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Haidt writes: "Why on Earth would a working-class person ever vote for a conservative candidate? This question has obsessed the American left since Ronald Reagan..."

Newt Gingrich supporters listen to his stump speech at a campaign event in South Carolina. (photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/NY Magazine)
Newt Gingrich supporters listen to his stump speech at a campaign event in South Carolina. (photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/NY Magazine)

Why Do Working-Class People Vote Conservative?

By Jonathan Haidt, The Guardian

07 June 12


hy on Earth would a working-class person ever vote for a conservative candidate? This question has obsessed the American left since Ronald Reagan first captured the votes of so many union members, farmers, urban Catholics and other relatively powerless people – the so-called "Reagan Democrats". Isn't the Republican party the party of big business? Don't the Democrats stand up for the little guy, and try to redistribute the wealth downwards?

Many commentators on the left have embraced some version of the duping hypothesis: the Republican party dupes people into voting against their economic interests by triggering outrage on cultural issues. "Vote for us and we'll protect the American flag!" say the Republicans. "We'll make English the official language of the United States! And most importantly, we'll prevent gay people from threatening your marriage when they … marry! Along the way we'll cut taxes on the rich, cut benefits for the poor, and allow industries to dump their waste into your drinking water, but never mind that. Only we can protect you from gay, Spanish-speaking flag-burners!"

One of the most robust findings in socialpsychology is that people find ways to believe whatever they want to believe. And the left really want to believe the duping hypothesis. It absolves them from blame and protects them from the need to look in the mirror or figure out what they stand for in the 21st century.

Here's a more painful but ultimately constructive diagnosis, from the point of view of moral psychology: politics at the national level is more like religion than it is like shopping. It's more about a moral vision that unifies a nation and calls it to greatness than it is about self-interest or specific policies. In most countries, the right tends to see that more clearly than the left. In America the Republicans did the hard work of drafting their moral vision in the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan was their eloquent spokesman. Patriotism, social order, strong families, personal responsibility (not government safety nets) and free enterprise. Those are values, not government programs.

The Democrats, in contrast, have tried to win voters' hearts by promising to protect or expand programmes for elderly people, young people, students, poor people and the middle class. Vote for us and we'll use government to take care of everyone! But most Americans don't want to live in a nation based primarily on caring. That's what families are for.

One reason the left has such difficulty forging a lasting connection with voters is that the right has a built-in advantage – conservatives have a broader moral palate than the liberals (as we call leftists in the US). Think about it this way: our tongues have taste buds that are responsive to five classes of chemicals, which we perceive as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savoury. Sweetness is generally the most appealing of the five tastes, but when it comes to a serious meal, most people want more than that.

In the same way, you can think of the moral mind as being like a tongue that is sensitive to a variety of moral flavors. In my research with colleagues, we have identified six moral concerns as the best candidates for being the innate "taste buds" of the moral sense: care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. Across many kinds of surveys, in the UK as well as in the USA, we find that people who self-identify as being on the left score higher on questions about care/harm. For example, how much would someone have to pay you to kick a dog in the head? Nobody wants to do this, but liberals say they would require more money than conservatives to cause harm to an innocent creature.

But on matters relating to group loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity (treating things as sacred and untouchable, not only in the context of religion), it sometimes seems that liberals lack the moral taste buds, or at least, their moral "cuisine" makes less use of them. For example, according to our data, if you want to hire someone to criticize your nation on a radio show in another nation (loyalty), give the finger to his boss (authority), or sign a piece of paper stating one's willingness to sell his soul (sanctity), you can save a lot of money by posting a sign: "Conservatives need not apply."

In America, it is these three moral foundations that underlie most of the "cultural" issues that, according to duping theorists, are used to distract voters from their self-interest. But are voters really voting against their self-interest when they vote for candidates who share their values? Loyalty, respect for authority and some degree of sanctification create a more binding social order that places some limits on individualism and egoism. As marriage rates plummet, and globalization and rising diversity erodes the sense of common heritage within each nation, a lot of voters in many western nations find themselves hungering for conservative moral cuisine.

Despite being in the wake of a financial crisis that – if the duping theorists were correct – should have buried the cultural issues and pulled most voters to the left, we are finding in America and many European nations a stronger shift to the right. When people fear the collapse of their society, they want order and national greatness, not a more nurturing government.

Even on the two moral taste buds that both sides claim – fairness and liberty – the right can often outcook the left. The left typically thinks of equality as being central to fairness, and leftists are extremely sensitive about gross inequalities of outcome – particularly when they correspond along racial or ethnic lines. But the broader meaning of fairness is really proportionality – are people getting rewarded in proportion to the work they put into a common project? Equality of outcomes is only seen as fair by most people in the special case in which everyone has made equal contributions. The conservative media (such as the Daily Mail, or Fox News in the US) is much more sensitive to the presence of slackers and benefit cheats. They are very effective at stirring up outrage at the government for condoning cheating.

Similarly for liberty. Americans and Britons all love liberty, yet when liberty and care conflict, the left is more likely to choose care. This is the crux of the US's monumental battle over Obama's healthcare plan. Can the federal government compel some people to buy a product (health insurance) in order to make a plan work that extends care to 30 million other people? The derogatory term "nanny state" is rarely used against the right (pastygate being perhaps an exception). Conservatives are more cautious about infringing on individual liberties (eg of gun owners in the US and small businessmen) in order to protect vulnerable populations (such as children, animals and immigrants).

In sum, the left has a tendency to place caring for the weak, sick and vulnerable above all other moral concerns. It is admirable and necessary that some political party stands up for victims of injustice, racism or bad luck. But in focusing so much on the needy, the left often fails to address – and sometimes violates – other moral needs, hopes and concerns. When working-class people vote conservative, as most do in the US, they are not voting against their self-interest; they are voting for their moral interest. They are voting for the party that serves to them a more satisfying moral cuisine. The left in the UK and USA should think hard about their recipe for success in the 21st century.

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. To take the survey described in this essay, visit

Jonathan Haidt is an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Virginia. your social media marketing partner


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+142 # davidr 2012-06-07 15:23
Haidt seems to take his moral categories awfully darn seriously, but his gloss on them is remarkably shallow. Conservatives score a moral TKO 5 to 1.

But why is it not a moral good to question authority? Is it really immoral to ponder how much economic inequality derives from the deservedness of the rich, and how much from cheating? Would Haidt allow that it is a moral concern whether laissez faire serves liberty or threatens it? What if one doesn't find sanctity in a young earth church, but in Darwin's cathedral?

Understatement of the week: Haidt is not a moral philosopher. He's a marketing guy who has taken up a vocabulary for discussing how the electorate might be manipulated.
+48 # coffeewriter 2012-06-07 17:08
He's a psychologist d doesn't claim to be a moral philosopher. I think the 6 moral 'taste buds' he and his colleagues describe are simple, classic classifications . Don't over-analyze the philosophy of it.

It may be ethically good to question authority if that authority is objectively bad. But I don't think that is the point of this article - its about questioning authority figures within an established (supposedly fair) system. Moral conservatives are loathe to go against authority figures even if not doing so is to their detriment.
+37 # vimilimitex 2012-06-08 13:44
Quoting coffeewriter:
Moral conservatives are loathe to go against authority figures even if not doing so is to their detriment.

Yes! And that's how we end up with horrors such as the Holocaust---peo ple afraid/lazy/too ignorant to question authority.
+34 # LegendBert 2012-06-08 07:18
Quoting davidr:
But why is it not a moral good to question authority? Is it really immoral to ponder how much economic inequality derives from the deservedness of the rich, and how much from cheating?

Davidr makes Haidt's point. Liberals are swayed by intellectual argument but the conservatives are not. The liberals need to repackage their arguments into a "more satisfying moral cuisine" as Haidt puts it. "Freedom to marry who we want" or "Fair shot at earning a decent wage", for example, might sell a lot better than the standard liberal fare.
+19 # kentuckywoman2 2012-06-10 12:03
You're exactly right. When it comes to the working, largely uneducated and ignorant poor, the LAST thing they want to see is somebody else getting something they're not! It isn't that they don't thing there should be equality, it's that they don't think somebody should get something for nothing when they themselves must work so hard for so little.

It's kind of based on selfishness, which of course, the GOP has masterfully manipulated language to make it "OK" to be selfish and even greedy! The right has sanctioned everything most of us would find morally objectionable by re-packaging it and selling it as something else - PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND FREEDOM.

That's why you'll find a KY family voting Republican and yet be totally dumbfounded when they take away their social security disability..... .
+41 # Adagio 2012-06-08 09:45
>"Haidt is not a moral philosopher"Phi losopher. I saw him interviewed by Bill Moyers.

Identity philosophers, may say that ‘truth’ is meaningful and that it means correspondence to the facts. They may even acknowledge the existence of foolproof criteria by which to determine whether or not a statement is true. But they believe, and this is what makes them identity philosophers, that they owe their primary allegiance to some group to which they belong. The thrust of their attack against truth is not that we cannot know what is true. It is that truth is but one "value" amongst many, and not the one that counts most for building a just society. They believe that when it comes to a choice between truth and solidarity, it is solidarity that counts — so that we are not merely justified in misrepresenting the truth, but that it may actually be our duty to do so if the solidarity of our community hangs in the balance.

But no one, I hope, would accuse identity philosophers of tolerating or respecting the views of others.

For example; when Haidt offers this,"yet when liberty and care conflict, the left is more likely to choose care", he ignores this; when Liberty and Tribalism conflict, the right will choose Tribalism. And they do it all the time. It's a question of framing Professor Haidt.
+64 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-08 11:53
What I see is a juxtaposition of fear and curiosity. Conservatives tend to have fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar, the different. They are comfortable with what looks like what they see in the mirror. If the truth conflicts with that image, they reject it.

Its more important to be comfortable than to be moral. Its more important to be loyal (to the tribe) than to be moral. Its more important to be successful than to be moral. All ironically un-Christian positions. Conservatives prefer simplistic, fanciful explanations to complex questions (creationism) to scientific inquiry (evolution).

They don't want to be confused with facts. This is what the right has successfully exploited.

Truth be told, conservative have no problem with slavery (economically highly advantageous) as long as they are the masters. Racism helps to justify this.

On the left we tend to find people who are curious about the world around them, who are stimulated by the new and different, who will take risks rather than exploiting a sure thing.

Lefties tend to prefer cooperation to competition, compassion to punishment and incarceration, looking ahead for better solution rather than back to the same old mistakes.

Its an uphill battle to win over the fearful and socially un-evolved among us. They want what they have. Pandering to the moral low ground has been a successful strategy for conservatives.
+10 # vimilimitex 2012-06-08 13:41
Actually DavidR, his research article is reasonably scholarly and well respected, well worth reading. However, I, like you, disagree with his interpretation of the data, and couldn't agree more that he is not a moral philosopher.

In case anyone hasn't cleared up previous grammar misinformation, allow me to give my input as an English teacerh of 30 years: Democratic is an ADJECTIVE, Democrat is a NOUN. A Democrat is a person who chooses to vote for individuals in the Democratic Party. There is no verb, unless you're comfortable with, "We will Democratic those uninformed people!"
+14 # kentuckywoman2 2012-06-10 11:59
I disagree re your assessment of Haidt. He's a psychologist, and since that's also my background, I completely understand what he's saying.

I've lived in KY for the past 21 years, and I can tell you that Haidt is right on the money. Most of the poor vote Republican. And they do it for what they perceive as "moral" reasons.

People cling to their religion here. (KY is the only state to have a "Creation Museum" - I kid you not). What matters to these people most IS their perception of morality - and whichever political party sticks up for that is the one that gets their vote.

Democrats just don't get it. I've been a Democrat for over 40 years & I say that as sure as I need air to breathe.

Republicans LONG AGO found the vocabulary with which to manipulate the electorate! And they are masters at it. Democrats can't seem to get that and can't seem to wrap their heads around the concept. Which is why we're on the way to becoming a one-party country, unfortunately.
+185 # pernsey 2012-06-07 16:35
I have no idea why working people would vote to have their jobs shipped over seas and to give more rich people tax breaks. To me the Right wing wants to be moral, but the way they conduct their politics is anything but moral to US citizens. They will give them morals because morals are something they can talk about, wont cost them any money, and they can get the majority of suckers to vote for it.
the rich benefit and the poor get a lot of talk of morals. Gee where do I sign up?(sarcasm) I think only a fool would vote for fake morals while getting their livelihoods stolen out from underneath them and shipped to other countries. But keep voting for the right wing nut jobs then blame the dems when you have nothing, its so predictable.
+38 # Duster 2012-06-08 02:17
Working class people have the common human dream of making their way into the 1%. They don't vote analytically but wishfully. By emphasizing that the government is "taking money" from those who "earned" it, the right plays on that sense of fairness that Haidt mentions. "The government" is also safe to throw rocks at because it is faceless, large, and impersonal, about like a TSA agent.

The opposite - pointing out that precious few of the 1% "earned" anything, ever, is seriously divisive and dangerous socially. Higher taxes are potentially the 1%'s biggest friend. Warren Buffet is a canny old bird and called it pretty clearly. Neither he nor any of the other ultrawealthy can do enough useful things with that money to counter the seriously bad effects it has economically (and socially if we don't watch out). Lurking out there on the books but not moving, not paying wages, buying materials, lubricating the creation of new real wealth, and increasing inflation by accumulating interest, it threatens the economic stability of the planet. Taxing it would put it back to work. Historically similar social conditions ultimately lead to the French revolution, once the peasantry realized they had little hope of their "betters" doing anything useful.
-104 # Robt Eagle 2012-06-08 06:18
pernsey, the jobs go overseas because labor is cheap and the bottom line is what drives any business. Local jobs created by small business owners is tough to create when there is no direction or possible way of knowing what the future tax costs will be due to the abysmal Obama policies. Local small businesses hire local people and most do not send those jobs overseas. The middle class vote for Conservative values because they are just and true, not the idea of being dependent upon a government who steals from the rich and gives it to the poor. The rich, according to Obama, anyone making over $250,000 a year are hardly rich. In the coastal regionas that barely allows for a family of four to survive because costs are so high due to Obama's abysmal policies. Morals, by the way, are the same if you are rich or poor and they exist because of all the reasons they always have. So thinking that people shouldn't vote conservative is sad, but keep on thinking that way, it got you really far in Wisconsin, now, didn't it?
+60 # pernsey 2012-06-08 09:51
Robt, as usual your Fox news facts dont carry any weight with me.

I have morals, I find the GOP is disingenuous and they dont really care about morals, its just a cheap way for them to get votes. They are so immoral its ridiculous. I can tell you Im honest while stealing your wallet. Their talk means absolutely nothing, because they do the opposite of everything they say the stand for.
+47 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 09:59
I know a few people who make $250,000 a year who live on the coast and are extremely comfortable, so that statement is absolutely not true. I also know of several families who live in one house and a garage who subsist on less than $20,000 a year, thanks to Republican "trickle-down" policies that don't.
+15 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 11:03
lol, you are surely far too doctrinaire there RE. As a small business person I will tell you that reinvestment motivations come from higher taxes. Why shouldn't I grow my business instead of giving those higher taxes to the gov't. THAT is where higher taxes incentivize growth.

$250,000 a year is the NET you have any idea what the gross volume is for a small business person to NET that kind of income? I bet not...hint...a fair profit at the end of the day is in the 8-12% (net taxable income) that math to make that 250k...and don't forget to account for that discretionary expenditure all small businesses enjoy called 'advertising and promotion'...
+15 # kentuckywoman2 2012-06-10 12:16
If the working poor actually knew that their jobs were being shipped overseas so that wealthy people could make even more money, and if they actually knew that only the wealthiest people were getting these tax breaks, it would probably make a difference.

But they're being told by "authority figures" whom they trust (because they believe we should ALL trust those in authority. They got their position because they EARNED it so they must KNOW more than the rest of us....) that Dems want to raise THEIR taxes. That if the wealthy people have their taxes raised, they'll be even LESS jobs - and they might lose theirs!

It's fear-mongering tactics that the GOP has taken from fascism, particularly Hitler's regime. Remember that G.W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, actually helped finance Hitler - until the U.S. govt. put a stop to it. Prescott Bush admired Hitler - so, I think those fascist principles have been ingrained in the Bush family and now passed on down to us. With the help of Dick Cheney and his ilk, who believe in a "master-slave" society, with the rich being the masters and the "masses" being their slaves.

Kind of live medieval feudalism. Which of course, most working class, uneducated people know absolutely nothing about, so they are easily fooled.
+108 # spenel334 2012-06-07 20:39
All you people who are commenting about this mess, please tell me, what can we do? There is so much drivel being disseminated by the Republicans during this election season, out and out lies, and I don't even mean stretching the truth, that our bitching about higher taxes for the rich, an obvious need that most of the population agrees with but the Republicans will never agree to, isn't going to help. Does someone have any ideas as to what we can do to expose Republican tactics? How about Romney's lies: a. about Clinton's statement concerning higher taxes for the rich b.his own lie about having wanted to go to Vietnam, or not making any effort not to go c. about Solyndra lie, not to mention that Romney made the same mistake with a different company when he was governor of MA. d. about taking a quote Obama took from McCain, and presenting it as Obama's own words. etc.,etc. Not only will Romney not acknowledge his errors, but keeps running the ads with the lies.
I understand it takes money, but there must be something else to be done, only I can't imagine how to fight this campaign that has no relation, not to mention respect, for the truth. Obama need to sell the idea that Romney can't be trusted with our economy, yes, but how about the idea that Romney can't be trusted at all.


Any Ideas?

+64 # pernsey 2012-06-07 22:07
The lies do work, I was at a party last weekend where a group of men were seriously having a conversation about how Obama is a muslim. The right wing lie machine (Fox News) works. I have no idea how people could be so stupid, but unfortunately no one researches anything they just believe the Fox News spin and lie machine. The sheeple are voting and not informatively, just blindly voting on lies.
+31 # Capn Canard 2012-06-08 06:47
spenel334, I do have an answer, but it isn't a nice easy answer. The Right seems to be living in a constant state of fear. Immigration, crime, gay marriage, drugs, guns/personal freedoms, etc etc etc, these issues seems to require that people be frightened or the issue would evaporate and be gone. Gawddamnit, I've watched for a long time and it looks like that it will only change when conservatives are the ones who are actually hurt: lose their job, lose their home, are beaten down by police, are sick, disabled and dying, etc etc etc. But even then many are still easily beguiled by the fantasy of traditional American value system, i.e. Authoritarian style leadership. The people hardest to reach are those who are the most easily fooled by propaganda and false promises, in other words the people who aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

IMO, it is an aspect of education and conscious awareness and for people who lack a certain amount of empathy for others and the deeper implications of not being courageous, and then we will all suffer until they realize the foolishness of the fear based morality/values . I keep hoping for some kind of shock wave of awareness so people finally "get it", instead they're worried about all those meaningless non-issues, like gods, guns, gays, and abortion etc.

Patience, patience... you can't beat smart into stupid.
+52 # LegendBert 2012-06-08 07:28
As I said in a previous reply, liberals have to repackage their arguments. Consider this:

"Fair taxes for all Americans" vs. "Higher taxes for the rich".

"Liberty to marry" vs. "Same sex marriage".

"Four years of solid job growth" vs. "Weak recovery".

It can be done. Liberals just have to wake up and smell the coffee.
+23 # lexy677 2012-06-08 08:52
..and who is going to propagate this message for the democrats?. The republican right wing machine owns most of the media; TV, talk radio, major newspapers and a host of small local media outlets all over the country. Hell, they even own most of the journalists. The "liberal media" has been a hollow fraud since "saint Reagan". That they own the media has been the result of 40 years of deliberate efforts towards that end. They have succeeded but continue with consumate hypocrisy and almost "venereal" dishonesty to claim victim status vis a vis the "liberal media". These people are "deep"; too "deep" for the average working class white male/female.
+23 # jimyoung 2012-06-08 09:33
I agree, we have to quit letting Republicans assume all naming rights.

I left the Republican party about the same time Elizabeth Warren did, when Gingrich issued his GoPac Memo "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" see

He,used the Cato Institute described Leninist tactics, declared all opponents, their records, proposals and their party should be described in negative contrasting words "decay, failure (fail), collapse(ing), deeper, crisis, etc, while Republicans are in optimistic and positive contrasting words, "share, change, opportunity, legacy, challenge, control, truth, moral, courage, reform, prosperity, crusade, movement, children, family, debate, compete, active(ly), we/us/our, candid(ly), humane, pristine, provide, liberty, commitment, principle(d), etc."

Gingrich's memo didn't include the Leninist tactic of covertly sabotaging all programs associated with the opponents (even if they were originally Republican ideas), but they did start practicing the tactic that could create blow-back even worse than the use of language as a cynical weapon should provoke. Before Kevin Phillips had a change of heart, he helped develop the Southern Strategy, with older "code words" see

What are the chances other Republicans will have a change of heart? Prepare a translation list for the positive comparisons of the dismissive terms Republicans use.
+22 # michelle 2012-06-08 09:50
and package health care too.

"Good Samaritan Care" vs. "Obamacare."

Perhaps that's a phrase the right will understand.
+9 # carolsj 2012-06-08 20:55
You're right (correct). The Repubs are really good at coining negative catch phrases. We need to be more clever and coin even better ones to counteract them.
+22 # wrknight 2012-06-08 07:39
What can you do? I keep repeating myself over and over, you can ensure that you get out to vote and that you get everyone else out to vote. The one area that Republicans win over and over is getting their supporters to the polls. In most elections less than 50% of the people don't vote and most of them support Democratic principles and programs. They are either to busy, too lazy or too engaged in whatever they are doing to learn what their elected officials are doing to them and go to the polls on election days. If you are a liberal and you don't vote, you just gave one to the Republicans.
+9 # carolsj 2012-06-08 20:49
A simple lie was enough to get Clinton almost kicked out of office. Romney's lies should be easy enough to prove, since they're probably all recorded in some medium. They need to be collected and made into a documentary and a lawsuit of some kind. The same with other pols and "news" programs. It would need to be done carefully, so context would not be in question.
+1 # Califa 2012-06-07 21:00
"Don't the Democrats stand up for the little guy, and try to redistribute the wealth downwards?"

What a joke. You can say that about the democrats in the 60's and 70's but since then and especially now the democrats do little or nothing for the "most needy" and have sold the poor down the river by kow-towing to republicans instead of standing up and fighting for the little guy. No matter which political party poor people vote for they get screwed. At least republicans hate and blame the same people you do for your bad economic situation. Democrats just don't get that and are too stupid to figure out why the right-wing uses the term dumocrats.
+27 # brux 2012-06-07 21:55
Conservatives have more "taste buds" than Liberals … what absolutely hogwash, this guy is so incendiary. The thing is that no matter how many taste buds Liberals have they never pretend they are not biased or pull any of the mindgames Conservatives do.

It is much more likely that Conservatives have so-called their taste buds implanted by the likes of the Conservative media repetition. Over the years their mantras are drilled into their brains and if you notice any conversation with a Conservative is circular, that is, they go from one to the other all the way around and then start up again.

It make them feel personally empowered and validated, and puts them right in line if they want it to be a bully just like stand your grounds puts someone who is looking for it the right to kill someone.
+24 # ahancock2009 2012-06-07 21:57
George Lakoff has written two books, "Don't Think of an Elephant" and "The Political Mind". These support this article and go into depth of how liberals need to learn how to frame their issues and make the case that the morals of a caring and nurturing society trump the morals of the strict father, and rugged individual model.
+38 # dyannne 2012-06-07 22:15
I heard this Haidt guy tell Bill Moyers that he started out as a liberal Democrat but he's moved right to the Republicans, because they better understand how people think. And I think that means that he thinks they know how to manipulate people better and win, so he wants to be on the winning side.

He writes: "When working-class people vote conservative, as most do in the US, they are not voting against their self-interest; they are voting for their moral interest. They are voting for the party that serves to them a more satisfying moral cuisine."

I think he's dead wrong. They ARE voting against their self-interest, because Republicans will take everything away from them including their work and they will pat themselves on the backs for it. These people may be voting for what they think is "moral cuisine" but they will end up bankrupt and that moral cuisine they voted for is going to taste like the crap it really is.

Haidt is well named. He hates liberals. That's obvious. He's a shill for the Repugnants. He tries like hell to make them sound good. But I for one do not buy what he's selling.
+18 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 11:13
BRAVO!! "he thinks they know how to manipulate people better and win, so he wants to be on the winning side."

That is exactly how his take ends up...dry, cynical gamesmanship... only winning matters...the end justifies the means is surely THE republican't motto and so goes Haidt...interes ting last name...ey?
+7 # hd70642 2012-06-09 05:07
The obnoxious thing about conservatives they are a far more selective than sincere. They say selfish is a virtue until it's the poor being selfish wanting more than are you morally entitled to. Also socialism until it's a government contact or subsidy ie military industrial complex. Regulation is objectionable until it involves activities they find offensive. Also there is their depraved fixation/fetish for nostalgia which is just sick and depraved as a grown person who has a fetish to behave as infant. Nobody sane would want to back to the overly romanticized era of the 19 the century with it's Sweet shops slums and slavery Dicken's sagas were good stories not economic role models. Attemting to go back to the policies of the 19th is as insane as trying to reenact a person's birth. An article in skeptical inquier once talked about such a quack procedure where a person was sufocated with blanket. One can only begin to dread of what the consequence of reenacting the regreesive policies of the 19 century would result in

If being in favor of potable water, breathable air eatable food, minimum wage, overtime pay safety standards for workplace, and consumer goods public education a safety net for unemployed the impoverished and elderly being against child labor makes me a radical than so be it !!!
+6 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-09 12:10
Quote:"I heard this Haidt guy tell Bill Moyers that he started out as a liberal Democrat but he's moved right to the Republicans, because they better understand how people think."

I keep seeing this "I used to be a liberal" line as the opening statement in comments from obvious right wing ideologues.

It is usually followed by several very weak attempts to discredit any "liberal" idea (even if the idea was proposed by conservatives; Romneycare in Mass. comes to mind).

I'm sure this sort of nonsense works on conservatives, But I doubt that Haidt's message will resonate with swing voters, who tend to mistrust both major parties.

An unfortunate truth that Haidt misses (and can be verified by a look at the products on supermarket shelves and the high incidence of diabetes and heart disease in the USA) is that peoples' palates, without the benefit of a knowledge of good nutrition, will lead to an unhealthy consumption of sugar, fat and salt. Letting conservatives determine the moral high ground is like letting children do all the grocery shopping.
+16 # cynnibunny 2012-06-07 22:23
These moral tastebuds deny the reality of class. There is no one-overriding reason we poor agree with Conservatives. James Scott's idea of public and private transcript is more appropriate here than any 'psychology-bas ed' conception. The psychological establishment is too enamored of a single idea of individual, so enamored that if they cannot apply a new concept to everyone, they throw away the concept as illegitimate, not real.

Yet even 'naive psychology' theorists recognize the potential for everyone to subscribe to learned systems of meaning. Psychologists should read other subjects in the social-science cannon; they just might get some insight.

Having studied psychology at an elite college - Reed College - I've noticed a slant toward studying the psychology of rich white Americans, and an aversion for studying anyone else.

Having grown up in the lower middle class, I've always recognized that there is a disgust for what the upper class believes, and this disgust fuels the poor's attitudes toward whatever the rich say.

The GOP has gone through great pains to identify themselves with the average American. GW was a master: "Jesus is the philosopher that I follow" - absolutely brilliant! The Democrats are so off message, they don't know what to say.

As someone who has straddled both worlds, I'm quite disgusted with the Democrats fear of talking to the poor. What are they afraid of?
+1 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 11:38
Easy answer to what are Dems afraid of in talking to the poor...DLC and DCCC, the two money worshippers (practical politics you know) of the Democratic Party that call all the shots in strategy and money tactics...have zero interest in the less advantaged except to lie to them/us to get a vote...contrast o's words during the campaign with his actions to republican deception an advertised Dem.
+26 # DoHickey 2012-06-07 22:26
The Democrats lost the 2010 eloections because Obama --I don't know who advised him-- catered to the people who didn't vote for him in 2008. We don't have a leader who represents our interests. Where is the pit bull we need to fight the clowns on the right? This is no longer about compromising with people who won't budge. Now is the time to represent what most of us want: 1. End these insane wars 2. Prosecute the financial crimes that were committed. 3.Goods made in the USA, not Asia.
I don't care about gay marriage or an abomination of a health care reform or balancing the budget.
Come on, Democratic Party, start standing up for us...and we'll vote for you. Lead us out of this apathy.
+13 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 10:09
The pit bulls were assassinated in the 1960s. Since then, any pit bulls-in-traini ng have been culled from the pack, either through their own hubris or through rightwing smear tactics.
+1 # DoHickey 2012-06-08 23:09
That's right. JFK still stood for something, for we the people. LBJ had to have been in on his assassination. So we got Viet Nam & the Welfare Society.
I hated to see Elliot Spitzer get taken down by a madam who wound up dead. So many signs...if you trust your eyes.
+28 # Margery 2012-06-07 22:46
As a native Nebraskan I may have some insight on this. Working-class people do not like change. The Republicans promise to up hold the status quo. The Democrats promise change. What you need to do is repackage. Let them know that the Republicans took a bad turn and now only support the super rich/corporatio ns while the Dems want to get back to the status quo that worked for everyone.
+18 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-07 22:56
Much of this has nothing to do with anything so deep as morality or political philosophy, or thinking at all, but is just habit and conditioned identity.

It's like always eating oatmeal with butter on it because that's you were brought up, or wearing white socks with sneakers because your mom and gym teacher told you that colored socks would cause infections. This, like the mistaken notion of spending, in classical economics, has nothing to do with rationality -- it's more like how lab rats have been trained to navigate a maze (and how people are manipulated by advertising and snake oil barkers) -- and just stupidity and ignorance.

It's not just conservatives; many liberals do the same thing but with a different set of conditioned responses.

Against stupidy the very gods contend in vain. __ Schiller
+15 # hwatt 2012-06-07 23:06
It's the race thing. Hate to say it and lots of them would deny it but it's there- more allegiance to color than to economic standing. It's almost primevally subtle.
-15 # lexy677 2012-06-08 08:59
What are breath of fresh air!! this awful forum of moral and intellectual dishonesty. Bravo!!!
+12 # Upgeya 2012-06-07 23:19
David Korten goes a long way towards both answering this question and saying what those of us who yearn for partnership culture can do:
Basically, we tell a radically different story than that told by domination culture. One that appeals to all the moral concerns held by people. It's possible to tell an inspiring story of possibility, collaboration, partnership, creativity, and caring while affirming all these so called "conservative" ethical values. Indeed ethical values like honesty, responsibility, accountability, belonging, fairness, liberty, sovereignty, and the sanctity of life are vitally important to creating a world where everybody wins.
+1 # SOF 2012-06-11 02:03
Wow. Thanks for that. This was getting too depressing and hopeless. From my artist/activist /rainbow perspective with a 30 yr old child who has grown up with multi genetic origins friends -I see a lot of melting pot attitude and good people creating alternatives and working for all. The racist faction seemed to slither from the gutter or ruts of segregated, backward communities. And they are being used. The fascist turn is scary and Congressional, State elections are critical and coming soon. I agree with rewording to universal human rights and shared values. Reclaim the flag and history. We The People, not separatist and hateful. Answer ea FOX lie with facts, Insist on real debate -Point out ms media selling out for big$$ over informing the populace.. Instead of intellectual and common sense, channel your inner dumber self and make points by asking questions -at least 'till after the election. Tell the truth and repeat it until people believe it.
+41 # moby doug 2012-06-07 23:26
Haidt understands little about what makes American lumpen proles tick. The foundation of Republican voting success for the past 40 has been race hate, The Southern Strategy, followed rather closely by xenophobia, fear of foreigners and the other, whatever form the "other" takes. "Loyalty" and "morality" are beards, red herrings. The subtextual emotion Big Money is using to appeal to the white redblooded American loser class is hatred.....hatr ed of nonwhites, hatred of women, hatred of welfare moms and single moms, hatred of non-Christians, hatred of the edjookated..... "What do we hate? ...What have you got?" But never never hatred of exploitative rightwing billionaires like the Koch Bros., the Walls of Wal-Mart, etc...
+14 # lexy677 2012-06-08 09:01
@moby doug:

Bravo!! well said.
+13 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 10:10
+13 # ENetArch 2012-06-07 23:27
The only way out of this mess is to start holding everyone accountable. That means, if the Republicans are LIEING, then they have to be sued for false advertisement. And, until someone is willing to stand up and do just that, nothing will change.
+4 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 11:49
Nice idea...problem is, how do we pay the legal system for the servicing of the law suits? It is all one big circle jerk of insiders fleecing the majority...

Attorneys, judges and all affiliated with the system get to know each other and DEFINATELY have back channel conversations.

Colusion amongst the players is the rule...find out how deep the pockets and then use the system at 3-500 OR MORE an hour...corrupti on and dishonesty are the rule not the exception.
+27 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-06-07 23:34
His best point, imo, is: "When people fear the collapse of their society, they want order and national greatness,"
Which provides fertile ground for fascism.
+19 # Rick Levy 2012-06-07 23:35
The main reason that the working people still identify with the GOP because the Republicans know how to play the religion card, especially the Christian fundamentalist ace of spades. Then they conflate godliness and patriotism and the white working people follow them like a never ending supply of lemmings running off a cliff.
+31 # asbpab1966 2012-06-07 23:38
It is racism, pure and simple. Whites, especially in the South, have been told by the GOP that the Democratic party is for "n*gg*rs" and so they vote Republican. Add lies such as that immigrants are taking away their jobs (how many Whites want jobs mowing lawns and cleaning houses?) and that immigrants and welfare are what caused the economic mess even though they cost only a small fraction of what the wars, tax cuts for the rich, and the bail out of the banks have cost.
+11 # lexy677 2012-06-08 09:03
@asbpab 1966:

Bravo!! another intellectually honest comment.
+16 # angelfish 2012-06-07 23:42
WHERE is the Main Stream Press in calling out Romney for his OUTRIGHT LIES about our President? I guess he thinks if he repeats the Lie often enough people will eventually come to believe it. Unless the Press begins to take note of ALL the lies, fools will continue to believe and vote against their best interests! The working class thinks that if they work hard enough they can wind up like the Wealthy. Poor fools! Most of the Wealth in this Country is INHERITED! There are VERY few Self Made Millionaires anymore. Wake up, Citizens! Wishing won't make it so! Fight for YOURSELVES! The Wealthy will only P*SS on you!
+20 # aitengri 2012-06-07 23:48
Everyone misses the boat. It isn't taste buds, or moral backbone, or rhetoric of any kind. It is the ability to think, and that ability is cultivated, honed, whatever word you care to choose, through education. That's as in "educere", bringing forth intrinsic wisdom, Our schools fail because they try to "impart", and "force" by training kids. And even on that lesser level, they fail. The inertial momentum of the accumulated memes of the ignorant herd prevail. Hence, your "dumbed down working class" will vote against its own best interests, and against the liberating forces of the open mind. Fear of the unknown is the result, for those blighted masses.
+16 # tenayaca 2012-06-08 11:04
The present attempt to establish CHARTER SCHOOLS, with all the accompanying rhetoric about "reform," is a core part of privatizing (and re-segregating) our schools. Dr. Kathy Emery's book, Why is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools, is an excellent expose of the background for all of this. Dumbing down is inevitable with the curriculum being demanded by the TESTS (corporations profiting immensely from this boondoggle). All students going to college=many more job applicants for the few jobs available that require a degree=lower wages and inability to demand benefits.
+15 # aitengri 2012-06-07 23:57
an afterthought here, that Haidt's entire analysis is reductionist to the extreme. Yes, there is the overall polarity between rugged self interest and touchy feely over-concern regarding the "weak" or variously disadvantaged. But still, as in gun control, medical insurance, and other "issues", it is a failure of the imagination, it is an inability to grasp larger perspectives, that really underlies the seeming "polarization" that Haidt references. And, as in my previous comment, a liberating and comprehensive humanities based educational system would catch up the laggards.
+14 # lexy677 2012-06-08 09:12
, as in my previous comment, a liberating and comprehensive humanities based educational system would catch up the laggards.

I couldn't agree with you more. As it is education in America has come to mean ONLY "vocational training". The fact that one is trained in a vocation such as Law or medicine or engineering etc., etc..does not one an "educated person"; Vocationally trained yes; educated? not necessarily. Alioto Scalia and Thomas should make this clear.
+9 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 11:56
Absolutely spot on...go back to the founding of the centers of higher learning at any point in the present history of civilization and a 'liberal' education meant giving an individual the tools to understand and GROW as an individual and as a contributing member of the larger group...based in the big three...Art, Science and Philosophy.
+22 # pstamler 2012-06-08 00:15
I hate to say it, but I think the story is best summed up by noting that *white* working-class voters are being talked about here (not black or Hispanic). From "Reaching for Glory", a compilation of Johnson's White House tapes:

"Defending his battle for civil rights, Johnson cited the Southern senator who once noted that his state hadn't heard a Democratic speech in thirty years and exclaimed, 'All they ever hear at election time is n----r, n----r, n----r!'" While it gives me grief to say this, I think the white working-class Reagan Democrats can be explained by precisely that -- the Republican party has been shouting 'n----r, n----r, n----r!' at them since the passage of the civil rights act of 64, and most acutely since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign at the Neshoba county fair in Mississippi -- giving a speech on "states' rights" (code for n----r, n----r, n----r!) in the very same place from which three civil rights organizers had been kidnapped and murdered in 1964. That (and his repeated references to "welfare queens" sent a message to every race-resentful white person in America that the people in the White House would now be on *their* side.
+25 # pstamler 2012-06-08 00:15

No, I'm not saying that every conservative voter is an out-and-out racist. I'm saying that the Republican Party has played to the lingering suspicion (against all factual rebuttal) among white working-class people that (a) black people have it better than they do, thanks to the govmint, and/or that black people are *responsible* for their hard times.

In short, dig down under the white working-class resentment, and you'll find racial uneasinessscape goating, or outright fear. And the Republicans, by playing up the supposed "foreign" nature of Obama, are still effectively shouting, "n----r, n----r, n----r!".
+4 # lexy677 2012-06-08 09:14
I wish I could have said it better. Thanks.
+6 # Jimmy 2012-06-08 00:28
One of the most insightful theorists on this whole subject is the historian Glenn Feldman. I highly recommend his books such as PAINTING DIXIE RED, and POLITICS AND RELIGION IN THE WHITE SOUTH, and BEFORE BROWN: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South, among other works.
+23 # Skeptical1247 2012-06-08 00:28
This psychology seems to excuse the ignorance and bigotry of a lot of Americans. Indulging in the pretense that they are decent, morally upright and intelligent people is dishonest. Their morality is limited to a focus on vaginas and the morals of "Thou shalt not steal, bear false witness, or kill" are no longer part of their moral concerns.

These are like Post WW1 Germans that facilitated the entire agenda of a psychotic little perv. In our era the little perv is Frank Luntz, a master of making people believe that their chicken shit bigotry is actually chicken salad.

We indulge in the pretense that history is not repeating itself with us playing the part of the Third Reich. We have legalized discrimination against every category of minority, have blown the threat of our "enemy" all out of proportion, and armed ourselves to fight a war against ALL of the other nations on the planet at the same time.

Obviously there is a like number of people in this nation who actually can assess their own long-term self interest, can figure out who is sodomizing them economically without the help of Rush Limbaugh, and live like Christians without benefit of either Bible or preacher.

e better pray that these real patriots stay in the game, and keep speaking the truth without the gloss or spin of being "polite" or "conciliatory". That has been tried and it is not even close to working.
+4 # Jimmy 2012-06-08 00:33
For Glenn Feldman's treatise on the religious aspects of current American politics and their Southern origins, see Feldman's essay “Exporting ‘The Southern Religion’ and Shaping the Election of 2012” in the Chauncey DeVega blog We Are Respectable Negroes (WARN), January 30, 2012,
+17 # Secular Humanist 2012-06-08 00:34
From my analysis, this article appears to have been written with a conservative slant -or the author has bought more rightist talking points than he knows. It's full of unsupported presumptions. He doesn't mention why working people vote differently from college graduates. The fact is, few blue collar types have been trained to be analytical, which may account for the fact the more educated a person is, the more likely he or she is to vote as a liberal. The study also rapidly sheds the term "working people" for"most Americans" and "most people" as if to exclude liberals from those categories as well. The article accuses liberals of choosing their beliefs because the unrealistically seek to absolve themselves of blame, yet makes no comparable accusation of the right for choosing to believe what they prefer to believe, regardless of the facts. The real tell is when he references outrage at the government for condoning cheating," thereby postulating, as if it were common knowledge, that the government condones cheating (it does not). Finally, in the second paragraph, the way he interprets the liberal's perception of the conservative psyche is much more the way conservatives think liberals see them than the way they actually do.
+8 # Feral Dogz 2012-06-08 12:18
[quote name="RFBeltran "]From my analysis, this article appears to have been written with a conservative slant -or the author has bought more rightist talking points than he knows. It's full of unsupported presumptions. He doesn't mention why working people vote differently from college graduates. The fact is, few blue collar types have been trained to be analytical, which may account for the fact the more educated a person is, the more likely he or she is to vote as a liberal. The study also rapidly sheds the term "working people" for"most Americans" and "most people" as if to exclude liberals from those categories as well. The article accuses liberals of choosing their beliefs because the unrealistically seek to absolve themselves of blame, yet makes no comparable accusation of the right for choosing to believe what they prefer to believe, regardless of the facts. The real tell is when he references outrage at the government for condoning cheating," thereby postulating, as if it were common knowledge, that the government condones cheating (it does not).

@RFBeltran: Excellent analysis and critique. I would categorize the article as a right wing hatchet job. Which is not to say that the Dems. are doing a good job at taking the moral high ground. Assuming that human nature is inherently good and that people will see the light flies in the face of history.
+15 # wrodwell 2012-06-08 00:37
Why are so many Americans voting against their economic interests? Turns out it's because they're really voting for their moral interests! Republicans are extremely clever at exploiting inculcated religious sentiment that has been taught to Christians since early childhood. The most fundamental aspect for a religious life is unquestioning belief - one must "have faith" in spite of any competing information, especially from the likes of scientific enquiry. Since most Christians are taught that the Bible is THE Word of God then whatever the Bible says must be true and inviolable because if God Himself says so, how can it be otherwise? This comfort zone allows people a platform for a virtually unshakeable belief. And when the "moral" buttons are pushed later on using Pavlovian messaging, the results are predictable.
While watching TV recently I heard promos about upcoming science-themed shows. The promo always ends with the words "Science; Question Everything."
In contrast, when I occasionally tune in to some Christian TV shows - for entertainment purposes only - what I hear is diametrically opposed to the Science programs and their search for truth. The twin watchwords of most religionists are "Faith" & "Belief"; in other words, believe unequivocally and above all, question nothing. If those who consider themselves believing Christians have been reared with this ingrained mentality is it any wonder they're such easy prey when all grown up? God wills it.
+16 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-06-08 00:45
I believe that the right captures portions of the "working-class" voters, because they are so good at messaging with tons of money. The right keeps it simple with very basic sound bytes. The pundits of the left are, for the most part, off in the ether and speaking from the ivory tower with the lofty premises of the academic political scientist. I love reading and listening to that stuff, but many people can't stomach political, historical, and economic analysis. It's fine for left leaning talking heads to be academic when preaching to the choir, but not when they are trying to persuade ambivalent potential converts that live in the center right.
The writer of this article is is way off base claiming the neocons define the the moral direction, thereby gaining votes. I believe that the right exploits the religious, moral, and sentimentsl temperament of the hard working people in this country to gain their vote, and then does whatever the hell they wish, even when their actions are to the detriment of the people who put them in office. The right in its current incarnation is patently immoral, perhaps, amoral.
+11 # Secular Humanist 2012-06-08 00:47
There are lessons here for liberals to learn, but it's difficult to pick the grains of wisdom from the chaff; I agree, however, most people prefer to believe that which confirms their existing beliefs. I fear Mr. Haidt suffers from the same weakness.
+5 # epcraig 2012-06-08 00:47
We have ruined our climate. The weather is not about to get better. Nobody can predict how the weather is going to get more interesting but we can be sure it shall. Some so not believe this and we can expect them to vote for anyone who tells them it is sure to get better if we vote right.
+12 # AJS 2012-06-08 00:56
There's something surreal about this discussion of the 'marketing' of left and right in modern America. By most measures,Eisenh ower was to the 'left' of the current US political spectrum (he was comfortable with a very high top income tax bracket and massive government infrastructural investment. The idea that he would have insisted on the right to assassinate, without warrant or trail, US citizens he felt were a 'threat' is laughable). Similarly, Nixon, by any measure of how he understood the relationship between the state, the economy, and the society was also to the left of someone like Obama (wage and price controls on the economy when Wall Street got out of hand and he rolled out Earth Day). Just the former position would keep him from being elected dog catcher in most US jurisdictions.

Thus, thinking about marketing and elections without analyzing how the ground itself has relentlessly drifted towards an overt corporate/imper ialist fascism strikes me as irresponsible. The mainstream "left" in the election this year will hold positions (cheering on the 'free' market while overtly doling out generous corporate welfare, shrugging shoulders at a widening chasm between the earning power of CEOs and workers, insisting on military interventions by executive order only, while watching basic infrastructure continue to decay) that no amount of marketing would have convinced Nixon's 'silent majority' was in their interests or their values.
+11 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 09:37
Don't forget Barry Goldwater, who spoke out against the encroachment of religion in government, and who supported abortion rights.
+8 # edgarren 2012-06-08 01:24
This one comes up every election cycle.

The real reason is that the leadership of the Democratic Party has SO lost touch with the vast majority of "working class" people (of all colors). That anger has translated into most white working class folks going over to the Republican side because the "club" seems friendlier.

People of color, GLBTQ folks have no where else to go, so the party ignores us too. So we end up with a "club" that rarely sticks it's head out on behalf of "working" class people.

After years of working as an activist in the party, I'm fed up with the "deal making" and eternal compromises that have defined our Party for decades.

I don't know who is advising Obama, but it clearly is not ANYONE who cares about issues that affect my life. This is why most folks done even vote, and those who do usually see it as a coin toss.

Will SOMEONE in congress (besides Barbara Boxer or Barney Frank) PLEASE show some courage?
+19 # Jane Gilgun 2012-06-08 01:46
So what are the values of the left? Maybe that's what we need to start thinking about. How about fairness? Equal pay for equal work? Full time work means you can pay your bills, live in a decent home, educate your children. How about service to others? How about dignity and respect for all? The left has lots of values. Let's say them out loud, for the love of this country.
+14 # fliteshare 2012-06-08 02:36
I have proof that Americans just don't get it.

As progenitor of one of these evil Socialist countries. I have given up on even trying to explain these things and decided just to have fun with it. So, I strike up a conversation with someone who is adamant and quite vocal about his Conservative leanings.
I tell 'm I am from Europe.
And ask this good fellow what makes him think he is a true Conservative.
His answer: "Because I am the one holding down a real job and am expected to pay for all the stupid stuff".
And I followed up, if he meant that: The people that actually worked should be the ONLY ones making the decisions and that the people that didn't work should have to keep their mouth shut.
He wholeheartedly agreed that such would indeed be "the thing".
I continued: And have a little less of that touchy feely democracy and a little more blunt decision making like in a dictatorship. Again, he agreed that "such might be a better way to go", as far as he was concerned.
And I finally asked him: How should we call such "dictatorship of the workers" ?
Communism maybe ?

You should have seen the disbelief on his face.

So there you have it, American Conservatives are closet Communists according to their own rhetoric.

Or they just don't get it.
+12 # speedboy 2012-06-08 02:53
Many who work as wage-earners, and still vote for the wheeler-dealers do so mostly because of bigotry an,d racism---often fueled and maintained by their religion. Reagan and Rove realized this and the Right has been using it ever since to win elections. The teaparty wing has made this easier by giving haven to the KKK and Nazis types, which has increased the size of the GOP base and reduced the independent vote, making it that much easier to buy elections.
+17 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2012-06-08 03:16
Haidt loads the deck not unlike the way right wing politicians do, attributing moral quality to things like hygiene, authoritarianis m and religiosity while belittling liberals' overriding concern with care and compassion. I don't think working-class voters have any particular obsession with "national greatness," rather many of them act out of personal insecurity, feeling inferior to those "above" them in the social order. For these voters, discriminating against the even more marginalized people "below" them (gays, atheists, people of color, the poor) makes them feel better about themselves, less "inferior.". Right wing politicians exploit this insecurity with their thinly-disguise d rhetoric.
We are all, to some extent, prone to this kind class consciousness, tribalism, group affiliation, what have you. In contrast to Haidt's tribalistic, myopic concept of morality, true morality consists in trying to overcome these ethnocentric barriers and appealing to higher, more universal values.
+6 # Jane Gilgun 2012-06-08 03:25
How about taking a positive approach and talk about fairness and show what fairness is. How about talking about the dignity and worth of persons and showing what that means and does not mean? How about talking about freedom and show what that means? How about having lots of examples and polices that promote fairness, dignity and worth, and freedom? There's lots to be cone to promote these values and the polices that follow from them.
-32 # Martintfre 2012-06-08 03:31
// Why on Earth would a working-class person ever vote for a conservative candidate? This question has obsessed the American left //

Why -- I will tell you why.

Because we fiscal conservatives understand that government is not a magical genie that can grant any ones wishes, we do not believe in the church of state.

We understand that government must take by force from some before it has anything to give to others.

We understand that government has a legitimate function of protecting every ones inherent rights but it does not give government a right to force some to live for the sake of others -- that is slavery.

We understand that no man has a right to the life of another.

how well do conservative candidates stick by those premises .. poorly mostly, but not as poorly as those who think that they can and are entitled to use government to force their version of utopia on every one else.
+22 # Vegan_Girl 2012-06-08 03:54
I am not buying this. We on the left have a moral message too but we suck at articulating it. Also, it does not help that the Democratic Party is corrupted by corporate interests. It does not help that 'religious' groups are telling working people how to vote. It does not help that our education system is failing.

The right wing has been organizing on the ground for over 30 years. It is time we hit the ground. We shall overcome.
+16 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 09:45
I also doesn't help that the "news" media is a profit-making organization funded by corporations. This was not always the case. Once upon a time, news organizations were not expected to make a profit — they were funded by their entertainment divisions. So news was left alone and independent, the idea was that reporting truth, regardless of how unprofitable it might be, was paramount. So these days, the mainstream media does not always present the truth. They present what their corporate leadership allows them to.
+13 # jammer5 2012-06-08 04:10
There was a simple experiment done one time. A poorly dressed individual was sent into a crowd at a train station. He dropped a dollar bill on the ground, and repeated this a giveen number of times. On prety much every occasion, the individual picking up the bill pocketed it.

A well dressed man was then sent into the crowd and did the same thing. On pretty much every occasion this time, the bill was returned to him.

The conclusion? No reward from a poorly dressed man could be gained, but the thought of a reward from the well dressed man was the reason for returning the bills.

It's easy to extrapolate, then, why the middle class believes voting against their own interests: they still believe trickle down will work. Kindfa proves evolution, doesn't it: we did come from monkeys, and the intelligence level hasn't risen that far above them.
+15 # RMDC 2012-06-08 04:32
It think it is simply that propaganda and advertising work. The right wing has been drving into people's heads for about 100 years the idiotic Ayn Randian myth about the individual struggle for success. Americans by and large just don't believe in collective action as in unions, social security, public schools, and so on. They may participate in those things, but when it comes to voting they are against them. They have been trained to believe that trickle down economics is the natural way things are.

The right wing does understand better mass psychology, but a lot of the psychology of Americans has been created by their propaganda system.

The big problem for socialism and communism has always been the general servile and slave mentality of the masses. They simply do not want to accecpt their power. People still are fascinated by Kings, Queens, billionaires, rock stars and all forms of social hierarchy. They have not yet learned to see presidents, senators, judges as public servants. They do not understand democracy.

Democracy is really a very new idea (Athenian democracy was really aristocracy), and the masses have not yet intellectually gone that far.

The neo-cons believe that monarchy is the natural form of goveernment as in by human nature people always look to a king or strong leader. Republicans know all this and play to it. Progressives appeal to people's democratic ideals and those are not as basic.
-35 # brucbaker 2012-06-08 04:40
This MYTH that the DEMOCRATS and LIBERALS have driven into the American Conciousness, Republicans are the party of big business and millionaires... is really the biggest load or manure since the gardener used SPAGNUM to fertilize the garden!

Seriously... Democrats have always been the party of the other class, the old line money and snobs that pretend their education and family ancestry makes them better than new immigrants and working people.

Maybe because I remember what I see, remember what I encounter FIRST HAND as I have grown up in the TWO CLASSES, and I CAN'T BE HYPNOTIZED by the media or propaganda ... I speak out and tick off the liberals/ progressives among the media but simply put ... taxes suck, too much welfare sucks, in general Democrats want the people to GIVE THEM POWER and take away the freedom of the little people because they think we are too stupid to run our own lives.

You want to know why working people tend to vote Republican? Simply put ... if Republicans who are MOSTLY from working people and supposedly conservative by the words and some deeds of the party platform ... it is because working people expect CONSERVATIVES to use common sense to make laws and programs that have the least damage to the PAYCHECK and LIVES Of Working people. GET A CLUE!
+23 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 09:54
I don't know what part of the country you were raised in, but my experience has been entirely the opposite. So who's right? Who cares? All I know is that under Republican leadership, my paycheck has fallen, my rights under the constitution are being gutted at every turn, and there are more people living in poverty, more children going hungry, more people living on the streets, and more divisiveness.
+13 # MemoFromTurner 2012-06-08 13:44
This line of misguided thinking is a variant of the hoary right-wing chestnut, "a rising tide floats all boats," and maybe, just maybe, if you stand in the shadow cast by the uber-rich, some of it will rub off. It's been proven time and again that this never happens; it's pure fantasy, and a toxic one at that.
+12 # engelbach 2012-06-08 13:48
The myth is that either party is for "the little guy."

However, the Democrats have long been considered the party that purports to support working class goals, and the GOP as the party that serves the agenda of big business.

There is ample proof that these are to a certain extent true, though not entirely.

However, your viewpoint is skewed and contradictory. Poeple do want Social Security and Medicare, and generally the other things they believe the Democrats stand for.

They aren't against welfare or any other part of the safety net, except to the extent that GOP propaganda turns them against these things through fear and lies.

The only blue collar workers I've known who were spontaneously pro-Republican were racists.
+13 # handmjones 2012-06-08 05:01
It is unreasonable to discuss this question and especially 'duping' without any mention of the existence and interests of the 1%.
+21 # HooverBush 2012-06-08 05:08
"Surly" would only kick someone in the head if he could find enough of his friends to hold the guy down, like Romney did when he cut a kid's hair.
Repugs are only tough on the internet. In real life they're pussies! I give you Draft-Dodgers Cheney & Limbaugh, and War Deserter Bush.
+7 # engelbach 2012-06-08 13:41
That's a poor analogy, since the left (of which I am one) opposed the Vietnam War and encuraged "draft dodgers."

Courage is not measured by one's willingness to kill people.
+7 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 20:56
True, engelbach, but Cheney and Limbaugh were not conscientious objectors. Fairly recently, Cheney admitted he had "better things to do with his time" than defend his country. And Limbaugh got a college deferment, and when that ran out, got a medical deferment. Probably didn't hurt that other Limbaughs were wealthy politicos and lawyers.
+3 # HooverBush 2012-06-10 11:31
Quoting MEBrowning:
True, engelbach, but Cheney and Limbaugh were not conscientious objectors. Fairly recently, Cheney admitted he had "better things to do with his time" than defend his country. And Limbaugh got a college deferment, and when that ran out, got a medical deferment. Probably didn't hurt that other Limbaughs were wealthy politicos and lawyers.

That's right---There is a big difference between people like Clinton who were against the Vietnam War, and dodged the draft, and people like Cheney & Limbaugh who supported the War, and dodged the draft. Also people like Bush who supported the War, but went in the Air National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. Then he missed meetings & would have been sent to Vietnam as punishment, so he deserted.
+5 # trevorlasvegas 2012-06-08 05:10
I find this line of questioning inherently patronizing and insulting. It presupposes two things:
Peoples' decisions are only driven by monetary concerns.
I know what other people need better than they. "Those poor people. They're not even smart enough to vote for their own interests." Actually, you're all too stupid to see that they do and that you seek to define other peoples' interests from your smug place of moral and intellectual authority.
I vote Democrat, why I don't know, according to your worldview, because I work in a field and have a socioeconomic standing and background that puts me in the other camp. Some things are more important than my wallet to me, and what you all fail to acknowledge is that economic concerns are not everybody's primary motivation in life. You should all be thanking God that that is he case, or none of you would be able to read this post. That teacher who taught you to read and write would have gone and done something in their own exonomic interests instead.
-12 # head out the window 2012-06-08 05:27
Its pretty simple. Democrats decided to work for the Middle class and ignore poor people. It failed to represent working people drifting more and more towards just what the republicans stated, the very educated, latte drinking, volvo drinking rich liberal who could pony up a big check but wouldnt show up on a picket line or a demonstration.
+17 # seeuingoa 2012-06-08 05:29
I hope that in 2016 there will be a new
party called "99%" that will win with
an overwhelming majority.

There was a revolution in the 1770'es
and it is time to start another one.
+5 # engelbach 2012-06-08 13:39
Labor Party 2016.
+9 # turtleislander 2012-06-08 05:31
Democrats and Progressives need new and aggressive PR.

There are progressive billionaires. Why are they silent when the Kochs get so much air time and open their wallets? Those of us who are very short on cash cant keep sending $10 here and there to fund campaigns. Soros,Buffett,e t al:
Open your wallets. You have more wampum than the kochs.

You cant argue with a person whose world view is rigid and fixed without a lot of effort. The progressives in America (and the UK perhaps) need, if possible and I hope it is, to please study industrial history, then read Adam Smith and J.M. Keynes, understand both, and then find a way to shout out the true landscape of political corruption. Attack the right wing use of hate and bigotry as distracting wedge issues. DNC, fire your PR firms and find someone with talent and energy. Please.
+11 # sandyclaws 2012-06-08 05:36
Folks, There are religious leaders, priests, pastors, etc that have convinced their congregation that President Obama is the anti- Christ! Why do people tolerate lies in politics like it is expected? If you bought a product that said it would do something and it didn’t, the company would be taken to court for false advertising. Why don't all these so-called religious right folks object to "bearing false witness"? I know… you don't have to say it. The rules only apply to the liberals. If the commandments get in the way, if you are a conservative, you just buy indulgences. Would you call that modern day revelation? No… it's been done before.
Maybe it’s me but how does Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk fit into his theory...No conservatives need apply?
I think the Right only has to find a societal sore spot and inflame it. Then they have something they can use as a diversion. It is something the people can understand and get upset about. It is the smokescreen/non -issue that is covering the pro-corporate agenda these corrupt bastards are actually displaying in the shadows. People, especially the elders are more apt to just go vote a republican ticket because they are republican. It’s easier than paying attention to issues and current events. They are so terribly depressing after all.
+12 # RLF 2012-06-08 05:44
"Conservatives are more cautious about infringing on individual liberties (eg of gun owners in the US and small businessmen)"

This is total crap...The conservatives are incredibly hostile to small businesses which are much more efficient than big ones...and when I talk small business...i mean 5 or less employes.
+13 # kyzipster 2012-06-08 11:11
..they also want to regulate people's bedrooms.
+12 # Susanna-Asheville 2012-06-08 06:04
This man is a conservative ideologue. His article can be shot full of holes. I don't have the time to address it all, but looks like he found ways to believe whatever he wants to believe, to paraphrase him. Don't forget that the questions in a survey are perhaps more important than the answers. Manipulation (something conservatives excel at doing) in the phrasing can produce the answers THEY WANT. Haidt's article, his so-called findings, and his conclusions are shallow and, I think, misrepresent liberalism completely. He's nothing more than a lapdog for conservatives as they continue to try to justify their (what I'll loosely call) philosophy and policies. I'd like to know how he explains the flood of lies from Romney, et al? Is that reflective of conservative values. Truth is, to maintain an immutable, conservative belief system, one that limits  change in the face of evolving knowledge, requires denial and thus lies. We see this in abundance in conservative media (Fox, blogs, etc.), their politicians, and in this man. I'm appalled that the Guardian is publishing his drivel.
+21 # stonecutter 2012-06-08 06:16
Look at the faces of the people in the above photo. They actually drove somewhere, parked and then stood like ducks in a row to "listen" to one of the biggest political bullshit artists in history, with his plastic mannequin of a third wife planted next to him like a neon coat rack, his gigantic fat ass and triple chin bespeaking a life of self-indulgence and excess, while he arrogantly presumes to tell this small army of vacant, humorless, undoubtedly "Christian Amurikins" why his "moral vision" is superior to the other guy's, Obama is really just a Muslim mole (dog whistle), and would they like an autographed copy of one of his books or DVD's? Excuse me while I take a moment to puke.

They run a year-long version of "Celebrity Gong Show", complete with a dozen "debates" that have the gravitas and educational value of toothpaste commercials, populated by their clown circus of faux-candidates , and end up putting Romney up, perhaps the most inauthentic, wooden doofis to ever compete for president (his wife says he's a card). He makes Nixon, Dole and Bush43 seem like the Marx Brothers. But this guy Haidt is telling us these transparent, self-promoting fools have offered Americans a preferred "moral vision" of the future, compared to feckless lefties misguidedly focused on fairness, justice and the shredded remnants of the "common good"?

Mr. Haidt, you'd better re-read Lakoff's "Moral Politics" before you attempt to plagiarize its core arguments.
+6 # paulrevere 2012-06-08 12:13
`Whew...yeh baby, right on!!
+9 # dyannne 2012-06-08 13:44
Bang! The sound of the nail being hit squarely on the head.
+4 # hbheinze 2012-06-08 23:07
Stonecutter, you do have a way with words!!! Loved your descriptions!
+4 # Glen 2012-06-09 10:48
Drove and parked, or fed, paid, and bussed in to play audience? So-called audiences have for many years now, been highly suspect in their true interest or sincerity.

Remember when the Hussein statue was pulled down? Now THAT was a perfect example of paid, posted, and prepared audience.
+8 # BeeHears 2012-06-08 06:17
Most working class Republicans can not think for themselves. They also have an immature mind that believes in myth rather than facts. Just think of the number of this class of people who listen to RUSH, Hannity, and Beck to tell them what to BELIEVE. Ask them what belief has to do with a healthy society and you will get talking points that are totally unoriginal and based on false beliefs.
This pseudo-psycholo gical study does not even get close to analyzing the reasons for the phenomena it questions. It is amazing to me that the Republicans BELIEVE in "getting the government out of their lives" but have such a group think loyalist belief in their destructive platforms/polic ies. It is like they never left home and still BELIEVE that "Father knows best." That the authority over them is the means to security. Their philosophy or lack there of is based on fear and the inability to to understand what makes a society function as a whole.
Reagan was a great example of talking down to his audience and playing the grandfather/par ent to a clueless mass. To combat inflation, he devised a tactic of story telling, and comfort words to quell the fears of those who could not think for themselves and had little compassion for the less fortunate. Those who BELIEVE that it is all about themselves are easily duped into wanting someone with more power to take care of them. That is the working class Republicans.
+7 # freeportguy 2012-06-08 06:19
Republicans have been successful at "dividing and conquering" by using their favorite line: "Democrats want to take from YOU to give to unions big bosses AND to the "others", you know, those on programs".
+5 # Bob P 2012-06-08 06:24
Advertising can have a big disconnect from product quality. Politicians have discovered the power of advertising. The best/most advertising wins. Free speech is an oxymoron when it comes to advertising. We buy it and the supreme court likes it. Mr Haidt presents a beautiful advertising manual.
+3 # fredboy 2012-06-08 06:41
Most need and respond to clarity and focus. While I consistently vote Democrat, I believe the party fails in these areas.
+8 # Todd Williams 2012-06-08 06:42
I hope the right chokes on its so-called "satisfying moral cusine. They make me sick to my left-wing stomache.
+7 # USA2012??? 2012-06-08 07:08
There is one extremely if not the most important component of this seemingly idiotic behavior you left out: racism. Racism is one component utilized in this country and others with guaranteed results: division. Sometimes subtlety, and now for sure blatantly here in the good old USA: it works!

The opposition knows just what button to push to get those so caught up in their racist attitudes to put a gun to their own head, or an ax to their own foot without critically thinking about what they're doing to themselves.

However, the opposition doesn't care as long as you go along with their agenda: which will more than likely be to your own demise and to their benefit.

Simply put far to many of us are just plain self-inflicted and detrimentally stupid! The rules of engagement have never change, and the first rule of conflict is "divide and conquer!" What's left out is, "By any means necessary."
+3 # HerbR 2012-06-08 07:10
....the point is that there are multiple determinants for voting one way or another, and that confining oneself to a class-based "explanation" is certain to mislead, especially among people hostile to the concept of "class", or analysts insisting that's "where they belong", regardless of their sense of selves.
In any case , so-called "economic" bases for actions or attitudes, helpful though they may be, are much too narrow.
+14 # humanmancalvin 2012-06-08 07:33
The author forgot one good reason for the countries poor/lower middle class voting against their own better interest: Google states with highest illiteracy rates, highest high school drop out rates, unwed teen pregnancy, fewest college graduates or come up with similar quests and what is it you will find? No surprise, the redder the state the higher they rank in all these sad categories. Lets face it, a less educated man/woman is more easily duped than those that have taken the time to educate themselves, possibly had educated parents, lived in a community that highly valued education. Unfortunate that so many of these dupes scream at the top of their smoke filled lungs about Obameo trampling on the constitution which they would know to be false if they could only read the document and absorb the words within. Harsh sounding, yes but true in so many cases. These folks would rather watch Bill o'Lielly on Fox go for the throat with his War on Christmas than watch Rachel Maddow wax elegant about human rights or whatever the meme of the day is being discussed. These folks love their red meat and are fed a healthy portion daily by the right.
+10 # hd70642 2012-06-08 09:41
Unfortunately educated fools exist as well I am all too aquainted with somebody who is an English teacher who attended college partially paid by evil draconian goverment funding and is a ravid randriod Ron Paul supporter . I try to mention you need food inspectors EPA etc and a basic safety net and that not all less fortunate aim to game the system but she says there are private sector solutions and the safety net made this nation's ctizens lazy .Hypercrticaly enough she collected unemployment similiarly her idol Ayn Rand was on both social security and medicade under a diffrent name of cource . I think she ought ease up on the conservative Kool aid
+7 # thomachuck 2012-06-08 10:08
Money always wins. Forget about open, honest, fair debate, and getting educated about the facts. People find a way to believe what they want to believe. The old confirmation bias at work. Inflammatory rhetoric is our newest national sport. Some people are dumb enough to think it is baseball.
+3 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 21:01
Red states also have the most porn shops. Who knew?
+10 # Floridatexan 2012-06-08 07:34
A succession of Republicans, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Obama, has literally killed our economy, except for the 1%, or possibly even the .01%. There's nothing "conservative" about's greed and lust for power, and its' inevitable outcome is a fascist state. I expect rampant electoral fraud, including electronic, in November, as has already been demonstrated in Wisconsin. What to do? Join Occupy. Write blogs. Push back against the lies of the "right".
+6 # Sensible1 2012-06-08 07:37
The majority of Americans are not conservative. All Americans share in the same moral values on average. Most Americans are not fundamental extremists, gun toting, flag waving, and baby killing fanatics either. Greed, however, separates everyone from their inherent moral values, and power is their reward. Money rules, and completely changes the dynamic, watch the conservatives vote against their moral values, and caring people shun the poor, for the sake of greed and power. Working class people vote conservative because they believe they are on the right (figuratively speaking) side of their pathway to riches. In the end, money corrupts everyone.
+8 # dick 2012-06-08 07:45
HOW on Earth can so-called "researchers" disregard the absolutely critical WHITE working class distinction noted above? Everything the article says is valuable, but RACE/RACISM cannot be overlooked. Since Holder has not prosecuted any of his Wall St. buddies, he should have been replaced by an aggressive, NOT from Wall St., and, sad to say, white A.G. a year ago. The ONLY way Obama can redeem himself is to STOP OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE for Wall St; bring on the Law&Order for banksters.
+4 # thomachuck 2012-06-08 10:03
You are right. The association with Wall Street will be used incessantly against Obama, for all the good he has done and tried to do. There is not much standing between the American people and a re-play of the 2008 financial debacle. The blame game will go on forever; only by accident will we ever have appropriate financial industry regulation.
-22 # jimattrell 2012-06-08 07:54
Most Americans wonder why union folks seem to think they're entitled to get more while "eating" their sugar daddy. Democrats kill the American Dream and strive for equal results while Conservatives offer the American Dream and strive for equal opportunity. Conservatives are more generous then liberals and believe that the individual, the community, the family and the church should help others, not the Government that wastes our taxes. If you remove the special interest groups and those who pay zero federal taxes from the Democrat Party there is not many voters left.
+8 # MEBrowning 2012-06-08 21:12
Why do rightwingers continually insist on calling it the "Democrat" Party? Are they illiterate? Ignorant? Stubborn? Bellicose? Faux News pablum-spitters ? Just askin'.
+3 # Charlie 2012-06-08 08:07
The author's basic assumption is that people know what their interests are and have accurate information about them, and that one of the two parties represents these interests. I question that any of these is true.

If you consider what the parties do, as opposed to what they say, it is clear that the one party represents private corporate interests and the other party represents public corporate interests, hardly a real choice.
+3 # Glen 2012-06-08 08:09
Comments here are pertinent. We all interpret the actions of others, including their politics according to our friends and what we see generally, when folks gather and discuss. OK, and judging by e mails we continue to receive with Republican nonsense.

Folks tend to see the world through their own mind and heart and assume political parties reflect those views. Good folks who tend to support certain values and character traits want very badly to believe there are those in the government who consider them in the agenda. We all know that is not the case.

Political parties behave in different styles simply to promote the highly lucrative game of politics. The art of propaganda is highly developed in the U.S. but due to those personal views of citizens, they are unable to see the level of propaganda and their susceptibility to it.
+2 # chinaski 2012-06-08 08:23
"But on matters relating to group loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity (treating things as sacred and untouchable, not only in the context of religion), it sometimes seems that liberals lack the moral taste buds"
You can file these three under obedience to authority. These are not about morality, but use the appearance of morality as a prod to enforce submissive behavior. This is submission to group authority, a religious or self-appointed moral authority who 'pre-sanctifies ', or a de facto authority.
This lock-step conformity makes things like going off to war very easy.
And it's ironic that the party of the Independent Man, standing Alone and Free, is anything but.
The morality that is fed to the conservative masses has a peculiar and familiar flavor. It's fear. Take a close look at the photo at the top of this article.
+13 # Bill Clements 2012-06-08 08:33
"One reason the left has such difficulty forging a lasting connection with voters is that the right has a built-in advantage – conservatives have a broader moral palate than the liberals (as we call leftists in the US)."

Really? Sounds like something a conservative would come up with. And in fact, I caught him on Bill Moyers recently. At the end of the interview, he was asked by Moyers where he himself stood politically and his response was that he leaned more to the right.

In any event, I'll easily take George LaKoff's ideas over (Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think) Haidt's. Lakoff traces the different worldviews of conservatives and liberals back to the family. Hence, the "Strict Father" model that conservatives subscribe to and the "Nurturant Parent" model that liberals subscribe to.

As for the hierarchical authority of the father, I'd add this: where have we seen that embraced? Not a particular conservative interpretation (read: fundamentalist/ evangelical) of our Judeo-Christian tradition by any chance?
+12 # mike/ 2012-06-08 08:38
what is disturbing and makes not sense is that the right/conservat ive side uses as their main reasoning behind what they do is their religion as the most important thing in their thinking.

what Haidt identifies as the left/progressiv e basis of thought: "...caring for the weak, sick and vulnerable above all other moral concerns." is the core of the right's beliefs citing their Jesus over and over and over.

i'm not sure if this is an oxymoron or more hypocritical...
+3 # 2012-06-08 08:48
The logic of this article makes no sense o me.Idealistical ly speaking neither political party runs according to its originally intended tenet.People at the helm decide what behooves them and use their persuasive power to dupe the masses into accepting their ideas as if it were their own. People as a rule prefer NOT TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES. It takes some interest and caring for other then self to understand what is at stake. Would be dictators know this and have little problem gaining power because the majority prefers to be lead instead of taking matters in their own hand in accordance to basic reasonable a rational value system applied to ALL. VALUES AND PRIORITIES ARE ALL CORRUPTED IN OUR SOCIAL ORDER. NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE what happens to the whole of society. Personal aggrandizement, power grabbing cynical override of politically ambitious moguls at the helm are enabled to dictate terms by spinning heads around until the dizzy public no longer knows which end is up!!!!!!!!!!1 HEAVEN HELP US!
-5 # miltlau 2012-06-08 09:04
I think that there is a good deal that is correct in Haidt's analysis. Moreover, the "duping" explanation is insulting to those presumably duped, and is counter-product ive.
+2 # Mrcead 2012-06-08 09:07
The only real reason why these people vote for the right is because most grew up in such a household where the key to survival is to not make waves and go with the flow like their parents did. Anyone who disagrees is perceived as a threat to the system that feeds and is immediately attacked. It is no different than in developing countries. Their immigrants to the US have the EXACT same outlook as US conservatives do - from a moral standpoint, they do not want to make waves for fear of loss of the food source by angering their hosts. These people in turn either attack or distance themselves from people who would make them look bad in the eyes of the majority.

The sad part is that conservatives routinely increase the numbers of the opposition by seeking out these perceived "threats" and declaring war on them - completely unprovoked. The conservatives are the continual antagonists and live in a hell of their own making.

I am not saying that Liberals are totally blameless, we do tend to go overboard and like to eat cake for dinner on occasion but our zealous attitude is fueled by that of conservatives. You can't very well save someone who isn't in distress. Bullies cause constant distress and in reality, disrupt any progress toward any harmony - who does that sound like?

It's not rocket science but people like to make it seem that way.
+5 # WIMadMan 2012-06-08 09:15
Unfortunately, all this talk of the Southern perspective doesn't help explain the WI vote for conservative Walker. I for one have appreciated the dialogue Haight's article has generated. Perhaps - through dialogue - we'll get at the truth of why the recall vote went strongly conservative here. It's not just "buying the lies/manipulati on" I suspect, that motivate the poor to vote against their self-interest, though I think the conservatives fometing a backlash against the "haves" by the "have nots" (at least who are have nots NOW - but more of whom werecertainly were HAVES in the 90's economy) had quite a bit to do with the vote. Pitting groups of people against each other, based on fear and/or envy seems a pretty effective motivator drummed up by the conservatives.
+18 # kyzipster 2012-06-08 09:36
Good gawd, is this guy for real?

I'd like to see how conservatives in the UK would react if their universal health care was suddenly taken away, probably the way working class conservatives in the US would react to ending SS & Medicare. Cut them a check for the money they paid into the system and leave them to fend for themselves in old age. I'm sure the free market will work it all out.

The conservatives I've known simply resent welfare, even when they receive it, it's the sum total of their ideology, it's usually thinly veiled racism. It's my opinion that the conservative movement of the last 30 years in the US has been based on this simple truth. Throw in gays, guns and abortion and you have a cult.

Welfare is a very small percentage of the budget and Republicans never do much to make cuts, they couldn't survive politically if they did. These facts will not influence a conservative and today they're really pizzed off about the $14 trillion debt from the Bush years while supporting politicians promising even more tax cuts. They seem to believe that cutting food stamps will pay for it all. They're quite delusional, this study is meaningless.
-12 # 2wmcg2 2012-06-08 09:47
A big part of the answer is gender and race. Democrats are associated with the divisive politics that Barack Obama denounced at the 2004 convention. If you are white and the cultural/politi cal elite disrespects white people, you vote for their opponents. The same is true of gender or sexual preference. No one wants to be disrespected. No one wants to be marginalized. As groups, white people and men have been politically marginalized. Even if they are poor, they vote conservative.
+14 # thomachuck 2012-06-08 09:57
The article is about the difference between reality and perception and how people can be manipulated. The grand deception being perpetrated right now on the vast majority of people (who are less than well informed and less in touch with facts) is that present day conservatism in the U.S. is what Ronald Reagan represented. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Politics is about employing fear and mistrust of "other" groups to gain power. When you inject racially motivated rhetoric (because a minority person gained the White House) into the mixture, politics turns into a kind of auto-immune disease that turns against and breaks down the organism (democracy) that created it. The hate and fear being mustered against President Obama is destroying the process of open, honest and fair debate, negotiation and compromise that were inherent in what the Constitution calls for. Ironic that we live in a country that was founded on the strength of the statement that "all men are created equal"--but, just let one of those less equal people obtain some stature and power, and the arthritic disease suddenly sets in. The fact that this is being put in a moral context is a good thing, because it IS moral. Are we our brothers' keepers or what? Nobody out there succeeds without a leg up from someone. Whatever happened to the "promote the general welfare" clause in the Preamble to the Constitution? People vote Republican because the GOP does a better dupe job than the Democrats. Too bad, so sad.
+8 # Working Class 2012-06-08 09:58
Where to start? So many good thoughts by others. The left v. right argument is an over simplification. Each of us have values that span the spectrum of social, economic and political thought. Political parties tend to package their messages into simple right-left or conservative-li beral components because its easier to sell/market. Its a whose side are you on game. With us or against us. In depth discussion about complicated issues is not easy to market, but that is exactly what is necessary in order for people to participate in their democracy . Keep in mind the first and primary principle of each party is to be in power. They each depend on raising money for their party and its candidates. We all know where they go for that money, so why kid ourselves about who is driving the bus. It is Corporate America. Whereas, I don't believe we can completely dismiss right v. left, the more relevant divide, one the corporate media won't often critically address, is the top to bottom structure of our economic system.
+9 # tenayaca 2012-06-08 10:54
Interesting take on a confusing issue. What is missing from the article is the underlying RACE issues that are often the back story for the right wing talking points. Whipping up those under-the-surfa ce racist attitudes is at the core of many of the so-called "values." Take a good look at Robert Greenwald's new film, KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED. These descendants of a John Birch father are funding much of the on-going propaganda that is destroying what little democracy is left in the country.
+5 # odw 2012-06-08 11:34
Carl Schurz, an officer in the Civil War and a US Senator in 1872 said,“ My country right or wrong. When right to be kept right, when wrong to be put right. That's a moral taste bud worth supporting.
-29 # jimattrell 2012-06-08 11:52
Gosh, the "koolaide" is working, I'm sitting at a GOP state convention as I write this, serving as a volunteer, and the place is jambed packed with every nationality imaginable and the delegates and state representatives are predominately female and any race except white. You see, conservatives (except for some nut casas out there) don't see color or sex. We see people. So seek ye the truth and ye shall find. And please stop spreading nonsense...
+13 # dyannne 2012-06-08 13:53
Ha Ha Ha. No whites there, huh? And mostly female? Another big har de har har. Go peddle your lies to Faux News, where people believe in myths and fairy tales.
+7 # pernsey 2012-06-08 14:24
The only nonsense I see Jim is yours!
+9 # humanmancalvin 2012-06-08 17:38
The convention is taking place on Fantasy Island is it?
+18 # jwb110 2012-06-08 11:59
Americans vote Republican and against their own best interest because the GOP uses fear, fear, fear to manipulate them. Dupes is all they are.
+6 # vimilimitex 2012-06-08 13:28
According to the author's interpretation of his own data, Jesus would be persecuted once again, this time by "Christian" right fundamentalists . They certainly would not vote for him. Hitler would get a lot of votes from them though.
+3 # engelbach 2012-06-08 13:37
One thing I agree with Haidt about is that the Democrats don't know how to sell themselves.

Everything they supposedly stand for comes wrapped in a lukewarm package.

People don't have only moralistic interests. They want to know that their Social Security and Medicare are protected, that their jobs won't be outsourced. And a majority want the rich taxed higher and the wars ended.

The Democrats state (some of) these things, but by no stretch do they sell them. They have no urgency to pick up on and proclaim loudly what the majority has already says it wants.

So single-payer healthcare was never on the table, nor a jobs bill, nor ending the wars, nor prosecuting the war criminals, and so on.

Romney is ahead in the polls. Romney would cut taxes further for the rich and reintroduce the Ryan budget. Where is the Democratic outrage at these things, the president's bully pulpit, the populist agitation on behalf of people's own class against the predatory rich?

Being reasonable is not enough. But then, the Democrats are in many ways no better than GOP-lite, so their message is a not a compelling counter to the demagoguery of the right.
+4 # ladybug 2012-06-08 15:55
The puzzle for me is, on the Liberty/Oppress ion value, we ignore that the MARKET oppresses. So, I work really hard at a really low wage because of the market and can't afford basic health care because the MARKET has priced it out of my reach.
How will the conservatives with this value address this oppression? Can I get LIBERTY from the MARKET? Will the MARKET please leave me alone to do what I need to do?
-11 # Martintfre 2012-06-09 02:38
Quoting ladybug:
The puzzle for me is, on the Liberty/Oppression value, we ignore that the MARKET oppresses. So, I work really hard at a really low wage because of the market and can't afford basic health care because the MARKET has priced it out of my reach.
How will the conservatives with this value address this oppression? Can I get LIBERTY from the MARKET? Will the MARKET please leave me alone to do what I need to do?

If we actually had a free market in health care and insurance then you would see the virtues of Liberty in keeping prices down and quality up.
0 # Jems 2012-06-08 19:06
Typical response from someone who doesn't agree:
0 # Jems 2012-06-08 19:17
Found this article. Never takes this guys long to counter strike with their twist on it:
+3 # claudesteiner 2012-06-08 19:27
The point is that people will vote their values. Conservative values are correctly assessed by Haidt as loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity which is probably a correct. What happens next is that there needs to be a propaganda campaign that brainwashes conservatives into believing that liberals have no loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.

That is being successfully done at this time by the very skillful myth makers of the Right combined with the endless pots of money of their bosses. "Liberals spit on the sanctity of marriage and human life!" "Obama is a Muslim, secretly disloyal to America and capitalism; an European style Socialist!" Say that often enough and a conservative will vote accordingly.

Liberals need to stay with the caring and fairness PR agenda, but need to add loyalty (to the Constitution, the military etc) sanctity and respect for tradition in their message. I see that Obama is doing at least some of that.
+6 # Innocent Victim 2012-06-09 08:53
Perhaps the answer to Professor Haight's astute observations would be to show that the values conservatives profess are not achieved by their policies - and they know it. That makes them hypocrites and liars.
+5 # Carbonman1950 2012-06-09 00:30
I find much in this article I suspect it would be wise to think on and I will not discard its suggestions out of hand. However, there is one line about which I wish to comment... the assertion that "conservatives" are unlikely to "sign a piece of paper stating one's willingness to sell his soul" IMO the assertion is true, but it is also true IMO that "conservatives" are more likely to actually sell their souls albeit all the while denying and rationalizing away the notion that they are doing so.

This is the essence of contemporary "conservatism". The ability to believe one is promoting constructive policies while faced with irrefutable evidence that those policies are harming millions of people including themselves.
+2 # Innocent Victim 2012-06-09 08:40
Professor Haight has made a most valuable contribution to understanding the behavior of the US voter. Better education would seem to be needed to change the moral emphasis. Education is in the hands of the state, and we know who controls the state. Thus, it does not seem possible to affect much change.
Only a catastrophic consequence of right-wing political success can change anything, regrettably.
-5 # Radial1971 2012-06-09 14:30
Interesting article.
Here are some additional thoughts. Under the care/harm, many conservatives do care about the weak and the vulnerable. However, when caring for the weak and vulnerable also means tax dollars for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, many conservatives also care about another weak and vulnerable population - the unborn. Yet when conservatives don't want tax dollars to go for Planned Parenthood, conservatives are accused of being uncaring towards women and the weak and vulnerable. Does private donations to AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling come into consideration? Or other ministries and private funding towards other groups that care for the weak and vulnerable? Apparently, it's only tax dollars which go specifically for that which the left supports that counts as being caring. I know many caring conservatives who care very deeply about the weak and the vulnerable and know the difference, too.
+2 # trevorlasvegas 2012-06-09 15:20
Is it possible that not everyone is a money-grubbing whore and that many people make their decisions based on other factors?
I don't see any liberals complaining that some very wealthy people who "vote against their economic interests."
It's a good thing that not everyone is just motivated by money because nobody would be able to read or write if that were the case.
+2 # hd70642 2012-06-10 06:33
One of The main delusions of conservative philosophy is self sufficancy very few people have gotten by with out assistance from either family friends or that mean old draconian provider the government. Conservative philosophy is more of an advertised product than a viable way of thinking . It amounts to the biggest fraud of folks who claim to have did it on their own but deny they ever had the assistance that was unavailable to others and folks that are more swindlers than actual innovators and the only recycling conservatives are in favor of are ideas long since disproven . Also where are the superior folks that social darwinism promised to produce from tax beaks deregulation gutting the social safety net out sourceing etc.? Sorry real Darwinism never made such elaborate promises Cock roaches have been the same for 100 million years
bacteria for billions of years
Yes because of the simple design they adapt to adversity but adapting to adversity is not advancing and unless the proper precautions are taken the society could resemble the movie idiocracy . Yes standards should be raised but elimanting summer school and tutoring programs is no way to acheive the higher standards especially for the most disadvantaged folks !!!
+3 # Mrcead 2012-06-10 08:38
Have you ever tried to reason with black or white dualistic thinking people? They have been indoctrinated since childhood to yield to their value toting party leaders, even when their gut says not to. There is no fix for that en masse other than total system collapse or death.
-1 # shraeve 2012-06-10 15:18
The real reason is that liberals are seen as bringing the society closer to totalitarianism , whereas conservatives are seen as defending freedom.
+3 # kyzipster 2012-06-12 07:21
Yes, freedom from OSHA, the EPA, sensible regulations to protect workers, consumers and investors, SS and Medicare, Big Bird..

We're living in a communist state (sarcasm)
+3 # hd70642 2012-06-10 17:30
If being in favor of potable water, breathable air eatable food, minimum wage, overtime pay safety standards for workplace, and consumer goods public education a safety net for unemployed the impoverished and elderly being against child labor makes me a radical than so be it !!!
What freedoms being stole are conservatives raving about .Even with a libertarian regime taxes would be collected via a burden some un fair sales taxes . What to exploit and abuse the workers and the enviroment cheat consumers. The freedom to let the undserving pershish the freedom to have unliceance contractors do shoddy work and quack physcians and remedies run wild . To all Ron Paul supporters put down the drugs and pick up a history books.Nobody sane would want to go back to the overly romanticized era of the 19 the century with it's Sweet shops slums and slavery Dicken's sagas were good stories not economic role models .
+1 # kyzipster 2012-06-12 07:19
Well said.
+2 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2012-06-10 18:12
The Democratic Party doesn't believe in or stand up for anything. Look at Mild-Mannered Obama, whose good manners may endear him to Wall Street but whose sense for what just might inspire the hoi polloi is never anywhere to be seen. Referring to Wall Street and the Bankers of his time, FDR said, "I welcome their hatred." Obama says, "See? I'm polite." What about Wisconsin. Where was the Prez? Nowhere to be seen... The working class is without leadership...
+5 # purplelion 2012-06-10 22:45
Let's be clear. Liberals know what they stand for. We stand for health care for all, social and economic justice, the end of corporate rule, clean and fair elections, the end of voter suppression, the need to stop global warming, public education for all to name a few. Okay and I don't even want to get started on that taste bud analogy bulls---he was slinging like
hash. But just stop and think about what he's saying in his little the-tongue-is-t he moral-mind metaphor. He says the most important moral values are loyalty, respect for authority and a new social order that promotes people taking care of themselves and not depending on the government. He says, "The left has a tendency to place caring for the weak, sick and vulnerable above all other moral concerns." He says that as if it's a bad thing. Sounds like the same Jesus they profess to worship and in fact demand people worship if they want to be a real American; but oddly enough they hate you if you actually do the things Jesus taught. Have I mentioned how much I hate Republicans?

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