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The most complete picture to date of the moral worlds of the political left and right and how their different views relate to specific political issues

The left and right will always have strong policy disagreements, but constructive debate and negotiation are not possible when each side demonizes the other. We need to move past our poisonous politics. In this book, social psychologist Ronnie Janoff-Bulman provides a new framework for understanding why and how we disagree.

Janoff-Bulman asks readers to consider the challenging possibility that both liberalism and conservatism are morally based and reflect genuine concern for the country. Moral psychology is an invaluable lens for understanding the roots of political differences. She presents a "Model of Moral Motives" that maps the most fundamental motivations recognized by psychology--approach and avoidance--onto these differences. Liberal morality focuses on providing for the group's well-being and ensuring social justice. Conservative morality focuses on protecting the group from threats and preserving order.

These moralities can account for the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives and for why certain positions resonate on each side of the political spectrum. Why, for example, do conservatives oppose abortion and favor unfettered free markets while liberals favor a woman's right to choose and economic regulation? Understanding that our political differences are rooted in two natural forms of morality can help us begin to detoxify our politics.

Publication Date: 
April 18, 2023