Two Moralities: Conservatives, Liberals, and the Roots of Our Political Divide

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Two Moralities: Conservatives, Liberals, and the Roots of Our Political Divide
The most complete picture to date of the moral worlds of the political left and right and how their different views relate to specific political issues

The left and right will always have strong policy disagreements, but constructive debate is not possible when ideologies are distorted and weaponized to the point that there is no common ground for discussion. In this book, the social psychologist Ronnie Janoff-Bulman provides a new framework for understanding why and how we disagree.

She asks readers to consider the possibility that, amid the current poisonous politics in the United States, the motives of both liberalism and conservatism are morally based and reflect genuine concern for the country. Moral psychology is an invaluable lens for understanding the roots of political differences. Janoff-Bulman presents a "Model of Moral Motives" that maps the most fundamental motivations recognized by psychology--approach and avoidance--onto these differences. Conservatives' motive to protect the group and liberals' motive to provide for the group's well-being help us understand why different positions resonate on each side of the political spectrum. Why, for example, do conservatives oppose abortion and favor unfettered free markets while liberals favor a woman's right to choose and economic regulation? The two moralities ground these positions in naturally occurring psychological differences between liberals and conservatives and show why a well-balanced society, like a well-balanced individual, requires both sets of motives.

Publication Date: 
April 18, 2023