THE RELEVANCE OF HAIDT’S WORK TO POLITICS AND LAW
( RE: http://lesswrong.com/…/what_is_moral_foundation_theory_goo…/ )
I‘ve written quite a bit about Haidt in my work on Propertarianism. Perhaps I can move the discussion out of the psychological and often pseudoscientific (preferential experience) and into the legal and often scientific (necessary cooperation)
1) Haidt’s Moral foundations are reducible to descriptions of those instincts necessary for the preservation of the disproportionately high rewards of cooperation through the various prohibitions on ‘cheating’ which disincentives and undermines that cooperation. He describes his work by referencing evolutionary theory. He does not take cooperation further into economics (productivity). Nor does he discuss the evolution of the family structure and property rights in parallel to our evolution of production.
2) The different weights of our biases reflect differences in reproductive strategy between the male and the female: the males operate as a collection of brothers defending a reproductive resource, and they attempt to ensure the strength of the tribe as a vehicle for their genes and are conscious of MERIT (costs/return). Females and seek to bear children at will and place the cost of their upkeep upon the tribe, and then seek to ensure the success of their offspring in competition with those of other females regardless of the child’s MERITS since her genes must persist. In large groups this difference in reproductive strategy is adopted by different classes as well as genders. (See Haidt’s Bibliography)
3) These moral biases also express themselves as biases in perception, cognition, knowledge, advocacy and labor, where progressives (feminine) favor consumption in the short term, libertarians (neutral) favor production in the medium term, and conservatives (masculine) favor accumulation of all forms of capital (especially genetic and normative) in the long term. Each of us specializes in a temporal division of perception, cognition, knowledge, advocacy, and labor: progressive short consumption regardless of merit, medium production, and long term defense. And we tend to be be morally blind to the other members of the division of perception.
4) Just as prices function as an information system for the production of goods and services, voluntary cooperation functions as an information system across the reproductive division of labor. Such that cooperation between each of the specializaons provides the optimum ‘game’ outcome for all even if none is able to achieve it’s desired state of perfection. This follows monogamous reproduction which is the best for all even if not the best for some.
5) As such, the moral foundations are reducible to **statements of property rights** necessary for the construction of a state of natural law, and provide us with the scientific (necessary and parsimonious) basis for law: the preservation of cooperation.
I have become very skeptical of any ethical, moral, economic, and political philosophy that is not expressed as decidable law strictly constructed from the first principle of cooperation: non-parasitism. Because that use of law was the anglo-law, natural-law, then jeffersonian model, and avoiding that constraint, is how the postmodernists (neo-puritans), neocons, socialists and libertines (cosmopolitan libertarians) managed to use empty verbalisms and justificationary rationalism to confuse the academic and popular discourse.
The Propertarian Institute