Is Polarization Programmed?

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In making political decisions and any moral decision, people attempt to choose the action that will be the most correct; the one that will make them the most happy in the end. This is done, according to Haidt, by a more intuitive than reasoned process. He cites brain scan studies that have shown that people respond to questions about the morality of an action (incest for example) before any reasoning occurs, and that the reasons given are just justifications for a decision that has already been made. Further, people don't evaluate arguments based on reason, and that if people are given the opportunity to look into an argument for 2 to 3 minutes they often reassess strong convictions presented earlier. Haidt identifies six foundational values that people have. Care for others ,Fairness or Justice, Loyalty to your group, family, nation, Respect for tradition and legitimate authority, Purity or Sanctity, avoiding disgusting things, foods, actions, Liberty/oppression. Appeals to these six values are likely to impact people's actions. This is one of his explanations for the popularity of conservatism as it appeals to all six, while liberalism focuses on only care and liberty. Haidt offers solutions to the uncompromising nature of politics including opening up primaries to the entire electorate or preventing gerrymandering. Haidt offers interesting scientific explanations for moral phenomena that exist across cultures in The Happiness Hypothesis and in The Righteous Mind; he talks about the role of psychology in politics.

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I thought this was a very interesting topic. I have often pondered professor's comments about right and wrong and a moral framework. Where do they get their standard? While some of Haidt's values may be true, what dictates which is right. Is Liberty or oppression correct? If someones liberty causes a sort of oppression for someone else is that liberty wrong? Life is so rich and so complicated it is so hard to narrow it down to six values. We have quite a task ahead of us using out intuition and reason to figure out what is correct and true.

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This page contains a single entry by thibo026 published on April 24, 2012 11:03 PM.

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