It is, for many conservatives, a familiar feeling – the sense that our counterparts on the liberal left not only disagree with us, but don’t even understand us.
Well, it seems there is hard evidence to support our suspicions. It comes from an unlikely source – the American psychologist (and political liberal) Jonathan Haidt. The basis of his research is a framework of five moral ‘foundations’: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sacredness/degradation. Gathering masses of survey data (to which you can contribute here), Haidt and his colleagues have built-up a detailed picture of the degree to which these various foundations underpin the liberal and conservative worldviews.
In a book review for Prospect, David Goodhart provides an excellent summary of Haidt’s findings:
Haidt’s recommendation to his fellow liberals is to make a greater effort to understand conservative concerns:
For David Goodhart – a prominent liberal opponent of multiculturalism – the Haidt approach is the “last chance for the left.” However, one might also argue that if you start acting upon conservative moral insights you might as well become a conservative.