of a special group).

When people get very attached to an identity of being either a liberal or a conservative they become unable to objectively assess these factors. They habitually emphasise their preferred side of the argument and thus render true dialogue extremely difficult.

[Marc Pontin]
'Beyond Left and Right 1'


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[...] whereas only a maniac from the right would pretend that the behaviour of certain banks did not contribute to the present global downturn, a diminishing number of figures on the left seem willing to concede that excessive personal or national debt (with very little to show for its accumulation) were another cause of the same. Bad banks driven by bad capitalism are the only causes of our calamity.

Oddly enough, the recent batch of left-wing doom and conspiracy books, from those of Russell Brand and Owen Jones to the more serious and informed Mason, point to a unified worldview. This sees human beings in democracies not as people with free will and unimaginable potential, but as inanimate beings to whom things are done.

If you have over-borrowed, then some mean lender made you borrow. If you are an individual, a loan company will have been to blame; if you are a nation, then the fault is Germany’s.


[Douglas Murray]
'Paul Mason's Postcapitalism is proof that the left is out of ideas'


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[...] conservatives are more fearful by their nature.

A DNA analysis of 13,000 Australians found that liberals and conservatives had marked difference in genes that related to neurotransmitter functioning, particularly glutamate and serotonin, both of which are involved in the brain's response to threat and fear.

[Ed West]
The Diversity Illusion, p. 251 (Notes, #132)


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Related posts:-
Lines and Circles 
The Colour Wheel 
The Colour Spiral
Everything is Connected  
Scale
A Higher Power 
A Healthy Body 
A Healthy Environment
Go Your Own Way
You ought to be more like me 
Individual + Villager = Balance
Rights and Responsibilities
Addiction: the Long and Short of it 

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