Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most. And he challenges all of us to step outside of our moral Matrix and pledge to work toward a more civil, productive political process. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:42.)
Here is a more provocative essay by Haidt entitled "What Makes People Vote Republican?". (HT Jason) Arnold Kling has several posts on Haidt here, here, and here.Will Wilkinson has a video interview Haidt about the psychology of morality and an article about why Democrats should pay more attention to Haidt and less to Lakoff. Wilkonson appears to be a big Haidt fan and writes:
Interestingly, I think Jon and I have a pretty fundamental disagreement about the implications of his theory. I think it actually helps to vindicate the authority of secular liberal morality, and, together with social indicators data, gives us reason to push for a more thoroughgoingly liberal culture. Jon thinks it helps us see what’s valuable in conservative moralities, and that we need a sort of balanced moral ecosystem of different kinds of moralities. Sadly, this all came up at the end, and we didn’t get to dig in as much as I’d have liked.Haidt is also the author of The Happiness Hypothesis, a book I've had on my to read for some time now. I may have to bump it up a few places.
For the record, I completely agree with Haidt -- liberals and conservatives need each other and have a lot to learn from one another. I wish more people would begin to dialogue better and stop demonizing their political opponents.