It’s by Jonathan Haidt, a cultural anthropologist at UVA, who works on morality and emotion across cultures. His opening salvo also functions as a summary of the article, reminding us that while liberals tend to privilege individual rights, conservatives tend to privilege forces (like authority and hierarchy and rules) which tend to build strong social bounds.
...the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats "just don't get it," this is the "it" to which they refer.
He then goes on to map the moral dimensions that support these two world-views--the Dem’s enlightenment-individualist world view and G.O.P’s interest in social cohesion—across five dimensions: harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity.
It’s probably not a huge surprise that liberals tend to be pretty dismissive of the last two dimensions. Purity? More surprising, according to Haidt’s research, who is himself a self-described liberal, is that people who are more likely to vote Republican tend to be interested more well-rounded in their moral concerns, equally invested in all these dimensions. Liberals, on the other hand, care about a more a more narrow definition of morality, one that privileges just the first two dimensions.
He then goes on to suggest some interesting and provocative strategic angles: including questioning the value of “diversity” as a moral virtue (because it tends to weaken social cohesion). The article leaves a lot of unanswered questions, not least how Liberals and Conservations position economic (vs. social) policy in relation to these dimensions, but it’s still an intriguing and useful perspective. Check it out here.