Our Moral Tribes or Why Liberals and Conservatives Can’t Talk to Each Other

Tony LarsenA number of psychologists have recently explored the divide between liberals and conservatives–in religion, politics, and morality. The problem, some argue, may be the ethical/spiritual foundations each group is most comfortable with: Care vs. harm, Fairness vs. cheating, Loyalty vs. betrayal, Authority vs. subversion, Sanctity vs. degradation, and Liberty vs. oppression. Liberals tend to pay more attention to certain of these foundations (can you guess which ones?); conservatives pay more attention to others. (And even the ones the two groups agree on seem to mean somewhat different things to each group!) Are we destined to be polarized–or is there a way to help each group understand the other (even if we can’t always agree)?

Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen has been pastor of Olympia Brown UU Church in Racine since 1975 (yes, that’s 40 years and probably a record!). He is an annual guest speaker at our Fellowship.