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The second-most common moral foundation on display at OWS was care. My colleagues and I find that liberals score higher than conservatives and libertarians on all measures of compassion and empathy. Liberals are more “soft hearted,” and this was evident in many signs:
The moral foundation of liberty was barely evident at OWS in the use of positive terms such as “liberty” and “freedom,” though they have have renamed Zuccotti Square “Liberty Square.” Occupy Wall Street is not a rally to “get government off our backs,” it’s a rally to get government to increase regulation of Wall Street and big business. The only sign of direct appeals to liberty that I saw in my visit was this ironic use of a favored Tea Party slogan to protect and care for vulnerable flowers:
Instead, there was a strong emphasis at OWS on the evils of the opposite of liberty, namely oppression. There was a pervasive sense (or hope) that the masses of the weak and downtrodden (the 99 percent) were beginning to unite to throw off the yoke of oppressors (the 1 percent).
This is a process that the anthropologist Chris Boehm has observed in egalitarian societies. When one man tries to act like a leader or overlord, the other men unite into a “reverse dominance hierarchy” to take him down, as illustrated on this protester’s sweatshirt showing the unified 99 percent about to crush the 1 percent:
The remaining three foundations, which tend to be used more by conservatives than by liberals, were not much in evidence. There were a few American flags scattered about, but the only direct expression of patriotism that I saw was this rather ambivalent sign, which would have not been very welcome at a Tea Party rally: