Ideological differences in the expanse of the moral circle

The essential ideological differences: whether you identify with those around you. By Adam Waytz, in an academic paper.

In 2006, then Democratic Senator Barack Obama bemoaned the country’s “empathy deficit,” telling college graduates, “I hope you choose to broaden, and not contract, your ambit of concern.” In 2012, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney said, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

The distinction between Obama and Romney captures the distinct worldviews of American political liberals and conservatives, respectively. Romney prioritized the family unit, whereas Obama highlighted the planet broadly.

This difference in parochialism versus universalism became exacerbated during the 2016 presidential election, with one article noting, “Trump vs. Hillary Is Nationalism vs. Globalism, 2016,” contrasting the more parochial Republican candidate with the more universalist Democratic candidate. Others have characterized the Trump administration’s policy decisions as battles between nationalists (typified by parochialism) and globalists (typified by universalism).

These differential tendencies toward parochialism and universalism on the political right and left, respectively, extend beyond the United States as well. For example, leading French right-wing politician, Marie Le Pen declared in 2016, “The gap is not between the Left and the Right, but between globalists and patriots. The globalists are acting for the dilution of France and its people in a huge worldwide magma. The patriots hope that the nation constitutes the most protective space for the French.”

Across Western Europe, ideological battles between the left and right have centered on this tension between universalism and parochialism.

Normal people preference those around them. The woke hate the people around them and prefer wider and more abstract membership. Study results:

Heatmaps indicating highest moral allocation by ideology …

Moral circle rings, from inner to outer, are described as follows:

  1. all of your immediate family
  2. all of your extended family
  3. all of your closest friends
  4. all of your friends (including distant ones)
  5. all of your acquaintances
  6. all people you have ever met
  7. all people in your country
  8. all people on your continent
  9. all people on all continents
  10. all mammals
  11. all amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish, and birds
  12. all animals on earth including paramecia and amoebae
  13. all animals in the universe, including alien lifeforms
  14. all living things in the universe including plants and trees
  15. all natural things in the universe including inert entities such as rocks
  16. all things in existence

Funny how the woke accuse everyone else of hate speech. All projection, of course.