"...the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other
(as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together
, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way." When Republicans say that Democrats 'just don't get it,' this is the 'it' to which they refer."
Jonathan Haidt. He also gives "the first rule of moral psychology: feelings come first and tilt the mental playing field
on which reasons and arguments compete. If people want to reach a conclusion, they can usually find a way to do so. The Democrats have historically failed to grasp this rule, choosing uninspiring and aloof candidates who thought that policy arguments were forms of persuasion." This is what Thandeka wrote in Tikkun
Haidt gives this example: "The book of Leviticus makes a lot more sense when you think of ancient lawgivers first sorting everything into two categories: 'disgusts [the ancient lawgiver]' (gay male sex, menstruation, pigs, swarming insects) and 'disgusts [that lawgiver] less' (gay female sex, urination, cows, grasshoppers )."
Moral laws were formulated to explain, or at least codify, their disgust. And
note that their common disgusts contributed to their group identity.
Haidt offers this definition: "morality is any system of interlocking values, practices, institutions, and psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible." He believes that societies must do five things: protect the vulnerable, legislate fairness, and promote loyalty, respect and purity. The first two are class Liberal values; the latter are classic Conservative values.
Haidt says these five foundations, harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect and purity/sanctity, are all part of our evolutionary past, and all necessary for a rich society. He offers ways for Liberals to understand and authentically promote all five of these. ("Environmental and animal welfare issues are easily promoted using the language of harm/care, but such appeals might be more effective when supplemented with hints of purity/sanctity.")
At first, I disagreed with this paragraph: "A recent study by Robert Putnam (titled E Pluribus Unum) found that ethnic diversity increases anomie and social isolation by decreasing people's sense of belonging to a shared community. Democrats should think carefully, therefore, about why they celebrate diversity. If the purpose of diversity programs is to fight racism and discrimination (worthy goals based on fairness concerns), then these goals might be better served by encouraging assimilation and a sense of shared identity."
Then I imagined doing both--upholding individual rights and fairness, *and* building shared identity. The ol' UU "both/and." That seems like a better--more inclusive, probably more effective--approach. *Ding!* This is Thandeka, too: rather than beginning from "fairness," honor our shared identity (all human, all wounded, all doing what we can) and build toward fairness from there.
This post is already way too long, but it feels like something important is happening here. Feedback is welcome.