There are many lenses through which to view the roots of our political polarization and deteriorating public discourse. In a previous blog, I suggested that Haidt’s six moral foundations (listed below) may provide a useful starting point for discussing ways to work through our collective dysfunction.
- Care/Harm: cherishing and protecting others from harm. Stemming from the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children.
- Fairness/Cheating: rendering justice according to shared rules. Stemming from the challenge of groups reaping rewards of cooperation without getting exploited.
- Loyalty/Betrayal: standing with your group, family, tribe, or nation. Stemming from the challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions, as well as intragroup cohesion.
- Authority/Subversion: submitting to tradition and legitimate authority. Stemming from the challenge of forming beneficial relationships within social hierarchies.
- Sanctity/Purity: abhorrence of disgusting foods and actions. Stemming from the omnivore’s dilemma requiring a varied but safe diet.
- Liberty/Oppression: freedom from coercion by a dominating power. Stemming from the challenge of living in groups with individuals who would unwantedly dominate others.