Sacralizing Liberals and Fair-Minded Conservatives: Ideological Symmetry in the Moral Motives in the Culture War.

Frimer, J., Tell, C., & Motyl, M. (2016). Sacralizing liberals and fair-minded conservatives: Ideological symmetry in the moral motives in the culture war. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.

45 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jeremy Frimer

Jeremy Frimer

University of Winnipeg

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Caitlin Tell

University of Winnipeg

Date Written: March 22, 2017

Abstract

Political arguments may endure seemingly into perpetuity because the conflicted combatants view the issues in different ways, with one side decrying unfairness and the other side decrying attacks on the sacrosanct. We tested whether both conservatives and liberals rely on protecting the sacrosanct when justifying their attitudes on some contentious moral issues. In four studies, we examine how liberals and conservatives justify their political attitudes on the issues of same-sex marriage and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Liberals supported same-sex marriage rights primarily in the name of fairness and equality; conservatives primarily opposed same-sex marriage rights as a matter of protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage. Symmetrically, liberals primarily opposed the development of the Keystone XL oil pipeline as a matter of protecting the sanctity of the Earth; conservatives supported the development of the pipeline as a matter of promoting fairness (e.g., corporate rights; as well as citing economic and foreign policy implications). Like conservatives, liberals also bring sacred thinking to moral issues. The culture war is mired in stalemate partly because each side considers some matters to be sacrosanct, and other matters as suitable for revision in the name of fairness.

Keywords: ideology, political psychology, social psychology, moral psychology, culture war, conflict

Suggested Citation

Frimer, Jeremy and Motyl, Matt and Tell, Caitlin, Sacralizing Liberals and Fair-Minded Conservatives: Ideological Symmetry in the Moral Motives in the Culture War. (March 22, 2017). Frimer, J., Tell, C., & Motyl, M. (2016). Sacralizing liberals and fair-minded conservatives: Ideological symmetry in the moral motives in the culture war. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939307

Jeremy Frimer (Contact Author)

University of Winnipeg ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
United States

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Caitlin Tell

University of Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
United States

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