New scientific model can predict moral and political development

According to this study in Nature Human Behavior, in time frames about fairness and preventing harm triumph over those about loyalty, purity and authority. The latter might succeed temporarily, like now in the US, but the more the former frames are strongly and repeatedly reinforced the quicker the results. Let’s keep up our passionate frames, for this research supports that we will overcome the dark forces that have a temporary hold on our government. Also see Kohlberg‘s moral stages, showing that the former frames are more developed that the latter set.

“Their conclusion is that the key characteristic of opinions that gain ground is that they are supported by arguments about what is fair and what does not cause harm to others. […] Opinions based on other classical grounds used to determine right and wrong actions—loyalty, authority, purity, religion—can gain support temporarily, but over time, opinions based on these arguments lose support all over the political spectrum. The stronger the connection an opinion has to arguments about fairness and harm, the greater the probability that it will gain ground in public opinion. Also, the stronger the connection is, the faster the change will come.”

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Paul Watson
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Paul Watson

Thank you for this, Ed. Interesting. And I think it makes logical sense. Loyalty, authority and purity are to do with (reflections of) accepting and living according a culture’s moral/contractual boilerplate. But, individuals have to make on-going cost-benefit analyses of adhering to their culture’s boilerplate. Unless they are very deeply brainwashed or very afraid of the authorities, a person’s more immediate and more or less constant (even if nonconscious) checks on the efficacy of that boilerplate vis-a’-vis their fitness are going to be based, a lot, on observations of fairness and harm to kith and kin it generates. I’ll check… Read more »