Key Takeaways from The Righteous Mind

  • Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second
    • Intuitions = elephant, reasoning = rider.
  • There’s more to morality than harm and fairness
    • Morality is not universal – WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic) people are outliers
    • The foundations of morality are:
      • Care/harm
        • Left cares about those who cannot help themselves. Right cares about those who have sacrificed for the group (veterans)
      • Fairness/cheating
        • Equality (left) or proportionality (right)
      • Liberty/oppression
      • Loyalty/betrayal
      • Authority/subversion
      • Sanctity/degradation
    • The left relies on Care and Fairness. The right relies on all six.
    • Republicans speak more to the elephant
  • Morality binds and blinds
    • Evolution happens on the individual level, but perhaps also on the group level (increasing groupishness)
    • Humans are 90% chimp (individual) and 10% bee (group)
    • You can flip on the “hive” switch if conditions are right (choirs, awe in nature, psychedelics) and be “simply a part of the whole”.
    • Religious people are more generous/etc simply because they are a moral community – not related to specific beliefs
    • Liberals have a harder time understanding conservatives than the other way around, because loyalty, authority, and sanctity are so low (sometimes not even part of the equation)