- Harm: whether someone is harmed or harm is reduced.
- Reciprocity: whether something is fair and treats people fairly and justly.
- In-group: whether something betrays the group.
- Hierarchy: whether something is respectful of authority and superiors.
- Purity: whether or not something is disgusting.
Liberal minded people only look at the first two while conservatives look at all five of them. My first impression was, why on earth would you even consider the bottom three when dealing with morals? Surely, they do not apply? But then, on reflection, the other three also make sense.
Professor's Haidt's book is still not out yet, but it made sense. There is no debate about the first two, I would guess, but lets take the next three. The in-group one is quite powerful if a bit alien in today's western societies. This is the group relating from the family to the neighbourhood to the locality to the city to the society to the nation. And morals do apply from the family up to the nation. I mean, you would not do anything that will betray the family, would you? That is based upon a moral judgement.
Then comes the Hierarchy bit. Do we need to be respectful of authority and superiors? Generally yes, there are there for a reason, one can challenge it, but the default position is that that position has to be respected. Otherwise what about parental control over children? or teachers over children? or lecturers over children? or policemen over criminals or a corporate life? or anywhere there is a ranking? There is a place for challenge and being a maverick but all the time? Hmmm, on the balance, I would have said no.
Here's a great and related story that I read today when hierarchy vanishes or is reduced. What will children grow up to if they have no evidence of or respect for their parents, teachers and the like? Would I judge a child who does not respect his parents? Yes, I would. I rebelled against my parents, teachers, society and the like, but to what extent? You did too. But perhaps taking to the extreme is not good either so morals do apply.
Finally, the purity bit. Could be, could well be. Your personal view on morals can be judged on whether or not something is disgusting. Say short skirts, or long hair. Would that be a symptom of degeneracy? Or utilising SMS speak in your emails or essays? (I was horrified to see this language in emails from a pretty senior lady, gobsmacking) I am a purist in that case, but then my editor gets upset with me for my punctuation mistakes which are huge. Morals? surely yes.
So, yes, I am afraid I am sounding like a conservative, no? but there you go. What do you think?