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Yep, I’m a liberal

While doing some reading on “Moral Foundations Theory,” I came across this on-line test for “moral foundations.” I answered 36 sly and somewhat troubling questions, and the test identified me quite correctly as “left liberal.”

The test attempts to measure the relative strength of your “moral foundations” in six categories:


As a liberal, I tested high on Care and Fairness, and lower on Authority, Liberty, and Purity.

Authority? As a liberal and as a heretic, it blows my mind that anyone would see deference to authority as a moral virtue. And though I value liberty, as a liberal I would be greatly offended if liberty trumps, say, fairness. I believe I would prefer the word justice to fairness, however. Still, because I like John Rawls’ approach to justice — justice as fairness — either word will do.

I have to suppose that conservative minds are willing to knowingly tolerate injustice — or at least a certain level of injustice — to preserve authority. I further suppose that a libertarian is willing to tolerate injustice or un-caring (think unfed children, or old people without medical care) to preserve their individual liberty. As for purity, who cares? Purity might be nice if it’s costless, but as a liberal I can’t think of any good thing that I’d sacrifice to purity.

Though according to the Myers-Briggs test I am a perceiving type, not a judging type, I nevertheless judge the living daylights out of both conservatives and libertarians. In particular, I abhor arbitrary authority. And though loyalty and liberty are positive values to me, I would be contemptuous of anyone who would put loyalty and liberty ahead of justice and caring. Unfortunately, this comes up in politics all the time.

In my world, conservatives and libertarians aren’t just inclined to ugly politics. They are morally confused.


  1. Dan wrote:

    I was considered “left-liberal” with high marks in care, fairness, authority and purity and lower in loyalty and liberty. I also tested as an ISTJ. I’ve tested as an INTJ previously but I think this ISTJ was more accurate.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Watch out for that authority, though! 🙂

    Ken just took the test, with results very similar to mine. That must have everything to do with why it never occurs to us to argue.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    I thought this online test covered a more rational means of testing where someone falls on the authoritarian/libertarian-left/right spectrum. I took the “Isidewith” test during the campaign season and surprisingly found that I aligned with Bernie Sanders even though I felt more at ease supporting Hillary. The numbers were close, though.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

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