With the US presidential election coming up in a few weeks, I've read a lot about various moral values recently. It's the endless struggle of controversial ideologies: liberals versus conservatives. But why are there these two opposing mindsets and why is it so difficult for people to reach their colleagues? In this blog post I want to give you an answer to this fascinating question.
I assume that most of you already know the fundamental differences between liberal and conservative people, as you are likely to represent one of these ideologies. But for those of you who don't, I'll explain them briefly.
Liberals and Conservatives are often affiliated with the two main US parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Liberal-minded people put emphasis on things like care and equality, while those values are not that important to conservatives. They tend to have an old-fashioned mindset and mostly focus on patriotism, loyalty, and purity.
Different brain structures can influence people in their personal moral values!
After examining MRI brain scans of many different people, it was found that liberals usually have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, a part of our brains associated with understanding and monitoring conflict.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have a larger right amygdala, which helps process anxiety and fear. But how does that relate to people getting more old-fashioned, you might ask? The question is really simple: people become more conservative when they are afraid of something. You can see this phenomenon after every disaster, such as after September 11th.
People of both ideologies also experience pain in different ways. Scientists can tell if you are liberal or conservative by showing you pictures of mutilated limbs and analyzing your brain. Free-thinking people also usually feel pain when someone else is suffering, while the conservative brain does not react to these images that way. This doesn't mean they don't care about others, just that their brains work differently.
But why is it so difficult for people to achieve this with a different ideology? It's because we think our moral values are universal. Other values seem illogical and unacceptable, so we present our arguments in a way that mainly addresses the ethics of our own side rather than those of our opponents. To convince people who think differently, we must first understand the values of the other side and try to find arguments that satisfy those values. For example, if you are talking to a conservative person about refugees, you shouldn't say they are poor and need help. Instead, you could use a word like "You want to live the American dream, so you've decided to come to the US."
This technique is known as "moral reshaping," and it should definitely be learned if you want to reach more people in the future.
What do you think about this topic? If there is anything important to add, I would appreciate your comment!
I'm looking forward to a wonderful discussion!
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