Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, January 26, 2020 06:09:47 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Between Politics And Morality It Might Not Be What Usually Thought

By
08th-Dec-2019       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin :
It sure feels as though American politics has become increasingly polarised in recent years. And there is good reason to think this is not just because you had to sit through a holiday dinner with that aunt and uncle. Moreover, it is not just happening here. Much ink has been spilled of late dissecting the rise of extreme political ideologies worldwide, especially on the far right. Despite the apparent threats to liberal democracy, it is tempting to take comfort in the thought that our shared humanity and moral commitments will keep the political tides at bay. People, it may seem, will only be willing to follow their political leaders so far before the moral brakes kick in.
A rising chorus of voices has begun sounding the alarm that this optimism amounts to wishful thinking. When the cruelty becomes the point, morality no longer functions as a guardrail for politics. Rather, people's sense of right and wrong is coopted for political ends. When political ideology is in the driver's seat, a more extreme, polarised political landscape readily gives way to a more depraved moral reality. In the name of 'us,' 'they' must suffer.
Bleak as it may be, this pessimistic warning is not without merit. It is founded on the thought that morality is no match for politics. And the available evidence suggests there may be something to this. Recent research suggests that political ideology likely shapes moral judgment, and not the other way around.
The inspiration for this research is Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which posits five (or six) evolved psychological mechanisms that combine in various ways to produce rapid, intuitive evaluative judgments and explains differences in political orientation in terms of differential reliance on these foundations. Liberals tend to form judgments influenced predominantly by two (or three) of the foundations (Care, Fairness, and perhaps Liberty), whereas conservatives tend to form judgments influenced by all of them (including Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity). Importantly, MFT does not claim that people are consciously aware of the influence of these psychological mechanisms on their thinking. In fact, the theory follows on the heels of an account of moral thought in which moral reasoning mostly functions as post hoc rationalisation of rapid, intuitive moral judgments: We seek reasons to make sense of our feeling that what someone did was bad, as opposed to feeling that way for these reasons. Extending this to the political realm, we arrive at something like the view that the reasons we give for voting one way or another are largely rationalisations of the ways our moral gut feelings have shaped our political leanings.
There certainly does seem to be a correlation between distinct political ideologies and distinct patterns of moral judgment. But correlation is not causation. Do moral judgments really cause or explain political ideology, or vice versa? This is the question three political scientists set out to test. And they found that the evidence did not support the dominant interpretation of MFT, according to which the causal-explanatory relationship runs from morality to politics. If anything, they suggest, political ideology influences moral judgments, not the other way around. Moreover, political ideologies appear more stable than moral foundations and are more strongly predictive of them than the reverse.
The emerging picture is in some ways very similar to the one painted by MFT. Political ideology may be understood in terms of rapid, intuitive judgments stemming from evolved psychological mechanisms. These mechanisms issue in judgments about politically relevant social issues (gay marriage, marijuana), economic issues (unions, school funding), and defense issues (military spending, particular wars) for which justifying reasons may be marshaled after the fact. The twist is that our moral judgments, it seems, may arise from the intuitive processes that shape our political orientations and rationalisations of them.
This picture supports a certain sort of pessimism about the current political moment. It seems we should not take comfort in the thought that worrying political trends will be kept in check by the better angels of our nature. It's possible that the political winds will blow the angels from our shoulders. If morality indeed follows politics, the way to shape what is considered beyond the moral pale is through shaping what is considered politically palatable.
(Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Sam Houston State University).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Buildings should have built in fire safety measures


IT is possible to avoid any kind of fire-related incidents by spending only two per cent of the total cost of a building, an internationally renowned Bangladeshi fire safety expert has said. Quoting the expert's comments, The New Nation on Saturday in a report said many big fire incidents are ...

Entertainment »

Disha Patani opens up on working in B’wood


Malang released. From the poster to the trailer, every outing that has been released is receiving immense love for Disha’s skills. The hottest outsider to this industry here tells us what she thought when she was a child in front of a camera! Recalling her journey from being a camera ...

Sports »

Stokes sorry despite 'repeated abuse' - and 'Ed Sheeran reference'


AFP, Johannesburg :England star Ben Stokes apologised Friday for his angry exchange with a fan during the fourth and final Test against South Africa but claimed he was the victim of "repeated abuse".Stokes described his reaction at the Wanderers as "unprofessional".English cricket chiefs, however, claimed staff and players were also ...

Sports »

Federer says, 'epics' keep him motivated after Australian Open thriller


AFP, Melbourne :Roger Federer lives to win titles, but five-set thrillers like his epic against John Millman at the Australian Open are also a key reason why he is still playing aged 38.The Swiss master looked out for the count at 4-8 down in a nailbiting fifth-set super tiebreaker against ...

International »

Virus attack worring China


AP, China  :China's most festive holiday began in the shadow of a worrying new virus Saturday as the death toll surpassed 40, an unprecedented lockdown kept 36 million people from travelling and authorities cancelled a host of Lunar New Year events.The National Health Commission reported a jump in the number ...

International »

258 million kids not in school


AP, United Nations :The U.N. deputy chief said on Friday there is an "alarming" crisis in education, pointing to the 258 million children under the age of 17 who are not going to school - and only 49 percent completing secondary education.In addition, about 770 million adults are illiterate, most ...

Editorial »

Don't put extra burden on Hajj pilgrims’ shoulder


THE Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh and the Religious Affairs Ministry in a chorus criticised the Civil Aviation Ministry for taking proposal to increase airfare for each hajj pilgrim by Tk 12,000 from last year, terming it 'illogical" and "immoral". The HAAB leaders on Thursday at a press conference said ...

International »

Imran Khan calls for UN action over Kashmir dispute


Reuters, Davos :Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan called on Wednesday for the United Nations to help mediate between nuclear armed India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir."This is a potential flashpoint," Khan said during a media briefing at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, ...

Entertainment »

Shama Sikander sends her love for India’s Republic Day


India will be celebrating its 70th republic day and it’s an extremely auspicious occasion for us. In 26th January 1950, the constitution came into power and became the largest democracy in the world. Shama Sikander has her thoughts and plans set for this day and let’s go through it. Shama ...

Cricket »

We are confident to beat Pakistan: Mahmudullah


Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad said they remain upbeat to beat Pakistan in the first T20 International today (Friday) and gain the momentum for the whole series.Having said that, Mahmudullah insisted right at the moment the security matter, which has been the focal point of the series is not in their ...

Football »

Neymar sets up two goals as PSG cruise into League Cup final


Neymar set up the first two goals with curling set pieces as Paris Saint-Germain won their French League Cup semi-final 3-0 away to Reims on a chilly Wednesday night.PSG will face Lyon, who beat Lille on penalties on Tuesday, in the final at the Stade de France on April 4.This ...

Editorial »

Nobody is there to control them


CHHATRA League activists of Dhaka University's Sergeant Zahurul Haq Hall are at it again as they tortured four students for nearly three hours before handing them to police early Tuesday. The BCL men labelled them as Shibir activists and handed them to Shahbagh police around 3:30am in the presence of ...

City »

Chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission Dr. Mohammad Sadik, along with other members of the commission paying tributes by placing wreaths on the plaque 'Mrityunjayee' on the premises of the commission on Thursday on retirement of its two members Abul Kalam Azad and Prof. Dr. Shah Abdul Latif.


Entertainment »

Hina Khan learns to smoke for her role in web series, Damaged 2


We’ve heard of actors across the industry going all out when it comes to prepping up for their characters and roles. From Deepika, on getting a particular accent in Chennai Express to Aamir Khan learning how to tap dance for Dhoom 3, actors do everything possible to get into the ...

Editorial »

Govt faces hard time for needless expenditures coupled with corruption


THE Finance Ministry has asked all ministries and divisions not to seek additional fund in the current fiscal year in a signal that the government is tightening its belt amid a revenue shortfall, as per local media reports. The ministry furnished the instruction with regard to the operating and development ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news