2 November 2010

Libertarian Morality

A new paper by University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and colleagues, "Understanding Libertarian Morality: The psychological roots of an individualist morality" is shortly to be published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It involved surveys of more than 10,000 self-identified libertarians gathered online at the website yourmorals.org.

The study found that libertarians show, compared to (US) liberals and conservatives:
  1. stronger endorsement of individual liberty as their foremost guiding principle 
  2. correspondingly weaker endorsement of other moral principles
  3. a relatively cerebral as opposed to emotional intellectual style
  4. lower interdependence and social relatedness.
Seems we're intelligent, self-sufficient individuals who admit no arbitrary curtailment of personal autonomy and want above all not to be messed with by self-righteous cunts, no matter what ideology they profess.

No shit, Sherlock.


  1. Did you say 'The Journal of Impersonal and Sociological Psychology'? And they think that Libertarians are Autistic Narcissi? Is that something like 1. not having majored in Sociology? Or 2. Not following the Party Line? Or 3. Not having a subscription to Pravda?

  2. Actually, as an American, another thought occurs to me. It may, in this postmodernist era be entirely outside the comfort zone of academic rationality to consider the possibility of there being people who have thought through matters enough to be guided by principle before acting, rather than - as American 'Conservatives'(?) and Liberals might do - doing whatever is most convenient or advantageous to themselves and then finding principled reasons for it afterward. Gosh, am I a curmudgeon.

  3. Maybe a candidate for an Ig Nobel Prize? See: http://improbable.com/ig/

  4. Here;s this year's biology prize:
    BIOLOGY PRIZE: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.
    REFERENCE: "Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time"