It's Hard to Gross Out a Libertarian: Jonathan Haidt on How Our Tolerance for Disgust Determines Our Politics

The NYU psychologist on sex and the culture war

“Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses,” says NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who is author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics.

Haidt argues that our concern over these victimless behaviors is rooted in our biology. Humans evolved to feel disgusted by anything that when consumed makes us sick. That sense of disgust then expanded "to become a guardian of the social order.”

This impulse is at the core of the culture war. Those who have a low sensitivity to disgust tend to be liberals or libertarians; those who are easily disgusted tend to be conservative.

Haidt discussed his views on morality and politics at an event hosted by the Reason Foundation, which was held on February 19, 2013 at the Museum of Sex. Haidt's lecture was followed by a Q&A with New York Times Science Columnist John Tierney.

Approximately 35 minutes. Camera by Jim Epstein and Naomi Brockwell. Edited by Epstein.

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  • VG Zaytsev||

    So proglodytes hatred and fear of fat, sodas, smoke and freedom generally is supposed to be a manifestatio of a high tolerance for disgust.

    Right.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Good point. No one's more disqusted by fat people and smokers and meat eaters than a liberal. According to Sarcasmic, John loves fat women and there's no doubt he leans conservative. I'm just kidding John, we both know that's Sarcasmics cover for the fact that he doesn't like boobies.

  • John||

    This article works if you are talking about gay sex. Some people are legitimately disgusted by the thought of it. But it doesn't work if you are talking about sodas or light bulbs or any of the other hundreds of things liberals are hell bent on controlling. It is not like liberals are disgusted by soda. Just the opposite, they think it is so enticing that people can't resist themselves.

    So I don't think this is quite a complete explanation.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I bet a lot of liberals are disqusted by gay sex.

  • John||

    They are. They only care about gay issues because it is politically convenient. The day it is not, they will gladly send the gays to gallows. Look at Europe were liberals are totally rolling over to Islamists on gay rights.

  • Zeb||

    I would guess that a majority of non-gay people are to some extent disgusted by gay sex. If they weren't, they'd probably do it more.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I think a lot of gays are disgusted by heterosexual sex. And most of them are liberal.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It was Dumbya that signed the light bulb ban and Bloomberg(R) on the soda ban.

  • John||

    And the most liberal city in the country hated it so much, they re-elected Bloomburg.

    Retarded sock puppet is retarded.

  • KDN||

    NYC's not the most liberal city in the country (were ranked about 20 last time I saw a full list IIRC), but Bloomberg's Republicanness (Republicanity?) was for convenience only. He switched from D to R in order to run unopposed on a major party ticket; a Clintonite centrist like Bloomberg has no chance of getting through the NYC Democratic primary after all. He gamed his way out of the inevitable primary challenge in '05 in order to get through unopposed and dropped his party affiliation after the election.

    The guy is so much more Charlie Crist than Rick Santorum. And with how little power Republicans have in the city, it's silly to associate his doings with the party as a whole.

  • fish||

    Bloomberg is a republican like your a financial wizard....it's all in your mind boy!

  • fish||

    And Bloomberg is a republican like I'm a comment editor!

    .....you're!

    Shit.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah IIRC Bloomberg was a lifelong Dem who joined the GOP so he could spend his money on the general and not have to go through the Dem primary.

  • jester||

    ...and importantly, his constituents were aware of this. A lot like how when Lieberman went indie.

  • ||

    PB, I would've hoped that after 4 years your pony would have learned another trick. Nope.

  • mgd||

    Did he sign it because he was president, or did he sign it because he was hell bent on controlling light bulbs and it was his legislative initiative? Did he cajole or encourage Congress to get a light-bulb control bill to him?

  • ||

    I'm disgusted by fat people, but I am a smoker and meat eater!

    What I am disgusted by is people who think they somehow have the authority to boss other people around.

    Free Will is God's Will.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    That should be the real fear of all us paying for our neighbor's healthcare.... as I agree with you - live and let live. I may not have X, and even be "disgusted" by it, but so long as you're not hurting me or anyone else in doing it - I don't care.

    However - if you're overweight and want to continue to eat poorly, live a sedentary lifestyle, and smoke two packs a day - it becomes your concern when you recognize correctly that everyone of those continued poor decisions which will inevitably result in higher medical bills will be borne out by the taxpayers (neighbors).

    All of the sudden - soda bans make more sense to people who heretofore had no desire to regulate such ubiquitous (and therefore ultimately uncontrollable) human behavior.

    Of course many people in NYC in their arrogance think the soda ban is a good idea because they're helping people help themselves... and nothing's more evil than someone who wants to control your every decision for your own good.

    But if everyone pays for everyone else's health care - you can easily envision a future where the most conservative states pass similar laws and things like, being unable to buy desert because of the size of meal you bought - becomes "normal".

    & when they does happen - our race to that highly valued and sought out space the mediocre middle which so many other countries currently occupy will be complete.

    What a wonderful thing for the US to achieve - becoming like every other European country.

    Idiots.

  • Bill||

    But proglodytes aren't really liberals. They are conservative statists in many, many ways.

  • Jose Chung||

    If you watch the Q&A at the end, it is mentioned that the left can be even more disgusted than the right, but generally they become disgusted at very different things.

  • Terry87df||

    just as Daniel said I cant believe that anyone can earn $8297 in one month on the computer. did you see this site... www.Snag4.com

  • Almanian!||

    I find this thesis disgusting.

    But not as disgusting as KULTUR WARRYERS!!

  • sarcasmic||

    What's grosser than gross?

    A two story outhouse.

    Two vampires fighting over a soiled tampon. What's grosser than that? The winner.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The Human Centipede

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    After 2 girls 1 cup and The Aristocrats...nothing can make me give a shit about "gross" stuff.

  • Brandybuck||

    Never seen the former but the description of it still gives me the screaming willies. But I had absolutely no problem with the latter. How weird is that?

  • ||

    That reminds me of a joke. What do the lesbian vampires say to each other?

  • bmp1701||

    Q: What's grosser than 10 dead babies nailed to a tree?

    A: One dead baby nailed to 10 trees.

    Q: How does a hillbilly girl know if her mother has crapped recently?

    A: The dog's cock taste funny.

  • fish||

    Q: What's the hardest part about having a colostomy?

    A: Finding shoes that match the bag!

  • fish||

    Shit! I forgot that were no women here to get this joke!

  • Jose Chung||

    OK, I'll go to hell for this one, but here it goes...

    A kid and a child molester are walking through a forest. The kid looks up at the child molester and says, "Gee, mister, it's awfully spooky in here." The child molester looks down at the child and says, "How do you think I feel? I have to walk out of here alone."

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Q: How do you make a dead baby float?

    A: Root beer and two scoops of dead baby.

  • sarcasmic||

    I laughed.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Said that at work once and some stick-up-her-ass craps-her-pants-when-she-sees-a-spider-bitch (note if some asshole man complained he would be a fucking dickless shitbag) complained about it. As a result, I've reverted to my default state of keeping my goddamned mouth shut. The world is a less bright place as a result.

  • ||

    It is better to hold one's tongue and be thought ignorant than to speak up and remove all doubt.

  • yonemoto||

    Q: What do you get when you chop a dead baby into a million pieces?

    A: An erection.

  • Jose Chung||

    ROFLMAO

  • bmp1701||

    Q: What did the leper say to the prostitute?

    A: Keep the tip.

  • fish||

    Tough to go wrong with the classic material.

    Well done sir!

  • ||

    Late to this but:

    Did you hear about the leper who laughed his head off?

  • ||

    No, what about him?

  • sarcasmic||

    Q: Why did Raggedy Anne get kicked out of the toy box?

    A: She kept sitting on Pinocchio's face and shouting "Lie to me baby! Lie to me!"

  • ||

    Q: How do you make a 5 year old cry again?

    A: Wipe your bloody cock on his teddybear

    (An adorable Asian girl of my acquaintance did her best doe-eyed innocent look before telling me this and I nearly choked on my drink)

  • Zeb||

    Well, if we're going that way:

    What's the best part about fucking a 5 year old girl?

    A: If you turn her over, she looks just like a 5 year old boy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Q: What is the ultimate in trust?

    A: Gay cannibals.

  • Ndogg||

    The other day I told my wife to give me a Chilean Miner. She asked, "What's that?" I said, "Go down the shaft and don't come up til Christmas."

    I figured it was a good time to show off the tattoo I got on my dick.

    It says, "John", but when I'm excited, it says, "Johnathan McGowan's Bar & Grill, Albequerque, New Mexico".

  • Sam Grove||

    How did the dead baby cross the road?

    It was stapled to a chicken.

  • ||

    I can think of at least one obvious example of where supposedly "liberal" responses are governed by disgust reactions: GMOs.

    Go back and look at some of Greenpeaces anti-GMO ads. For example: the idea of mixing a fish and a strawberry gene. Right there, you're meant to imagine combining the flavors of fish and strawberries. It's meant to make you feel disgusted, and reject genetic engineering because the concept of mixing species seems disgusting.

    More generally, using words like "contamination" to describe cross-pollination between GMOs and non GMO crop strains is meant to arouse disgust reactions. This is food we're dealing with so it's very easy to bypass rational thought and go straight to disgust to get people to hate and fear something.

    The environmental movement uses disgust a lot. Metaphors about humanity being "a cancer", for example.

    I also see this happening with respect to smoking. There is this whole "smoking is GROSS" campaign to get people to stop smoking. In that case, they're using disgust to overcome addiction.

    Anytime you characterize your political opponents as diseased, you're using a disgust reaction to get people to bypass rational thought to hate others. The Nazis did it with Jews. The Hutus did it to Tutsis.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I have never heard a candidate for national office discuss GM food or smoking.

    Whereas conservatives have a myriad of personal morality topics.

  • Virginian||

    or smoking
    _________

    So you were not alive in the 90s?

  • John||

    Alive, just not sentient. Just like now.

  • Virginian||

    I mean seriously, I was a kid in the 90s, and I seem to remember the federal government going to war on Tobacco, in between murdering the Branch Davidians and getting involved in the Balkans.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    1994 Clinton backed a smoking ban in public buildings (Google).

  • Virginian||

    Yeah, I know dipshit. I was 5 fucking years old in 1994 but I remember it.

    So are you going to retract your previous idiotic statement?

  • ||

    Holy crap, my upbriging in the 80s and 90s is BUT a big, liberal disgust-fest.

    It's why I hate them with all my heart. They were good at scaring the shit of ignorant teenagers - and then I grew up.

    Assholes.

    If they had any sense of honesty, they'd be as hard on Biden as they were on Quayle.

  • John||

    That is because they don't have to mention it. They just lie and let people like Green Peace do all of the killing.

    See the case of GM rice and the millions of children left dead and blind because of Green opposition.

    http://www.voanews.com/content.....55477.html

    To be a leftist is to be awash in blood and death.

  • Tony||

    That's a bit of a stretch of the anti-GM guy's argument (that we need more testing before we know it's safe, and that more efforts at conventional breeding might be more helpful). At any rate I never hear any liberal talk about GM as a passionate cause, and anti-smoking campaigns are bipartisan (my state, completely controlled by Republicans, is quite focused on the issue, though a recent anti-smoking measure did fail).

    In fact overwhelmingly it's libertarians who talk about these issues as a way to paint all liberals as nanny staters. It's kind of like describing libertarians as people who are all obsessed with allowing racial discrimination in the workplace.

  • Virginian||

    that we need more testing before we know it's safe, and that more efforts at conventional breeding might be more helpful)

    ________

    Except you leave out the part (your kind always does) where anyone who disagrees with that is forced to comply with your wishes despite their own opinion. Which is why we say fuck off, slaver.

  • John||

    It has been known to be safe for decades. But because of a mixture of stupidity, superstitions and the downright evil desire to kill people in the name of population control, the greens prevented it from being introduced for decades after it was clear it was safe.

    That blood is on your hands Tony. Lying won't wash it off.

  • Tony||

    You uncovered our nefarious plot.

  • Virginian||

    Derp derp derp I had good intentions so the results don't matter. Suck it rethuglicans!

  • wareagle||

    It's kind of like describing libertarians as people who are all obsessed with allowing racial discrimination in the workplace.

    because everyone here always says that. Closet Klansmen, every last one; you're on to us. Seriously?

  • Tony||

    You seem to have completely missed the point.

  • wareagle||

    make an actual point rather than relying on silly non-sequiturs. If libertarians are obsessed with anything, it's with letting folks make decisions free of govt coercion which makes them the ideological opposite of liberals.

    My believing something is or is not okay does carry with it the implicit or explicit threat of using the govt to force you to agree with me.

  • Bill||

    The opposite of liberals or "liberals"

    Call them progressives. They don't deserve to be called liberals.

  • Marshall Gill||

    No, call them Leftards or simply mendacious cunts. A Progressive should want progress, and all the current self-identified Progs not only oppose progress but favor regression.

  • ||

    the anti-GM guy's argument (that we need more testing before we know it's safe, and that more efforts at conventional breeding might be more helpful).

    That isn't their argument.
    Their argument is that humanity is "playing god", and shouldn't mess with nature.

    There has been plenty of testing to show it's safe, but they won't be satisfied with anything less than 80-year human experiments. Which is of course impossible.

  • MJGreen||

    I think this might be a fair point. Perhaps Haidt discusses this somewhere, but from the video description, it sounds like by "low sensitivity to disgust" he means "low sensitivity to things traditionally considered disgusting." In which case, he's done nothing to advance the basic distinction between liberal and conservative.

    So a liberal/libertarian is less likely to consider a burial to be that important an issue. That doesn't mean they aren't disgusted by other things, perhaps moreso than a conservative is disgusted by improper burial or improper sexual relations.

    Really, going from the description, it sounds like Haidt completely misses the contradiction. Our sense of disgust expanded to protect the social order? So then aren't liberals, and libertarians, simply trying to redefine the actions and conditions to be considered disgusting? That is, do the same thing as our ancestors by getting their particular revulsions embedded into the broader morality of the society? Perhaps they have a smaller list than conservatives, but that's separate from sensitivity.

  • John||

    Our sense of disgust expanded to protect the social order?

    Exactly. Take smoking for example. Everyone used to smoke. Few if anyone found it disgusting. Today millions find it disgusting because it offends their moral and social sensibilities. Haidt fails to realize that the causation can go both ways. We can find something disgusting because it offends our moral and social sensibilities.

  • ||

    I think it might be better to say that the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are so warped in common usage that they don't bear any resemblance to their original meanings.

    Fundamentally, opposition to GMOs is really a *conservative* impulse. In fact the entire anti-corporate local-organic foods movement is essentially conservative in nature. it's about preserving a traditional family-based agriculture.

    Environmentalism is largely conservative as well.

    But anyway, I think we should always exercise caution when using tribal identification labels as if they have some literal meaning. Which is what "conservative" and "liberal" have turned into.

  • Zeb||

    But anyway, I think we should always exercise caution when using tribal identification labels as if they have some literal meaning. Which is what "conservative" and "liberal" have turned into.

    Yes, this a million times.

  • ||

    So then aren't liberals, and libertarians, simply trying to redefine the actions and conditions to be considered disgusting? That is, do the same thing as our ancestors by getting their particular revulsions embedded into the broader morality of the society?

    I think this is right. The culture war is kind of a battle between different sets of social norms. And disgust is often harnessed to establish a new norm. I can say that in some places, eating a McDonalds hamburger will elicit disgust reactions from some people. So will shopping at Walmart,etc.

    Any surprise there are a lot of jokes about incest when people talk about southerners? Incest elicits disgust reactions, disgust generate cultural antipathy.

    I had the displeasure of witnessing a bunch of liberal friends put on a performance where the storyline was a morality play in which society is divided into a group of diseased people who are obsessed with gold, contaminating the rest of the otherwise harmonious community. The diseased people would infect the ones they came into contact with, so it was necessary to shun them.

    They couldn't understand why I thought that was offensive and wrong.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Gotta admit shopping at WalMart does skeeve me out. It just kinda stinks in all their stores.

    The difference I have with liberals/progressives is that I don't care if OTHER people enjoy shopping at WalMart.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨Go back and look at some of Greenpeaces anti-GMO ads¨

    I don´t think you´re going to find the answers you are looking for in ads by Greenpeace or any other outfit. Sorry, but the feeling of disgust are very personal.

    ¨It's meant to make you feel disgusted,¨

    Again, the intentions of the ad makers is not really relevant.

    You also seem to be confusing the anxiety over GMOs and the fear of cancer with disgust. You´re probably closer to the mark with your smoking comments, though it´s hardly limited to liberals.

    Characterizing political opponents as sub human is more in line with the tendency to scapegoat and stigmatize. I think this is not related to feeling of disgust.

  • ||

    That's the essence of disgust. It goes past rational thought. Religious conservatives don't rationally conclude that homosexuality is wrong. They just FEEL it. They know it in their gut. That's the kind of "personal" reaction you are talking about. That's what disgust is all about. You feel disgust at a primitive level and it overrides higher level processes.

    Of course, when it comes to anything food related it's very easy to get a disgust reaction out of people. Food is the origin of disgust. It evolved so we would avoid eating things that would make us sick.

    So the fear of eating something bad and getting sick is a direct extension of the disgust reaction.

  • mtrueman||

    You think fear is irrational? Sometimes it is, but then you are into phobia territory, a pathology. Usually fear and anxiety are a healthy and rational response to something threatening or unknown.

  • Alan||

    In the last century, deaths caused by:

    Mao - 50 million
    Hitler - 11 million
    Greenpeace - 8 million
    Stalin - 6 million

    http://www.project-syndicate.o.....rn-lomborg

    I might be letting Greenpeace off easy - I'm not including the millions who have died thanks to their opposition to DDT.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I might be letting Greenpeace off easy - I'm not including the millions who have died thanks to their opposition to DDT.

    You are. More have died as a result of opposition to DDT than killed by all the others combined.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨the millions who have died thanks to their opposition to DDT¨

    Name one. I suspect you can´t. Why not? Because you are happy to repeat these idiotic and emotional platitudes and dig no further. I suspect you are a liberal.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Stalin had WAY more than the 6 million.

  • ||

    "... Metaphors about humanity being "a cancer", for example."

    Well, FWIW, I see government as a terminal cancer. And, like cancer or antibiotic-resistant flesh-eating bacteria, you have to get it all or it just grows back stronger. So write me in in 2016.

    I'll fire the whole damn government!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Haven't had a chance to watch the video. Is he only talking about social liberals vs social conservative? Or does he have some other manufactured link to fiscal issues? Also, does he have data?

  • 34lbs||

    I'm not really sure what fiscal issues could be related to disguist.. except for the ones that overlap with social such as the drug war, food regulations, foreign war etc.

  • wareagle||

    Those who have a low sensitivity to disgust tend to be liberals or libertarians; those who are easily disgusted tend to be conservative.

    This doesn't wash, at least not the part about liberals who seem perpetually disgusted with anything that does not mirror the way they want things to be. And there is a difference between libertarians being disgusted by something and their wanting to force everyone else to be disgusted by it, too. If libertarians had that power, the whole damn country would see the sequester for the sham that it is.

  • sarcasmic||

    liberals who seem perpetually disgusted with anything that does not mirror the way they want things to be.

    He's referring to "Ew that's gross!" disgust, as opposed to "That's unfair!"

  • Virginian||

    They're different?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah. I think there's a difference between being disgusted at a sandwich made using fresh cat shit instead of mayo, and being disgusted that the person who made it was not paid a "living wage".

  • Virginian||

    Eh, the lefty reaction to guns is more of a cat shit sandwich "ewww!!" then a disapproval of economic policy.

  • sarcasmic||

    I always thought their reaction to guns was more like terror than disgust.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Those who have a low sensitivity to disgust tend to be liberals or libertarians; those who are easily disgusted tend to be conservative.

    Correct. I am a moral relativist to the core. Conservatives/Authoritarians hate us. Us moral relativists also tend to be secular.

  • John||

    You are a moral relativist? That would explain why you think that Christian ethics are equal to every other form of ethics.

    Go you are fucking retarded.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Anything in the Bible remotely "good" is countered by a despicable contradiction somewhere in it.

  • John||

    But you are a moral relativist. That is why you condemn all moral systems you don't like.

    Calling you a retard is an insult to retards.

  • fish||

    I hate you and I am neither!

  • Fluffy||

    You're aware of the fact that "moral relativist" is a slur, right?

    That describing oneself as a conscious moral relativist is the same as announcing that you see no value in any morality at all?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is a slur from the wingnut perspective but a legit view espoused by Spinoza and David Hume.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Adultery/pre-marital sex is immoral in some societies but not in others. That is an example of moral relativism.

    Even homicide is sometimes morally justified.

  • pmains||

    Adultery/pre-marital sex is immoral in some societies but not in others. really is an example of moral relativism, but it's an absurd position to take.

    In 1940s America, miscegenation was considered immoral, but it is the same act today as it was then. The motives for people to engage in inter-racial marriage are the same today as they were then. Nothing pertinent to the moral calculation has changed except for society's attitudes about the act.

    Now, if you are really a moral relativist, you would have to agree that miscegenation was not only considered immoral in 1940, but actually was. If morality of actions is to be judged relative to the subjective feelings of other members of society, then it is immoral for individual members to engage in behavior which does not conform to the values of the majority.

    Moral progress -- the abolition of slavery, integration of lunch counters and workplaces, allowing women to own property -- is itself immoral, at least up to the point that society's morals change. And what of the reformer advocating a minority viewpoint? He is inciting others to engage in or at least tolerate immoral behavior.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Finally, even the great mind of the Christian Kant could not reconcile a fixed morality other than a rework of the very general but flawed Golden Rule.

  • pmains||

    A fixed morality?

    The Catholic Church, despite being strongly opposed to moral relativism, does not believe in a "fixed" morality in the Kantian sense. Rather, the 3 dimensions to consider when determining the morality of an action are (1) the object (what is being done), (2) the intention, (3) and the circumstances. So, morality has to take into consideration the objective, subjective and the relative. What the Catholic Church rejects is the moral idiocy of saying, "morality is whatever we say it is," or "morality is whatever society says it is." If that's the case, then morality is an illusion and we should embrace nihilism.

  • $park¥||

    I am a moral relativist to the core.

    This may be the funniest fucking thing you've ever said. Tell me, descriptive, meta-ethical, or normative?

  • lap83||

    so was Jeffrey Dahmer a liberal or libertarian?

  • Virginian||

    I've had leftists smugly tell me Ted Bundy was a Republican.

  • bmp1701||

    John Wayne Gacy was affiliated with the Democrats.

  • SIV||

    John Wayne Gacy was a Democrat.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've had leftists smugly tell me Ted Bundy was a Republican.

    Which just shows how leftists are pathetically devoid of logic.

  • ||

    Exactly.
    Ted Bundy - Disgust. Teb Bundy - Republican. Therefore, Republican - Disgust.

  • bmp1701||

    He was clearly a cosmotarian, since he had a refrigerator filled with Ben & Jerry.

  • ||

    Okay, that was a little funny.

  • AlmightyJB||

    B&J's ice cream is teh awesome. Love their Americone Dream.

  • JWS||

    How does this theory explain hunters, fishers, and cattle farmers?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, put some metro liberal out in the woods for a week.

  • SIV||

    So 95% of the attendees agree with Jeremy Bentham on pederasty at an event hosted by the Reason Foundation.

    Why am I not surprised?

  • AlmightyJB||

    So am I supposed to drink to this or not? Need a ruling.

  • fish||

    I'm surprised that you would even ask! Whenever in doubt....DRINK!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Good default!

  • fish||

    I'm there for you buddy.

  • np||

    “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”


    I'll go with Heinlein over Haidt here

  • Virginian||

    Always go with Heinlein.

  • John||

    Haidt gets the causation backwards. We have social and moral rules and those then determine what we find disgusting, not the other way around. You can name virtually any human behavior from adult gay sex to pederasty right on up to cannibalism and I can name you some society somewhere in history that found it perfectly okay. What makes us "disgusted" by something is the fact that it goes against the rules that we have been raised to observe. Change the rules and the disgust goes away.

  • AlmightyJB||

    good point

  • Fluffy||

    This is actually a pretty crushing observation.

    Haidt has to be carried off the field as soon as these words run over him.

  • sarcasmic||

    Change the rules? Which ones, and how?

    What about the "rule" that eating bugs is disgusting?

    There's no law that says I can't go to the pet store, pick up a dozen crickets, then saute them up in garlic butter when I get home.

  • Fluffy||

    People raised in a culture where eating bugs is common don't find it disgusting.

    But people raised in cultures where it's never done do find it disgusting.

    And you can't just "fix yourself" by deciding to go down to the pet store and grab some bugs to eat.

    That's John's whole point.

  • $park¥||

    And you can't just "fix yourself" by deciding to go down to the pet store and grab some bugs to eat.

    Wait a second, why not? What if you do and realize that you actually like the taste of bugs. Suddenly, to you, bugs are not disgusting.

  • Fluffy||

    That is a fair point. I guess some people can do that. And that would be one reason why disgust regimes aren't static.

    But that being said, I think a case could be made that if you're attracted by the idea of experimenting with eating bugs, you were never actually disgusted by the notion in the first place. Not the way I'm disgusted with it, certainly.

  • ||

    But you're not seeing the whole picture, either. The things we find disgusting are culturally attuned, but the existence of disgust, the existence of the disgust mechanism, enables the creation and enforcement of those norms.

    So you can't say "I only feel disgusted becuse people have told me it's wrong". No, people told you it's wrong because they were disgusted by it in the past. Because being disgusted by it is a social norm which wouldn't exist if disgust wasn't around to enforce adherence to the norm.

  • Virginian||

    Bad example. Garlic butter makes anything taste good.

  • sarcasmic||

    Bacon grease instead?

  • Virginian||

    Yeah, same thing as garlic butter.

    I went nuts and cooked pancakes in bacon grease.

  • sarcasmic||

    Every time I cook bacon I save the grease. I use it for lots of things. I just can't tell the wife when I use it. As long as she doesn't know she'll eat it. If she finds out then "Ew! Bacon grease is gross!"

  • ||

    I converted my coworkers on bacon grease by bringing in a pineapple upsidedown cake made with bacon grease instead of vegetable shortening *shudder*. There was a lot of "Oh God it's like having a complete breakfast" and now nobody complains when I threaten to make bacon maple shortbread cookies.

  • Virginian||

  • hotsy totsy||

    I've saved bacon grease ever since listening to the Rolling Stones' "Down the Road Apiece"

    "Mama's cookin' chicken fried in bacon grease, come on along boys, it's just down the road apiece."

  • hotsy totsy||

    Ben & Jerry's tastes TERRIBLE with garlic butter.

  • CatoTheElder||

    There's a far better recipe for crickets.

    In China, they are deep fried in vegetable oil and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

    They make a delightful and nutritious dessert.

  • Tony||

    I think the disgust reaction in this theory is different from a cultural taboo. Some things are universally associated with disgust for obvious selective reasons (e.g., they indicate the probably presence of pathogens).

    I don't think this theory fits neatly into modern American politics, of course. I'm actually a rather squeamish person and conservative in many ways, believe it or not. And there's no excuse for modern conservatives' aversion to empirical reality. Being victimized by propaganda has nothing to do with biology.

  • $park¥||

    We have social and moral rules and those then determine what we find disgusting, not the other way around.

    You think so? Fluffy apparently agrees.

    Look at gay sex. You're saying that someone we find gay sex disgusting BECAUSE someone made a rule saying gay sex is disgusting? You're saying that we find cannibalism disgusting BECAUSE someone made a rule saying cannibalism is disgusting? I'm not sure I agree.

  • Virginian||

    Well he's saying that taboos are cultural, not universal. This guy is trying to draw broad conclusions from a narrow experiment. I know, you're shocked that a social "scientist" would do such a thing.

  • $park¥||

    John is saying that we find things disgusting because someone made a rule, not the other way around. That really only works for Judeo-Christian morality.

  • ||

    Well, considering there are even cultures where cannibalism has been practiced and very much not considered disgusting (and this is a practice that had very real negative health effects on the population, so there's little question that eating human flesh is not the greatest idea)...

  • $park¥||

    Did the negative effects come from the eating of human flesh, or the eating of flesh of the weakest person that lives in a disease filled environment? Or am I getting the wrong point from you?

  • ||

    Kuru!

    Kuru is an incurable degenerative neurological disorder that is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, caused by a prion found in humans
  • $park¥||

    Sure, and people get sick when we eat infected cows too.

  • ||

    My biology major friends took great pains to tell their humanities major friends not to eat nervous tissue of any kind. People, sheep, cows and apparently squirrels can give you prion diseases (I'm sure that's not an exhaustive list either)

    In 1997 a number of Kentuckians developed CJD. It was discovered that all the victims had consumed squirrel brains, although a coincidental relationship between the disease and this dietary practice may have been involved.
  • Zeb||

    It's really big in white tailed deer too, from what I have heard.

  • hotsy totsy||

    When I went to Catholic school someone asked the priest in religion class, that if we were literally eating Jesus' body and blood (in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist) weren't we being cannibals?

    He replied there was nothing morally wrong with cannibalism per se, but the reason the Eucharist retained the appearance of bread was eating human flesh had a disgust factor.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, consider gay sex.

    You could make a strong argument that straight people have a biological drive to be disgusted by gay sex.

    But the "biological drive" part would be a drive for PiV sex - only.

    What's the drive to prefer getting a blowjob from a woman instead of a man?

    First of all, let me say that I strongly DO so prefer. But I just don't see a way to argue that it's purely biological. Because my biological sex drive should be disgusted by ALL non-PiV sex equally. Right? And it's clearly not.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's the drive to prefer getting a blowjob from a woman instead of a man?

    I would think that a man, being in possession of the equipment, would give better head than a woman.

    Not that I'll ever find out. Heck. Not like I'll ever receive a blowjob again.

    You know what they say about the difference between a job and a wife?

    After a few years the job still sucks.

  • $park¥||

    In ancient Greek and Roman civilization, gay sex was a fairly common practice. I imagine there were people who thought it was disgusting, but didn't say anything because it was practiced by the people in power. The Jews, sick of being dominated by the Romans, decided to write their own new moral code in which they were the good guys and the Romans were the bad guys. Everything the good guys did became a virtue and everything the bad guys did became a sin. They codified their new rules in the Old Testament and thus gay sex became a sin. Now billions of Judeo-Christian believers think gay sex is disgusting.

    This is the only situation that I can think of where the rule came before the feeling. Prior to that, gay sex was just something people did.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Much of the Old Testament predates the Jewish encounter with the Romans.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    If by much you mean all, then you are correct.

  • ||

    You know, not long ago, the majority of straight women would have been disgusted by the idea of giving a blow job.
    I can imagine it might have applied to men as well. Oral sex was considered devient behavior less than a century ago.

  • JD the elder||

    It's not entirely impossible. A theory that anthropologists have kicked around is that people make rules partly to distinguish themselves from outsiders. That way, you see, we, the proud Bongo-Bongo people, are not like the disgusting Tutufa people, who eat snakes; we don't eat snakes. If you do, you're clearly one of them and not one of us. I don't know how you test that theory exactly, but it may help explain some rules that don't seem to have any particular purpose.

  • ||

    Right. Like the thing about eating with the right fork.

    Eat with the right fork - your one of US, the upper class. Eat with the wrong fork, you're one of those vulgar commoners.

  • ||

    It goes both ways. Disgust is an enforcement mechanism of the norm. It's how new norms coalesce and establish themselves. It's what keeps them from dissolving.

  • Fluffy||

    Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses...

    The whole problem is that morality is not about any of those latter things.

    The entire process of mankind's moral development has been the story of trying to divorce the asinine things people once considered part of morality from actual morality.

    And no, that's not just me hatin' on the Judeo-Christians. I can guarantee you that if you asked Thomas Aquinas whether we should use our minds or our gag reflex to figure out morality, he would have voted for choice "a".

  • fish||

    .....and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses

    I initially read that as "how you have sex with corpses".

    I think some coffee is in order.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I think Haidt's disgust experiments focused on the sorts of things which tend to gross out conservatives. I would like to see what would happen if he measured people's reaction to (say) GMOs (see discussion above) or racist/sexist jokes, etc.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Seriously, tell people the one about what you say to a woman with two black eyes, or the Polish social climber. I bet liberals would be more grossed out by that than conservatives, or at least libertarians.

  • sarcasmic||

    Q: Why do you never see a black guy at a square dance?

    A: Every time someone yells "Hoedown!" he things his woman been shot.

  • Killazontherun||

    What of vegetarianism? A creed based on a disgust for meat adapted much more commonly amongst lefties than righties? Did Haidt consider that as a factor in his subjects or is it so ubiquitous amongst his tribe of academics that it went unnoticed?

  • sarcasmic||

    Most vegetarians I've known were turned off of meat by the moral aspect (meat is murder) than by disgust.

  • Killazontherun||

    You are making a distinction without a difference.

  • sarcasmic||

    You are missing the point of the guy's talk.

  • Killazontherun||

    The one that is summarized above: “Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses,” says NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who is author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics.

    Haidt argues that our concern over these victimless behaviors is rooted in our biology. Humans evolved to feel disgusted by anything that when consumed makes us sick. That sense of disgust then expanded "to become a guardian of the social order.”?

    So, where is the victim in this 'morality'?

  • sarcasmic||

    Humans evolved to feel disgusted by anything that when consumed makes us sick.

    As I said, most vegetarians I've known chose not to eat meat not because it made them sick, but because they objected to the killing of animals.

    That is opposed to, say, eating bugs, which will cause a gag reflex to most people raised in western culture.

  • Killazontherun||

    That still contradicts against Haidt's point that concern for victimless behavior is rooted in biology. But to my point, you could say the very same thing about many of the people who object to homosexuality. Many of them have never seen the practice, never experienced it, and only object to it because a book tells them too, not because of a physiological reaction. I picked vegetarianism because it is a conscientious choice to modify behavior. Like the homosexuality taboo, there is no reason to assume what is going on in the mind of the adherent. Do vegetarians gag around meat? Some do. My niece is one. Do some get a warm fuzzy feeling from leading that life style? Again judging from her behavior, that is likely the case for some. That to is as physiological in origin as a gag reflex. I'm only asking to what extent did Haidt either of these cases to prove or disprove that physiologic tolerance is at the root of liberal and libertarian systems of morality.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm only asking to what extent did Haidt either of these cases to prove or disprove that physiologic tolerance is at the root of liberal and libertarian systems of morality.

    You'll have to watch/listen for yourself. I don't think he proved anything, but he did make an interesting case.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yeah, it is interesting, but not nuanced enough as an explanation for behavior. Much too binary. Disgust is registered or it isn't is the premise. Even with the later we have a problem because he is not making a distinction between apathy and acceptance. But with the former, you have an even larger problem, because physiological reactions can take many different forms that are often contradictory.

    Take the controversy over the Onion just a few days ago. There were generally two forms of reactions beyond the non reaction of apathy, and they were both visceral. The first being laughter at the outrageous satire on Hollywood media meanness by creating an over the top example. The other reaction was disgust from those who were reacting to acculturated factors, a little black girl being the subject of the satire, and the word 'cunt.' Different reactions, both visceral, where is the physiological origin point?

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said, you'll have to watch/listen to it yourself.

  • Killazontherun||

    I did. I have been following his work for years. I don't discount it, as he has discovered some interesting trait differences between those who consider themselves aligned to different political causes. His explanation for those differences is not nearly coherent and rigorous enough to be a satisfactory theory to the hypothesis he gives at this point.

  • ||

    I think Killazontherun is correct.

    In my experience most vegetarians chose that because they were disgusted by the conditions in factory farms. Consider any PETA video of what happens in a meat-packing plant. It's all about grossing you out by showing you the intestines being cut open.

    They might say "Oh but factory farms are immoral", but a lot of them were original MOVED to become vegetarians by having viewed a video that shows disgusting pictures of factory farming conditions.

    The disgusting video is way more powerful a determinant than the moral argument alone.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨where is the victim?¨

    Isn´t it the one who falls ill?

  • np||

    That word has been bastardized for a long time now, so much so that is really has become relative. Take for example the criticism against Ayn Rand when Atlas Shrugged was released by both left and right. They literally called her immoral, while she described her philosophy as the most moral. How are you going to decide who's right and wrong? And of course you can see the same in various religions.

    I think to have something that is truly, universally moral requires it to transcend having a moral code based on presupposed beliefs. But any such morality that is independent of culture, time, place or beliefs, and would heck, apply to aliens as well, would itself be amoral, just like natural or mathematical laws. Note that I mean universally true morality implies amorality, not that amorality implies morality.

    Essentially such a thing, which I subscribe to, doesn't prescribe what you ought to do, or what's good or bad. Rather, it simply deals with justice. In fact, justice is the only thing you can derive from (negative) rights, which itself derives from self-ownership. It does not and cannot deal with whether the justice is "good" or "bad", simply whether it is logically consistent self-ownership.

  • rabid penguin||

    This idea seems to fall apart as soon as you step outside issues that involve biology... which many people are grossed out by, regardless of political opinion.

    Take the topic of fetishes for example. Most of the people I know who are into kinky stuff will also espouse libertarian or liberal political opinions... but so what? What people find to be "icky" is entirely subjective and based largely on experience. I've met people who are into knife play and heavy caning, but they will freak out if they see someone throw up in the bathroom at a bar. How does that have any bearing on their political beliefs?

    That's the problem with a lot of theories in the Social sciences... too many subjective assertions based on intuition and assumption.

  • sarcasmic||

    How does that have any bearing on their political beliefs?

    Politics is about force and control. Someone who is easily disgusted about things is more likely to support using force and control to curb those things that disgust them. At least that's the logic.

  • ||

    Sometimes people deliberately use disgust to get a particular political outcome they desire.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Haidt should design his test to include things designed to induce a disgust reaction in liberals.

    "A person eats a meal of sausage and eggs and throws the styrofoam container into a receptacle marked TRASH."

    "A person uses the n-word, regardless of context."

    Or for libertarians:

    Show a lengthy video of Jar Jar Binks.

    Serve deep-dish pizza.

    Cancel *Firefly.*

    Ask them to hold hands and share their feelings.

  • ||

    Ask them to hold hands and share their feelings.

    EWWWWW!!!

  • ||

    Yeah, I am kind of grossed out by touchy feely stuff.

    It's why I hate dirty smelly hippies.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Most people who hate hippies simply ASSUME they are dirty and smelly. Logically farmers and factory workers are more likely to be dirty and smelly.

    Cart before the horse.

  • 16th amendment||

    Lots of examples here about how liberals find many things disgusting. Things like not helping the poor, low taxes, and there were even articles and posts in the liberal newspapers about how the sight of Charles Krauthammer is disgusting, scary, etc. Oh, yeah, they're disgusted by pro-lifers, Fox News, Daily Caller, Eric Cantor, etc. Only libertarians have a high tolerance round the board.

    Also, in his book he talks about the six dimensions of thought. One is fairness. His idea is that liberals value fairness, whereas conservatives do not. That's only superficially true because liberals always say it's fair for gays to marry, CA proposition 33, etc. But the fairness doctrines of the left ironically lead to a world which is unfair. You can see in communist countries that the official policy is fairness, but that fairness hampers economic growth and thus everyone is poorer. But human nature being selfish, the well connected will live well. Just take a look at the coddled unions in this country. Or look at the left-wing hosts who promote fairness and make ten million dollar salaries. The one must ask: is it fair that ordinary people, through no fault of their own, must be poor (they are the victims of bad policies by the ruling class).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Haidt's latest assessment:

    "In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives"

    Haidt's theory is that liberals operate on three moral foundations: Care/harm, Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression. Conservatives use all of these three, and add three more: Loyatly/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation.

    http://www.moralfoundations.org/

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Or, in other words, conservative views are more nuanced and complex than liberal views, being based on six dimensions rather than just three.

    But it's conservatives who are threatened by complexity and always seek simple answers.

  • sarcasmic||

    But it's conservatives who are threatened by complexity and always seek simple answers.

    Saying that conservatives (and libertarians) are threatened by complexity is a convenient meme used by the left to take what is likely the recognition that complex problems can often be broken down into simple solvable component parts, and write it off as fear. And it works because the left embraces logical fallacies as truth.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think the moral foundations are part of it, but what I see as a bigger part is an attitude I don't have a name for: the tendency of liberals to believe that any problem means Something Must Be Done at the highest possible level of government, without deeply considering unintended consequences, cost-effectiveness, or even how well this Something would actually do what they intend.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "an attitude I don't have a name for"

    Stupidity.

  • PapayaSF||

    Not stupidity, exactly. Many liberals are quite bright, otherwise. It's more like emotion and moralism overriding their logical facilities.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's more like emotion and moralism overriding their logical facilities.

    That is exactly it. Liberals are more apt to emote than to think.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨Liberals are more apt to emote than to think.¨

    I´m not sure where you get that from, even though it may be true. In any case, you are missing something worth noting. Liberals are far more likely to put stock in Hegel´s dialectic - Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis - than conservatives are. Is the dialectic a logical fallacy? Possibly. That a thesis engenders its own antithesis or contradiction arguably defies A is A. Strange and dangerous, certainly, but it does have its charms.

    But to say that using dialectical tools comes from a tendency to emote is a gross caricature.

  • PapayaSF||

    I don't get your point about Hegel and liberals and conservatives. I know a bit about Hegel, but I can't think of a real-world example of what you are talking about.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨I don't get your point about Hegel and liberals and conservatives.¨

    I´m only responding to some comments that liberals (in modern usage) rely on emotion and everyone else relies on logic. I would say that Hegelian thinking (very big with leftist in general) is logical in the same way non-Euclidian geometry is logical, different from classical geometry of course, but not because non-Euclidian geometers rely on emotion, but because the starting point premises are different.

    A determination to infantilize those you disagree with or don´t understand is a guarantee that bad faith arguments will follow.

  • PapayaSF||

    I never said or meant to imply that only liberals think emotionally. It's common in politics, but it seems especially common on the left. They pride themselves on being "reality-based" and having "the facts," but try to get one to acknowledge the Econ 101 point that a minimum wage kills jobs for the poor.

  • mtrueman||

    ¨I never said or meant to imply that only liberals think emotionally.¨

    I appreciate that. What I really dislike is the intellectual laziness of taking on a complicated issue like the difference between liberal and conservative thinking, and putting it down to what we see going on here: liberals think emotionally and libertarians think rationally. It´s smug as well as lazy.

    As far as cleaving to the gospel of Econ 101, account me out. These humanities with jumped up aspirations to the hardness of physics leave me cold.

    About whether a minimum wage kills jobs, frankly I don´t know and I don´t care. I promise you though, take any side you wish on the question, and I´ll never accuse you of emotional thinking.

  • PapayaSF||

    I am merely trying to explain what I have learned after many years of thinking about this subject, and talking with many liberals.

    As for the minimum wage, it's more a matter of logic and common sense than of some sort of false scientific hardness. If the minimum wage is (e.g.) $8/hour, nobody running a profit-making business will employ someone whose labor is worth $7/hour. The value of a person's labor is not changed by a political diktat. One can argue how much unemployment is caused by by various levels of a minimum wage, but I don't think it's arguable that it costs jobs if it's set at an artificially high level.

  • mtrueman||

    I have been pondering the minimum wage issue since you raised it. I take your point about it costing jobs.

    Let´s consider someone employed cleaning toilets at a fast food restaurant. The minimum wage is increased. The boss doesn´t want to pay it, so the toilet cleaner is let go. No big deal. The toilet cleaner no longer has a boss ordering him to clean toilets, gets unemployment compensation and gets to sit around the house all day doing whatever he likes. The boss on the other hand finds himself still bossing people around, but also cleaning toilets as well. This continues until the boss gets sick of doing the dirty work for himself, takes a pay cut and hires someone to clean toilets at the higher minimum wage. Maybe even the original guy who´s by now sick of hanging around the home and eager to put his toilet cleaning skills back to work where they´ll be appreciated. He finds the boss, having walked a mile in his shoes, looks at the him with respect and stops being quite so bossy. It´s a happy end worthy of a Hollywood movie, especially if the boss was Brad Pitt or Geaorge Clooney and the cleaner was Cuba Gooding or Morgan Freedman playing a black gay disabled man.

  • Tony||

    Problem is "the facts" don't back up that Econ 101-based hypothesis.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, you can quibble and find an odd study or two that claims that minimum wage increases didn't cause unemployment, but calling it a "hypothesis" is just a feeble attempt to dismiss the basic principle: when government degrees that the cost of something should be higher, people will tend to buy less of it.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The dialectic is not philosophically true, but it is a principle of human psychology.

  • Sam Grove||

    Liberals are more apt to emote than to think.

    Or they mistake emoting for thinking.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberals would fail the humanity test.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gom_jabbar

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Or that conservatives have three more categories they can use to justify enslaving you.

  • elfprince13||

    I'm not sure I agree with this article at all.

    I'm disgusted by all sorts of behaviors that, as a libertarian, I'll defend your right to engage in. Smoking? Disgusting. Inserting yourself into someone else's fecal delivery system? Disgusting. But if you're not forcing me to participate, then go right ahead.

    And as many commenters have pointed out, liberals tend to be disgusted by all sorts of things.

  • IceTrey||

    First of all morality deals solely with actions, thoughts and feelings are are amoral. Secondly there are two types of morality, objective and subjective. Objective deals with actions between individuals and subjective deals with action effecting only the individual. So many problems occur because people don't understand that simple concept and try to mix the two types.

  • JD the elder||

    I can't believe there's an entire discussion of this issue without once mentioning the term "squick". The problem with the word "disgust" is that it conflates two very different emotions: moral disgust and visceral disgust (or "squick"). I am "disgusted" by corrupt officials, but physically they're just like anyone else. I am "squicked" by the idea of eating maggots, although I realize there's no moral dimension to the act. A lot of humans' issues come from conflating the two, if you ask me.

  • Brandybuck||

    I would hazard a guess that I still have a high disgust factor in my thinking. I was raised socially conservative, and still have a lot of that in my psyche. But what makes me a libertarian is that I can separate out what is disgusting from what should be illegal. For example, the idea of two men having sex still disgusts me, but I have no problem with gay marriage. I also have disgust with straight couples having heavy makeout sessions in public, disgust at the idea of anal sex regardless of gender, and I find sado-masochism baffling. I just have a sense that some things need to be kept private.

    But that does NOT mean I want government involved in these things! That's why I'm a libertarian. I do think a lot of social conservatives could come over to the libertarian fold if they can get it through their heads that morality doesn't have to be legislated.

  • JJK||

    +1 to this. I think the biggest misconceptions of libertarians is that we advocate all sort of acts, be it workplace descrimination, taking huge rips off the bong as soon we wake up, or otherwise. The statists dont understand how even if we dont AGREE with something, we would prefer big brother to stay out of it.

    Now someone fire that minority and pass me a lighter.

  • JJK||

    spelling and grammar fail. It's been a long day.

  • trshmnstr||

    Exactly. I always have to make the distinction between my personal views and legal views. Sometimes they're contradictory.

    People have a hard time separating personal morality (how you live your life) from legislative morality (governmental meddling). I just happen to find government intervention to be one of the most disgusting things of all.

  • Alan||

    Same here. It depends a good deal on the particulars, but I don't consider myself to have a particularly high threshold for disgust - rather, I have a high degree of rationality that allows me to separate my personal feelings from my political beliefs.

  • sk00byd0||

    Just because you are libertarian doesnt mean you dont believe in the bible/torah/koran etc. Libertarians are interested in separating church from state, not dogma. Liberty from an oppressive government doesnt mean you cant be God fearing.
    In addition, many libertarians are pro-life like Dr. Ron Paul. This has nothing to do with disgust, rather it is based on either religion or that part about granting "life, liberty..." from the constitution.

  • Sam Grove||

    No distinction between morés and morality?

  • Alan Wright||

    I'm disgusted when people violate the civil rights and legal entitlements of other people without good cause or Due Process under the law.

    I'm generally not disgusted by thinking that consulting adults adults do this or that with each other. Rather, I'm cold and disinterested.

    What may disgust me is where I see myself in that act. Specifically, something like coprophagia. The idea of eating feces disgusts me, personally. Many other sex acts don't disgust me, but they simply do not interest me personally. Everyone else: go for it.

  • Max||

    The only thing disgusting is his confusion of custom, morality and law. See www.Libertarian-Institute.Info

  • lucasw908||

    my friend's step-mother makes $63/hr on the computer. She has been fired from work for six months but last month her payment was $15870 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site
    http://qr.net/ka6n

  • jester||

    To take Mr. Haidt's hypothesis, he is saying that liberals in their true sense are a lot like libertarians in their feelings. The difference is that they think other rules should apply to those that don't feel the way they do.
    Libertarians differentiate in that they, being more evolved, realize that to be truly free, everyone has to be fully emancipated even if it means her own destruction. That is where the low empathy factor comes in and I will add on a societal level because on the individual level it means greater societal happiness.
    This is the contradiction. The great counterintuitive that baffles the social engineer, the libertarian hater.

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