Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ideological Divides III – Morals and Personality

This is the third instalment of the Ideological Divides series; click here to read the first instalment and here to read the second …

If we take a look at the different moral values of those of the left Vs the right, it ought to be no surprise that we often face deadlock over not merely politics per-se but economic policy measures resulting from them. Consider the statements below:

  • Of all virtues, compassion is the most significant
  • If we allow the lazy and/or unsuccessful to fail and suffer the consequences of their poor decisions and inactions, tough love will compel corrective action.

Leftists obviously endorse the compassion statement but it may surprise that so do conservatives, the real difference is a matter of degree as the latter endorse both statements equally though more mildly.

The term Karma is normally associated with spirituality and a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Taoism and yet, however inadvertently, it plays a role in the psychology of the archetypal conservative in terms of ones reaping the fruits (good and bad) of their actions. It is worth noting that karma is not a law of the universe or physical world, though traditionalists, aka the conservative classes, sometimes come off sounding as if they believe it is - such is their conviction.

This explains why they are lukewarm about assisting the unsuccessful - not to be confused with the less fortunate – via the welfare state, or unsuccessful nations (Greece) via loans, and companies via industry assistance and/or outright bailouts.

Political behaviour is strongly motivated by people's underlying psychological needs and through this deep motivator’s determine one's political preferences.  A University of Toronto study concluded that:
“… While everybody has the same motivational architecture, the relative strength of the underlying systems varies from one person to the next. If concerns for order and equality are relatively balanced, the individual is likely to be politically moderate or restrained, as either grows stronger than the other, political preferences move further to either left or right of the spectrum…”
The study also links values to biological and genetic heritage factors.
“This means you have to take a deeper view of political and morality in terms of where these motives are coming from as political preferences do not emerge from a simple rational consideration of the issues”
I believe that a basic understanding of why we differ can benefit the arbitrations of our parliaments and society in general through greater empathy.  

As I concluded in the first instalment of this series, all ideological divides assist a nation to flourish and the abovementioned study suggests this to be true.
“There are costs and benefits to each political profile and both appear critical to maintaining an effective balance in society”  
In the next instalment of this series, I will look deeper into how biology can exert an influence on political beliefs and behaviours ahead of the last posting that will ask the most pertinent of questions, progressives, leftists (Liberals) or Conservatives - who is right, what is truth?

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