Sunday, 23 October 2016

The moral roots of liberals and conservatives.

Jonathan Haidt in this TED talk notes that “being open to new experiences” is a key predictor of political allegiance. Liberals crave novelty, new ideas, travel. Conservatives like dependability, routine, order and are low on openness to new experiences. 

Probably this is true, but I am very open to new experiences and new ideas, love travel, love foreigners, hate routine and convention yet become more and more conservative. I suppose I am a conservative for others but not for me or my close friends. 

Sometimes it is confusing being paradoxical all the time, but mostly I am used to it.

Perhaps this is why is why I tend not to warm to many conservatives, not the ones who seem narrow-spirited or the ones whose interest in conservatism is mostly focussed on low taxes. I prefer reactionaries. I used to like liberals and lefties but now I see their limitations. They usually seem narrow minded and unable to play with ideas.

Of course, travel and novelty do not necessarily make you broad-minded, any more than left-wing views. Malcolm Muggeridge once said
Travel, of course, narrows the mind

and Noel Coward asked

Why Do the Wrong People Travel?

if you click on that link you'll hear Elaine Stitch singing it very well.


  1. I haven't listened to that TED talk but if that's what that man thinks are the character differences between liberals and conservatives then that's the biggest oversimplification I have ever heard and he's a very unintelligent man.

  2. I am more conservative than many of my friends, but gravitate toward liberals -- US conservatives have a scary hate streak, and liberals seem kinder, more open-minded and likelier to give people more benefit of the doubt. PC can be infuriating but luckily the liberals I know mostly laugh at it.

    1. I find my American friends are usually Democrats - fiscal conservatives are off-putting - Catholic religious right is attractive. But this anti racist obsession is worrying - Republicans as well as Dems are obsessed by it. And PC is dangerous.

    2. I find myself agreeing with much that Ann Coulter says these days.

    3. fiscal conservatives are off-putting


      Speculating about the differences between liberals and conservatives is meaningless unless you first define what those terms mean. And the meanings of those terms have changed radically in the past half century.

      People who describe themselves as liberals are these days quite likely to be authoritarian statists, which is pretty much the exact opposite of a liberal.

      And fiscal conservatives and free market enthusiasts do not seem to me to be conservative at all. They reject tradition. They're actually radicals.