November 9, 2012

I love them both

The University of British Columbia recently conducted a poll of liberal Democrat and conservative Republican academics in an effort to find out whether they share any common moral ground.  The study showed participants photographs of influential historical figures of the 20th Century and asked them to rate them. Researchers were trying to determine whether there were deep divides between American liberals and conservatives.  In the main, they found more consensus than they expected.
The study looked for five moral foundations or themes and asked the subjects to rate whether each person embodied the following moral foundations:
  • Care, or “basic concerns for the suffering of others, including virtues of caring and compassion.”
  • Fairness, or “concerns about unfair treatment, inequality, and more abstract notions of justice.”
  • Loyalty, or “concerns related to obligations of group membership, such as loyalty, self-sacrifice and vigilance against betrayal.”
  • Authority, “concerns related to social order and the obligations of hierarchical relationships, such as obedience, respect, and proper role fulfillment.”
  • Purity/sanctity: “concerns about physical and spiritual contagion, including virtues of chastity, wholesomeness and control of desires.”

From the most divisive to those who most agreed upon:
  • Margaret Sanger
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Harvey Milk
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Che Guevara
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • V.I. Lenin
  • Billy Graham
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Winston Churchill
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Ayatullah Khomeini
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • Mao Zedong
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Martin Luther King
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Princess Diana
  • John F. Kennedy
  • David Ben-Gurion
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Rosa Parks
  • Andrei Sakharov
  • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Mother Teresa
  • Bill Wilson
  • Lech Walesa
  • Helen Keller
  • Anne Frank
  • Tenzing Norgay
  • Bruce Lee
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Edmund Hillary
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Pelé
For more see the UBC press release or the study itself.


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