There’s a recent book out called The Righteous Mind that has an interesting take on how we analyse morality, and how this analysis differs between Liberals and Conservatives. The thesis is that rather than being rational, morality is largely informed by instinctive feelings – and these feelings differ in a significant way between the two political groupings. While both groupings are motivated by considerations of Fairness and Care/Harm Prevention, the Conservatives also refer to notions of Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity/Purity to which the Liberal wing are, on average, tone-deaf to.
One end result being that the Liberals get all aerated about how those dumb Conservatives spend so much energy on stuff that is Obviously Completely Irrelevant because they are So Dumb It Isn’t True (Or Maybe They Are Evil Instead).
The characterisation of Liberal concerns fits me well – the poem “Girls!” by Stevie Smith gets my take on Loyalty and Authority spot-on, and I view notions of Sanctity with the bemused incomprehension of a Martian Anthropologist.
That’s fine and all, but then the question is how a Liberal political movement can hope to engage a stable majority coalition if it’s blind to 60% of the base moral drivers of, say, 50% of the voting population. The answer is that they have to at least be conscious of these drivers and not pretend they don’t exist when framing political issues.