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Saturday, May 23, A.D. 2009
Your Morals

If you like to waste time in a narcissistic manner, you are probably familiar with online personality and political tests. I find these tests mildly entertaining, though the results always annoy me. The questions are just too ambiguous; one needs clarifications and contexts to give sincere answers. It is for this reason that I consistently test as a political “moderate” when it is clear that I would be considered a far right reactionary extremist by most Americans. When the tests crank out their results, I am usually paired up with Tony Blair. It is insulting!

If you are in to this sort of thing, I recommend an online test that Jonathan Haidt manages and uses in his research in morality—YourMorals.Org. There are several different tests on the site that you can do, and they are fairly interesting. Haidt has a political angle in his research, as well. He proposes that Americans’ political loyalties parallel their moral intuitions. You may read his article, “When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals may not Recognize.” Unfortunately, Haidt does not seem to consider that his (Leftist) definition of justice may be incorrect. This shortsightedness must lead to distortions in his research, since the terms “fair” and “just” that his test uses have significantly different meanings for different test takers. In trying to determine how the American Right and Left factor the notion of equality in their morality, Haidt’s test ought to frame the questions such that “fairness” does not translate into equality. If the test consistently worded its questions so, I believe that the results for conservatives would differ even more so from the results of Leftists.

Below, you can see a graphic depiction of my own answers to one of his morality tests. The test measures how much one’s morals depends on Haidt’s five sources for moral values. The green bar represents my answers, the blue bar those of “Liberals” (sic), and the red bar those of “Conservatives.”

As I have stated, the “fairness” section is rather inaccurate because it begs the question. Besides that objection, I think that Haidt should add another value source—order. I think that his “purity” category jumbles up the notions of purity and order. Though I can see a resemblance between the two, they cannot be reduced to one another. Moreover, I think much of the stock in authority derives from a value of order. Authority is often simply instrumental to order.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, May 23, Anno Domini 2009
Philosophy | EthicsComments
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