Edge: WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN? By Jonathan Haidt — This is an excellent research piece that also links to an interesting test to see if you are naturally inclined to be liberal or conservative. While slanted toward academic thinking there are some simple take-aways here.

What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?

People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.

Most interesting comment within the post:

Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American; Author, Why Darwin Matters; and How We Believe

The Conscious of the Conservative

Two cheers for Jonathan Haidt’s essay. At long last a liberal academic social scientist has recognized (and had the courage to put into print) the inherent bias built into the study of political behavior—that because Democrats are so indisputably right and Republicans so unquestionably wrong, conservatism must be a mental disease, a flaw in the brain, a personality disorder that leads to cognitive malfunctioning. Thus, Haidt is mostly right when he asks us to move beyond such “diagnoses” and remember “the second rule of moral psychology is that 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. When Republicans say that Democrats ‘just don’t get it,’ this is the ‘it’ to which they refer.”

Take the morality test here.

  1. FYI says:

    You linked to a session. The account of kweguard-etc@yahoo.com is logged in on that site.

  2. Someone says:


    They would like a little more foreplay before they get screwed.

  3. Malcolm says:


    Well, being an asshole helps.

    What did you think the consequences of anal sex were? Now you know. Sort of makes you cringe at the thought of GHW Bush and Barbra in bed… but it IS the only logical explanation for “W”!

  4. Rick Cain says:

    A simple explanation:

    1) REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVISM – A black & white view of the world. Very appealing, no troubling gray areas of morality to deal with. Answers are easy, no need to question them. Intellectualism is shunned as elitism, so it appeals to those who think they are talked down to by smart people (global warming scientists, darwinists, astronomers, etc…)

    3) DEMOCRATIC LIBERALISM – An all gray area view of the world. Not appealing to those who are unwilling to view the world as a very complex system. Offers few answers but offers lots of problems to solve. There is no one solution to a problem, everything is difficult. Morality is murky, benchmarks are few. Appeals to the more intellectual as a mental challenge.

  5. #94 – Rick Cain,

    1) Darwinists? What is a Darwinist? Do you mean someone who believes in overwhelming evidence? Or, do you mean someone who worships Darwin as a deity or prophet? I have a fairly good understanding of evolution and respect Darwin a lot. But, I don’t consider myself a Darwinist.

    3) What happened to 2?

  6. MajorBob says:

    EVOLUTION: The Human geneome contains a mix of genes for instinct from early “focus on the family” societies and later “it takes a village” societies. http://www.politicalspecies.com

    this creates distinctly different neurology:


    Social conditioning the software programming that goes into our physical hardware) shapes the rest.

  7. T Classen says:

    Since everything is so black and white and so uncomplicated in the Republican mind it is no wonder that they have failed so miserably with their Kleptocracy and had to bail themselves out in the eleventh hour. No person has ever been able to name one thing that they have done to raise the level of the middle class in the past eight years. I too work my butt off only to have my future mortgaged to the tune of five possibly many more trillions of dollars for no infrastructural improvements of any note beyond the acquisition of more weapons for a useless, unjust and fraudulent war in Iraq.


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