Great! We can stop reading because we finally have a research-backed explanation for why "the other side" is the woooooorrrrssssst, amiright?!
Not so fast.
In the words of the TED talker himself:
"If our goal is to seek a deeper understanding of the world, our general lack of moral diversity here is going to make it harder, because when people all share values and morals, they become a team. And once you engage in the psychology of teams, it shuts down open-minded thinking."
This quote was an especially salient moment, because just before it he had established (a) that liberals are generally far more open-minded, and (b) that in the TED room where he was giving this talk, there were hundreds of liberals, a couple dozen libertarians, and only about 10 conservatives.
Which takes us back to the 5 values, specifically ingroup/loyalty:
- We're prone to it - "Tribal psychology is so deeply pleasurable that even when we don't have tribes, we go ahead and make them because it's fun"
- It's counter-productive to our goals - "You can't just go charging in saying 'you're wrong and I'm right' because everyone thinks they're right, and a lot of the problems we want to solve require us to change other people."
This idea of there being an "other side," of there being teams at all, is one of the biggest impediments to actually creating the change we want to see.
At the same time, there are real moral problems that need solving and real malicious, bad-faith actors in the world whom we need to oppose.
So what to do?
Step outside the moral matrix - even if for just a moment - to get a 30k-foot view.
First, understand that liberals and conservatives essentially exist to form a balance with each other on change vs stability, and that they're both right:
- "Liberals speak for the weak and oppressed, they want change and justice"
- "The great conservative insight is that order is really hard to achieve, it's really precious, and it's really easy to lose"
We like to think of it in terms of an analogy: imagine that humanity is all in one big car, together.
Liberals are trying to drive to the destination - equity and justice and our species' highest calling ("the progressive march of history") - as quickly as possible.
Conservatives are trying to keep the car from flying off the road at high speed so that we actually make it in one piece.
Same destination, different roles.