Unconscious Reactions Separate Liberals and Conservatives – But They CAN Work Together!

Scientific American presents an excellent article, written by Emily Laber-Warren, on the fundamental differences between conservatives and liberals.

Psychological insights might tone down the bitter feuding between Democrats and Republicans

To paraphrase humor columnist Dave Barry, Republicans think of Democrats as godless, unpatriotic, Volvo-driving, France-loving, elitist latte guzzlers, whereas Democrats dismiss Republicans as ignorant, NASCAR-obsessed, gun-fondling religious fanatics. An exaggeration, for sure, but the reality is still pretty stark.

Congress is in a perpetual stalemate because of the two parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything.

In the Federalist Papers (Essay #10), James Madison discusses “factions.”

Madison argues that the government must be designed NOT to rid the system of factions, but to develop a way in which these factions might work together. You can access Madison’s monumental essay by clicking HERE.

The author focuses on two issues:  Fear and Moral Scorecards.


Psychologists have found that conservatives are fundamentally more anxious than liberals, which may be why they typically desire stability, structure and clear answers to complicated questions.

Moral Scorecards

Liberals tend to value caring for people who are vulnerable, and being fair regarding the sharing of resources.

Conservatives care about fairness, too, but to them fairness means proportionality – that people should get what they deserve based on the amount of effort they have put in.

It’s worth a read to gain some insight how the two “factions” in our Constitutional Republic might be able to function effectively.

You can access the Scientific American article by clicking HERE.

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