Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 14, 2011, 8:50 a.m. EST by amirflesher
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The Moral Foundations theory (http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/mft/index.php) is hard to summarize, but its a system that was formulated to try and understand why morality varies so drastically in different cultures. There are five main foundations comprising the Moral Foundations Theory, and they are Harm and Care, Fairness and Reciprocity, In-group and Loyalty, Authority and Respect, Purity and Sanctity. Sometimes Liberty and Constraint is considered a foundation. You can take an online test at Haidt's website to find out how much you value each foundation. But this theory doesn't only apply to individuals. It can be applied to groups of like minded individuals. Haidt's research indicates that self identified liberals' sense of morality is based primarily in care/harm and fairness, while they do not much value the other three foundations. Conservatives, on the other hand, value all five foundations, but value harm/care and fairness less than they do the other three foundations. Haidt has also specifically applied the Moral Foundation Theory to Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.
When visiting Zuccoti Park to test his Moral Foundations theory on the OWS protest, Jonathan Haidt found that the main moral foundation was,, fairness. This shouldn’t come as a shock, because the protestors of OWS really want nothing but to be treated equally and fairly. They feel that the government is influenced too much by corporations, and this negatively impacts those who fall in the 99% range (the non-rich people).
The OWS protest is also about fairness because it is very into taking and giving back. I mean, a huge part of the reason that everyone is so mad at the corporations and Wall Street is because they have sort of just taken without giving. And I think that the people of OWS really not only want to be treated fairly, but they want everyone to work fairly as well to receive what they earn.
Haidt found that fairness as the number one moral foundation of OWS was followed by care and then liberty. These both also pretty much tie in with the fairness that OWS is calling for. The three moral foundations that weren’t really high on the list for the protestors of OWS were loyalty, sanctity, and authority.
But for the Tea Party, Liberty is definitely their number one foundation. The Tea Party very strongly believes that the government shouldn’t have so much influence over us like they do now. They feel that the people of the United States should be able to do what we feel like doing, as long as it is harming no one.
Interestingly, with a study done on 152,000 people of the Tea Party, Haidt found that the people of the Tea Party are actually somewhat more like liberals than Conservatives. Libertarians are only closer to Conservatives on 2 of the 5 main foundations- care and fairness. But with the other three foundations, group loyalty, respect for authority and spiritual sanctity, they were found to be much closer to the liberals’ moral foundations.
To me, in general, this Moral Foundation theory does make sense. I mean, the results I got when I took the test were pretty much right around where I thought they would be. I feel like, for the most part, that they kind of tied right in with my beliefs.