Dr. Jonathan Haidt has a new book out, which Cassandra has recommended to me highly -- I have not had time as yet! -- and which is beginning to make ripples in the community. You may have seen the Hot Air piece on how conservatives understand liberals better than liberals understand conservatives; or the New York magazine piece with the amusing illustrations that was featured on the always-interesting Arts & Letters Daily.
Dr. Haidt has updated his online quizzes, which you may enjoy taking for fun or edification; or just to help see the point he's trying to make. I was pleased to score perfectly on the scientific knowledge quiz, for example; it's not hard, and I expect all of you will do likewise. Both liberals and conservatives average over six out of seven total points.
The point he is making that gets the most attention comes from his "Sacredness Survey," where he's pushing the argument that conservatives and liberals share three value systems (fairness, avoidance of harm, and purity), but that conservatives have two more (authority and in-group loyalty).
I learn from this survey that Haidt's model ranks me as considering all but one of these values considerably more sacred than is normal for either liberals or conservatives; the exception is authority, for which I apparently have almost no respect whatsoever.
That helps me to understand Dr. Haidt's point, but it shows me that he doesn't quite understand my way of thinking about things. I have a great deal of respect for legitimate authority; but I run it in with in-group loyalty. That is to say, my view of legitimate authority is that it arises from a mutual and reciprocal bond of loyalty. Lacking such a bond, there is no legitimate authority. This is because authority must be earned and deserved.
You'll find the surveys interesting, and perhaps illuminating. I also have it on good authority that Cassandra will be writing about this book soon, so you'll get a head start on your homework!