An intresting essay over at The Edge by Jonathan Haidt about the moral considerations that differentiate Democrats from Republicans. This is a long essay but well worth the read. Here are a few exerpts that make some of Haidt’s key points:
"… 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."
"Here’s my alternative definition [of morality]: 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. "
The two foundations that underlie traditional views of morality (i.e. rules and practices for how we relate to each other) are rules governing harm/care and fairness/reciprocity.
"My recent research shows that social conservatives do indeed rely upon those two foundations, but they also value virtues related to three additional psychological systems: ingroup/loyalty (involving mechanisms that evolved during the long human history of tribalism), authority/respect (involving ancient primate mechanisms for managing social rank, tempered by the obligation of superiors to protect and provide for subordinates), and purity/sanctity (a relatively new part of the moral mind, related to the evolution of disgust, that makes us see carnality as degrading and renunciation as noble). "
According to Haidt’s research, Democrats or self-described liberals tend to emphasize only the first two principles with Republicans or social concervatives value all five.