Quiz: What Do Your Morals Say About Your Politics?

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Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt theorizes that a person’s position on the political spectrum is a reflection of his or her moral matrix. We’re all guided by the same moral foundations, he posits, but we weigh them differently. Liberals value compassion, or care, over all else, while conservatives assign equal weight to values including care, liberty, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. It’s not that liberals don’t believe in the others, but when faced with a moral dilemma, care (or avoidance of harm) trumps everything else.

Much of Haidt’s analysis is derived from a series of surveys available on his website, YourMorals.org, that ask thought-provoking questions about everything from romantic love to business ethics. Visit his site to explore your own moral values and find out how they relate to your political inclinations. Or start with this 28-question survey, adapted from Haidt’s, about the morally complex and politically divisive issue of criminal justice.

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  • jan

    I liked the moral foundations better than this one but for me it depends on the situation and the person/people involved. 

    Q1 – I would question whether there actually is such a thing as closure whether you’re talking about recovering from a crime or loss of a person. 

    Q3 – Who says we have to let 10 guilty people go free in order to ensure an innocent person is not falsely convicted?  Why not just convict the 10 guilty and let the 1 go free? 

    Q4 – 20 or 30 years ago before we had tv shows that glamorized lying, cheating, and backstabbing and portrayed them as “winners” I might not have considered crime a product of our society.  Today I’m not so sure.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to take the tests.   It was fun.    :)

  • leftofcenter

    I’d agree on one point. Desperate people will literally do and say anything they have to to survive.

  • Ccarnein

    Many of the choices in the Haidt survey require such oversimplified thinking that they seem meaningless to me.  They often require making a single choice about two things at once.  I don’t know whether that’s a strategy or a flaw in the way the survey is constructed.

  • Byard Pidgeon

    It’s a common strategy. Similar choices are in other questions, the object is to make the results more accurate and harder to fake.

  • Byard Pidgeon

    The number of “liberal” test takers is 5 times that of “conservative” test takers. Is this because fewer conservatives know of it, or because they’re less curious about themselves?

  • Carla

    Apparently, if I leaned any further to the left, I would fall down!

  • Kristine

    Abolish the death penalty. Let the 1 innocent go, make the guilty 10 serve the time.  Some of the questions had too many variables to really answer them the way I would’ve liked.  Answers would be contingent on factors not presented.  Nonetheless, my progressive and left leaning attitudes are confirmed. 

  • LT1LT2

    Just happened on to the Jonathan Haidt segment tonight.  Fascinating.  However, I found Bill BLINDED by his own Sacredness.  Such a shame.  I started to take this survey, but was suspicious when I saw it had been “adapted” from Haidt’s.   I’ll look at his own site another day.   

  • Lquilici

    I worked as a Prison Chaplain in the Arizona and Federal Prison System and was amazed at the narrow minded thinking for progressive ideas and actions to reform and rehabilitate inmates from within thru all kinds of tools and techniques because inmates might not return.  I attempted to show a short portion of Shawshank Redemption and was shot down by the Warden.  I was successful in teaching meditation, journaling, story telling, grieving tools, global spirituality and family dynamics. I finally left in frustration because I was told to spend more time on hospitality, volunteerism, secretarial work, and coudling criminals.

  • Sandycohen

    I think it’s because not many conservatives watch Bill Moyers/PBS!

  • Lquilici

    Same Prison Chaplain: When told by an inmate that s/he did not do the crime s/he was imprisoned for I would respond: “Well maybe that is true.  Perhaps you are here for all the other crimes you committed and did not get caught for!” Their response was silence. Karma is a powerful force or as inmates describe it: “What goes around, comes around.”

  • Sharon

    I would be curious to see what Bill Moyers  and Johnathan Haidts results are on this Justice Survey is.

  • Anonymous

    thought-provoking questions-no qualifying facts presented-but i must answer as so many do in society, with little information.  without chance for discussion, i find myself erring on the side of “first do no harm”  in answering.  while my liberal beliefs are revealed, i seem to be more conservative than i thought i was….so….. the questions were then well written and thoughtfully worded to reveal what?   nevertheless, well done….as usual.  verrrry good discussion.  thanks.   

  • ernesto

    I didn’t feel that Jonathan Haidt’s use of Aesop’s Ant and the Grasshopper fable was accurate as a metaphor for the way the world really works.  Currently we have the ants working so that the grasshopper can have a mansion and a yacht.  The conservatives believe in the myth of a meritocracy, but they are blinded to the truth.  The world is not a meritocracy and the people who work the hardest definitely are not rewarded for their labor.  Just look at the wages of the people who make the clothes we wear or who pick the food we eat.

  • Lynbrumley

    I believe that a person who works should receive a living wage.  If a person is working and not making enough money to live without societies help then society is not doing enough.

  • Riveragelsinger

     Is profound respect for the exercise, promotion. protection of human rights a mere sacralization of a philosophical notion? There’s no panacea or shortage of real-life conflict in creating a system that takes human rights seriously. Why are human rights so poorly understood in the USA? Why do we allow governments to ignore, neglect and allow outright abuse of human rights?

  • Brucebartlett

    He admitted that himself. You response is foolish. I took the survey and was surprised by the results.

  • Brucebartlett

    They have already pigeon holed bill and PBS, and they are watching Fox.

  • James

    I am rather shocked to hear this view on television, and very relieved. I have my own sacred cows like everyone, and can violist others from time to time, but I also am almost always able to see why people on the Left and the Right believe what they believe and consider it good. Abortion, for instance, is not a battle between those who are Pro-Life and those who are Pro-Choice. BOTH sides are Pro-Life AND Pro-Choice. They all believe life is precious and murder is wrong. They all believe in individual rights to choose how you live your life. They just disagree about a fact. They have different answers to the question, “When does a human life begin?”
    This always baffles me when it comes to the Founding Fathers. The Right seems to want to make them and keep them as ideal heroes who are now and forever unquestionably heroic, righteous, and principled founders of the greatest nation ever on earth. This blinds them to the realities of their shortcomings. But many liberals seem incapable of bringing up the Founding Fathers without pointing to their flaws. Sure, when they said “all men are created equal” many of them were only thinking of white, land-owning males of a certain income. But the inherent sentiment in the statement about “all men” came to inspire women’s rights, to fit into MLK’s claim that this nation should live up to its creed, and was used by many in their arguments against slavery. Why would liberals wish to vilify the founders or this creed when it has led to so much good? And why do Conservatives want to forget the limitations of the Founders when that means we too, as human as they, must challenge ourselves to see our own limitations?
    I do think there is an actual answer toward achieving agreement on these disagreements, though. Far more of an answer than was offered on the show. I think we would benefit here by referencing Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton’s letters and arguments more fully. They already thought through these things.

  • Hank Smith

    It was a very interesting show…As for moral compass, please consider this:

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going…”

    No that is not about the Bob Dylan song, although he had it right.  Lets consider that quote before trying to track down its profound source.   It hardly establishes a “sound” moral compass – nor a pragmatic one.  As Haidt, and others point out, that which is based on “reason” is not truth – because of confirmation bias, but that is not the point.  Our inability to discern truth via reason is much more deeply routed.  As for the quote, its from John.  

  • Anonymous

    I made entries for all the questions, but when I got to the bottom there was no way to get a “score’!  Is this a Mac/Chrome problem?
    Really interesting discussion tonight with Haidt.  Bill has an incredible range of interests and background knowledge.

  • Rushisaliar

    The use of terms like “some crimes” is not useful. There should be more specificity in such questions

  • hiker

    I did not buy into Haidt’s arguments about conservatives and liberals. He did not define the left very well and the comparisons he used were very weak (almost like a David Brooks). One example he used was the work hard and succeed, even though many of the hardest workers have little to show for it; e.g. janitors, service workers, laborers whereas many of the successful and well to do had everything handed to them by their parents or a set of fortunate circumstances.

  • Imlmurry

    On the issue of bailouts. I agree that the financial institutions that gamble funds and loss should not have been bailout. If you play the stock you should reap the rewards, but if it collapse on your head; well find the tallest building and jump.
    On the other hand, bailing out the auto industry save the livlihoods of not only the auto manufacturers, but the cottage industry that supported them. people who were working hard everyday and not slackers. How does karma come into play here?

  • fiscal conservative

    HAHAHA ERNESTO… It’s not about how physically demanding your job is or how much you sweat at work; that’s not what we conservatives mean when we say merit should determine your compenasation; we’re talking about what value of the result of your efforts.  It boils down to the strength of your intellect and what that intellect then produces.  if you’re not bright enough to do anything other than manual labor take that up with God or Carl Sagan (whichever theory of creation to which you subscribe) but don’t blame those who have the intellect that results in high pay.  Those with strong intellects are the reason food pickers have safe, effective over the counter medicines that numb the pain in their lower back so they can get back out there and pick my strawberries; I loves me some strawberries and cream after working a long day in my air conditioned office!!!

  • Realist

    This is true until there is a severe scarcity of food on your table, and then I suspect that your air conditioning won’t be as important and that the people who put food on our tables will be making a lot more of the big bucks.

  • BogusStory.com

    Whatever happened to the 1987 version of Bill Moyers that used to talk about “the secret government” that controls both parties?

    The 1987 version of Bill is in line with the Occupy Wall Street’s observation that both Democrats and Republicans are operating for the 1%.

    Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt managed to talk about the civil rights legislation’s effect on the Republican party without mentioning “racism”.  He managed to brilliantly cover up that word with “groupism”, a trait that he spent a lot of time saying is part of the inherent team competition that is part of every American.  Hogwash.  Being a team player excludes unfair competition and being a racist is specifically designed to be unfair preference.
    This is a propaganda piece for Obama in that Haidt claims there are no conservative Democrats left when it is well documented that the “New Democrat” coalition within the Democratic party finds common ground with the Republicans on a strictly neoconservative agenda. 

    Boener’s joke about “I don’t compromise” is true.  He doesn’t have to.  He incrementally gets what he wants with the backing of Obama.  Obama ties his own hands by allowing bills attached to war funding measures that he claims he cannot say no to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1567860582 Sharon Hernandez

    I think prison should be a place of rehabilitation, They should get discipline, hard work, learn consistency, and moral values marched in and out the way they do in China like they are in the military. They should have chores and jobs and learn what they may not have learned throughout their lives. Violence against one another should never be tolerated especially rape and gang behavior. I am ashamed of our prison system when I watch these lock down programs. They are just warehouses for prisoners they is no redeeming value for being there in prison they don’t learn anything. They should be educated, have to work ,and marched in and out and treated just like they are in the military. They need structure and discipline something they have probably never had in their lives. Discipline isn’t just about punishment it is the natural order of things. It is consistency, order, and hard work to achieve a mutual goal. I get maybe an our of free time a day I think that is plenty of time for them to have free time isn’t that what most hardworking adults get, so after their busy day that is all they should get they should be kept busy working and so they can learn what it feels like to lay down at night being so tired from a hard days work and studying and how good it feels knowing that you have accomplished something that day. It’s a good feeling they should know that feeling. I thinking working on a farm or learning a trade is what they need to be doing. Keeping up the landscaping and being janitors, etc. anything but having too much free time. No Way. Like the quote goes “You aint no man if you ain’t got no land” The women and men need to learn how to be productive members of societies in jail and the criminally insane should be in institution separate from the rest.

  • jan

    I’ll agree that the Founding Fathers had a lot of the basics right.  The problem is basically that we advanced socially, physically, and in ability to do things without updating the Founding Fathers ideas.  As a result, we’re now fighting over things like whether the Founding Fathers would have thought semi-automatic weapons and teflon coated bullets should be part of our non-existent “well trained militia”.  My thinking is that they would have seen the danger and I doubt they would have approved.  

  • jan

    Prisons have become home to the mentally ill.  Whether you could ever get hard work from them is questionable.  Closing the facilities for the mentally ill was a big mistake.  When we had facilities for the mentally ill we didn’t knowingly expose them to criminals.  Go to any job fair for a youth facility or prison and you’ll find out that prisons have also become home for a lot of learning disabled.  You can imagine the toxic mess this has created.  It could be only a matter of time before we start throwing the mentally disabled and indigent in there as well.  After all, none of them “fit society’s mold”. 

    As far as the rest of what you said?  It sounds a little harsh.  I would suggest prisoners probably already understood discipline before they were sent there.  They just used it incorrectly or unwisely which is why and how they ended up in prison.

  • Deena

    I think there is an inherent problem in Haidt’s survey approach and conclusions about morality because we actually experience the world in practical particulars, not abstract generalities. The example presented to Ron Paul about letting an uninsured man die is a case in point. Having lived for many years in Texas among conservatives, I would say that  those I have met are equally compassionate as liberal, but they reluctant to extend that compassion to people they don’t know and therefore don’t trust. If the uninsured person were someone Ron Paul or any of the “let him die!” applauders actually knew—a nephew, a guy in the bowling league, someone from church, a local musician—more than likely they would have great doubts about letting him die. What seems to be most important for conservatives is having control over who gets helped and who pays for it, and making no one takes advantage of the system. The fact that the example was presented as a dramatic, black-and-white, live or die choice is really the problem and fuels the extremism and demonizing about who cares and who doesn’t. What if the example were couched as, “One of your co-workers chooses not to buy insurance but then gets into an accident. What type of compassionate solution would you suggest? Can the man be given an emergency loan to be paid back upon recovery? Could he work off this debt with public service? Could he go on a lecture tour to explain how it is less expensive to pay the insurance than risk getting into such debt? Are there ways to encourage people to purchase insurance so the risk will be distributed fairly?” 

  • Deena

    Reposted with fewer typos!I think there is an inherent problem in Haidt’s survey approach and conclusions about morality because we actually experience the world in practical particulars, not abstract generalities. The example presented to Ron Paul about letting an uninsured man die is a case in point. Having lived for many years in Texas among conservatives, I would say that  those I have met are equally compassionate as their liberal counterparts, but they are reluctant to extend that compassion to people they don’t know and therefore don’t trust. If the uninsured person were someone Ron Paul or any of the “let him die!” applauders actually knew—a nephew, a guy in the bowling league, someone from church, a local musician—more than likely they would have great doubts about letting him die. What seems to be most important for conservatives is having control over who gets helped and who pays for it, and making sure that no one takes advantage of the system. The fact that the example was presented as a dramatic, black-and-white, live or die choice is really the problem and fuels the extremism and demonizing about who cares and who doesn’t. What if the example were couched as, “One of your co-workers chooses not to buy insurance but then gets into an accident. What type of compassionate solution would you suggest? Can the man be given an emergency loan to be paid back upon recovery? Could he work off this debt with public service? Could he go on a lecture tour to explain how it is less expensive to pay the insurance than risk getting into such debt? Are there ways to encourage people to purchase insurance so the risk will be distributed fairly?

  • Tim Chambers

    It think what Haidt needs to understand about politics is that most politicians have no core convictions. What they do have is the ability to manipulate language to appeal to certain audiences that are important to them in gaining, exercising and maintaining themselves in power. They are fundamentally cynical creatures, whether they are on the left, right, or center. 

  • Bonshug

    I wish I could believe the anti-choice crowd was only concerned about preserving a potential life. Unfortunately, the many of same people are also against sex education and family planning, as well as pro death penalty and war. For them, it’s not about the sanctity of life so much as controlling women’s sexuality. And I don’t believe they have any right to do that.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sarah.a180 Sarah Gerweck

    Q1: I agree
    Q3: reality, and statistics
    Q4: crime in the US peaked in 1990—20 or 30 years ago—and has been declining steadily since then.

  • tooly52

     … or when the teachers no longer are around to impart to you the skills you need to succeed

  • Clarelb

    I suspect that if a similar versions of this test were developed that focused on different topics — things other than crime and punishment — many or all of us would get different results. 

    I was a moderate in this test — I KNOW I would be considered extremely Liberal if this test were about environmental morals. I am MUCH less Liberal when it comes to crime and punishment. I suspect I would be more liberal on Universal healthcare issues and less liberal on education; less liberal on fiscal policy and social services support. I am of the mind that if people are in jail, they should be offered programs to better themselves at the same time as being made to earn their room and board, for example. 

    But that’s not my main point — which is: Looking at s single spectrum of moral values can not possibly characterize a personality fully. We need various tests to see the full spectrum of our values system.

    I disliked much of what Haidt’s had to share, which was suprising. I thought he was off base on much of his discussion and agree that he’s simplified many complex components of social psychology.

    Normally I find the guests Bill chooses to discuss issues with thoughtful, accurate and engaging.

  • eloise o’shea-wyatt

    I took the survey but really there were no shades of gray in there.  I believe prison is a punishment because it locks people away from their families and their communities.  I do believe also that prison should prepare people to go back to their families and communities with the ability to be full productive participants.  This probably requires some practices that may seem harsh.  I always love Bill Moyers and his guests this one not so much.

  • Bbashia

    We need to have separate words for Conservatives who really believe in smaller government and personal responsibility and morality and those who just want low paid workers to use to make them more money.

  • Ebarrett37

    I questioned the way the question was posed to Ron Paul. I think they should have asked about a person who through illness, lost his job, was unable to pay for health insurance. I wonder what the audience response would have been to that question.

  • nsw

    Having a great deal of respect for Bill Moyers, I sat down to watch the show last night featuring “What Do Your Morals Say About Your Politics?” According to Jonathon Haidt liberals when faced with a moral dilemma disregard liberty, fairness, loyalty, authority and  sanctity, leaving the moral solution to only “avoidance of harm”. You’re kidding me, Right? Only conservatives are guided by consideration of ALL these moral foundations in time of crisis if you listen to Haidt. I hope you had your tongue in your cheek Mr. Moyers as you interviewed this man. I got a glimmer of hope when you asked him what did Aessop mean with his tale. Unfortunately you let him go on for an hour with his nonsense demeaning liberals. At the end he he claims he began his research as a liberal but ended with a decidedly conservative bent. Surprise? I found no hint of true critical thinking in his confused ramblings and jumbled explanations. I often wished to stop him to ask to clarify some wild supposition he claimed as fact. I find it deeply disturbing that this man’s twisted philosophy is allowed to stand with no rebuttal.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I scored almost as traditional as a conservative, and even LESS progressive than a conservative!!! I think they should have asked something about your mental image of a criminal though… I was imagining a Wall Street banker sociopath that got away with the biggest fraud in history… the mortgage and derivatives crash of 2008, for which the criminal feels absolutely no regret. 2008 was a tremendous crime the perps not only got away with (almost w/o exception) but for which they were rewarded with HUGE gov bailouts for the businesses they drove into the ground so they could keep their jobs and bonuses and keep their firms access to the 0% interest free gov. loans through the Fed “discount window” that only elite, crony insiders like themselves ever have access to. Not only did these criminals get away with it, they got rich from it, and they got even richer with the gov. response. These guys are so rich now that they can buy themselves a gov more favorable to their criminal behavior. They’re making sure their gov. dismantles the laws and law enforcement which would interfere with their crimes. They’re using their ill gotten gov money to ensure that our gov decriminalize their crimes, and they’re making sure that the cost of that gov (taxes) is only paid by their victims.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Mason/705689570 Catherine Mason

    I found the questions to be “loaded”.  You use the word offender when you should use the word accused.  Unless you saw the accused commit the act, you don’t know if you have the right dude.  That’s what the presumption of innocence is all about.  Most of the time when I said slightly agree or disagree, it was because there was no option for “maybe”.

  • Mapjrap

    No test is perfect…any question will be skewed whether the test maker realizes it or not.  The test taker will also rely on his own experience to support his response to questions.  It is human nature to do so.  The real culprits are ignorance and lack of curiosity.  Without both, we can never hope to understand each other.  We will just continue to validate our individual biases.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Mason/705689570 Catherine Mason

    People whose efforts result in a bigger contribution to society I would agree deserve better compensation than those who are fairly easy to replace.  However everyone deserves a living wage.  How can you pay someone with less than s/he can live on?  The disparity in wages is also ridiculous.  A CEO, especially someone who drives his company into bankruptcy, gets paid 400, or 600 or more, times more than the person who is making the product? Why?  A guy with a baseball bat gets more than the President of the USA?  Why?  And tell me why does the CEO demand and get a contract, but if the workers want a contract (as in a union), that is wrong???

  • Hank Smith

    The message of science, particularly physics, is that our reason takes us into approximations, theories that are accepted for centuries and turn out not to be true, and outright contradictions. Strange new phenomena appear out of nowhere, as if blown in by the wind (see my earlier post)  In math we find that there are truths that are forever beyond our best efforts to find them (Kurt Godel).  Yet in politics, factions will hang on to absolutes certain of their correctness.  I will not take part in that.  As an independent, I have no absolute moral or political compass.  I know that we can be shocked by something new (the financial collapse, Arab Spring, a Tsunami that knocks out nuclear reactors)  as if it were, well, blown in by the wind.  Certainly we can try to reason our way thru this as best we can. But, like in physics, we our best efforts will lead to good guesses or approximate solutions at best.  Success will be temporary, lasting only until the next shock.  Those   who are adaptable can continue to thrive.  Those are the men and women we need in leadership, but often they are derided by factions who portray them “without a rudder”, or shifting in the wind like one candidate who was filmed on his windsurfer.  Fortunately, independents understand this, and make no commitment to a political faction.

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going…” (John)Bob Dylan had it right.  The answer is “Blowing in the wind.”

  • Mapjrap

    Oooops…left out an important word in my posted comment…should say “Without UNDERSTANDING both…etc.”  Sorry!

  • guyfalk

    It is nice to centrist, I pride my self to be neither far left or far right bur right in the middle of the road on the Yellow line willing to hear and weigh both sides of the argument, like I said walking the yellow line until some idiot from left or right decides to drive over the yellow line and makes  a road kill out of me.

  • RWS – Los Angeles, 90039

    It is my opinion, although I have not read his book, that Haidt’s observations, quoted research and stated conclusions, as presented during the interview, appear to engage in a form of reductionism–that everything boils down to morality.  A much more robust critique of our current condition and how we got here requires a more integral analysis, based on an integral world-view as expounded by the likes of Ken Wilber and peers.  In such a world-view, the less evolved conservative right functions healthily while the more evolved liberal left dysfunctions for lack of a spiritually healthy component.  But the conventional notion of one being superior and therefore a replacement for the other is flawed.  Rather, it is necessary that all stages of development be experienced, so that those who choose to grow can take with them the best that each stage has to offer as they transcend and include prior stages of development.  The evolution of individual and group consciousness requires that all the stages of development exist in healthy forms so that the evolutionary journey does not become arrested any at level.  Therefore, the prime directive is to protect the health of the entire spiral of development, not achieve some elevated status and then “burn” the very developmental bridges that allowed one to get there.  Suggested reading: “Boomeritis” by Ken Wilber

  • Judy

     I agree with Deena up to a point: 
    “What seems to be most important for conservatives is having control,” period.
    They sure do love their control. But it’s a big country!  Sure, they’ll authorize money for their friends, their co-workers, their family.  Who wouldn’t?   The point is, it won’t always be someone you know or like who needs the help; it may be someone you don’t like (but who still deserves the same chance at life), or  a complete stranger.  Should there be another set of rules for them?  I thought the history of our nation in the 20th Century  was one of getting away from two sets of rules, toward having one set for all — but I guess that here, in the 21st Century, it’s OK if progress comes unraveled.  Long as we save the good set of rules for Me.

  • Salmanon

    If I want to eat a fish, I’m happy to harm what I catch, yet I also have a great reverence for the creature, even if I don’t go to church on Sunday.  I enjoyed the conversation, but imagine most of us are square pegs that don’t fit very well into round hole analyses.

  • shazellis

    Liberal.  Very liberal.  Of course, I’m a Canadian by birth and a city dweller by choice.  Living in a large metropolis tends to make a person less judgemental, I suspect, because if you are determined to hold on to prejudices, you’re going to find a city like Toronto a very uncomfortable place!

    I would point out too, that the US has a habit of punishing addicts and immigrants…while ignoring war criminals, banksters and corrupt congressmen. 

  • Javaid Aslam

    I also scored higher than conservatives on “traditional”  and as low as conservatives on “progressive”.
    I thought I was liberal.
    You are right– it depends on how seriously and accurately you capture the crime instances.

    Conservatives (so called) I believe encourage crony capitalism, and not for justice.

  • Jaslamx

    Absolutely— they can sell their mothers for their personal interests.

  • StAndreJuifQuiRit

    Yes, but will they deliver as promised?

  • Brujos42

    “They already thought through these things.”  I guess that the Constitution must be just as dead as our founders.  It’s clear that they hadn’t thought through slavery other than to defer it, women’s rights, corporations as citizens or for that matter the U.S. Supreme Court.  I’d rather do the thinking myself, thank you. 

  • Brujos42

    Haidt based his findings on a survey, nothing more, nothing less.  As a centrist liberal I found much with which I could grudgingly agree based on my own observations.   Haidt provided provocatively insightful reasons as to why liberals are less convincing and appealing than conservatives to the majority of Americans who are open to persuasion.   

  • Shablap

    Most of the conservatives must have been in prison when they completed this, because I’m not sure how I scored less than them as a group, unless they were using a contraband cell phone in Bubba’s cell block.
    Maybe some of Jack Abramoff’s buddy’s were punching up the numbers.

  • Larry

    Those of us previously involved in the criminal justice system probably tend to score moderately between liberal and conservative as we apply more practical solutions to crime and punishment.  Most issues facing our society cannot be resolved with black and white answers applicable to everyone in all situations.  A guiding principle of fairness must be balanced between offender and victim depending on the circumstances of each situation.  Consequently, my experience tends to rely upon the conservative viewpoint as maintaining a more just society.  

  • Salmanon

    @Larry ”
    Most issues facing our society cannot be resolved with black and white answers applicable to everyone in all situations….   my experience tends to rely upon the conservative viewpoint as maintaining a more just society.”  Very ironic with respect to Haidt’s premise.

  • Eddie P.

    I really enjoyed Jonathan Haidt’s conversation and survey. At work I have to deal with non-Democrat co-workers or they deal with me, either way everyday I listen to the complaints of how our nation is going in the wrong direction because of President Obama. Many times i find myself defending the Illegal farm worker picking our fruit and veggies I remind them once you deport them will you be able to afford the price increase and who is going to work the fields…the unemployed? the American youth? what about the homeless guys hanging out on the corner looking for a hand out?? I know one thing, you won’t see me working the fields. My boss made a comment the other day after Romney won the Florida Primary he said “since Romney’s Father was born in Mexico if elected President he would make a motion to make Mexico the 51st state” I laughed and told him don’t look now it’s already happen just go down to Wal-Mart. The truth is I am a Federal Worker our pay is now frozen for 5 years, why? Mr. Moyers thank you for being a true Historian.

  • Marylhere

    we all know people like the “man” in question…he would rather drive a BMW than have health insurance coverage…let’s just hope it’s a car accident that puts him in the hospital…most states mandate car insurance. 

  • mlynnh

    I always felt that the “offender” should take care of their victim.  If you shoot someone and they’re wheelchair bound for life then you must wipe their butt for life.  You give up your life but are useful to society.

  • Steve

    Majority of Americans are not open to persuasion as demonstrated by the public’s
    embrace of faith based religion and the rejection of climate change science and evolution fact!  

  • Threebmn

    I agree with my results.  I scored 3.8 on the Traditional scale and 4.6 on the Progressive scale.  I am a liberal, and always have been.  I also saw Bill Moyer’s program tonight and I think I understand what Heidt is trying to say about us liberals.  For years now, I’ve felt that, even though I admire, understand, advocate, and believe in the philosophies and goals of the Democratic Party, we are indeed lax in getting our message across.  It almost seems like we save our energy in this department for special occasions.  I have had instances when I wished to write a letter to the Florida Democratic Party to ask what measures they are taking to convey our philosophies to the public or what strategy do they have in place to help people realize our convictions.  The Republicans are very strong in the State of Florida, but the Democrats are dormant.  I don’t hear them nor see them.  Heidt brings to light an important point.  As a group, I can almost hear all of us thinking at once “the truth will triumph”.  But the reality is that, in my home state, although many liberals are verbal among our own circles, we are not unified as we should be and the Republican Party is reaping the benefits.  I agree with his message of learning to avoid “demonizing” the opposition’s beliefs.  The “us vs. them” mentality is not a progressive one.  It only serves to deterr that progress.  It takes open communication at all times to understand each other.  This I agree with.    

  • Dangraysf

    i’m a liberal — yeah!!

  • bringit

    Reading the comments it is interesting to see  the writers taking the most umbrage with Mr. Haidt’s theories demonstrating the very thought processes Mr. Haidt has described. No wonder we all can’t get along.

  • Steve W.

    Haidt reveals
    more about himself than society by stating that he started as a liberal and
    ended up as a conservative. In my opinion conservatives suffer from arrested emotional
    development and are therefore unable to use their intelligence as well as their
    emotion  to “walk in another persons
    shoes”. The idea that every successful person raised themselves up by their own
    boot straps and deserves the resulting rewards with no recompense to society is
    the very core of unbridled capitalism and is destroying our society.  

  • Tom / Nashville

    Many of these questions are poorly expressed…insofar as a participant is not allowed to explain WHY a specific answer is chosen…and the WHY has a lot to do with who the person is.

  • Melissa Gray

    I found the questions too broad to answer accurately.  The results, presented in graphs of the totality of answers did not help.  The questions were about such diverse issues that individual question comparison graphs would be needed to draw any meaningful conclusions.

  • Anonymous

    Welcome Back Bill. I had been a Republican Volunteer for more than a decade until Bush lied to us to get us to War with Iraq. We would hold Republican Neighborhood cacuses at my house. When we went around the room, asking how they viewed themselves, they all said they were “Conservative”. After years and years, I asked another question, usually one on one, “What is a Conservative?”

    The answers were all over the board but some stood out. Did not like Taxes, did not like government, did not like “deadbeats” collecting Welfare, did not want their kids in the military but thanked their neighbors for sending their kids, wrapped themselves around the American Flag, want a strong national defense but let someone else pay for it, the Rich should not pay high taxes (they hire everyone), no one works as hard as they do, if someone is on welfare then they are losers and he/she should not pay for their failure and generally naive on Finance and statistics like having 49 million disabled Americans and 900,000 family medical bankruptcies because of medical bills annually and no other country allows Medical Family Bankruptcies.

    I summed it up “A Conservative is someone who wants to go back to Conestoga Wagons and kerosene lamps”. Another fellow expressed that Conservatives are just plain “Selfish” and could care less about anyone but themselves.

    Recently, since the election of Barrack Obama, who I admire, I have fought back with counter arguments to my old friends, the “demonizing of Nancy Pelosi” after the 2008 election and today, no emails at all about the evil Pelosi since the Republicans have taken over the House. The Birthers, all 28 million of them, even though I visit Hawaii often and when Obama was in a field of 20 in 2006, an Old Hawaiian said he knew Obama when he lived in Hawaii and he was a good guy. I had never heard of him  in 2006.

    My old friends, send me Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Hannity, Beck and other Conservative values information. We have 6 AM radio stations that broadcast Limbaugh simultaneously but no Ed Schultz or Tom Hartmann can be heard. We lost Paul Harvey, at least he was not polarizing as these disk jockeys of today. I no longer listen to the local AM stations, I have found the internet and pod casts and PBS/NPR. I miss the local advertisement but I am willing to give up local advertisement for not having to listen to Rush Limbaugh and the lies of Fox News.

    I consider myself a “Liberal with Conservative Values” like Jesus. Unfortunately, people in my community are one or the other but mainly Conservative. The last 30 years, the Middle Class has been lost, wages, gained longer hours and are not sharing in the American Dream. Yet, people who make less than $50,000 a year, continue to vote for Rich people’s agendas and Conservative candidate as if they picture themselves as a future “Rich Guy” but slide into Poverty with debt and high taxes.

    I see the same people buying Lottery Tickets and gambling in Nevada.

    Thanks Bill, I look forward to more of your guests.

  • Anonymous

    The Pyramids in Egypt were built by people who “worked hard” but died poor.

    Money is not a measure of how hard a person works. Mitt Romey is a good example of being “clever”. Most of his wealth came from Defined Benefit Pensions he raided at the Companies were taken over by Bain Capital.  “Retirement Heist” by Ellen Schultz confirms howMergers and Aqusition takeovers would bankrupt Companies but Bain would make $100 million in Profit. We lost 100,000 defined benefit pension plans in those 20 years that Baby Boomers never recovered from and find themselves “working til they die”.

    For the past 30 years, we have been “mugged” and are ignoring the fact we did not recognize it.

  • bhawk

    I agree.  Compare the dangerous & hard work of a firefighter v politician or banker…

  • Jllybnz

    The people I know who “choose” to not have health insurance, are not driving BMW’s. They are choosing to have basic day to day things like furniture (not new or lavish, just functional), or to be able to drive a car that is reliable and safe, to be able to repair things if needed.

    To be fair, I don’t know many people who have BMW level cars at all.

  • SLB

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought charity and forgiveness were two of the hallmarks of being a Christian.  How do conserv. justify the let-the-non-insured-die viewpoint?

    The my way or the highway conviction does not bode well for a country of diverse people.

  • Chloe

    On the six values on which conservatives are weighted
    equally but liberals lean, I don’t think this accurately depicts either
    accurately.  My experience is that conservatives are not equal in their
    regard toward them all but hit one or another when the occasion rises for it
    giving the appearance of equal over time but not at any particular time. 

    Similarly, it’s not that liberals eschew authority but have
    a different stance regarding authority, one that is more complex and draws from
    more than psychologically early forms of authority that is not measured well or
    even registers at all on the metric for authority employed here.  The
    metric for authority is slanted toward a particular (conservative, paternal one). 
    The metrics here conflate this one as the only one. 

    Similarly with loyalty.  It’s not that liberals are
    loyal or not but that it is moderated differently. 

    What is sacred and in the discussion here, reason by
    liberals (and unspoken of in the discussion, faith by conservatives) is telling.  In placing a binary on reason and truth, there
    is a false and unspoken, implied conclusion that faith renders truth.  Demonizing does put an end to possibility for
    coming together, but it is because it gives the demonizer permission to not see
    the person they are relating to or about. 
    I can’t help but notice that this is a deficit that correlates with care
    as a low priority for conservatives, and therefore, demonizing is also a predilection
    conservatives have a predisposition and one that is not moderated like liberals
    do with authority or loyalty.   So, on the one hand, conservatives give
    themselves the reputation of taking the high road with high standards, I think
    it is much more difficult task that liberals set before themselves, to not just
    have these values but to administer them carefully in a murky and dangerous
    landscape.  I’m sorry, but I see that as
    infinitely better than a staunch belief in any set of values no matter how noble
    they are.

    The only solution is to place all values a rung down and
    replace the rung above with a comfort with complexity, with taking a longer,
    less specific view, and with respect for failure and mistakes as an inevitable
    part of any journey forward, whether or not it’s toward truth.

  • SaveTheUSPSFromPrivatization

    Moyers’ failure to challenge Haidt on his multiple  simplistic conclusions (e.g., “Welfare breeds laziness” rather than “Welfare balances unequal access”) had to be part of a production agenda designed to provide equal time to rightist dogma.

    Haidt’s subtle self-aggrandizement must have been difficult for Moyers to tolerate.  However, taking the show as a whole – i.e., including Moyers’ emphatic zinger at GoPac Gingrich’s posthumous pillorying of Saul Alinsky, Moyer was at least able to inject balance into an otherwise disturbing display of the dangers of post-modern simplistic thought.

  • Hadrianu

    Agreed: I had the same banker image in mind when taking the survey and had to make a conscious effort to ratchet down to imagine just a “generic” wrong-doer. 

  • Lea

    I believe strongly in restorative justice, and found no where in the survey that that would fit.  I don’t want to see prisoners pampered, but they should have the opportunity to give back to the society in ways that can help them feel ok about themselves and be more ready to let go of their old life and start again in a positive mode.  Letting them get an education, and learn new ways to deal with stress, etc. would also help our society as a whole as well as helping the prisoner.

  • Hadrianu

    These comments are somewhat rushed, but I found Haidt’s comments of interest, and I agree that there HAS been a kind of “demonization” of the “other” a la Manichaenism .  What I found disagreeable was the fact that the financial power of the conservative side of this matrix has used its power to nearly crush any opposing views. I find it extremely difficult to be “fair and balanced” in this business when there are often solid, real-world consequences that put the lie to the conservative ideological positions; e.g., climate change. If  a conservative standing on a glacier saying that there IS no climate change suddenly found himself teetering only on an ice cube, that would be karmically just for him; but what about the consequences for millions of others?  Polar ice IS melting regardless of the Tea Party’s spin. Haidt seems unconcerned with the reality-based, PHYSICAL consequences of many conservative ideas. As a progressive it is as much MY “karmic” duty to respond to the plutocratic privatization of the commons and the planetary degradation this entails. The corporatizing of the world, and the ensuing destruction of democratic values IS an evil thing and the physical and psychological consequences are measurable. So, yes, I “get it”: we do tend to demonize; HOWEVER, we also tend to demonize cancer, and I doubt that Haidt, once diagnosed, would believe that cancer on the body Haidt should be treated as he seems to suggest we should treat ideological cancers on the body Politic. Some things just ARE evil.

  • Bill Hale

    You need to read more into what his stance is. In the interview with Moyers, one of the two imperatives he cites to fix what currently ails us is a reform of the campaign finance system that currently results in a Congress beholden more to its funders than to its constituency and its own beliefs.  His discussion sounded much more about what motivates the American people in it’s political philosophy more than the elected officials. 

  • april

    i think the test was too vague…there are different levels of crime, white collar, as bad as it is, is not the same as murder, rape, child molestation….sure white collar criminals, even drug dealers can serve their sentence and reintegrate back into society, but molestors and rapists, murderers? i don’t think so. i had a difficult time taking this on that reason alone.,,,also, my answers would be different regarding “offender” as opposed to “tried and convicted” and even then “absolutely, admittedly guilty without a doubt” as opposed to “convicted but maintaining innocence, circumstantial”.

  • scrabblerouser

    Apparently in Haidt’s world view Conservatives tend to have moral resonance with Old Testament law (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth), Liberals tend to have moral resonance with the words of Jesus.   I (avowed progressive atheist) found this questionnaire difficult to answer because of the vagueness of the questions.  I also question whether “no opinion” belongs at the midpoint.  There are things for which I have genuinely NO OPINION, and also things for which I am of divided opinion, often decided by the specific circumstance.  I guess those of us feeling uneasy with the vagueness of the questions could ipso facto be classified liberals, while to conservative thinkers the vagueness wouldn’t even be worth mentioning.

  • Don

    Many thanks for an intelligent and thought provoking presentation this morning.  It’s nice to have Bill back in the conversation on PBS.

  • Adam ant

    Ernesto, you may disagree with Aesop but I believe Haidt correctly described Aesop’s moral.  Pesonally, I think a big part of our inability to find common ground is out reliance on absolutes and sterotypes.  Call it confirmation bias if you must but ultimately, to take welfare as an example, some see fraud and want to assume that means everyone on welfare is lazy, others see layoffs and want to help the workers.  I think most people would agree that some people deserve help and that others cheat.  The hard choice is deciding which to emphasize.

  • april

    true…then there are poor people on public assistance whose kids somehow walk around with cellphones, $100 nikes, playing the latest x-box games…i know, i lived in the projects for a few years in high school(back in the 80’s).  we didn’t always have good food on the table but we did our shopping at k-mart and second-hand stores, no name brands for us. it was very hard to make ends meet during the reagan years. my mother was working poor, there is no safety net for these people by the way.

  • Paul

    And the largest group of welfare recipients in America are the Fortune 500, especially BOA.  

  • Kathy edwards

    Prisons are warehouses for the poor and marginalized–look at the population that is in prison.  Yes, I know many in prison are there for a reason but we need more re-hab, reform, counseling, education, technical training and skills for prisoners–if they are going to ever integrate back into society they need to with something to give back to society.  Also, I believe in community service–anyone serving time should have to do community service – public service —as another way of giving back to the society.
    We are a globalized world and economy today—getting our people to examine things like the crisis of capitalism and the growth of bio-political power (economics/politics melding together) as well as the function of war in society – and surveillance on everyone, is necessary to understanding our place in the world.  Democracy and true freedom can only function if we understand what motivates and controls us and also what is “watching” and managing us—we are competing with the whole world not just our own piece of it and we must step up to the plate soon……….

  • Gdwtch52

    On the way to Oregon, we pass a new prison that was just built and I always wonder, “How can anyone learn to be a better human being in such a place?”  Is the purpose of our justice system to be rehabilitation or just revenge and separation?  I do not have any special rose colored glasses and I truly believe that there is a special HELL for child molesters, but if we are going to do nothing to create better people and nothing to assist in keeping them from re-offending, then what is our purpose?   To make offenders into dollars and cents for a private corporation is the worst affront to civilization ever.

  • Marian

    Haidt’s arguments made some sense to me but in the back of my mind I kept thinking the element of people like the Kochs and their influence on society had to play some part.  The influence of the Kochs are who started the T-party.  When you weigh their ability to influence society (with their money) they are playing a different game.

  • Tom

    Haidt said something like, the left is on the side of “compassion” while the right favors “fairness”, but he fails to point out that the right’s idea of what is fair is absurd and the compassion of the left comes from the fact that they want to bring fairness into an unfair system.  The left is much more concerned with fairness than the right.  Only if you assume the tax code is fair, and the income gap is fair, and that healthcare is only for those that can afford it is fair can one agree with his conclusion.  He seems to think that “Kharma” equals fairness – that everybody gets what they deserve and to alter that is unfair.

  • Joena Bennett1

     There’s a saying that a Conservative is a Liberal who’s been a victim of a crime. I guess that sums me up on this survey.  I measured closer to Conservative on the Traditional Subscale. I was glad to see I measured very close to Liberal on the Progressive Subscale. Yes, I’ve been a crime victim.  My survey results tell me that although I abhor crime, I haven’t been damaged by it and support those who want to alleviate the conditions that fester criminal activities. With each question, my mind automatically considered current events such as child molestation. I think those crimes are inexcusable and unforgivable, and I’m certain that influenced my responses leaning towards Conservative in the Traditional Scale.  I’m now interested in reading Jonathan Haidt. Thanks for the self-examination, Mr. Moyers.   Thank you for returning to PBS. You are a gift.

  • Kokuanani

    Ellen Schultz [“Retirement Heist”] is participating in a book salon over at FireDogLake.com today @ 5 pm EST.  If you miss it, you can go to the site later to read it.

  • Tatateeta

    No shades of grey?  Many laws are unjust. I would advocate a modest fine for marijuana possession but more serious consequences for child abuse, rape, etc. My local paper had a headline a couple of weeks ago “Dogwalker burglar gets life in prison”. That’s because of the three strikes law. That sentence is both ludicrous and cruel. Especially, when one considers how many lives and futures were destroyed by Wall Street, which is doing even better than it was when it destroyed our economy. Yet Wall Street has been rewarded for its crimes. I believe you need a fair justice system before you can even begin to consider most of the questions in this survey. The U.S. has more people in prison as apercentage of our population than any country in the world. Per Wikipedia, “The United States of America has an incarceration rate of 743 per 100,000 of national population (as of 2009), the highest in the world. I have read that one in 50 people in the U.S. is in prison, on probation or on parole.Most of our prison population is poor, many are black or brown and most can’t vote, even after they serve their terms. Our highest court in the land, SCOTUS, is dominated by a corrupt, political group who invariably choose police and corporations over the rest of us. They decided who our president should be and that money trumps votes. I can’t make any decisions about justice until I see justice in the land.

  • Lozensage

    This test is ridiculous,so general and so useless.  What offenses are we talking about? Getting caught with a little marijuana or brutal murder? Rape or robbing a grocery store when your kids are hungry? Taking money from General Electric to change your vote or skimming a little off your income taxes?  All offenses are not the same, all laws are not “right” morally.   Pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated and should be kept out of society; someone who steals a candy bar should be rehabilitated.  I had to say no opinion on many of these because they are so nonspecific.

  • Kokuanani

    I was frustrated that Bill didn’t challenge Haidt on the “welfare bails out losers who’ve made mistakes” issue, asking him, for example, how those who subscribe to that philosophy view the bailouts of banks, hedge funds, AIG, etc.

    And how do they reconcile that [opposition to bailouts that rescue those who’ve made mistakes] with their presumed support of the Republicans who love these [rich] guys.  And, admittedly Obama who loves them too.

  • Ted

    I thoroughly enjoy Moyer’s interviews. As for the ideological conflict discussion with Haidt, I feel that the constant struggle to maintain power and prestige in congress is manipulated for the most part by the military-industrial complex constant motivation for money and monopoly. As long as this is the motivator (supported by the recent supreme court ruling) we will not be able to return to congress seeing the continuation of the USA as described by the Constitution as its prime objective. Until that occurs, rullings for the common good resulting in all being able to enjoy the fruits of their labors will continue to be in jeopardy.

  • Tom

    So you believe that the current system equitably rewards those most who provide the most value to society?  Uou believe a person working at a left wing think tank deserves his $150,000 salary because he is providing an important value?  And that the basketball player who gets a million for riding the bench is producing much more value than the coal miner or teacher, and any effort to address these inequities are wrong?

  • gary rethmeier

    A full time worker should be able to afford food, shelter, medical care, and still have some left over to improve his (her) lot in life.  Any other economic level is a form of slavery. 

  • Rosebudrealtor

    Not sure what kind of crime and criminals this is referring to.. I would say many in positions of power is what I had in mind too.. Not just the common thief criminal.. Of course they can’t afford a good attorney so they little guy gets punished while the elite and politicians etc get the best attorney and thus their crimes go unpunished.. This survey should address the types of crimes.. Ones that are adding more to human suffering should be included..

  • gary rethmeier

    Ah…the difference between campaigning and governing.

  • Kathleen

    I am just now trying to understand these issues (winner take all politics, cronyism, what the Fed and Wall street have done to “us” over the years) but my image of criminal was the typical person you find in the prison system:  usually minority, male, repeat offender, raised in poverty, at the lower range of intellectual functioning or with other mental/emotional disabilities, and with not a lot of prospects once their debt to society has been paid.  I think mortgage lenders, bankers, and inside traders would be in plush prisons to begin with and find many opportunities upon release from jail.  Retake the quiz thinking of those raised in poverty in a high crime neighborhood run by gangs and see how you score.

  • Paulstephens

    Stereotype terms are the way to justify not caring.  There will never be a 100% perfect system for every program.  We seem to accept this when we condon capital punishment but want to take the opposite view when it comes to extend a helping hand to those in need.
    At this time “common ground” seems to be a moving target.  My meaning is the conservatives do not want common ground. Coming from the south and a rural area until Obama was elected the “N” word had almost died out. Now it is back and quite common to hear. In terms of we gotta get that “N” out of office. It is as if the election was stolen.  I strongly this is a reaction to fear brought on by ignorance.

  • Guest


  • gary rethmeier

    Several studies point out that sending offenders to college would be far less expensive than incarceration.

  • http://twitter.com/DragonTat2 Susan

    I did not realize I am so radical. 
    2.9 Traditional, 3 Lib 4.4 Con  
    6.7 Progressive, 5.4 Lib 4.3 Con


  • Paulstephens

    I attend school (collage) with a worker from Vectren Power.  This is a large company and yet the worker told me he is on food stamps.  This is hard to believe since years ago these workers were well paid.  Just another example of corporate welfare.  We give the power company tax breaks and then supplement their worker’s incomes

  • Tatatateeta

    I would add that because both parties get their money from the same sources which are, in the main, Republican leaning sources, the Democratic liberal messages have pretty much disappeared. I was reading Paul Krugman’s blog this morning, and found this, “The important point to make here is that all these bogus numbers are coming from seemingly authoritative sources — Fox News, which is a big organization, the WSJ editorial page, the American Enterprise Institute. You could not imagine a similar level of statistical dishonesty from, say, The Nation, or Washington Monthly, or EPI.This is what I mean when I say that the left and right aren’t symmetric. People of all persuasions lie; but the right has a whole institutional structure of lying that has no counterpart on the left.  Although I agree that the “left” isn’t doing as well with messaging, I  believe thay have a big structural disadvantage. For example, my favorite AM radio program, Green 960, was recently purchase by a Bain Capital owned company, Clear Channel. All my favorite morning people are gone, replaced by Glenn Beck. It’s a San Francisco, Bay Area radio station, by the way.

  • Just My Take

    Where is it written that because someone is above average in intelligence that he deserves to live a better life than others.  Isn’t being blessed with intelligence enough reward in itself – as well as giving you a wider choice of jobs that you can do so you can make your living doing something you enjoy?  If you are going to try to create a basis for inequality of income, than maybe those people that bring joy to others should get more than jerks.  And, for example,  if you stop using money as an incentive, maybe you will get people being doctors because they love people and medicine rather than those entering the profession to make money.  I’ll take a doctor who loves keeping up on the medical literature and cares, but is less intelligent than the intelligent one who is most interested in maximizing his income.

  • gary rethmeier

    Exactly.  The right to privacy of an individuals choices regarding their own bodies do not belong on the political playing field.  Those choices are sacrosanct and nobody elses business.

  • Anonymous

    I agree.  I think a better description for what the right desires would be Old Testament justice.  They really do believe in an eye for an eye. 

  • Anonymous

    I scored 2.4 on the traditional scale and 5.5 on the progressive subscale.  I would like a better explanation as to what that means.

  • Melissa

    Great show this morning. As a social psych major I was happy to see our media actually talking about topics that make most americans uncomfortable. Living as a liberal in America is like walking around with a target on your head, thanks Gingrich!!

  • Peg

     Just a bit of clarification. The most recent archeological evidence seems to support the idea that those who built the pyramids did in fact work hard, but were also paid, had excellent medical care, good housing and were fed better than the general populace. They were not slaves, but valued workers.

  • Lgarrick098

    Very good idea! 

  • Adam ant

    I think you got my point Paul.  To over simplify (mainly because it’s fun), if a child steals a cookie, one no fail solution would be to kill the child.  Another might be to remove all cookies.  The more rational solution, of course, is to store the cookies out of reach.  And so it goes with almost everything.  I would not be opposed to funding greater enforcement or putting more controls in place to prevent fraud, but I am pretty sure that most people getting assistance really need it.

    As a Florida resident, I can’t help being somewhat gleeful at seeing the recent drug testing of welfare recipients costing the state $200K since only 2% tested positive and the state refunds the cost to test takers that “pass.”  Of course, I’m not real happy about the fact that means we just paid Rick Scott’s drug testing cronies with tax payer’s dollars.  A rational, adaptive approach for any anti-fraud effort would be to only spend as much in enforcement as can be gained by reducing fraud.

    Speaking of tests, as a liberal I was intrigued to see that I scored in between liberals and conservatives on the tradition axis and way off the graph on the progressive axis.  I am one of those (few apparently) that wishes we could emphasize the “correction” aspect in our correctional institutions.  I am fairly sure that more often than not, all punishment accomplishes is bitterness.

  • Judy

    While I would agree that there is not need to support the Grasshopper’s poor judgement.  This fable assumes a level playing field and that the Grasshopper could have provided for himself for the winter. What if he had been made to entertain the Ant all summer and could not/ was not free to set anything a side for the winter?  With out a level playing field we are blaming the victim where there is not a choice for making a poor choice.

  • Adam ant

    And isn’t it sad that the artisans and engineers that built the pyramids may have been better off than the people that build our iPhones?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CLM33BXVIH5MN3WHJK2UBWAVP4 Joseph

    Yes, each question should be imbeddd in a little context, such as robbery with a deadly weapon; rape after a pleasant evening together; murdre; etc.

  • Jill in MI

    Glad to have you back on PBS, Mr. Moyers. Your guests and your commentary are always thought provoking, rarely predictable and always a good blend of values, politics, spirituality and current events, mostly with a global perspective. Thanks, too, for your relentless drive to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CLM33BXVIH5MN3WHJK2UBWAVP4 Joseph

    Hmm take it again as if there was a murder robbery with a deadly weapon.  Sinc ethe questionnaire deals with average responses to average situations, you will get some wierd results if you pick extreme situations.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CLM33BXVIH5MN3WHJK2UBWAVP4 Joseph

    Excellent suggestion

  • Allenp2932

    I had a lot of answers in the middle range, because my answer would depend on the actual crime.  My response to crimes against children and the helpless, would have appeared much more traditional. On many other crimes, I am more liberal.

  • Adam ant

    So the question is what to do about it.  There is a difference between “bad” and “evil.”  Cancer is bad but (unlike Manes) I think evil requires intent.  The best way to fight evil is with good.  So if demonizing is bad (evil even) the best response to a demonizer is to avoid demonizing them.  Just as non-violent civil disobediance succeeds over the long run because of its moral superiority, our best hope of changing outcomes is to demonstrate the superiority of our moral position by being respectful of our adversaries, even if they are not respectful of us.

  • roses

    I expected more.  There’s so much more to morality than crime, and those, to me, are much more determinant of one’s political inclination. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CLM33BXVIH5MN3WHJK2UBWAVP4 Joseph

    I think it should be self evident that neither moral values nor politcal values are based on facts, but instead on the values and opinions that we have accumulated throughout our lives.  Sometimes, the decisions are so hard that we have to default to views that we extract from those we admire.  Sometimes our decisions are metaphoric extensions of situations that we think we do understand.  Almost all the hard moral quandaries we have to answer with our opinions.  However opinons should not be undervalued, nor should they be seen as purely arbitrary with no relations to facts.  We are constantly sifting our values  and trying to find at least a subset that is consistent and worth upholding.  Why some of us are liberals and others conservatives arises from an interplay of all our opinions and understanding of the things we sometimes call facts.  Focusing only on values without examining our knowledge and opinions makesw the proverbial mistake of analyzing the complexity of our consciousness with overly simplistic analytic tools.

  • pat

    Many of the questions on this test seem quite silly and like loaded questions, to which I really have to reply “no opinion” or “it depends” and then it’s also mostly on the issue of crime (but I might also ask, which type, white collar crime or the kind we normally think of?).  I would agree on here with other responders that are saying the right has a propaganda machine and money, which is the only reason the left seems obscure these days, or appears they have no message when in fact they do, but money and Citizens United now speaks and  so loudly it drowns out the other voices!!  I disagree totally with this so-called social psychologist/motivational speaker from the world of TED? Why did Bill have this guy on anyway or have him on so long today?  for the PBS fairness doctrine I would assume?   At any rate, I still loved Bill’s commentary at the end, although for fairness I would have preferred the time to be at least divided equally, or to hear another guest.   

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CLM33BXVIH5MN3WHJK2UBWAVP4 Joseph

    Thanks MIkeguru.  It is good to see that here are some self reflective people among conservatives.  My general impression is that they are self satisfied andnot willing to change any opinions they may have acquired.  Attitudes toward change may be as good an indicatior as any. How did you do on the survey?

  • Katz78

    We need not quibble over “apples & oranges” when the question is “fruit”.  In most surveys like this, it is better left ambiguous so as to not to limit your responses too much.  Previous posts are correct in that it matters more of the mental image you hold as you answer.  By necessity, that must be different for each of us to prevent bias.  I suppose if you can justify certain crimes, then, well, that says something about your mindset too. 

  • Dknight

    The “Conservatives” are the party of “values” except they appear to value wealth more than “values” . Getting rid of debt is more important to “Conservatives” than education of the next generation’s health and education.  The “religious right” appears to support a form of social Darwinism, but they do not seem to be able to acknowledge the inconsistancy of their stance because as Mr. Haidt pointed out that certain beliefs have become sacred to a group even though their “sacred” values are in conflict with Jesus’s teachings regarding the less fortunate.

  • Elkarmadsen

    Well, one of the problems that I’m having with this survey is, “who is the respondent applying the morality to?”  I consider this a crucial question.  I learned long ago that my fundamentalist father applies his morals very differently to family than to the homeless guy on the corner and differently yet again to the white collar businessman that he worked with for 20 years.  So, when he suggest that conservatives weight each item equally, I suspect he has asked the wrong question.

  • Nicole O’Hara

    About this most recent  show of Feb 3 I must say it was rather hard to  understand why and how people vote

  • Jsbh45

    I think the questions are too broadly posed to answer critically.

  • Job Congerr

    The survey seems a mite over-simplified as though intended for a talk-radio demographic instead of PBS. I found it worth my time, and I’m glad I participated in it. 

  • Katz78

    This does not take into consideration the people who DID buy insurance, and paid into it for over 20 yr.s, only to find themselves denied and the policy dropped after receiving a terminal diagnosis. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer after her coverage was denied last year before the new law took effect.  My dad is facing bankruptcy over trying to pay the bills out of pocket – he will probably lose all they worked for – & his social security is now cut back.  They are of “The Greatest Generation” and are definitely NOT lazy! 
        The insurance execs are by far the biggest criminals – who are still getting away with it!  Unfortunately the politicians have been in bed with them for far too long, legislating mandatory insurance will not give equal care to everyone.  Nothing will actually change.  Maybe if we all could have the universal health care that our Congressmen & Senators enjoy? …

  • K B

    That’s not what I heard.  I heard him say liberals weight care much more heavily than the other foundations and conservatives weigh all of them more equally/evenly.  Not at all a one or the other extreme. 
    I found Haight to be equally analytical of liberals and conservatives.     

  • Nanstevenson

    This program has helped me stop demonizing the Conservatives and helped me understand where they are coming from;  usually, not so far away from me!

  • Katz78

    I think the answer was stated in the program – when you believe you are on the only morally right side – there is no consideration, no compromise with the other side.  You justify whatever you need to.  
    To take a good look at themselves would mean that their “blinders” might slip.

  • shive

    Mike, Looking to national conservative v. liberal agendas or D vs R  idealoges is no longer viable. All sides are corrupted by the influence of powerful special interests. In many ways we are doomed in America because of this.

    Still, I consider myself  “consevative”. I am driven to be personally responsible for my life, and what happens in my life. Whether sickness, health, wealth or poverty. I do not look to the gov’t for nanny state assistance but rather to being a self reliant citizen. I choose not to smoke, drink or eat excessively, so I will not get sick and become a burden to my family. Am I supposed to pay for health issues related to someone who has never showed an ounce of self discipline in any aspect of their life? How is that fairness? I drag my butt out of bed every day and go to work, even when I don’t feel that well. People depend on me to be at work.

    We extend unemployment benefits for 99 months to those out of a job. This just makes it easy for them not to go out and find new work. I know this because friends and family members have confessed that they simply find it easier to stay home.

    We chose not to buy a house that exceeded our ability to pay for it, regardless of whether the value would drop or increase overtime. Yet I am supposed to help (through federal taxes) those individuals who bought a house with a mortgage balance they could never pay off in a life time at a zero percent interest rate!!

    Let’s face it, we all can’t be rich. For most of us, life is tough and then you die. Yes, we all need to seek compassion in what we do every day. And I am trying to do my part on a daily basis.

  • Nacodoches

    If  the gloves don’t fit you must acquit; If you did the crime you do the time. Rule of law is important and the result of consensus of the public.  We have judges to determine how the law is applied.

    This test is simplistic and depending on what you have in your head (a specific trial, case, crime, etc.) you could answer one way or another.

  • Nacodoches

    Okay, I read some of the comments below.  I am an Indpendent neither left nor right.  Tried both and found no fit.  I voted for Gore and did not like Bush, but do not believe Bush lied about Iraq.  I believe most of the time people simply get it wrong because they do not have enough infomation. These pols are not gods.

  • K B

    I think near the end of the interview Haidt addressed the inequity of that financial power  with what we can sanctify/moralize – that the public needs to be repulsed by the corruption of a Congress bought and paid for.  Mr. Moyers is helping to bring this corruption to the mainstream’s attention.

  • Katz78

    Most of the top execs at GM & Dodge were let go or “retired”, so that new management had a chance in their reorganization.  
    Kharma has yet to reach those “too big to fail” in their crony capitalism, as many Wall Street execs are not only still heading their firms, but have received multi-million dollar bonuses for all their “cleverness.”

  • Anonymous

    I studied philosophy at UCLA. I thought morality had more to do with my behavior than what I think of other’s and their resulting punishment. Besides, should I have to take a simplistic test to find out the direction of my morals…which I did…? PS- I have them.

  • Staceyjpeacock

    The Law in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

    I may have answered these questions differently if our common law was not for the sole purpose of protecting the rich from the poor or if at times I wasn’t postulating an answer based on thinking the criminal could be Wall Street.

  • kitty47

    I think this survey is too broad. There is a big difference between violent crimes such as rape, child  abuse, and murder, and, for example, recreational drug use, but they are all considered crimes. I do believe that violent criminals should be segregated from society, perhaps for life, while minor offenders (especially if only a first or second crime) should be given a change to redeem themselves and to rejoin society at large. We have way too many people incarcerated in our country for relatively minor offenses, while other people commit serious crimes and are back “on the streets” after a relatively short period of time.

  • Mimi

    I’m like you but I’m liberal/progressive. Everyone is impacted by the housing crisis. We have at least one house in our neighborhood that has been vacant for at least 3-5 years. That brings down all of our property values. A lot of people have been hurt by the housing crisis brought on by the recklessness of Wall Street. There are a lot of Wall Streeters in the government. I think as Americans we are brought up with the values of self-reliance and working hard. It’s not exclusive to Americans though. I think in light of events that it’s essential to get assistance to Americans because of the lack of enforceable regulation and the unequalness of our tax code. — I think government should look for the most good and not play favorites or take sides. We the people need to stay informed to the best of our ability and hold them accountable. We the people are not doing our jobs. We are getting lost in beliefs that aren’t important. We agree. We need to kick lobbyists and Wall Streeters out – their unfair influence that is costing us so much. We have been here before.

    I was unemployed for about 4-5 months. It was agonizing. My dad has been in and out of work for years. He says that he likes not working but he doesn’t mean it. He’s happiest when he’s working but it’s been tough. I think people say a lot of things that they just don’t mean. I hated being unemployed. It was my first time. It was scary. I worked really hard and ultimately got very lucky in landing the job that I have that I love. Don’t take to heart what your friends tell you. It is awful being unemployed. We do the best we can to not let us pull it under because it can easily pull you under. It’s so scary! There is only so much you can do. I was doing everything. I got lucky – that’s it. It had nothing to do with the effort I put in – not as much as sheer luck. The truth – the absolute truth is scary.

  • Mimi

    I agree though I never demonized conservatives because I know too many. I think that has helped. They aren’t so different and they do have valid arguments. You don’t seem to get to hear them though in the  media. It’s frustrating because with that then we would be able to get somewhere better. Many people work hard and want to work. Very few people are truly lazy and do nothings. Usually there is something else going on – they feel like their efforts are for nothing. Morale means a lot and it is lacking in poorer areas. I live in a poor area and I feel it immensely. I did not grow up in a poor area. There isn’t much here and I think people feel – too many of them – feel like nothing is going to get better – they are missing that energy – not everyone of course. I do feel it and I want to do something about it to help. I think life is tremendous and amazing. We all need help. I received it and am so grateful. I know the difference it can make. People need to feel that others care about them. Not everyone has people that show them how much they care and how much they want them to succeed. I don’t see that enough here.

  • Mimi

    I’m below traditional for liberals and conservatives. I’m above liberals and conservatives on progressive. That seems pretty accurate. I think we need to do more for victims and for perpetrators. I seek to place all of the blame most appropriately because by doing so then maybe we can work on prevention and make this life better – learn from our great history and experience. Life is trial and error at times. We need to stop being afraid to make mistakes because we make mistakes anyway. We need to get over ourselves and get our attention right. It’s not about us or them. It’s about the future. What we do now impacts the future. If you are paying attention to yourself and your place then you aren’t doing your job much like an actor playing a part who is afraid of the audience – not doing your job – focus on playing the part. Forget the audience as far as fear goes. You have to remember that they are smart and you can only take so many liberties I guess you can call them.

  • IowaGrandma

    I have yet to see any questionnaire that ask the question for which I could answer with my feelings.  I would prefer to be able to answer with a paragraph or two explaining my way of thinking on the subject.  I am a bleeding heart liberal but none of the questions could I really answer with their selections.

  • IowaGrandma

    Dear Mikeguru, I do believe your sign-on says a lot.  Thank you for posting a very open story. I, as a bleeding heart liberal (whose income is considerably under $50000) really appreciate your thinking processes.  You make a lot of sense.  I heartily can recommend PBS for much more even discussions and information, particularly their PBS News Hour and even their political shows for good information, almost always from at least two views.

  • Lorne Bostwick

       I hope that someone else does that for you (show compassion) if, God forbid, genetics has a different path in store for you and you contract cancer and require treatment beyond the limits of your insurance.  It happens daily.  Your insurance policy which you pay for because you are responsible could care less about your morals — it is about profit and they will look for every possible way to deny the social contract you think you purchased from them.  Most of the cases of family health bankruptcies happen, not to those who are personally irresponsible but to people like yourself who consider themselves responsible, are working and have insurance.  Just because you know someone who is irresponsible about work it would be wrong for you to paint everyone else without a job with that broad brush.  And about mortgage responsibility — have you failed to hear that the mortgage crisis was a crime perpetrated not by irresponsible home buyers but by banks that sold mortgages with fine print they couldn’t even read, then sold them as a product called derivatives — a product  they knew to be without value and forced the mortgage crisis.  Do you have any words of  criticism for this criminal activity or only for those who became the victims of this fraud?  Not everything that is wrong is wrong because individuals people are irresponsible.

  • T. R. Halvorson

    Conserve what? Progress to where? Those are the unanswered questions. Until those are answered adequately, leave me alone, Government. I’ll do my own conserving and progressing.

  • Kenegbert3rd

     Agreed.  Nice try, but the questions are just too vague. 

  • mantra

    Although I disagree with you for many reasons, I’ll only mention the most pragmatic ones. We do have a nanny state which takes money from the middle class and the poor in order to give it to the rich and corporations. The often used euphemism “outsourcing of labor costs” allows corporations like Bain Capital to raid a company and then have us, the taxpayers, pick up the tab for the insured employees’ pension fund. The over $30 million dollars given to Bain, were somehow “forgiven”. They don’t have to pay it back. Why is it not ok to have a student’s loan forgiven but it is morally sound to forgive the 30 million dollars to Mitt Romney’s successful company, which made over $242 million dollars in the deal? Even a Republican like Senator Coburn has recently shown in detail the millions of dollars going to the richest 10% of the populations from public funds.

    Recent Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have corrupted our democratic system even further by allowing special interest groups to provide unlimited secret funding to candidates, who, once elected, are given templates of the laws they want to have enacted. For example, part of that outsourcing of labor costs mentioned before, has to do with the lobbying by certain industries to avoid paying minimum wage. The result is the working poor who have to rely on Food Stamps or Medicaid because their salaries don’t allow them to pay for medical care or insurance or to feed their children. So we subsidize corporations once more by paying the difference. Finally, Republican legislators have eroded our Constitutional rights at every possible turn and they are set on imposing their own extremist religious agenda on the rest of us. This betrays  the principles upon which this Nation was founded.

  • jim

    As with most surveys, the questions are pretty broad brushed. As a County Commissioner for eight years I was responsible for working with the County Sheriff in running the jail. I learned that very few answers are black & white and there are a lot of gray areas in dealing with inmates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1715356927 Alejandra Garcia


    the type of crime and criminal are taken away from the test, the only thing
    left is crime and how we feel about crime itself. It is a brutal concept
    because without hiding on context we can know realized that we are crueler or
    softer than we thought we were. Yea we can hide our cruelty by feeling sorry
    for the thief who stole bread and we can show our sense of justice by feeling
    anger towards the CEO who fixed the books. Still, I guarantee that most likely
    than not, a person who thinks that criminals are in general bad people would
    not shake the hands with either person. And vise versa, a person who in general
    thinks that we should punish the crime and not the criminal would try to
    understand both and their reasoning to commit the crime. The best movie about
    this subject is Dogville. It is a horrible experience but one of the best
    movies ever made. In general I like to know how I feel and think at the core
    because then, I can act on conviction and justify my actions. Otherwise I am
    just a leave that moves with the wind without a real code of ethics to guide my
    life. I understand your point, since intelligent people want to see the fine
    print before making a decision. Still our ability to see things in context is
    what allows us to shake hands with corrupt CEOs and avoid bread thieves that
    is, it allow us to be hypocrites.

  • kitschwheeler

    In regard to this episode, was anyone else bothered by Haidt’s hypothesis that if you are either conservative or liberal, you must be both wrong and biased? How can there be no middle ground? Not all of us are zealots, after all.

    There must be some politically active, thinking adults here in America who happen to be correct in their opinions. History has shown us from time to time that there are clearly right and wrong sides in some battles.

  • Melissa

    What we consider “crime” is socially constructed, meaning we can change their definition. We are the authors of our social world. We name things as “deviant” because there is a consensus in our society. What many people do not realize is that we can CHANGE all of it. Harming another human being is punishable but there are other crimes that do not make sense. When it comes to the safety of ourselves and loved ones we quickly label and pass harsh judgement to those who are deviant and quickly medicate them (its the American way!). I think this crime questioner was  a great way to make individuals think about their moral standing. Now that the topic is on crime, people should consider why white collar crime is not as punishable than blue collar crime? It really shows who American society values more. 

  • Deviant

    I wish that was true about the working class today. The class that helps our society function. 

  • Thalassa1

    I don’t think the purpose of the questionnaire (it’s not a test!) is to look for absolute certainty in any given scenario. That’s why the questions are vague and why we’re given options between ‘Strongly Agree’ and ‘Strongly Disagree’. It seems to me to be trying to discover the general direction of our individual moral compass. As Prof. Haidt says very few of us are extreme right or extreme left but our positions lie on a bell curve. The peak of the curve defines the societal norm where the majority is in general agreement and will follow a leader who is going in that direction. Changing that norm is very difficult and very slow and requires a lot of education and reinforcement.

  • Billgates

    I have big cock.

  • klc999

    One other “possible” solution might be to instruct the child that stealing is wrong and if he/she does it again, he/she will experience some negative consequences for wrongdoing.  To simply put the cookies out of reach doesn’t teach the child anything about honesty and respect for others.

  • klc999

    I disagree with your comments, Tom.  Being a person on the “right” (and yet I’m watching Bill Moyers, go figure!)  I care a great deal about fairness.  But I’ve also found that it’s a difficult ideal to achieve because we all define “fairness” in different ways.   But I think the ant and the grasshopper parable accurately reflects the frustration of so many in the middle class.

  • Anonymous

    Lorne, Appreciate the response. You are right about genetics. My doctor tells me to thank God routinely for my parents . . . no doubt they passed on good genes. And I am thankful. Yes, I acknowledge there are tremendous challenges presented to families by the vagaries of cancer and other destructive diseases. Our health care system certainly needs help. But there are limits. I don’t know the answer. We must find ways to reduce costs, improve preventative care, early childhood care, and incentivise the system so that all folks take initiative and personal responsibility for their well being and the management of their health care costs. Just because you have insurance, it is not free. People will pay big bucks to have their car fix but resist even paying a simple fee for a routine doctor visit.

    As for the mortgage crises, we will have to agree to disagree. Our system of Gov’t here in USA of democracy and capitalism (free enterprise) has been a great system for many years. But its main drawback, in my view, is that it does not manage greed very well. There is no argument that Wall Street gamed the system to their greedy favor. Yes their acts were criminal, even treasonous. But the blame doesn’t stop there. Our Gov’t foolishly set in motion a program that reduced the requirements for obtaining a mortgage. Almost to the point that it was considered a discrimatory practice to request proof of a job and income capability to pay a loan back. In my town, folks earning less than $15/hour were buying homes valued over $300,000. Their only hope of paying the mortgage was for continued price escalation. Everyone gamed the system, reales estate, developers, appraisers, bankers and even greedy home buyers.

    We just can’t expect our gov’t to fix everything. But now there is so much well meaning but ill advised bailouts: wall street, General motors, bankrupt states and cities (like CA and New York). How do we say yes to one and not the other? As cruel as it sounds, we should have let the chips fall, no bailouts. we would come out stronger and better on the other side and much faster.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1199802681 Eric Aldinger

    I found this thought provoking and the ratings were spot on with my self image.

  • Anonymous

    Q16: It undermines the integrity of society when any crime goes unpunished.
    This query induced vivid indignation about bigtime white collar crime. Should we “pass harsh judgement to those who are deviant and quickly medicate them”?
    So I’m traditional about bringing down Oligarchs. That’s contradictory isn’t it.

    Prohibition and the War on Drugs are failed social constructs.
    So what do we try next?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, context was not provided, so nothing was measured.

  • Anonymous

    Your low traditional and high progressive scores mean nothing if you are a hypocrite as Haidt insists. His work is kind of pointless then.

  • Anonymous

    The validity of the survey depends upon preconceptions most people lack.

  • Anonymous

    Haidt conflates equality under the law with material equality. 
    I think he does this purposely.

  • Anonymous

    Damned if you fail; and damned if you pass.
    It’s a parlor trick.

  • Anonymous

    If G.W. Bush did not lie to enter war then he was too impaired to serve.
    If G.W. Bush did lie to make war he is a traitor and war criminal.

  • Anonymous

    So this program teaches us progressives to not fight back against bullies?

  • Anonymous

    It shares the methods of talk radio.

  • Anonymous

    Realizing that punishment must fit the perpetrator as well as the crime is the beginning of social wisdom. You pass.

  • Jim

    Typical liberal hogwash masquerading as science. Vague and ambiguous questions with no real context.

  • Mikeguru

    I can appreciate you not wanting to ask the government for help. When I was a kid, my dad lost his paycheck gambling. We had no food except for pancakes and potatoes. I went to be hungry most nights. When I was 18, I weighed 135 pounds and 6 foot 2 inches. The first month in the USAF I shot up to 155 pounds, from having three full meals a day. We never asked for help, that I am aware of.

    I worked in a field to help people have enough of a safety net, if they lost their job because of illness. When I met people, that lived in a nice house, I asked “Do you know of anyone, that lost their home or had real financial difficulty from having an illness and not being able to work?” The people in the nice homes could not name one.

    When I interviewed families in Apartments or lower price homes, “the All could name someone, or a neighbor” that lost their homes or were in trouble financially because they had health issues.

    So then I looked up, in the US Census report, how many people there are in the USA that are considered disabled? The number astounded me, 49 million of 308 million. One out of six Americans are disabled.

    As far as “buying a house you could not afford”, I talked to people that lost their home in this latest sub-prime fraud scheme. Almost everyone one of them told me their income had been altered by the mortgage broker. Something like “you reported $2000 in monthly income, you really mean $5000″ if you want this house. In other words, they were sold a bill of goods that set them up to fail. In America, we are born optimists. We are sold all kinds of things, many things we don’t want. When I bought my first house as returning GI, I was having to trust my real estate agent and the bank. The people scammed by the Subprime mess did not have anyone looking out for them.

    We do a very poor job of teaching finance in our public schools and in fact in college also.

    When I got out of my “comfort zone” and ventured into the venues of “homeless, food pantries, read the FCIC report, investigated why so many defined benefit pensions (100,000 disappeared in less than 20 years of the 128,000), books like “Retirement Heist” and the “Great American Stickup” along with “Spin”I came to the conclusion, something was amiss.

    Mainly, we have Representatives in Congress who are not passing laws that benefit me, my kids, or my grandkids. The bribery of Lobbyists (the $1 billion spent to defeat Universal Health Care) and the laws of ALEC written by and for the benefit of the wealthy and Corporations, the Supreme Court packed with Corporate Lawyers.

    I have come to the realization, that the deck, for the past 30 years has been stacked against us, and me and my generation did not realize it.

    One of the recent experiences I had was to go to one of the Occupy Wall Street venues and “walk around” and talk to the young people there. I am a Senior. When it was announce the Police was dismantling the tents, I and my wife showed up. The Police Dogs were there, the tear gas shot guns were there and I was there, helping a homeless man transport his tent and worldly goods. I witnessed arrests and one person came up to me and told me that “because I was there, I was subject to arrest”.
    It had never occurred to me. I did learn a lot from my visit.

    Well I look at things a little different today. I really feel we, the American people, the 99% have had war declared upon them, starting back in 1981 but we did not know it.

    I think we all have to revamp our thinking as the rules have changed and “Think Outside the Box” and “Inspect what we Expect”.
    Some very Clever, if not evil people, are at work to take our country to third world status, a small Rich controlling faction, a small Middle Class, and a Huge Poor segment.

    We can stop it, we just have to get involved, turn off the TV, stop renting DVD’s and watching Netflix and show up in our political parties to stop the erosion of our Democracy to a Plutocracy or Oligarchy, take your pick.

    Thanks for the response. I am Optomistic for America’s Future if, we get off our butts and get active politically and vote. All this mess we are in was Legislated. Mainly laws and tax policy that benefit a small minority, the 1% and not the non-Rich 99% and we did not become Outraged enough to force our elected Representatives to stop it.

  • Anonymous

    Imposing more debt to deprive opponents of power and means is their tactic.
    This country is not broke. The wealth migrated upward. And now they want to keep it all. Same with Greece and the other PIGS. Argentina was the laboratory for this extractive technique in 1990. See “shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein.

  • Anonymous

    Bill made a mistake. The gap between leaders and followers in our two corrupt pro-business parties seemed more normal for Republicans until Democrats caught the financial plague. TED is a hit and miss outfit more hungry for publicity than reform.
    This week was confusing and wasted for most regular Moyers viewers. He could have done better. We must ask why he did not serve our needs.

    You see all this empty praise of Bill on these blogs.
    Even that is indicative of authoritarian mentality.
    Bill deserves our critical thinking.
    He can handle it.

  • Anonymous


    I agree with you there are areas in our system where greed has run amok. But it is not limited to Bain Capital. Nor are the influence peddling actions by special interests limited to Industry. Unions and environmental groups wage equal pressure on our elected officials. Did GM get bailed out because they were so special, even though poorly managed? Why were GM bond holders shafted in the process of saving the company with tax payer dollars, but worker pensions remained? Union donations to the Obama campaign must have played a roll. For me, I’ll walk to work before buying another GM car. I’m embarrassed to still own and have to drive my old suburban.

    Here in CA, union backed special interests literally own the legislature. The disparity in total compensation between public sector workers (essentially all union) and the private sector worker is wider than ever. The result of a very effective union special interest enacted our our electoral system.

    What really betrays the principles upon which this Nation was founded is that we have allowed our government to grow so large that it is so easily influenced by powerful special interests that do not have the best interests of all in mind, whether left or right, conservative or liberal.

  • Anonymous

    So Joseph, why do I find myself digging for the facts before finalizing my opinions?

  • Anonymous

    Yes Rose- The survey is rigged to equate poverty with crime, and to equate financial success with morality. It is a sick manipulation when you stand back and examine it.

  • Tatateeta


  • Anonymous

    Stop c-ing the c so much, Bill.
    It does not become you.

  • Tatateeta

    Not all conservatives are stupid but all stupid people are conservatives-HL Mencken

  • Anonymous

    All grasshoppers die off in winter and are replenished in spring when their eggs hatch.
    That is their nature. To criticize them for having a different biological solution to surviving cold weather than ants do is crazy as Hell. Even worse for the conservatives who employ this analogy; ants live cooperatively and collectively and grasshoppers succeed or fail as individuals. This misunderstanding and failure to employ scientific facts demonstrates one glaring disadvantage of traditional thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Voluntarily donning your own target hat and then apologizing to your potential shooter is a poor strategy, but that is what Haidt recommends. Gabby Giffords owned and target shot with the same model Glock automatic as the one used by Jared Lee Loughner to kill and wound a crowd of people come to hear her. She was trying to accommodate the gun mania of Arizona. Under the contemporary barrage of hate wing radio and Sarah Palin’s campaign maps that was a flawed gesture. Don’t be fooled by Haidt.

  • Anonymous

    It means you see yourself as a nice moderate person when it comes to punishing criminals.

  • Anonymous

    But do you see yourself as radical? Chomsky says it is normal for thinking people to take positions that those in power would term radical. Maybe this survey is a labeling technique. I scored slightly milder than you with the same profile. I think I’m reasonable and mainstream in my radicalness.

  • Anonymous

    Are we gonna punish those crimes against humanity, Ted?

  • Anonymous

    It seems ridiculous because it is not a test. It is a propaganda tool.
    It equates crime with poverty and financial success with virtue.
    Now do you feel better? Psychologists are tricky.

  • Anonymous

    A bread thief steals in hopes of being jailed before starving or freezing.
    A financial fraudster steals to gain admiration (and wealth).

  • Anonymous

    For entertainment purposes maybe we could make them all about rape and accusations of rape, and even rape fantasies. That is a highly charged subject area. Then Moyers could outscore the Kardashians on viewership. You’re missing the point. For crime watch police-worship shows. There are plenty in both production and re-runs; enough to satisfy a police state.

  • Anonymous

    If I catch that redheaded lady letting her dog defecate in my Gardenias a third strike it’s Tarantino time. Is that specific enough?

  • Kerrypaymann

    I totally can understand how this gentleman discusses the issue of conservatives.  I am 60 and disabled since 45 due to a very bad auto accident by a woman who rear-ended me at 60 mph.  I got screwed by the insurance co. due to we both had State Farm insurance so they brought up all doctor visits I had every had and blamed a previous small no damage to my car accident so they didn’t want to pay and didn’t.  I was born 1951 and a woman.  I grew up with my father who was a pharmacist and salesman for Eli Lilly talking about Conservative values so I totally know how they think and in your crime and punishment I was more conservative than they were but I also was more liberal on the punichment than the liberals.  I am very much like Mikeguru.  Conservatives have never had something bad happen to them with becoming totally disabled with no family or a wife or husband to help them.  It was when I went to college in 1969 when I started to investigate the liberal side of things and saw why people were poor and low income and started to analyze this situation in this country compared to other European countries and the government policies that I became a very serious progressive.  But I have always still retained my conservatism when it came to crime in that I would put them in barracks like the Japaneese were in WWII.  But I also believe in rehabilitation and how a person’s community they are raised in and parents and what status their family had in the community influences a person’s choices and rehabilitation and counseling would help greatly because I do not think people mean to do crime if they had a good education and a good job that they enjoyed and had a good community support system.  Yet I do believe that people need to take responsibility for choices they make. But bad things happen to good people and I am a walking example because I now have to live on SS Disability and Supplemental Security Income of $875 a month since 2001 when a surgeon messed up my back surgery and it took 8 hours instead of the 4 that were scheduled.  The surgeon didn’t put anything in my medical records as to why this happened and didn’t report in them that my leg was paralyzed the entire week I was in the hospital.  When I finally got feeling slowly into it and could move it I had massive burning pain in my front thigh.  I could not get a single lawyer to file a malpractice because the surgeon was very prominent.  When you get screwed by the “entire system” that we have in this country and live in poverty thru no fault of your own how are you suppose to turn your life around or work to get something.  The way disabled people are treated in this country and what they are made to live on way under the poverty level it is a total disgrace.  I worked from for 10 years but your disability check is dependant on what you earned and years worked.  It is an ABSOLUTELY A DISGRACE HOW DISABLED PEOPLE HAVE TO LIVE IN POVERTY IN THIS COUNTRY.  PEOPLE WHO BECOME DISABLED IN EUROPE DON’t have to live in such poverty.  The Medicaid insurance is a joke because no doctor in this country bothers to try to get you well or to find out what is causing your medical problem.  My pain medication cost $7000 a month and there is no coordination between doctors if you can even get a doctor to see you.  I also have Medicare but you cannot mention to a doctor that you are a “dual eligible” because they will not take you as a patient because of the statistics that they use 75% of the money for Medicare.  The reason for this is because there is no coordination between doctors to care for a person until the person has so many illnesses from non-treatment and it just snow balls.  The baby boomers are going to be in for a real shock when they try to go to a doctor to get care because all the doctors I have seen in the San Francisco area East Bay do not care!  I just found out that the reason I have now become so ill and dying is because my pain doctor for all these years was on auto-pilot and never discussed anything and his care has now nearly killed me and I’M extremely sick.  They all just hope you die and go away and when you even have the proof from another doctor that they have been totally negligent in their medical care they just look at you and don’t even apologize.  I had to complain to my local country board of supervisor to get my medical records so I could see another doctor for a second opinion.  My story would make any person sick to their stomach and it just shows how messed up this country is and it is killing people by the thousands. 

    My name is Kerry Pay and I live at 99 Fountainhead Ct. Martinez, Ca 94553 925-229-3830 if someone actually wants to hear the full story. 

    This is why I became a Progressive because I once was from a good middle class family but through no fault of my own live in poverty in a little room in Contra Costa County California because my husband deserted me in Texas when the car accident happened and he didn’t want to be tied down with a disabled person all his life and Texas the wife gets screwed.  He got to keep his great job and I was left homeless after the auto accident.  Just as I’m getting my health better and going back to college I am hit from behind by another car that re-injured my back. This was when I had to have surgery and the surgeon damaged a nerve in my leg.  I had insurance from an old employer then and I still got sub-standard care.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO ACCOUNTABILITY WITH DOCTORS IF THEY MAKE MISTAKES BECAUSE THEY NO NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO THEM.  You cannot file suit because you have to find a lawyer to take your case and how are you going to do that when they have damaged your health so bad you cannot work.  All conservatives would become liberals if they had have the life I have had.  In 1969 all I wanted to do was become a History teacher to high school kids to teach them that the past affects the future since our American leaders didn’t learn from the French and still decided to get involved in Viet Nam.  Sadly they did it again in Afghanistan even after the British and Russians had failed and never took into consideration the history and culture of the Middle East and how countries were formed after WWI in the region and still invaded Iraq.  What a bunch of idiots!

    Thank you so very much for returning .  I may be disabled and confined to my little room but with my laptop I still stay more informed about what is going on in the rest of the world and I am so happy that the Occupy movement has started because I have watched as this country has changed and sadly much much worse.  If I could leave this country I would!   

  • Anonymous

    See my grasshopper explanation above. Those who use this tired analogy often wish to equate powerless people with insects.

  • Anonymous

    Will you volunteer to poke out eyes?

  • Anonymous

    Haidt set off my b.s. detector too.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha, fooled you Moyeristas! Got you to waste this week’s show discussing street crime.

    Kathy knows we better get busy on something real.

    Please don’t do this again Moyers&Company.

  • Anonymous

    This quiz is easy after Rush tattoos the answers on your wrist.

  • Anonymous

    April, do you mean to say a molester hurting one survivor is worse than a fraudster turning a million families out of their homes? But you have every right to believe that.
    Most murderers kill only once in a crime of passion.

  • Anonymous

    It is evil not to try and prevent mass tragedies.

  • Anonymous

    But Haidt seemed not to get it.

  • Anonymous

    Confronting hatred, lies and crimes need not be demonizing.
    The guilty party may use that as a defense but it is not legitimate.
    Failure to call out evil-doing is banal evil.

  • Anonymous

    Convicts could be educated if we had free education instead of debt peonage.
    Their ills could be treated if we had universal health care. 
    They could make a living if there were jobs.
    They could repay their debts if they could make a living wage.

    Hey, wait a minute, looks like we’re all prisoners in the same mess.

  • Anonymous

    You must know yourself to be true to yourself; 
    but self-satisfaction retards understanding.

    I think this resembled a test I once saw used to detect shoplifters before retail hiring.

  • Anonymous

    The bell curve (normal random distribution) makes the radical assumption that normals exist in the case of human behavior and choice. If they did exist there would be no reason for the range to be randomly distributed. More likely they would be clumped and gapped. They probably don’t exist in fact. We don’t live by instinct. 
    If they did humanity would be too rigid in adaptability to survive. Conventions are fragile frames dependent on socialization.
    Normals are artificial conceptions based on societal and cultural expectations which are subject to extreme and sudden alteration. Maybe we have the enduring ability to love one another, no one is sure. Changing expectations occurs in a finger snap. Only material displacement is required.  We are in high probability of encountering some profound material displacement in the near term. To prepare for it the bell curve serves no useful purpose.

  • Msc82442

    I took both the Haidt test on his site and the one above.  The Haidt test suffers from an absence of context.  For example I beleve that hurting a defenseless animal is not a good thing but I do not depend on the land for my food. I think disgusting acts are gross and ridiculous but if they are directed toward a child I would consider them abusive—shouting obscenities, for example.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KY7BMGRIFOAWZU4BTPMV3OJHX4 Dana

    I hope that Haidt has the reliability/validity information published somewhere.  Some of the forced choices were challenging.  The outcome on my survey seems about right, even though I balked at the wording of the questions!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_446LC6FLHQQ5MDCHEHYF4GP74Y Enzo

    A much better test:

    How much of a Fascist are you?


  • None

    Poor questions

  • Rich Patterson

    It is striking that the word “law” seems not to appear in any of the items.  Law is the technical essence of social will that permits the systematic administration of that social will.  The reference for crime and punishment is given commonality through the law.  Issues such as behavior vs. intent, swept-away passion vs. premeditated motive are important subtleties in the consideration of punishment.

    The issue of crime and punishment is about social safety and fairness, as it may be assured in the future.  If the criminal will never commit the same crime in the future, then society is finished with the process.  Whatever is successful in assuring a better social future is the bottom line for the administration of law.  For some criminals, some level of punishment may be most successful in modifying future behavior as compared to the past, and for others, it may be a better understanding of the self in the past, and for others, it may be the opportunity to be more self fulfilled in the future as compared to the past.

  • Adagio

    Many of the questions refer to an “offender.” Isn’t that convicting someone of a crime before there is a trial? How might referring to them as “the accused” change the results?

  • humanist

    “The law, in its majestic indifference, holds equally culpable any man who steals bread to feed his starving children, be he rich or poor!”

  • Jwalsh031160

    I’m glad to see Bill back on the air again, we need more moderate voices on the airways enlightening the events of our politics, making sound sense of the events, instead of railing a war cry against the opposition. I see that a few of those who commented on this show thought the questions were on the vague side, that’s why there was a “No Opinion” choice. This allows the tester to see you have conflicting views on the question. These type of test have no right or wrong answers, they just show tendencies.  This show has caused me to evaluate my feelings of distrust towards others with opposing views, to keep myself in check against my demonetization of others.

  • Puzzled

    The vagueness is intentional, designed to provoke thought and self reflection, good questions with no right or wrong answer, some might find this disturbing. 

  • Barry the Liar

    Most of the Questions are liberal Crap. How about some real life Situation Questions !

    If your daughter was Raped and Sodomized  should the Death Penalty be Imposed ?
    If your home was Burgularized and the offender was caught, Should he be made to pay Restitution for everything He stole?
    If your child is lured into a home by a Pedophile and abused, Should the Pedophile be Castrated and put away for Life?
    If a Politician Lies and Steals you tax Dollars  and is Prosecuted and found Guilty, Should he receive a Pension and health Benefits for Life ? 

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

  • Jharding

    It is very difficult to respond to these simple questions which are platitudes that do not admit the nuances of the issues raised.  I found that on many questions, I was compelled to answer “no opinion” since I really couldn’t agree or disagree.  This moved me closer to the conservative side–but I suppose my indecision marks me as a liberal.

  • Barry the Liar

    The Truth will set you Free ! It might Hurt a bit though !

  • Ed

    Interesting. I had trouble with some answers because of the ambiguity of whether the crime was a violent crime or non-violent crime, or if the law is not relatively aligned with our constitution, or if the law’s bias against a race, gender or some group of people. This is why we have (or had) a right for a fair trial… that would be subjective as well.

  • Anonymous

    Barry’s rough questions might make a sadism index.
    FBI profilers look for those obsessed with lurid punishment when seeking a rape/torture suspect.
    Considering how the Web now profiles in the moment Barry better practice his Lying.

    It is strange that an index of overall morality would be fixated on crime. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s called push-polling.

  • Ed again

    Ambiguity was purposely part of the quiz.

  • Senjin8

    I came up a a conservitive! I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little shocked by that…

  • Anonymous

    I don’t believe in an eye for an eye.

  • Mikeguru

    I guess Hollywood had it wrong in the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Moses leading his people out of Egypt and the Egyptians who were washed away at the parting of the Sea to beg them to come back and finish the Pyramid to stop their madness of wandering the desert, returning to work and receive Medical Care, Good housing and 3 square meals a day.

    Are you kidding me?

    I lived in Georgia, in the 50’s and watched as Negros aka Blacks were working hard. A lady that cleaned white folks homes during the day, left for her job at 630 AM after getting her kids ready for school. She worked until 4 PM. Caught another bus home, prepared the kids dinner and then, at 6:30 PM to catch a bus to clean office buildings at her second job. She got home at 10:30 and went to bed, up at 5AM to repeat the same.

    They were poor and stignified as being “lazy”.

    We have “Right to work” which is a “race to the bottom of wage rates”.

    We have a miserable Minimum wage system. In Australia, they have a ‘minimum Livable Wage system” at 16 minimum wage is $7 an hour, but graduates to $15 at age 21.

    In the meantime, we have an ever increasing gap between the wealthy and everyone else. Mainly how they make “Money from moving Money around” as 65% of the Richest 400 have more wealth than 150 million from money, no inventions, no innovation, no creativity(except creative financial devices like Derivatives, CDO’s, COS’s, calls, puts, and Hedge fund Insider trading.

    We, who work for a living, not moving money, are being fleeced.

  • Oremoss

    I agree with most of your observations. Few questions are black and white: context matters. The questions also don’t cover the inherent inequalities of income and opportunity.  I always find it difficult to answer questions like this without adding comments or disclaimers, although I do know people who have no qualms in doing so.

  • Michael

    Shive – the reason that pensions were preserved but bond holders lost out is simple.  The pensions were part of the compensation for *past* work – the workers performed their jobs, in the past, having negotiated pay and working conditions and pensions in return.  You can’t take pensions away any more than you could go back and rescind past wages paid.  Bond holders, on the other hand, lent money backed by the lure of *future* performance.  They were making a bet, and they lost.  But that risk was known and up-front when they lent the money.

  • Karm

    I wonder how the term ‘progressive’ is defined.  And if this test just enables more labeling.

  • MB

    “Liberals value compassion, or care, over all else, while conservatives assign equal weight to values including care, liberty, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. It’s not that liberals don’t believe in the others, but when faced with a moral dilemma, care (or avoidance of harm) trumps everything else.”That is absolute nonsense.  I am liberal and I value liberty and fairness as much as I value care. 
    Never forget that left wingers brought about the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, the disability rights movement, and the labor movement.  All those movements view liberty and fairness very very highly.  And never forget that right wingers generally opposed all those movements.  Why?  Because conservatives do not value fairness. 

  • Anonymous

    Very informative. The survey questions are very insightful – just by reading them, I could feel how they are designed to provoke certain attitudes and responses. I’ll be reading up more on this.

  • http://open.salon.com/blog/kent_pitman Kent Pitman

    The questions remind me of some punchy little quips I heard a long time ago–that the definition of a democrat was “a republican who has been arrested”, or the definition of a republican is “a democrat who has been mugged”.  We’re all so affected by our own history that we fill the gaps many are complaining about (the questions are overbrief and quite vague) with details relating to our personal lives, such that comparing any two set of answers might not tell you what you think it does.

    I’d rather just see a list of things you imagine could be inferred and then just left it to people to ponder.  Letting me see only what you’d infer about me doesn’t let me see what you would have inferred about someone else.  I didn’t take the survey because I saw no explanation of the data collection practices.  Your comment section seems to know who I am, so for all I know the data collectors do, too.  But even anonymously I did not feel good adding data that I was pretty sure could only be misinterpreted if compared to or aggregated with someone else’s.

  • Felice Bachrach

    I’d like to see two tests with the same questions: One test wherein the crime is financial fraud–like banks and Wall St, and the other test about armed robbery or burglary. I’d answer those questions very differently in each case. 

  • Calvin of Lenexa

    The questions are too non-specific.  It lumps non-violent offenses in with violent offenses and technical offenses.  For instance; a person convicted of voter fraud should have their right to vote taken away for a long period of time since the victims (us) are many and the results could be dire.  If a person was convicted of murder while protecting their family (manslaughter) I can’t see how a harsh sentence is going to help anyone.  Most murders are acts of passion and will probably never be repeated.  The mass murderer, the serial killer, the contract killer, the cold-blooded act of murder  only has one punishment available.  A white collar criminal whose acts have destroyed lives (think Madoff or Corzine) deserves much more punishment than someone who cheated on their taxes (unless that person is serving  in the cabinet of the president).

  • Twillibrand

    Mikeguru:  Wow, you must live in my town.  I am outnumbered by the fanatic “right”.  But after I took this test, I was “above” conservatives on the traditional scale, and only one point higher than conservatives on the liberal scale, and way below Liberals.  I have often thought of my self as a moderate.  But am always shocked by conservatives opinions of Obama, who would label me as a Liberal. From now on I will consider myself a Liberal with Conservative Values” like  Jesus.  I like that definition!!  Enjoyed your response.

  • Twillibrand

    Shazellis,  It takes an outsider to really see the US as it really is. Ours is a very bad habit, and one that I wish we could break.

    A very frustrated US citizen.

  • Dmy1155

    I think the test leaves out a few variables…how some feel about guns in society and the relationship of guns and crime.  Japan has a zero gun tolerance and a nearly zero crime rate.  Drugs and drug related crime.  Follow-up studies on sex offenders, do they continue offending?  How and why so many prisoners end up back in prison over and over?
    The low income sentences vs. white collar convictions.  And last but not least .. a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in this country, or so we’re told..but is that really the case?

  • http://www.decentlife.com/ Lou

    This test is about love and hate.  The more you love others.  The more you want to understand and correct the issue.  The criminal has to do time.  The more you hate.  The more you want to punish, which is treating the sympton and not the cause.

  • Boone

    Lozensage:  One cannot just read a question and answer it ad lib. These types of questions require some thought about ones personal convictions.  So what did the graph show for you? 

  • mnmike44

    I know the feeling. Been there. My own story is similar. Started to wake up AR (after Reagan) about the time Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich started getting really nasty. It left a bad taste in my mouth. And when they went after John Kerry’s Viet Nam war record it became apparent that the New Republicans had nothing in common with the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt and Ike. Of course the sea change had take place after Johnson signed the Voters rights Act and all the Dixiecrats went over to the Republican Party. Glad they left, but sad they found welcoming arms among the GOP.

  • Syzygydude

    “Society” is insane. Its morals, values, behaviour, all crazy as hell. It does not stand on any higher moral ground, does not have anything to offer other than inappropriate responses, inadequate “logic”, ill-concieved ideals, and ineffective systems. To “logically” weigh the appopriateness of the responses it has to crime, one has to accept its values, its standards, its concepts. A full 20 percent of the U.S. population suffer from a mental disorder in any given year. 


    That’s one in five. What good can choosing to adhere to rules and standards formed by the mentally disturbed make? Why care what ANYONE thinks about these things? They’re likely to be Mad, Mad, MAD!
    I say we cannot do this. Judge not. You may be the one in five, or they may be, or all ‘yalls. Until the perfect system free of these defects is designed, the mewings of the masses are full of the sounds of madness, and serve only to fill the air with noise. If a system designed by current science is full of asbergian OCD detail-oriented buttinskis, it will be pointless. If it is designed by fearful motherly protectivists, it will be different, but still idiotic. There may be NO WAY to do what you are all trying to do. I keep finding that there’s a huge gap where there ought to be people saying “I DON’T KNOW” when asked their “opinion”, lack of thought, lack of understanding. Lack of intelligence.
    This world is hurtling straight into the abyss, and logic be damned, I’m driving my car to work tomorrow, even if the exhaust from my vehicle kills somebody with severe asthma. Even if the money from my gas purchase fuels the wars in the middle east, even if walking or biking is good for me. Thus society reflects its inability to understand the complex problems we face, and to do the right thing. It cannot do the right thing. It is mad…

    For some good reading, try Escape From Freedom, The Art Of Loving, and The Sane Society, by Erich Fromm. Add to that Michel Foucault and his book, “Madness and civilization” and Herbert Marcuse’s  “Eros and Civilization” which counters Fromm to round it out.

  • Onazus

    Mikeguru:  I am your anthithesis.  I have been a  long time Liberal, European-born American, brought up in an atmosphere Marxist-Leninist, breathing Socialism/Communism every day at every moment.  I have changed and don’t ask what I am politically.  I just know what I am not.  I am not a Liberal Socialist, got tired of the label, when Barrack Obama attempted to conceal his origin and past.  I could not admire him as you contend.  I continue ignoring when he changed his name to Barry Soetoro.  Was it in the USA before moving to Jakarta?  Was it in Indonesia.  As an American citizen, he must have carried an American passport, probably under the name of Barrack Obama.  Thus he became Barry Soetoro in Indonesia.  Was the change of name accompanied with the change of nationality?  You see, this happened to me.  I entered into the USA with a passport issued by my former country of origin.  When I became an American citizen I changed my name and ever since I have traveled with an American passport.  By analogy Barry Soetoro may have left Indonesia with an Indonesian passport.  Nothing of this is extremely important except for questioning his character, or any illegality.  Doesn’t say much about tranparency.

    I feel that you have the right to bear any political label that you choose.  You did not convince me of your reasons, mainly when you pretenciously compare yourself to Jesus.  My friend, I assure you that if you have anything similar to Jesus will not be anything above the soles of your feet.  You would become more credible if you limit your illusions to guru.

  • Creamcorn

    Pedophelia and petty theft are light years away from each other when talking about crimes. Be more specific.

  • no thanks to snake oil

    Haha, it says I’m as traditional as most liberals,  but as progressive as most conservatives!  Wouldn’t that mean not much for either? How is this supposed to help me understand what my morals say about my politics?  I can’t find anywhere that bothers to define “traditional” and “progressive”, so these subscales are completely worthless and contrived.  

  • Anonymous

    You obviously have a pretty sour taste of your former Soviet Union. Obviously have carried some of that to this country, dislike for leadership of any kind.

    Disparagement of our President and spewing the mis-information of Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Medfled, Savage and others who are multimillionaire Disk Jockeys paid and bought by Corporations is not a good source of information to form an opinion.

    What makes Democracy work is a view of All Sides. If you fall into the trap of just getting your news from a source that falls in line with your thinking, then you are not truely, adapted to what has built America.
    We are a “Blended” society. We share information and hopefully discuss Politics in a civil manner. Women do it the best, Men are terrible at it.
    I just saw a chart listing the greatest divide between Rich and Poor, Russia has the greatest divide.

    Enjoy your Freedom to form your own Opinion and express it but you are not entitled to your own facts.

    The President was born in Hawaii. However, there are 28 million(mostly right wing Republicans) who think  otherwise and you are one of them and most listen to Fox News run by Rupert Murdock, a Billionaire, like Hearst, a media Disgruntled Rich Media guy.

    Do yourself a favor, listen to Ed Schultz, Tom Hartmann and read the Nation, the Progressive, Jim Hightower, and books, like the Great American Stickup, along with Time, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, The Economist, Smart Money, Money, Consumer Reports, and a book called  “Retirement Heist” and Health Care Spin. You might develop a “Blended” view of what ails our country.

    By the way, I listen to Fox, Limbaugh, the Voice of Russia, Radio Cuba, China International, Taiwan Radio,and Radio Germany shortwave occassionaly.Of course, Diane Rehm and Bill Moyers, Need to Know, NPR radio, and 60 minutes are good sources of information.

    We have a lot of problems, taking a “common ground” aka “my way or the highway position” is not going to solve the problems.

    As the Soviet Union found out, Financial Corruption and a one sided view of the world was not a good thing.

    We have Financial Corruption, unfortunately, but thankfully, we do have the freedom to look at the total spectrum of all opinion unless you take sides and adopt “My way or the Highway” and consider the people who think otherwise are stupid.

    Glad you are enjoying what my Great Grandfather, Grandfather, and Father built and fought and died for.

    Thanks for the response.

  • Hannah

    Just wanted to say that in countries where the focus of prison is on rehabilitation rather than punishment, and prisoners are kept in good conditions, and where there is a good level of economic equality so that poverty does not drive people to crime, there is a much safer society and cons are less likely to commit more crimes. We should focus more on society. 

  • Beretco Op

    I don’t feel one bit guilty for changing the subject away from  Dr. Haidt and his survey.
    He’s irrelevant to the deadly dilemmas we are facing and not part of the solution.If corporations are sometimes endowed with attributes of personhood our nation in its actions can certainly be viewed as a moral or immoral actor. All the Too Big To Fail Things like Mega-banks, the IMF and World Bank, the FED, Insurance corporations, Caterpillar and the NFL then have a moral character that must be managed and judged by society regardless of their institutional fixations and obsessions. Let me examine two instances here.

    I was in a deli yesterday morning eating a blueberry bagel. A suited young man at a table nearby complained, “Tom Brady’s dumbass touchback cost me an f-ing thousand bucks.” For a moment I wondered if Brady might be his financial advisor or his Congressman, but then I recalled the Superbowl had been played Sunday. I still don’t remember what a touchback is and I’m not Googling it. I want to explain to the f-ing thousand buck loser the immorality of the NFL. It’s a cartel of billionaires who own franchises. These billionaires can coerce free stadiums and many other perks from the public because people are kept ill-informed. The most important aspect of the enterprise is illegal: sports gambling, and this is operated by organized crime. No one can convince me there is not some hidden relationship between the cartel and organized crime. Whether you buy paraphenalia, attend a contest, veg-out before the idiot box or bet money you are voting for an immoral institution. But Grad Lee, you’ll say, it’a the normalest thing in the world.

    In the car on the way to a doctor appointment I listened to DRShow. The subject was keeping Iran from going nuclear. (The very framing of the question makes DRShow immoral.) The pundits regretted it but admitted that eventually the USA (Uncle Sam?) will have to nuke or invade Iran. They discussed 80 million Persians as if they were pesky ants. Well, I wouldn’t bet a thousand bucks on the prospect of nuclear war so I began to imagine what might happen if our military invaded and occupied Iran. It’s only common sense that such a pre-emptive action would not fix our $15 trillion national debt or provide a diversity of living waged jobs. My reasoning indicates just the opposite. The gasoline most of us depend on would also go up in  price, and there would be no relief even after Exxon and Chevron (really the same cartel) began managing Iran’s petroleum. Who would benefit? Let’s look past our war crimes against 80 million innocent politically oppressed people for a moment and think selfishly. I wonder if Americans can do that (snicker, snicker, snicker). Those who plan hegemony of the richest oil region would benefit by the Shock&Awe mobilization of their power. Those who manipulate public opinion and manufacture consent would benefit from the panicked jingoism. (Almost like being a football fan, isn’t it?) Those Masters of War who contract and build the weapons would benefit. A few high ranking military functionaries would advance their careers. What we should be asking  ourselves is if the personhood Uncle Sam, as an hegemonic and immoral Empire, is too big to fail. For a preview imagine an NFL run by much lower compensated players and without the Oligarchs. It would be much more moral and humane because the players would not have to carry owners like elephants on their backs. It might play in whatever stadium in whatever town and be a wholesome spectacle like minor league baseball. The play might even improve without the crazy distractions. The Super Bowl would no longer empty the supermarkets and department stores and the Mafia would have a much harder time with the spread, maybe drop the whole thing. Now you are ready to imagine our nation as if morality mattered.

    What would our individual moral  compass matter as long as we are captive within an immoral cartel that is Too Big To Fail? Let’s end our Captivity.

  • Pat

    But… they are different, and recognizing that difference is an important part of my code of ethics.

  • Peter Casanave

    My traditional subscale is 1.9, below liberals. My progressive subscale is 6.4, greater than liberals. I’d say that’s about right. I’m kind of disappointed at liberals, but this explains some of my previous conversations.

    Regarding the test, I’d say it is good, but one has to be thoughtful and read the questions carefully.

    My last thought is of Pope John Paul II visiting the prisoner Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot him four times in an assasination attempt. Italy sentenced him to life imprisonment, but the pope interceded to have him released and sent to Turkey.

  • Brevardronin

    I disagree. The questions had to be vague. This is not a survey on how you would handle an individual crime, it’s trying to judge the basic moral guidelines that guide your thought process. ‘Things change on a case by case basis, but generally speaking, most of the time, you believe x’ might have made it easier for you to understand. As for the rest of your comment, you seem to continue to illustrate a considerable lack of knowledge in the field of psychology. You also seem to fail to understand what exactly rehabilitation is. You are perfectly permitted to voice your OPPINION, but when you pass it off as fact, you become incorrect.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    …dude-How can an insane society benefit from reading the valuable texts you recommend? I’ve read them too.

    I wish I could persuade you to work with others in active interest group pushing for something you value and believe in. You seem concerned about human health (especially mental health) and our environment. I wish I could give you more spare time to voluntarily associate with others who care. Remember that others are experiencing the same high levels of alienation and stress you suffer, and that they seek any  relief. Sometimes I think it is good for us when the “economy” slows down, because the extraction by the powerful slows too, and we reflect.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Aw, come on! Ad lib a little. You might find you possess a knack for “stand up.”
    Remember those late nights of joke-cracking with your closest peers/siblings?
    That laughter from the tent (treehouse, basement, van, gazebo, pier) was priceless like innocent music rolling across tall grass. This survey “ain’t no big thang.”
    Moyers made a mistake by telling us it was important.
    That’s OK, everyone makes mistakes.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    I agree that your cautions are justified and well taken.
    I’m proud to blog with a real Philosopher.
    Is that a lucrative profession I should recommend to my future grandkids?
    Just  joking, how funny when people ask financial advice on a comment  blog.
    I’ve seen people ask Moyers about tax strategies and retirement plans.
    Does he look like Suze Orman?
    On the other hand, your photo does look like a philosopher, Kent Pitman.
    Can we ask you questions?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Birds fly and fish swim, but what of flying fish and diving birds?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Maybe this is really a car insurance advertisement. Maybe Flo will post.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Does your butt look suddenly fat in the mirror?
    It’s all relative my dear.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    But what was the actual purpose.
    It had a programming effect.
    I saw: poverty=crime+success=morality: as a subliminal colonization.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    This configuration elicits pre-programmed platitudes, you mean?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Good for both you and me.

  • Pkruiz3

    Even types of murder are different. Was it premeditated or an act of passion? Was it a mass murder or a consequence of a foolish choice? Even here, there are differences as mass murderers and premeditated murderers are highly likely to repeat and should never be rehabilitated, whereas the man who hit the gas pedal instead of the break is not going to repeat this act. Punnishment should therefore be different in each case and my compassion towards them will be different.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    I’m not an Obama fan, but I feel compelled to point out it was parents and teachers in Indonesia who temporarily changed Obama’s name to Soetoro (stepfather’s name). They probably did it to try and fit him in. He was a gradeschooler, a little boy at that time, transplanted to a different culture.
    Mikeguru’s case as reported was very different. He was an immigrating adult who voluntarily took a new name for his own personal reasons.

    I find conservatives find it convenient to see history as a frieze and fail to synchronize timelines. They also frequently assume that one isolated act or instance reveals unchanging personal character. My mother was this way, and it sometimes made her seem irrational and/or learning disabled. But such purposeful mistakes by aspiring comedians can be entertaining. People laughed and my mom Ellen couldn’t see why.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    You seem like you’d be hard on yourself and lenient on others.
    That requires extraordinary emotional strength and stamina.
    Stay peaceful like Jesus and save whips for moneychangers.

  • Anonymous

    What happens to you in the prison system should depend upon your crime and whether or not you will reenter society.

    Rehabilitation funds should not be wasted on someone who is sentenced to life without possibility parole. Their time should be spent making restitution to their victim and contributing to their own maintenance in prison – through work. Still, the fact that they are still human beings should be respected, and they should not be subjected to draconian treatment.

    Drug users should receive rehab and counseling to discover why they use, what triggers their use, and learning skills to make a living and contribute. As most drug users have to steal to maintain their habit, they should have to work and contribute to a general fund that helps the victims of theft, burglary, and muggings.

    Rapists who will be sent back into society should receive intensive therapy, and should have to pass mental health standards before they can be released. Their ‘time’ should include mandatory incarceration in a mental health facility for criminals. They should also have to work to contribute to a fund that pays for counseling for rape victims. There should be a set amount for each offense and they should not be released until they have worked enough to pay those fines.

    Thieves should have to repay their victims (really pay their debt to society) and learn a trade that will allow them to support themselves on the outside.  And no one should every be released from prison without getting their GED. Prison time should not be spent idly, pumping iron and learning how to become better criminals.

    White collar criminals should have to repay their victims before they are released.

    Drunk drivers who kill someone should never be allowed to drive again. They should also have to go to rehab for their alcohol problem, even if that problem is only the bad judgment of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

    Child molesters should have the most intensive therapy of all. They should also have the longest sentences, after murderers. They should have to contribute to a therapy fund as well, and be subjected to all the requirements of rapists, and then some. Their lives on the outside should be the most monitored and restricted of all. These people can never really repay their debt to society, as their crimes are part of the reason for so many people going astray and become drug addicts, alcoholics, and offenders themselves. And since their debt cannot be repaid, they should never be free of probation and monitoring.

    Drug dealers should have to pay for rehab, contributing to a fund to help addicts get the therapy they need, whether they are incarcerated or not. Instead of the government seizing and then selling their property (and that money going to the state or to law enforcement) – any money or the money from selling their property should go to paying for rehab facilities in the communities where they sold the drugs. Rehab is expensive, and few drug addicts can afford the kind of facilities likely to have the most success. The government should not profit from their crimes, their victims should.

    Murderers, who are eligible for parole, should have to pay restitution to the victim’s family (a college fund, or retirement fund – something) to help compensate for the lost loved one.

    Anyone found to have been wrongly convicted should get restitution. The family of anyone found wrongly convicted posthumously should get the restitution.

    For all criminals reentering society, there should be graduated steps and a guided process that helps them secure employment, continued counseling, mental health medication – and whatever else is needed to prevent them from re-offending (and not for their sake, but for the sake of the community.) It costs less to educate than to incarcerate, so that should be taken into account, not just in the criminal justice system, but in at risk communities as well.

  • http://openid.aol.com/marcello09 marcello09

    I answered “it depends” to every question. If that means that I am neither liberal nor conservative, so much the better!

  • SHersh

    Some of the questions were unclear.  Those were answered in the middle.  That seems to skew the results but overall I have little quarrel with the results regarding my system of belief.

  • Anonymous

    and i would add that criminals not all be bunched together – but sent to specific facilities based on their crimes so that the entire institution is on the same page and working toward the same goals with their inmates. if all the inmates are working towards the same goals, there is a better chance of success. that is how college is designed, majors in the same programs working together – why not prison? you don’t send a law student to med school, why should drug addicts be housed with murderers?

  • Grady Lee Howard

    You are a hero! You have transcended victimization and remained a valuable citizen. I’d like to meet you sometime. I am a married guy and suffer from dwarfism but I need all the friends who’ll accept me. beretco.op@hotmail.com

    Thank you for sharing your insight and archaeology. I wish more people had such courage. I’ll bet you understand that tort reform is a crackpot scheme.

  • Grady Lee Howard

    One out of six may be disabled but only 11 million (Les than 4%) receive Social Security Disability. It is hard to qualify (legally) because applicants must prove they are “totally disabled.”

  • Grady Lee Howard

    Yes, this dialogue has been refreshing to read.

  • Teresa

    I like to think of myself as a progressive, and I did indeed score high on the progressive scale, but… in truth, crime and criminals scare me, and I think people should behave themselves and not get into the kind of trouble that lands them in jail. And I would not be comfortable with an ex-con living next door, even though I know it’s best for not only the ex-con but society as a whole for people who have been incarcerated to be integrated into society (an ex-con with a job and roots in the community is much less likely to commit a crime again). Somehow we’ve got to build bridges between our hopeful, idealistic beliefs and our (sometimes very realistic) fears.

    I also have friends who do prison ministry, and this has really opened my eyes. Our prisons, especially low-level ones like county jails, are full of people who do not really pose any threat to society but have committed multiple smaller crimes that have landed them in jail for ridiculous amounts of time. They are generally poor people who can’t afford decent lawyers. They’re people who had awful childhoods, no good adult role models, and now can’t seem to find their way. Yes, they need to take responsibility for their actions, but if we as a society don’t take on some of the hard work to reintegrate these people into society post-incarceration, or even better, prevent it in the first place, we all suffer. Just having stronger punishment — as in longer prisin sentences — doesn’t work.

    In a way, it all comes back to our own self-interest — if we help the incarcerated person (or better, do the preventive work to stop crime in the first place), we are ultimately helping ourselves, the law-abiding majority.

  • Mghutchins

    I really couldn”t answer some questions for lack of specifics. Too much vagueness in the questions. Crime is complicated and people are complicated, a combination of factors lead people down one road or another. there is no one anxwer.

  • Schindlingeric

    Like most tests these questions are generalized. I consider myself a moderate ,but the results show me far ..far to the liberal side of things. But of course I am right and all the other nut jobs are wrong….Right???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oluwaseun-Kehinde-Fasugbe/793168017 Oluwaseun Kehinde Fasugbe

    This test actually tells me that Mr. Haidt didn’t have a clue about what he was spewing on the show! When you are basing your research on something so general, then you have a problem with the end result. Per the quiz/research questions, when we talk of offenders, are we talking about unequivocally guilty people? Also on crimes, what are we talking about here? Give some examples to let me know the gravity of such offenses and I assure you the responses might have been different.
    The man, Haidt, billed himself as a liberal before his research, and now he seems to be a moderate conservative, though he won’t say it. His notion that republicans are more in tune with what is good for any society is crazy. America is the greatest country on Earth greatly because as time progresses, it adopts progressive values to make it a stronger people. What he didn’t say was that conservatives are really hypocritical people when it comes to the parameters he used to measure his research. On one hand, they will scream for a sick uninsured man to die (which Haidt sublimely supported during the interview), however, flip the question about the dying sick man and say, “suppose he were your father and you don’t have the money to care for him because he didn’t see the need to buy health insurance, the response won’t be the same by any stretch. Why? Because it would even reveal a more callous stance if the response would have been the same, “let him die!”
    I am not saying liberals are perfect, but the world is synchronized in such a way that we are in this together. The moon, the sun, the stars and the whole cosmos dance to the same tune of nature. That is all I need to know to believe that liberalism in terms of collectivism is superior to conservativism, which is purely individualistic. Even in the worst of nature, the same, collectivism, holds fast and true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oluwaseun-Kehinde-Fasugbe/793168017 Oluwaseun Kehinde Fasugbe

    Where is my comment?

  • tandem

    The law, in its majestic quality, forbids both the rich and the poor from sleeping under bridges and stealing bread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Oluwaseun-Kehinde-Fasugbe/793168017 Oluwaseun Kehinde Fasugbe

    One thing that Professor Haidt didn’t see is the level of hypocrisy that is endemic within the conservative mindset. Case in point, the clamor for an uninsured to die for the lack of health insurance (which Haidt sublimely supported by the way) would invoke a different response if in real life that were to happen to a conservative’s relative, e.g. father. If the response would still be the same in that context of a relative, then conservativism would amount to nothing but a cold-hearted-family-member-killing movement! Or else, who would sentence their own blood to die for the lack of health insurance or the failure to buy one?
    Also, Haidt’s notion that conservatism is more attune to building a stronger community is frivolous! A community becomes a community when everyone gives his/her best to expect the most for the community. I guess that is called “early Christianity” which is now a bad thing amongst the conservative of today. (If you don’t believe me about the early Christianity reference, read Acts of the Apostles Chapter 5.)
    I reckon that the professor is now a conservative after his research, and they can have him on their team. He appears so delusional in his effort to paint conservatism as a better political mindset. Conservatism didn’t built America or make it the greatest nation on earth. Those ideals that laid the foundation for the greatness of America were then liberal leaning ideas. Only a liberal mindset would dare question authority as was the case for the American independence.  Conservatives fawn at authority except when that authority comes from the other side.

  • Jepulcini

    Test  does not allow for the fact that our prisons are full of mentally ill persons who are not
    cared for or diagnosed.  Improvement of our healthcare system could possibly provide diagnosis
    of conditions that lead to violent crimes.  More funding needs to be spent on prevention…..not just more prisons.   Even our drug related crimes involve underlying mental health issues.  This
    involves counseling and education. 

  • Rcorry

    While it’s very difficult to design a multiple choice test of values, this test has very limited value.  I’m beginning to think that a better (but much more difficult to accomplish) method is a structured interview in which nuances of an issue can be explored and reasons illuminated.  The difficulty, of course, is it’s a very retail kind of survey and getting enough interviews of a wide enough range of people would be more expensive and take much longer.  There would be a problem of wording questions (since the wording of a question can skew the answer to that question) and of the interaction between the questioner and the survey taker (since that can lead to a variety of observer bias problems).  This test only focuses on criminal justice issues, but I guess that would bring out moral biases in judging the person vs. the society.  Other topics would explore very different philosophical or ethical concerns that would give a better profile of the community’s positions and moral standards.  If you’re trying to see how a community views political solutions to social problems, it seems this would be more important to understand.  If you just want to work out how to appeal to a population so it accepts your position, the above test would probably serve that purpose, but more for propagandistic reasons than for policy making reasons.  For policy, you want to illuminate the facts of a situation, the options available for managing the situation, and the likely consequences of choosing one policy option over another.  For example, the option of severely punishing drug selling and drug abuse has only resulted in making drug manufacture and sales incredibly profitable while doing great damage to the community in crime, job loss, broken relationships, child abuse and neglect, etc.

  • Cporro

    this quiz is hard for me to answer. details do matter. when talking about crime most people place a lot of value on human life. so a crime that is violent is in another category. and what about assessing risk to society? a criminal that is a repeat offender as opposed to some foolishness committed in youth. when i answer these questions i can imagine one scenario where i agree and another where i don’t. 

    pretty interesting talk with Jonathan Haidt. good show in general. one of the few that makes my brain do something.

  • http://ouchimoo.blogspot.com/ Ouchimoo

    Those were my thoughts exactly while answering these questions.

  • http://ouchimoo.blogspot.com/ Ouchimoo

    I’ve considered myself an ‘evil’ liberal since I was 18. Back when I first started getting into politics (mainly 2003 when I saw Baghdad getting bombed as fervor backlash to 9-11) I sort of took a spin as to what a Republican was. Now I have heard many stories like yours, and I have many Republican friends and every time the issue of politics come up, I really think the Conservative party has gone bankrupt and left all the sensible people in the dust. The worst part about it is that they only now seem to realize it, when I fear it might be too late with the way Fox News and Limbaugh twist everything to the rise of the Tea Party.

  • http://ouchimoo.blogspot.com/ Ouchimoo

    Letting “the chips fall” would have been true Capitalism. Instead we got Lemon Socialism, just as others have stated above. 

  • Ed

    It is a mad (insane), mad (idiotic), mad (egocentric) world. I’m the one in five and I’m not offended. It’s just labels for not fitting into what society figures is normal. Normal is not defined. Society doesn’t accept and is not very tolerant to people who are just different. As a human race we are suppose to be different. I think we (the US) are crazy and most people out of their freaking minds. I get it, I have gestalt, I am intelligent. I am rebelling and protesting in Madison, Wisconsin. I think this society is crazy… an Idiocracy. I am proud to live in the State that said: “Oh hell no, you are not going to get away with that easily, governor!” I’ve been protesting corporate America/World since 2003. I write, I protest, I have a collaborative group that protests low unsustainable wages, I support local business, and I don’t buy what I don’t need, drive once a week. I await an intervention, but I think it will all collapse or blow up. I have a conservative father and a liberal mother, I polled right in the middle as I expected.

  • Msba6100

    Really? Types of murder are different? Oh, whoops, I killed my wife, forgive me I didn’t mean to, that ought a work. I am going to give that a score of male bovine defication!

  • Terry Walker

    This is a very interesting test. Because the questions are general, they call forth more of an immediate visceral response which reveals our true leanings. After a moment’s reflection, any of them can be ambiguous. Ir showed that I tend to tread a thin line between the traditional subscale–but my true soul revealed is Progressive. In fact, it doesn’t show me leaning far enough to the left!

  • Mimi Jones

    I was interested in this testing after seeing the program with Bill Moyers and Jonathan Haidt. This test posed some interesting questions, but since the “crimes” were not defined, I found that my responses and judgements were less than optimal because of that. Many of my choices would have been different should the crimes have been listed, and they ranged in offenses from simply stealing food or speeding, to those our society finds more reprehensible like child molestation and murder. Should these and other crimes had been listed, I have no doubt that my responses would have been much more severe or strongly agreed or disagreed to.

  • Rex

    Mr. Haidt has really increased my understanding. I grew up in a military household with mixed parents (like Pres. Obama). I got to hear both sides of many issues, especially regarding race. The older I get the less I believe in the American Dream. I laugh at all of this “hard work” notion. Most people don’t have enough personal fitness to work as hard as they say they do. I work in one of those conservative enclavesand it’s like everyone got the same memo. What happened to our country? From what I see and hear everyone thinks they work hard, everyone else has it easyand “they” are different then “us”.

  • Rex

    No opinion is an opinion. You can’t decide what you believe? You don’t see the context of this “test”?

  • Menzelaw

    (My comment as I listen to Springsteen’s “Nothing Man”.  But my name isn’t “Joe”.)  This “moral questionaire” tests out exactly for me, a progressive former criminal defense attorney:  Less yellow than blues in the “Traditional Subscale” and more yellow than blues in the “Progressive Subscale”.  I guess Haidt thinks I’m a hypocrite according to his discussion with Moyers.  I can handle his claim.

  • Abaue727

    Actually… the lower class will steal out of need. The upper class steal out of greed. At least according to Marxist Criminology.  

    Though, I suppose considering that I’ve studied crime, that I’m a little biased in regards to this test. I rated as more progressive than liberals, and less traditional than any of the other groups. 

  • Robert Williams

     I agree.  Big difference between shoplifting and serial rapist.

  • Matt

    That’s what you get for studying. 

    “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” —Colbert

  • Georgia Santa Maria

    Interesting questions. My responses are admitedly colored by my background in counseling. The great divide in justice, it seems to me, is between ordinary explicable human failings and sociopathology, which is fairly rare and basically incurable, (throw away the key). Most crimes committed in our current culture are drug or alcohol related, and might have been prevented if we had better treatment modalities available and more of them. As it is, someone seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol problem is faced with long waiting lists, no availability or prohibitive costs. Coupled with society’s attitudes of shame and blame, this practically guarantees that the addict or alcoholic will continue to use, and the attendant devastation of property crime, domestic violence, child abuse, and all around bad behavior will continue. Until and unless our society is willing to spend the money and energy necessary to work on this, we’re stuck with it. But given the costs of policing, prisons and jails, the justice system, and crime itself to all of us, not spending the money seems at best “pound wise and penny foolish”, and at worst, the whole system living parasitically on the back of  other people’s misery.

  • Ed

    We are only human. Every one of us is flawed in some way.  Human nature vs. environment.

  • Joe Tore

    It’s spelled “defecation”.  If you’re going to use “fancy words” like that as an argument, perhaps you ought to put some actual thought into it.  Your argument is, in essence, that we should put NO thought into it.  “Guilty!  Just hang ’em!”  Fortunately, the first two posts allow for consideration beyond the patellar reflex of a large non-human primate (that means ‘the knee jerk reaction of an ape’.)

  • Thall5665

    Simple questions about complicated issues=imperfect results . . . but perhaps with some usefulness nevertheless.

  • Gdavidbrown

    “It is very important to protect the rights of offenders during the judicial process.”

    People are presumed innocent until “proven” guilty. We are not protecting offenders rights during the judicial process we are protecting the rights of a person “accused.” This question is so poorly phrased as to elicit skewed answers.

  • Aviator Rob

    Wow, you really don’t get it and that is sad. The whole point of
    Moyers discussion with a social psychologist was to get both sides to acknowledge their own biases and try to understand the other side’s point of view. I thought this was a good thing but I guess some people aren’t interested in perhaps learning something. No wonder this country is a mess.

  • Patricia”Trish” Murdock Miller

    I’m posting a professional opinion regarding Lozensage’s reaction to the instrument:
    I suggest that one of two possibilities can explain Lozensage’s dislike of the instrument: 1) not accustomed to completing these kind of instruments or 2) likes more specificity, certainty and dislikes ambiguity. Personality type of instruments seem to disturb strong conservatives. Next time relax and think in generalities when you answer questions…don’t look for specificity because it’s not there by design. Were you scores along the conservative scale?

  • Foghat4now

    The test is all about bias, I believe that was the point of the article. My score was similar to yours

  • Foghat4now

    I think Puzzled is right.

  • Foghat4now


  • Foghat4now

    My understanding is that on average 3 times claims must be filed before being accepted; a test of sincerity or just a stumbling block. One out of six US Citizens? Surley not maybe I missed something, I doubt that proportion.

  • Foghat4now

    I have seen what seems to be reliable sourced evidence on TV, National Geographic or some other source. The more we learn the more we grow away from simplifications that obscure the not so easy truth.

  • Foghat4now

    Yes and it is a major industry here in the US where more % of Americans are incarcerated THAN IN ANY OTHER NATION IN THE WORLD. If you can afford an expensive lawyer your chances are far better of freedom. Poor, ignorant and stkupid as well as minorities make up a huge proportion of our prisons. Taxpayers money spent to suport a big bissines Criminal Justice System and the courts are corrupt and broken, its a mess and a rip off

  • Banzai

    An interesting new take on the nature/nurture argument.  Are we criminals because all humans are naturally inclined to sin, or are we criminals because “society” has raised us that way?

  • EJPE

    many of the questions are too general and one has difficulty responding. there are many different kinds of crime, from murder to financial theft. I think the questions should be more specific to get a true idea of how we feel about crime, punishment, justice and rehabilitation. 

  • Inglesfacil2005

    While I totally agree with you about the need for people to accept personal responsibility in their lives, I would suggest before you choose to appropriate the label “conservative” you understand that it actually signfies a belief in the return or conservation of those values embedded in our Founding Fathers’ documents creating this country.  The FIRST “official” such document is our Preamble to the Constitution of the United States.  That document lists 6 reasons for the creation of that Constitution.  (I’d say the document explaining the WHY of the creation of this new government is crucial to defining a conservative person.)  Read the Preamble, then tell me how government is NOT meant to be a “nanny state”, when our forefathers stated VERY CLEARLY the purpose is to “establish justice”, “promote the general welfare”, and “insure domestic tranquility”.  Seems to me there is NO JUSTICE in creating a system whereby 94% of a nation’s wealth is accumulated into the hands of 20% of its citizens.  I do not believe the “promote general welfare” is achieved by placing more than HALF the nation’s total wealth in the hands of less than 1% of its people is being accomplished, especially since government is what CREATED this disparity.  As for “domestic tranquility”, we see how well that agenda is being achieved by these tremendous injustices.  Reconsider your label.  Unless you truly believe in those values embodied in the Preamble of our Constitution, you must re-define yourself as simply a person with selfish interests. 

  • Clara Nistler Palmer

    Jonathan Haidt must be appearing on your show as warning of exactly how the right wing  sleep at night defending their view’s; claiming to speak for all Americans.  Double speak thy name is his  No surprise either his claim of changing from liberal to conservation.
    I must say Bill, you were extremely polite despite having to listen to his gobble-de-kook.

    Clara Nistler Palmer
    Eugene OR 97405

  • Pemaro

    What if you’re both very traditional and very progressive?

  • Dr Pemaro

    me, too

  • Capo

    Some of the questions were puzzling. What type of crimes are we talking about. In general I’m against the death penalty except in rare occasions. Does that mean I’m for or against the death penalty? 

  • Pemaro

    I think Haidt made some good points in the Moyers interview.  However, looking through the comments below, I see that there is a common pereception of the rich as scum.  I’m not saying they aren’t, but he’s saying that “conservative” values fear the petty larceny of the poor more than economy-destroying wall street shenanigans.  “Liberal” values fear the opposite. 

    I haven’t read his book yet, but I have had similar thoughts.  He sees a determinism in US politics.  He argues that in reaction to Johnson’s successes with civil rights, the Republicans have become the party of the racist, christian fundamentalist South, and that moderates no longer have a place in it.  The resulting polarization in Haidt’s view has eliminated diversity in US political parties, so all democrats are liberal and all republicans are conservative, and the ideological divide makes discussion impossible.

    I agree with the ideological divide making discussion impossible.  However, I think the civil rights movement is but one part of that.  My comment to Haidt would be 1) the far right is not “conservative”.  It is much more radical and revolutionary than anything on the left since the 1960’s.  It wants to upend the bill of rights in the name of “freedom”.  I hope he will have time to see the interview with Zbigniew Brzinsky (I’m not sure of the spelling; carter’s secretary of state, I think) last night on news hour or BBC news america.  I agreed with part of his analysis and disagreed with part of it.  However, he made forcefully the point that so long as the vast majority of Americans remain as appallingly ignorant of the world as they are, we will continue to decline as a nation.  The fact that Rick Santorum won three primary states when he stated that Iran should be attacked if it gets an A-bomb BECAUSE it’s a theocracy is ridiculous.  He constantly argues for bringing religion into government here.  Moreover, what about our nuclear ally, Israel?
    That comment was at the level of Sarah Palin.

    The problem with Democrats, as Haidt himself said, is not that they won’t listen to Republicans.  It’s that they face the ideological far right with compromise instead of taking similarly hard, uncompromising positions, but, also as in Haidt’s example of President Obama, based not on wishful thinking, but on the facts.

  • Mabdallah50

    War crimes committed by this nation are just as heinous as any other crime. Historical racism with the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws of this nation and the blatant hostility shown all Black people is never brought up as a crime inducer. When people who are rich or affluent can buy justice while the poor are punished severely for the exact same crimes particularly the death penalty shows the inequalities of this nation.
    Their are no innocent people in America; this is nation of thieves and liars.

  • Mabdallah50

    My father was jailed for 6 months for stealing corn out of a nearby field to feed his family of 9 children. To me he is a hero and I am proud of his actions. He tried to get work but their were no “N” work at that time. So who is the real criminal, my father or a society that will plow crops under the ground if the farmer does not get the price asked for or expected.
    I have watched the food battles in America such as who can eat the most chicken wings, and vain dispays of avarice such as the tomato fights in Spain, while 35,000 people die of starvation daily on this planet. I ask again; who in this nation can judge another for any crime. Over 100,000 Iraqis were killed and 300,000 wounded when America invaded that nation seeking revenge. Yet Iraq had nothing to due with 9/11. The moral issues in America are problematic not only for this nation but the entire planet.  

  • Mabdallah50

    Where is my comment?

  • Mabdallah50

    If one does not stay within the two party line of white thought then your comments are taken down quickly like mine were. So much for free speech and open dialogue. People in America can not deal with to much truth and reality.

  • Flatheadcoyote

    The test does not seem as substantive as were used to seeing from Moyer or what I would expect from his guest Mr. Haidt.  Sure wasn’t worth my time wasted at 2am.  Feed us some protein, Bill.  My scores were twixt the blue and the red because without context how can we answert?

    Maybe someone can tell me I missed something of value in this type of test.

  • Joszef

    Of course this is a generalized test. Obviously it is not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive. It simply attempts to get a general sense of where a person stands.  But a conscientious person already knows where they stand on most issues I think. I agree distinctions are crucially important. But sometimes our most basic inclinations frame how we respond to ethical/moral judgments and I think this exercise reveals some of our Moral tendencies. 

  • Roger Kirchner

    Moyers is tops…analyses always thoughtful, even thought provoking.

  • Slicedmoon

    Next time please make your questions more nuanced. I thought these questions were designed for at 10 year old view of the world.  I felt cornered into answering dumb questions.

  • Anonymous

    Well, big surprise (not).  I’m less traditional and more progressive than a liberal.  That figures.  I vote social democrat (Canada). 

  • Moonshine

    I agree with Lozensage.  It really depends on what the crime is.  It is hard to generalize on all crime with one simple test, without specific details.   

  • LMoodie

    Hey Joe – you’re demonizing!

  • Emjaydubu

    I found the test very interesting. I tend to think of myself as somewhat more liberal / progressive than the results show, though I could be kidding myself. One point that occurred to me during the test was the way that certain absolute words such as always and never tended to move my opinion a step or two away from something where my opinion would have been much more definite in the absence of those absolutes.
    Lozensage misses the point about the test – that it is intended to elicit attitudes, not to identify specific behaviors. My reaction to absolutes in the test is a case in point. I might tend to the liberal viewpoint, but I have a horror or absolutists of either stripe. I don’t think that life is that simple or straightforward and that acting as if it is often leads to unacceptable results.

  • Stefashaler

    I did the survey but my answers weren’t always a true indication of how I feel. The use of the word ‘crime’ was misleading because I don’t consider everything that’s legally considered to be a crime, an actual crime. Sometimes, breaking the law is morally correct and committing a legal crime amounts to avoiding a moral crime. Therefore, the wording of the survey limited the truth of the answers. The same complaint applies for using the word ‘offender’ instead of ‘accused’ in some of the questions; it’s unclear if the survey was talking about a convicted offender or a person who was merely accused.

  • Marie Isenburg

    Remind me again: at what point in the “judicial process” do we abandon the assumption of innocence and decide the accused is an “offender?” (Q10)
    This question would suggest that I am a liberal, but this would not give you license to make too many other assumptions about my answers to other questions.

  • Bob Bauge

    Bill, I’m delighted you’re back on the air. You are a patriot and person of integrity, rare qualities sadly lacking today. Mr. Haidt identified the epidemic of hypocrisy in this country, but almost excused it- because almost everyone is doing it! Decay of the moral fiber is why America is declining like every great civilization before us. The absence of God in society creates the ideal vacuum for chaos.  

  • Marie Isenburg

    It’s important to correct my last comment, and change “assumption of innocence” to “presumption of innocence.”
    My view of morals, though it is far from absolute, does not allow for the necessity of hypocrisy in human interactions. Even theories of morals (as opposed to morality?) reflect different world views.

  • Anonymous

    To Lozensage, we humans are always in flux to some degree. This test is only ment to evaluate where ones emotional outlook is situated at the time we take the test. Data is data; general degrees of complexities are always difficult to translate into absolutes. This test just shows us where we each stand within the broad range of opinion concerning crime and justice. So today I am a “traditional conservative with progressive tendencies “. Tomorrow if I have a traumatic experience that changes my outlook on life my position will probably be completely different. 

  • Been there

    Gotta tell you, did not like this.  Don’t feel I was able to get adequately express my belief that our insane legal system is incapable of accomplishing social engineering objectives.  Law and justice aint synonyms

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GT2P6GBVDBGO6WFZNLZWWZAM24 Agent Change

    Would be interesting to see how liberal or conservative the folks are who are complaining about the quiz.  I scored as more liberal than liberals and I found the quiz thought-provoking and have no complaints about it.

  • Joanne

    What a surprise! I scored more Liberal than Progressives! Yaay! But then I’ve spent a lot of my life working in extremely poor neighborhoods with young adults, people whose lives are so destroyed by poverty, crime, gang violence, family violence, alcoholism and addiction, untreated medical problems, PTSD, and on and on it’s a wonder most of them grow up to be reasonable human beings at all.

    What I find difficult to understand from conservatives is the position that punishment and more punishment is better than treatment and therapy. 1) Treatment saves money so that answers all their arguments about slashing programs and budgets, and 2) Treatment helps people become less violent and makes places safer. So it seems to me that wanting more punishment and less treatment must come from a morality based in Judgment/Authoritarianism rather than caring for others or even for self-preservation – 1) Financially or 2) Physically.

    I have never been able to understand this. 

  • Jack

    The real problem is ,there is no law enforcement for politicians. but we can control our politicians and make law enforcement do their job with Citizens Proclamation.

     read more at http://www.proclamation2012.com

  • http://twitter.com/scottandrewh Scott A Hutchins

    I scored 2.9 for traditional and 6.6 for progressive.

  • http://twitter.com/iLLDucE ✔ Gaza Alcius

    A moderate, I am.

  • Anonymous

    but a rich klepto can afford a good lawyer.
    a hungry poor person can’t.

  • Anonymous

    Some of us believe that drug addiction is a medical problem and should be treated as such instead of as a crime. 

  • Aloiajp

     Nicely Put. An enlightening read is  “Nickled and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich about minimum wage jobs.

  • Maeshowe6

    I found some questions to have components that didn’t necessarily go hand in hand, so seemed “stacked”, i.e. hard to answer one component agreed when you disagreed with the component to which it was linked 

  • PJ

    My results were fairly predictable but this such a complex issue I think more questions with fewer general statement might make it more accurate. As a member of the legal profession I know it’s ( or see it as) terribly inefficient and far from perfect so I tend to advocate progressive changes. Some of the most amoral people I know yield great power over others. Some of the most morally sound individuals I know are former gang members who now serve in their community mentoring and teaching young people to stay away from the gangs in their neighborhoods. In reality the questions are never just black and white.

  • Wlkywy1

    With lobbying what it is today and with all of the money involved, there will certainly be a day of reconning, soon. The more dollars the super-rich pull in, the bigger chance of the United States imploding within. I do believe that if more of the thieves lost a finger or hand, there would less corporate crime or crime period. I believe we would see a lot of the rich corporate individuals with multiple stubs. They just can’t help themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Crime is abnormal behavior except among evil people. It could be a simple ‘bad personal choice’ in which personal luck fails. What one does with a violator of a legal technicality and  with a habitual or career criminal can differ significantly. Such makes some if the questions more ambiguous. 

    Justice is a human institution, and it can (Cameron Willingham, executed in Texas for a ‘murder’ that was in fact an accident) can go wrong. Justice itself must itself be judged if we are to judge offenders.

    As with the concept of Sin (which encompasses minor indulgences as well as the most egregious crimes such as those of Hitler and Stalin). “Crime” also includes such offenses as shoplifting on the one side and genocide on the other, and those two offenses have vastly-different treatments.

    Unless offenders are sentenced to death (generally an abomination) or die while incarcerated they will return to society. Must they remain pariahs? If they remain pariahs, then they are likely to have little recourse except to revert to the behavior that sent them to prison. Offenders must be taught responsibility for their actions and toward humanity as a whole.  Such is the essence of rehabilitation, and without it imprisonment is nothing more than a means of repression that does more harm than good.  But that ignores that a political order may itself do a poor job of preparing people as ethical participants (that one has responsibilities) and that ethical behavior (including self-improvement) should in itself lead to privileges while unethical behavior leads to personal unpleasantness.    

  • Anonymous

    Q1 –  For a small offense the optimum is that the sentence should be enough that a normal person feels as much pity for the offender sentenced as contempt for the crime.  (You can tell from that response that  my college major was economics!) That would be possible with a low-level, tangible offense like petty larceny. With murder, rape, or kidnapping such might be impossible.  I felt no sorrow when Ted Bundy or Moammar Qaddafi died.

    Q3 — No legal system is perfect; the proposal comes from the great Maimonides. I am not sure that letting a guilty person go free is much of an act of mercy for the accused. 

    Q4 — I too wonder what influence such a show as Dallas had upon the youth who saw it, The J R Ewing character seems all too common in Corporate America, and more common now than it used to be;   perhaps even more damaging is that the MBA programs used to offer no concept of the responsibility of the powerful to the powerless while showing students how to achieve bureaucratic success and hence power over people. About 30 years ago an MBA program was the most acceptable route to a veneer of respectability to a high-functioning sociopath. A low-functioning sociopath is a perpetrator of street crimes such as mugging and drug-dealing; a high-functioning sociopath is a brutal military officer of high rank or an executive who turns his company into a vehicle for self-enrichment at the price of the ruin of subordinates, customers, competitors, and creditors. I can easily see how people can believe that our economic order has become something that Berthold Brecht would treat with parody. When a Marxist like Brecht is right about the bureaucratic-capitalist system that we now have, then something is horribly wrong with the system.

  • Tom

    While revenge is satisfying at some deep limbic level, mutilating wrong-doers and killing those who kill others is not a civilized or enlightened answer – it brutalizes us more than it corrects others. It also costs more and doesn’t work as a deterrent. It only address the emotional desire to get even, or ‘make the bad guys pay’….coddling criminals isn’t a great solution either—but aren’t we clever enough to come up with something other than these polar extremes? We all have the potential for greed, cruelty, selfishness and destructive behavior, but also for incredible leaps of inspiration, kindness, generosity and compassion. Choose the latter! A little less attachment to things, and a little more taking responsibility for creating the conditions that divide us would make a bigger difference than passing more laws. Add some humility – theres a lot we just don’t know, or haven’t learned yet – and maybe new options become available. If I don’t have to win, maybe you don’t have to lose. Nice thoughts- but let’s get to the details….

  • Mitch

    I was surprised to see that there is not as much distance between  “liberals” and “conservatives” as one would have thought.

  • Sedate Me

    My survey results were odd. I’m almost as “traditional” as a conservative, but far more “progressive” than a liberal.

    But am I the only person who sees this survey only covers one issue, crime? This is not supposed to be a discussion of crime, but a discussion of how morals and politics may be connected. Yet I’m sure the postings will be the same ol’ arguments about what to do about crime from left, right, and middle. That’s how programmed we are, I guess.

    But for what it’s worth, crime is committed by criminals, criminals who need to be separated & punished, but reformed as well. While they may share commonalities, every criminal is a different person with different experiences, who’ve committed different crimes and, most importantly, are motivated differently.  One size does not fit all.

    From what I’ve seen, “harshness” seems to work better on white collar criminals who are rarely, if ever, caught and rarely are seriously punished when they are. (See Wall St)  “Harshness” works not so well on the kind of criminals who have lived harsher lives, may not be very bright,  and do things that are easily caught & punished more harshly.  They are just as likely to wear their punishment as a medal of courage, or emerge from prison harder than when they went in.

    If that differing approach was stopped, or maybe even reversed, perhaps some progress might get made.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XKTKNQGW3TZAOYZ7ZMDKOVQASU Crazy

    Same here… That survey creates a fair amount of cognitive dissonance within me. Just consider what is going on in California with prison overcrowding forcing them to slash sentences AND sentencing to comply with Federal Law which mandates that States provide a modicum of treatment for their prisoner’s. Then the State where I reside (Texas) has put to death a couple of innocent men over the last dozen years or so and with no prison reform in sight and the Crazy Right back on their high horse about continued tough sentencing?? The prison system in the United States does nothing to reform people and it is something that we all know is the right thing to do but we just lock’em up and throw away the key.
    I am 51 and have seen a fair amount in my time and right now 2012 with Obama as President if the Left can get out the vote we can take back the House and keep the Senate and Obama can fix health care & Medicare together, Social Security, size the military appropriately, and get this economy back on track producing the right kind of jobs while ensuring the next generation receives the proper education and is not burdened with crushing debt. Should this nation fall asleep at the Polls in November allowing Republican to sweep out the Dem’s this nation will be sent into a living hell of Social progressive rollbacks that would make me think about blowing my brains out.
    This Republican Party is not the same Party Ronald Reagan was the overseer for, this bunch only needs a Mussolini type character to complete their turn to Republo-Fascism. Bush and his private corporate Army called Blackwater, does anyone remember Robocop? The Police Department was a private corporation and something that is rarely ever recounted about his time in office are all of the Gov’t functions Bush & Cheney turned over to the corporations to run. Just look at all of the Private Intelligence Operations spawned under that 8 year Republican regime it’s scary to ponder do a search on the topic. I could go on and on, enough said now.

  • Bobreckers

    I’d like to know more about the differences between Liberals and Conservatives on attitudes toward Truth and Honesty.

    In my opinion, TRUTH is more of a group phenomenon. Groups can be wrong, but generally, shared truths are closer to absolute truth: (The old ‘Blind men examine an elephant’ aphorism). Truth becomes clearer when we share our findings. 

    I wonder; because conservatives favor the individual over the group – Are they more likely to operate on the basis of half-truths?

  • Anonymous

    Some of these statements are too short to be unequivocal. Should a victim of violent crime never share the blame? If someone hurts a wife-beater to protect the woman (or the woman does it herself) wasn’t he “asking for it”? Does it matter that the law, or at least law enforcement, might have let him get away with abusing women? What would happen if someone who lost everything shot someone at at investment bank, or at a rating agency? Does it matter that people go to jail for holding up a convenience store (as they should) but stealing billions from millions of people happens to be legal?

  • Lyn

    This is a pretty fair representation of me and my beliefs about crime. Are there surverys related to other values? ie role of govt and business, honesty and lying, faithfullness and realism. The values that are itmeized in the differences between liberals and conservatives.

  • Bushlynda55

    My results were farther Left of Liberal than I imagined.  Frankly many conservatives wrap themselves in the Bible and the Flag and develop mob mentality.  Conservatives in the general population throw all sorts of opinions around without researching and really being informed before they say things.  The truth doesn’t seem to matter to them. I wish the world was a kinder and gentler world….but it isn’t.  Those guys will roll back progressive change and be marching in dictatorlike fashion together.  Democrats do “care” about other people and about being fair.  I don’t see that in Conservatives.  All I hear are snide remarks that people on welfare or snap are lazy and without a work ethic!  And, I see them post outrageous disrespect cartoons and photo shopped pictures of our 1st lady! She didnt run for office!  When conservatives that are professing Christians dont voice their concern that that is wrong I think so much less of them.   

  • Beca

    I was a strong supporter of Obama during his first Presidential campaign.  I’ve since learned of his Corporatist and deceptive agenda.

    When Obama moved into the White House, we did hand him a super majority in both chambers of Congress–he did not “fix” healthcare, Medicare, or any other of our broken social systems.  In fact, he did exactly the opposite of what he promised–he handed over everything to the Corporate cartel (aka Wall Street) while deceiving the American people by creating false titles to bills that contained no “reform”.  Obama was the one who refused to consider let alone put on the table Universal Health Care or the Public Option, confusing the majority Dems in Congress.  Obama was also the one who met with the big pharmaceutical monsters only a few days after he moved into the White House, and penned a sweet deal for the pharmaceutical monsters–at great expense to the people.  It was Obama who handed over our Social Security Fund to the Deficit Commission–an unprecedented move never attempted by any past president, ever.  Obama has also cut the Social Security Revenue (while claiming the Social Security Fund is in trouble) by deceiving the American people and claiming he’s helping them by cutting the FICA tax by 2%, and now by 3%.  The first FICA cut, slashed the Social Security Fund’s revenue by $128 Billion Dollars.  That doesn’t seem to be “fixing” our Social Security Fund–it seems he is breaking our Social Security Fund, while deceiving Americans and claiming he’s giving them a “middle class tax cut” instead of being honest about this cut.  I could go on and on listing numerous accounts of how this President has done exactly the opposite of what he says he will do, and the amount of damage he has created for Americans. You need to wake up! 
    Stop deluding yourself–if he had wanted to “fix” anything meaningful, he would have been able to do it–remember, when he was elected, he had the majority of Americans on his side, and a majority Congress–he chose, instead, to further enrich the Corporations at great peril to the American people. 

  • Beca

    If only our country practiced true justice equally among it’s citizens. It doesn’t.  There is one set of rules for the Corporate criminal monsters, and another set of rules for everybody else.  The Corporate criminal monsters seem to get full immunity for their crimes–crimes that not only harm people, but devastate entire communities, families and our society–yet their crimes go unpunished.  

    A poor person who might steal food from a store will get caught and go to jail for a long time.  
    What this country values has become so twisted, that human need has been taken to the bottom of the list, whereas things have gone to the top of the list. It’s a twisted society we live in, and I don’t like it one bit! 

  • Vmj1953

    It would have been helpful to know what type of crime was being referred to…rape, murder, drug use. Big difference between smoking pot and the rape of a child.

  • Ellie

    Can you please elaborate on the statement “…it was Obama who handed over our Social Security Fund to the Deficit Commission–an unprecedented move never attempted by any past president ever.” It seems to me that presidents have been borrowing against that fund for decades, which is why it is in trouble now – did he hand it over as a part of the overall effort to cut the deficit? What was the stated reason why it was handed over? What is the source of your information? Thank you, as I am very interested in this subject.

  • Vageiger

    The question about the rights of “offenders” in the legal system is misleading.  You are not an offender until you are convicted.  It should have asked rights of accused citizens. 

  • Beca

    Ellie, past Presidents might have “borrowed” cash from the Social Security Fund–but under the law, they MUST put back that money when it’s needed to pay out benefits, so the Social Security fund is NOT in trouble as they claim. In fact, the Social Security Fund has a $2.8 Trillion dollar Surplus, the “trouble” comes with the IOU’s–and Congress and Presidents have tried for decades to avoid paying the IOU’s back to the Social Security Fund by pretending it’s in “trouble”–and therefore justifying their attempts at cutting benefits or trying to destroy the fund.  Go to Sen. Bernie Sander’s website, he is the Chairman of the Committee that oversees the Social Security and Medicare funds, and he’s been a very vocal opponent to any effort by any President to damage the Social Security Fund. 

    President Obama has done two incredibly horrible things to try to destroy the solvency of the Social Security Fund–one was his deceptive “middle class tax cuts” which in fact, cut the FICA tax first by 2% and then this year by another 3%–the FICA tax we all pay during our entire work life, is the only source of funds/revenue for the Social Security Fund–if in fact, the Fund is in “trouble”, then why would he want to cut its only source of revenue during the same time when the Baby Boomer generation is set to retire and begin to collect their benefits? Last year alone, the President’s so called “middle class tax cut” eliminated $128 Billion dollars in revenue from the Social Security Fund. This year it’s going to be worse. 
    President Obama offered the Social Security Fund to the Deficit Commission during the time a few months back when there was all that hoopla about raising the debt ceiling and us going into “default”. This was something NEVER attempted by any past President because they all knew, despite all the rhetoric about Social Security Fund, the Fund is sacred and they cannot ever touch it to pay off our national debt or reduce the deficit.  ( This was reported in independent news outlets, the White House confirmed that, and Sen. Bernie Sanders made a big stink over it)
    The money in the Social Security Fund is 100% OUR money that we have all contributed into through the FICA taxes, and under the Social Security Act, the money in the Social Security Fund may never be used to pay down the national debt or reduce the deficit–with one exception. If the Social Security Fund needs to “borrow” cash from the general fund to pay out benefits.  
    You see, even though the Social Security Fund has a huge surplus, it’s all in Bonds, the ‘cash flow’ used to pay out current beneficiaries comes from the FICA revenue for the same year. If the fund needs to cash out some of it’s Bonds, the Fed. government will be in trouble because they don’t have enough “cash flow” to pay out the bonds–that’s on the Fed Government and it’s not the fault of the Social Security Fund–so they try to avoid cashing in the Bonds in the Social Security Fund.  Now, if the revenue of the current FICA taxes is less than the Social Security benefits payouts, then the Fund needs to “borrow” cash from the general fund–and that is where the exception comes in–once that happens, the Social Security Fund is as good as dead because then the exception kicks in and the Government can use all the money in the Social Security Fund to pay off it’s national debt (all money used on our never ending wars) and our deficit (also created by our wars and the unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy people).  That is exactly what President Obama did when he cut the FICA taxes–he gave our Social Security Fund the death blow. 
    Senator Bernie Sanders had a filibuster on this last year in December 2010, when the first FICA tax cut was put on the table by the President–Sen. Sanders spoke for more than 8 hours straight and he offered a great deal of information on how the Fund works, etc. You might want to look for that video and watch it. I am sure you will be able to find it by going to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ website.

  • Mdgarber47

    That is the reason the statue of Law and Justice wears a blindfold.

  • Mdgarber47

    It would appear to me that you stop, look, and listen to other’s opinions, and then weigh the results with a humanistic and individualistic view.  You do not jump on the ‘band wagon’, nor are you persuaded.  Bravo!

  • Rob

    Another example of stereotyping.  Liberal thinking is quite simplistic despite the support of the academic community for liberal politics.   Academics can be lazy thinkers, too.  Conservatives are human beings, and care very much about people.  They like the same movies and books as liberals.  They root for the underdog just as strongly.  It is just that there is a sense of responsibility and principle in Conservative philosophy.  Liberal thinking  resorts to labeling people and declaring whether they are “good” or “bad”.  “You are Republican so you must be racist or anti-woman or anti gay or anti-semitic”  – regardless of the substance of the position being taken.  It is very easy to say you want a “kinder and gentler world”  Who doesn’t?  But is your thinking rational in supporting positions that might achieve such a goal?

  • Sujata R.

    “Victims of violence must never be accused of sharing the blame for the crime” is a blanket statement. If the victim is someone who comes at you with a knife and you retaliate (successfully and appropriately), the “victim” (person who sustained injuries) is responsible. If the victim is a girl walking home in a “skirt that’s asking for it”, the victim must never be asked to share the blame. Criminal justice is not as black and white as this survey would suggest… wonder if they consulted criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors before drafting the questions?

  • Peyman

    I have noticed that as I get older, I use words such as always and never far less often.  I sometimes miss those days when I knew what was right and what was wrong for sure.

  • Barrylium

    Peyman, you are in good company as no less a luminary than Benjamin Franklin himself said that “the older I get the less certain I am that I am right abut anything.”  At 70 years of age, I share that feeling.

  • Gardenia

    Unfortunately, nowadays, one must be extraordinrily careful not to be in a dangerous locale, neighborhood or venue.  Life is too short to take chances .  There are lots of very bad people out in the world who would be all too willing to rape and rob.  Do not go out alone after dark; man, woman or child.

  • SC

    I am pleased that there is a lot of space in the qustions. I am hopeful that we will become less vindictive and will move away from trying to incarcerate our whole population. That’s what our non-rehabilitative penal environment is doing- imprisoning us all.I hope that we have a more deliberative jury system and we have jurists and law that has latitude. We need to create a climate of civility on all levels of our society.

  • Pat Cavallaro

    This was a rather good questionnaire.  But, as with any survey, nothing is completely right or completely wrong.  There are always extenuating circumstances and what may seem a clear opinion in writing would likely be affected by a number of different circumstances in any situation.  I am pleased that I seem to be less traditional and more progressive than what seems to be the liberal opinions (a group I consider myself to be among).  A survey is not reality.  It is a response that speaks to who and what we would like to be–how we think of ourselves.  Our reactions to real situations prove who we really are.  I truly hope I am, in fact, the person I think I am.

  • proletariatprincess

    Nietze said: Beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong.
    The USA is such a nation…the urge to punish is very strong and we have largest prison population the world has ever known.  Adding to that strong urge is the profit motive that has preverted the entire Justice system.  I do not believe that the USA is a moral nation or we would not tolerate such a system.

  • electriclady281

    Um, I don’t think that this quiz was intended for the benefit of law students or practitioners.  It’s stated goal clearly is to show how your values relate to your political inclinations.

  • electriclady281

    “Liberal thinking resorts to labeling people and declaring whether they are “good” or “bad”. ”

    In fact, sir, liberal thinking eschews labelling.  And BTW, that much-derided “L” word is derived from Latin and means “free.”  That’s why we call ourselves liberals, whereas “conservative” brings up formaldehyde for me.

  • electriclady281

    I live in Texas, too, Crazy, and I can corroborate your statements.

  • electriclady281

    I can sense that you’re angry, Beca, but your facts are skewed.  Where did you get them?

  • Auntie Em

    I found one glaring omission in the survey regarding attitudes toward crime and punishment.  It did not talk about white collar crime vs. other types.  The difference in treatment that people get for stealing something at a 7-11 vs. stealing millions from people is abhorrent and our society needs to address it.

  • proletariatprincess

    I tried to make that point, perhaps not too well, in a previous post.  I would also add war crimes as unworthy of consideration in discussions of crime and punishment. 
    Crime in the USA is down signifigantly for whatever reason, but that does not prevent the US population from being, IMHO, overly fearful of becoming victims.  The corporate media feeds that fear because it is good for business in many ways and it distracts us from their real crimes against society. 

  • Madeline Breslin

    Interesting — these things are often complicated and unable to be measured – in my opinion.  I fall on the side of being careful when entrusted with the life of another.  Benefit of the doubt is good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marge-Wood/100000147056276 Marge Wood

     I agree with Auntie Em. From time immemorial, a person could be severely punished for taking a loaf of bread when hungry, while a super rich person or group of people could go unpunished for destroying a habitat, for example, a place a group of people depended on for survival. 

  • Patrick

    Beca, what is your alternative? 

  • WachetAuf

    The problem which many of you have with the questionnaire expresses my own concerns. As a “progressive” (so I believe) I tend to see things in a “thousand shades of gray”. Therefore, in almost each and every instance I had to “shade” my response because there was not a “perfect” response available for me to select. I had to make certain assumptions about meanings and intentions. Words hide meanings and intentions as much as they reveal.

  • mellifluous

    I scored both at par on traditional values and more progressive than progressives.  I think that when we read “crime” in these things, we tend to think of violent crime, burglary or street crime.  But a sizable portion of our prison population has been convicted on drug offenses that even after forty years of the War on Drugs offend any sense of fairness or proportionality and are of questionable Constitutional muster; and “violent crime” isn’t generally construed to include banks turning people out of their homes under false pretenses, as happened recently, or the theft and destruction of significant parts of the economy by financiers.  

    Some crimes are understandable products of circumstance, some instances of greed and ruthlessness demonstrate moral failings, some people are probably too damaged or deranged to be rehabilitated and many people who have been convicted and served prison time shouldn’t have been and I know one or two of them.  Not all crimes are equally reprehensible or destructive and despite this, poor people don’t get the same access to legal representation and exculpatory evidence that rich people do.

  • Anonymous

     At 65 I am coming to the same conclusion.  How does this fit with the adage:   he who is not a liberal when he is 20 has no heart and he who is not a conservative when he is 30 has no brain?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sage.mccarey Sage McCarey

    Gardenia, please don’t let your life be hedged in by fears keeping you at home! I go out after dark all the time; I am careful where I go of course.  I’ve never had a problem. I have had problems during the day, when I was younger. 

  • catboy92

    I had to forgo assigning a number to most of the questions because he uses the words “crime” and “offender” in a very broad sense.  For instance, Q16 states, “It undermines the integrity of society when any crime goes unpunished.”  Would “any crime” include minor speeding, jaywalking on a quiet street, or walking off a hiking trail?  Another example is Q8, where it states if offenders were given better opportunities when children, they would be less likely to commit crimes.  That would depend upon the circumstances of the crime committed.  

  • Chris

    In light of all of the un-prsecuted and un punished corporate crime, can you really say that crime is down? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668686292 Allison Rankin-Fillo

    How sad is it that as I thought about these most of my references that came to mind were from TV shows about crime than about actual crime statistics? Even as someone who tries to keep up, I feel sadly misinformed about this topic since the MSM gives scant coverage.

  • Junkyardjoy

    The error in this logic is that people LIVE in “those areas;” high density, high crime, high poverty. Our bankrupt economic and foreign policies along with our tolerance of “white collar” crime, the War on Drugs, and long-standing prejudices create and maintain “maximum security” prisons inside our own social/state prison. The answer is NOT to stay away, the answer is everyone go there, spend money in the shops, clean-up and maintain the parks and other public areas and, distribute taxes destined for PUBLIC education in a fair and balanced way so kids are not raised in such dire circumstances that they cannot see any other way out but crime and social rebellion.

  • MsProudSooner

    I found some of the questions very frustrating.  For instance, one said that prisons should be comfortable with lots of opportunities for rehab etc.  Personally, I don’t care if they are uncomfortable, but I want lots of counseling, rehap, educational opportunities, etc. 

  • Judith Hainaut

    It is true that the MSM gives scant coverage on this issue but I also think that we need to begin to take responsibility for getting this information ourselves.  There are other sources besides the MSM.

  • RL Sanderson

    “Crime” isn’t one thing. Lumping together higher-on-lower class predation, other forms of white-collar crime, crimes without victims, violent crimes, sexual crimes, hate crimes, crimes of varying degrees against property, etc., etc., etc., — makes it impossible to answer these questions. It depends on the kind of crime. I do suspect, though, that the thinking of a rightist (a so-called “conservative”) would not allow for these distinctions. So the questionaire is biased in its very design, isn’t it?

  • Beth

    What a surprise.  I’m less traditional and more progressive than the liberals.  I must be extremely liberal!

  • Junkyardjoy

     You are, of course, correct, there are differences in the severity of crimes. All crime in this country is treated the same, unfairly, irrationally, expensively, expansively etc… In spite of glaring injustice and unsustainable spending on punishment it has not yet reached the point where all of society feels the pinch close enough and painful enough to demand we change it.

  • Junkyardjoy

     It’s a free country. People of all stripes are free to express their opinions but if your “research” goes no deeper than the junk people post on Face Book or in the comments thread of online articles you are as guilty as “they” are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Ruschak/1383077413 Michael Ruschak

    I am surprised I tested right down the middle. Some of my right wing friends think I’m a bomb throwing anarchist! Who’d a thunk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    I’m a yellow.  Funny I’m not considered a progressive, politically.  I do feel a lot of crime is committed because of 1) unhealthy diets, ie. hotdogs and spaghetti, 2) unhealthy products, ie. chemicals in toothpaste or plant fertilizers on you food, & 3) schools that are filled with people who are trying to force you to conform.  Another way to phrase that last sentiment would be schools are filled with adults trying to crush your dreams and ambitions, so that you fit nicely into their little boxes. 
    As to the 1st 2 I mentioned, chemicals in your body, interfere with the ability of the brain to make rational choices.  Take a look at yourself when you have a drop in blood sugar.  The commercials they are playing for Snickers Bars are the truest indicator of the physical and emotional transformation that happens to a person that is not getting adaquate nutrition.  And, altho’ I’m not christian, I am a firm believer in The Christ’s statement, “how you treat the least among you…”

  • Junkyardjoy

     The American political system is corrupt. Both parties are actually splinters of the SAME party, warmongering, wealth seeking, god killing, stupid! The sooner we stop calling each other names and get on with holding our government accountable for the wreck “we the people” have made of our republic the better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    I think Bernie Madoff’s theft of $50 Billion, totals more than what was taken by all of the prisioners in the US, today.  I might be off by a couple of thousand dollars, but arresting Dick Fuld would make up the difference.  That’s 2 white collar criminals stealing more than the entire body of  criminals in US jails.  Hmmm…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    Blue collar crime is down.  White collar crime is just finding it’s stride.  Now that we know there are no ramifications for committing crime on a mass scale, we’ll take advantage of that to the best of our ability. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    Agreed!  I’d add that not only are we motivated by revenge for crimes committed, it is our primary focus. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Taylor/1125378367 Richard Taylor

    So now that I have my score, am I to assume that Mr. Haidt has the correct response! Is there to say that perhaps society is changing. We’re leaving some of our values behind. Hoping for a more compassionate and liberal response.

  • mikvim

    I’m right there with you, Beth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    One juror can stop tyranny with a “not guilty” vote.  The true power of a juror is the simple fact that the jury has the right to exercise its perogative, regardless of the law or what the judge directs. 
    “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.”  Sam Chase, 12th Chief Justice, US Supreme Court
    “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”  John Jay, 1st Chief Justice, US Supreme Court

    And, as far as laws that are unjust or violates the Constitution, they are not valid.  “No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”  16 Am Jur 2d, Sec117; late 2d, Sec 256. 

  • Larry

    Hot dogs cause crime…uh huh.

  • Mona

    Me too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Imani-Burrell/100002259534084 Imani Burrell

    I hope you don’t mind, Mikeguru, but I liked what you had to say so much, I posted it to my facebook page.  Outstanding thoughts and arguements.  What an absolute pleasure to read your post.  Tx, Imani Burrell!!!

  • Bjweaver

    I didn’t expect this score.  So I am less traditional than liberals and more progressive than liberals.  What does that make me?  Politically I am Green.

  • BDD

     I accept that I am less traditional than conservatives and more progressive than liberals. Still, I cannot know how more information would influence me. I do not believe the death penalty deters horrendous acts. I do believe we as a society have helped to create the criminals we are plagued by. No collar, Blue collar, White collar, Designer collar…they have  all grown in our culture due to our neglectful eye and existing system of “justice.”

  • http://twitter.com/Rteefact Rteefact

    I’m in the yellow more traditional than liberals and progressive that consevatives. I’m not totally surprised since I worked 31yrs in the law enforcement system. You see the best and the worst of society and a legal system that in many cases doesn’t get it right. It does tend to change the reality of life when you deal with day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year. It is sometimes hard to achieve a balance or to subscribe to one theory.

  • http://www.web-essentials.com/ Pol vanRhee

    Sorry, lame, biased, poorly worded survey. Doesn’t test morals. This tests your gullibility.

  • Oregonstormwatcher

    The more we learn about how the brain works, the more I see that many of these “criminals” really didn’t have a choice.  I believe we will look back on our time and saying they treated the mental illness by throwing people into prisons and killing them.  We really haven’t come very far from the dark ages ?  Mental illness is still not treated like other illness.  Addiction is a medical problem, not a moral one ! Why are addicts still being jailed, they really have no choice, the same is probably true of serial killers, and many others, such as the greedy, who really just money hoarders.

  • Ouzel

    I marked no opinion on the ones I thought were questionable–in other words, it depends on the circumstances. This survey showed few gray areas.

  • Anonymous

    How can one be more traditional and more progressive than liberals? I get than I am less traditional and more progressive than conservatives.
    In a nutshell, I believe that ultimately crime is the responsibility of the criminal, however there are almost always mitigating circumstances that we, as a society, need to address.  I also believe that victims are occasionally partially responsible for their part in the crime.  They made the decision to be where they were, doing what they were doing, when they were doing it.
    That said, there are indeed some broken non-self controlling, non-controllable people that walk among us.  Euthanizing them would not bother them, but if we ever find a way to fix psycho and sociopaths, we probably should fix them instead….Come in for your meds or be extinguished…their choice… Would work for a boatload of CEOs and Politicians too…..just sayin’

  • Fuzzympb

    I found question 11 to truly to be 2 different questions.
    Firstly, I feel that if you’ve been put in jail, then it shouldn’t
    ever be a pleasant experience. Safe? Yes. Comfortable, No.
    However  if you display the will then you should have the
    opportunity to better yourself. 

  • lgfromillinois

    An interesting exercise, but not informative.  I fall in the more liberal than other liberals band.  Is it a fair represetation of my opinion?  The quiz tests gut reactions.  I see more shades of gray in reflection than this quiz allows.  I see criminals has made not born.  Amelioration of poverty and adverse social conditions is a long-term solution to crime problems.  Long jail sentences are a high social cost; hard work at rehabiltation and reintergration lower social costs and provide a bertter solution.  A quiz that asks how one views the role of the judicial and prison system in reducing crime might give more informative results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.taylor.3990418 John Taylor

    having spent 30 years in the criminal justice system i guess you could say that i saw just about everything and my results showed i was more traditional than the liberal and almost a conservative ! fair and impartial is always the motto to be used. each individual crime is to be taken separately and dealt with appropriately.one of my favorite examples is a young man with two violent felony convictions was offered a very lenient sentence for his third violent felony…the defendant understood at the time that the victim was not around and so he figured he would refuse any prison sentence and demand a trial..with no victim there could not be a conviction and the offer was 1 and 1/2 to 3 years in prison.  the defendant went to trial and the prosecutor found the witness during jury selection. the witness testified, the defendant was convicted and he was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in jail.

  • http://profiles.google.com/drew.s.bateman Drew Bateman

    Interesting that I am quite liberal in most respects, yet I scored generally as a conservative on this. I believe it’s due to the design of the questions, which ignore preconceptions of what *should* be legal or illegal and *which type* of crime should be punishable by imprisonment.
    For example, I am merciless regarding rapists. Lock them up or execute them (an opinion that outrages my fellow lefties).
    Yet for drug crime, while legally it’s so, I don’t think it is is truly criminal to possess or consume drugs. I certainly think the only ‘punishment’ for drug crimes should be counselling and addiction treatment.
    So, you can see how my preconceptions about what *should* be criminal influence my choices the entire way through this survey…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kbrehm1 Kristy Brehm

    I’ve been a teacher for 17 years, and my goal has ALWAYS been to help my students grow up to be the best person they can be.  What’s crushing my dreams, and theirs, is our society’s obsessive focus on standardized testing.  When I started teaching used to be an art and the best teachers aspired to teach things like critical thinking, creativity, and a lot of other things that are not so easy to test but make life actually worth living. 

  • Anonymous

    The problem with questions of this type is that they don’t distinguish between crimes against property, person, and safety (burglary, rape, robbery, & assault) and sin (drugs, alcohol, gambling & prostitution).  That is where the discrepancies come in.  Reword the questions for your self ignoring sin crimes or violence crimes and see what happens to your answers and result.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000690677082 Mark Stodghill

    some of my nswers were only 1 point to the progressive side…when it would have been more if the kinkd of crime was stated… or not… depending… funny how i am strongly non traditional but a little below liberals on being progressive… so i am less traditional than  i am pro progressive……though i just miss matching liberals on progressivewhat does that mean???

  • curiouser

    Some of the questions were worded peculiarly, as if making prisoners comfortable were equated somehow with offering them opportunities for growth and development.   That seems to be worded to elicit a particular answer.

  • Johnny

    I believe Mr. Haidt’s purpose for the book is being successfully implemented, it’s making us think.

  • http://www.loveshade.org/ Alden Loveshade

    Many people have complained that this quiz is vague and open-ended.  Please forgive me, but by my understanding a quiz of this type works best if it’s vague and open-ended.  It is not a survey designed to determine how people in particular demographics groups feel about a specific issue.  It is designed so that the quiz-taker will interpret the questions and see them according to his or her personal perspective.  How an individual “fills in the blanks” is what guides the results.

  • Bevm1663

    well, it is very difficult to judge this quiz, as well as our attitudes on “crime and punishment” when we disagree as to what is actual ‘crime’ and what should be punished.   I am increasingly against sending a drug user who has not committed any other crime to prison – what a waste!  and I’m increasingly for government providing free addiction counseling to anyone for any addiction – drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.  Big business would sure not like that, would they?!  I do not see addiction – drug or alcohol included – as “crime” – but illness – although I do not want people who are “under the influence” to be driving cars or doing health care or dental work for me.  

  • Bevm1663

    furthermore, people who harm other people’s bodies, whether it be sex crimes, assault or murder or should be treated as abusers and have counseling as well as stiff prison time – for there is no way to ever make right something you did to another person’s body.   
    And persons who are in positions of trust who commit any crime, should have double sentences simply because they were in positions of trust, so they hurt the spirit and psyche on top of committing the crime. 
    Our system currently punishes the poor the heaviest, while those who do the most harm to the most people pay very little.

  • Bevm1663

    I love the idea of “get your meds or be extinguished” for some people, with the exception of sociopaths who should be locked up and throw away the key. 

  • Bevm1663

    I think I’m about 80% in agreement with you.  We have serious addiction problems in this country – which keep getting punished instead of looking for solutions.  I am seeing our “obesity problem” too as either another addiction or the result of Big Business screwing up our food supply.  either way society has a big role – if not in creating the problem – then in how we can deal with it effectively.  But, as Maude said in the movie “Harold & Maude”, “the world loves a prison.”  

  • Liberal

    I found that I changed my answers when I started thinking of criminals as Elites like Bankers and politicians as oppose to what might be referred to as the “underclass”.  Go back and give it a try.  After all the 1% do not have a monopoly on morality.  They just think they do.

  • Anonymous

    What happens when the term “cutting edge of enlightened liberalism” as understood 200 years ago is re-identified with mainstream conservatism today?

    (“… consider this inevitable clash: When capitalism is intermingled with the
    principles of (Thomas) Jefferson’s separation of church and state, the new standard of
    worship for American society is no longer God, but money.”

    Experience Life among the Ordinary and re-discover The Birth of US Capitalism,
    or President Washington’s Dilemma at


  • Amoobrasil

    The wording is meaningless unless it equates comfort with opportunity.  Or, rather, it separates the intended, possible correlation between comfort and opportunity.  Without the correlation, comfort is seen in a vacuum and thereby easily deemed absurd.

  • Anonymous

    Good always triumphs over evil.
    The reason good always triumphs is that the victors think they’re good.
    They also think of the vanquished as evil or, perhaps, misguided.
    Can you think of any victors who portray themselves as bad guys?
    Bankers and pols in office have power. So, they’re good.
    As the Goldwater campaign reminded us:
    Treason never prospers. What’s the reason?
    If it prospers, none dare call it treason.

  • Derm-in-NH

    This is rather odd ~ my results came in as traditional on the first scale, and progressive on the next. Now I’m confused.

  • Patrick

    I’m a traditional conservative and damned proud of it.

  • Jayne English

    Interesting quiz. I think I just closed all of the for-profit prisons and sent everyone to camp.

  • Anonymous

    What is really missing from this is some demographic data like education level and rough income.

  • SophieCT

    Indeed! I would like to see a retest of the liberal/progressive baseline with them being told to consider the 1% as well as white color crimes and corporate crimes.

  • CorporationsAreNotPeople

    It would help if this quiz put the offense into some sort of context. The questions as written are almost unanswerable.

  • Anonymous

    “Sin” means different things to different people and certainly to different beliefs. Crimes are defined breaches of specific laws. We should not legislate based on “sins”.

  • No way out

    I’m damn proud of you as well. Damn proud! You’re a regular George Washington

  • Anonymous

    The same is true of everyone. Laws are only majority opinions of what is right and wrong given the force of legislation.

  • Trilla

    You and I both. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

  • Anonymous

    You could have achieved the same result by marking those questions “no opinion.”

  • Anonymous

    Comfy? Feather pillows, teevee, comforts of home, no. But no one should be put in the kind of inhumane conditions we now have in for-profit prisons.

  • Anonymous

    mine too

  • Lori L Repp Shock

    I am so happy that I am actually MORE liberal than the average liberal and as far as possible from conservative as one could possibly be. To me, conservative is just another term for cruel, cold and selfish. Conservatives starve children, lie and cheat veterans, tell the elderly what they earned they can’t have, tell people if they can’t afford to be in health then go and die and tell the disabled its their fault to begin with. I cannot be more glad that I am not even close politically to a conservative.

  • Anonymous

    I think my answers were influenced by the fact that I have just read a book about the Elizabethan age and found I was repulsed by the treatment of prisoners and the way crime was hardest on the lower classes. I want to believe that we have come a long way from that time, but when I look at the inequity of the judicial system I think not.

  • Anonymous

    Its so tricky because different forms of “justice” should be meted out for different types of crimes and offenders. Many offenders ARE victims of neglected and abused childhoods and rehabilitation programs can sometimes help them. But then there are white-collar criminals who have had EVERY opportunity and advantage that society has to offer but so lack empathy and compassion that they really don’t care whether their actions cause harm or not, and for those types, I think some public humiliation IS in order. It might be the only thing they understand. I just wish that our system was ABLE to be more flexible and able to do a better job sifting those who might be rehabilitated from those who are psychopaths and probably shouldn’t be allowed around anybody- including other offenders. And I really, really, REALLY wish that we didn’t have a system that differentiated between who has money and who doesn’t because that’s a big part of the problem to begin with.

  • Betty Eyer

    I had problems with this because it groups all crime in the same category. Treating a teen who shop lifts the same as a serial rapist is absurd. The teen might be saved, but treating sexual offenders has a low success rate and the big thing to me is to keep them from having the opportunity to harm anyone else. I’m not into punishment as I don’t think it works. It’s either isolate them from society or try to rehabilitate them.

  • mamval

    The questions never got at my belief that in the US there are systemic forces at work to fill for profit prisons, and other systemic forces at work that raise the odds of certain demographic groups going to prison for the same crimes that other demographic groups commit with impunity.

  • 216stitches


  • sans

    The questions are too black and white. i am surprised that while i lean more liberal or progressive on many issues, i am conservative on crime according to this quiz.

  • Michele Wilcox

    Interesting quiz, but in all honesty, the questions were too broad in scope especially when you think about the range of severity in different crimes. There are no victimless crimes…someone always pays the price somewhere. Some laws are antiquated and should be removed altogether while others need to be revised to better fit the severity of the crime. I also think states laws vary too much and need to be brought in line.

  • Jo Clark

    I recently was privy to an interview by a young teen black girl who outlined the abuse she had suffered or witnessed growing up in what can only be termed a massively dysfunctional family, a fact that even she recognizes. She was actually quite insightful about her own situation. Her family was full of rampant physical abuse and neglect and sexual assault, and yet I could still clearly sense a goodness about her. I don’t think she enjoys being how she is and she’s been desperately seeking help now, before it’s too late.

    She’s now on the verge of adulthood and all I could hear was anger, frustration, rage, and a whooooole lot of fear at being thrust into the adult world with very little coping skills. I couldn’t help but think to myself, how can we help someone like this? How do you undo all that damage, damage that is clearly not her fault. She didn’t choose that family or choose the abuse. How do you teach people to rethink and relearn ways of responding to situations, ways of coping with society?

    I felt like it’s just a matter of time and sadly, she’ll end up in the criminal justice spiral. I can’t, with good conscience, say just lock her up and throw out the key. She needs a lot of help, and as our brothers’ keepers, we need to offer all we can.

  • Serene Voice

    I got the same scale result as you. I deliberately answered moderately on most questions, even no opinion when I disagreed with the wording or use of words such as “all” or “never”, which reveal absolutes and poor critical thinking. I think some questions weigh heavier than others. Still, the overall attitudes do reveal I am more Progressive in my thinking and less traditional than even the average Liberals by far. That is pretty accurate for me.

  • Anonymous

    mine too. How can I be both more traditional than most liberals, (slightly less than most conservatives) yet more progressive than either?

  • bluecrane1

    With results lower than Traditional and right between liberal and conservative on the progressive scale, I’m feeling rather superior, thank you. ; )

  • nora qudus

    I did not like many of the answers I had to choose from, I have better solutions than the ones provided.

  • Anonymous

    I worked in juvenile treatment for 20 years,but I’m surprised to be a conservative progressive,I thought that I was more liberal.

  • Anonymous

    Deliberate crimes of violence should not be included with simple crimes like stealing food or clothing. Nonviolent crimes committed in an effort to survive do not belong in the same category as deliberate crimes committed with the intention of elevating the criminal above a class of non-criminals. And truly repugnant crimes, like kidnap murder and rape murder, should be punished publicly, by hanging. But if a convicted criminal is posthumously found innocent, the prosecuting attorney and sentencing judge should be hanged forthwith. None of this feathering a political nest with the lives of the innocent.

  • Joleda Leyonh

    Treating all crimes in our society the same in this quiz makes it invalid. You need two, one for violent crimes and theft on a large scale (rape, murder, assault, embezzlement or white collar crime, and one to address victimless and misdemeanor crime( drug & alcohol use, petty theft etc.) This is not a good indicator of morals or anything else. Ask me again how I would treat a criminal who commits murder versus how I would treat a criminal who is a drug user, the answers would be miles apart!

  • Fay Brewer

    I scored more progressive than liberal. I don’t know what I should make of that!

  • Deb

    I did what I could with this… Crime like rape or murder vs bankers doing economic harm or other white collar crimes involve different types of criminals. As I did this quiz I went back and forth between those two styles of criminals. Our society treats them differently and their backgrounds are so different. I too wish we had a better structure to understand what this quiz was asking about.

  • Guest

    This actually made sense to me because I have seen some pictures of what Scandinavian prisons are like (like something out of an IKEA showroom and more comfy than where I actually live)

  • Lisa Garland Barth

    UltraProgressive and proud of it. While my vocation is health care finance in the public sector, my avocations are psychology, current events and world religion, simply trying to get as close to GOD and people as I can get.

  • Randy BlueLantern Harris

    I’m a untraditional progressive and damn proud of it.

  • Kimberly Hall

    Progressive is Liberal, Traditional is Conservative.

  • Kimberly Hall

    I am apparently slightly MORE traditional than conservatives and EXACTLY as progressive as liberals LOL Hopefully that means that I’m fairly balanced in my views!

  • Bonnie Parker De Angelis

    I agree with almost everything except “the greedy…just money hoarders” There is ample research that shows where this comes from. They are not hoarders. As with serial killers… we don’t have, as yet, a way to change their brain makeup so, keeping them very far away from society is fine with me. In addition, there will always be those that have the same brain makeup of serial killers that never kill. This will become a very complicated subject once we have ways to change the chemistry, biology, genes, etc, etc. of our brains – beyond simple medications.

  • Bonnie Parker De Angelis

    You did not comprehend what was being said. Perhaps you should do some research into our food supply.

  • Anonymous

    Perfect. Smack dab in between.

  • Thomas Milligan

    Interesting exercise. Like one of the commenters below I found some of the questions almost unanswerable absent context… and yet I still come out pretty much where I expected to… “more progressive” than most “Liberals.”

  • Bobbie

    So did I – more progressive than liberals and less traditional than liberals as well. Always said I was so far left I was almost falling off the scale – guess that is true. :-)

  • Duck Daddy

    Call me a “Lame” Duck, but I don’t understand the scale here. Poorly described graph in terms of interpreting the results. What does the scaling mean? I suppose I am less conservative than a Conservative because I’m a Liberal. Wow! That’s a relief.

  • Joe Boggs

    Above all else, this quiz should point out that there is no one size fits all for all situations. For example, there is no differentation made between mass murderers and those convicted of minor dug crimes. A mass murderer should be shot at sunrise after conviction, a serial rapist should have a body part (Not finger or toe) chopped off, etc. But, and truly think about this one, does a young female high school teacher who has consensual sexual relations with a 17 Y/O student rate the same punishment? Of course not but in today’s climate, mandatory sentences are almost as harsh!

  • djulien

    So did I. I kept thinking about innocent folks convicted of crime and also about folks convicted of breaking unjust laws. And unless you have been or know someone in prison, it’s hard to really know how de-humanizing, demeaning, unproductive, vengeful and downright awful it is…..

  • Babzola

    Our brains influence our behavior including mental illness and repetitive use in dysfunctional ways create strong pathways in the brain that are difficult to change unless done young. Our education system must help children to look at their behavior in a supportive, not critical manner. It is all about our brains, in my humble opinion.

  • djulien

    I agree. And we have to fundamentally change out society from one where competition is king to one of compassion where we are all guaranteed a good education, good healthcare a decent job and a decent place to live…..

  • Louis Janney

    How much money did Einstein make in his lifetime?

  • tontonickel

    guess I am quite Liberal

  • Louis Janney

    But the prisons are now for profit. Head count is all that counts.

  • Anonymous

    I read Michelle Alexander’s book called The New Jim Crow which brings up the very important question of unequal application of the law. We can’t talk about how to treat criminals without recognizing that there are thousands of serious criminals walking among us who are never convicted because of their social status, or their wealth or the color of their skin…

  • Marie Walker

    Having read Jonathan Haidt’s book “The Righteous Mind” I had an idea where he was going with the quiz. He is pretty much Libertarian, and I saw the questions as being slanted in that direction, which is “self responsibility” and would be great if everyone were responsible for their actions. My score actually showed a little more conservative than I actually am because of the way the questions were worded. I feel I am very much moderate or middle of the road.

  • DesertSun59

    Interesting. I found myself to be right where I suspected I was on the scale.

  • Omar Wilkins

    Hard to go by this scale. I think crimes should be looked at on a case by case basis. When i comes to the death penalty, rapist, child molestors, and other super violent criminals should, when evidence is 100%, DNA, eye witness, solid, get instant judgement. No sitting on death row for 5-10-20 years. Other than that, we should look at the situation and try our best to determine if the person is a real threat to society (someone doing life for stealing a pizza) or not?

  • WisdomSeed

    Because real justice requires context, hence the error of mandatory sentences.

  • Keith

    Less traditional than most conservatives or Liberals and more progressive than both too.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    LOL! I scored 2.3 on the traditional scale below both liberals at 3.0 and conservatives at 4.4. On the progressive scale I scored 6.5 above both the liberals at 5.4 and the conservatives at 4.3. So the results of the survey do reflect my self-mage as being more progressive and radical than liberals who are actually in the center.

  • Fay Brewer

    I guess I was trying to say that I am more liberal than most liberals :)

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    I think the liberal – conservative dichotomy is false. As polls and surveys show over and over again, when asked about the issues without using political labeling, the center majority is liberal. To the “right” are conservatives and to the “left” are progressives.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    LOL! It means you have your head screwed on straight.

  • Anonymous

    Me too.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate that this test offered what seemed like ‘trick questions’
    (questions for which the answer was far too complicated for a ‘yes/no’
    answer), because that is the entire point. I also appreciate that it
    offers different levels of ‘strength’ to your answer, which implies that
    the creators of this test understand this complexity. There is an
    online test called the ‘political compass’ (www.politicalcompass.org)
    which uses a similar format. To be sure, I didn’t like some of the
    questions, and I am certain that conservatives won’t like them either.
    My results turned out pretty much just as I thought they would. I’m one
    of those bleeding heart leftists who believe that a lot of street crime
    is a product of society abandoning working people, the poor, etc.,
    leaving naught but the black market for people to subsist from. I have
    different thoughts about corporate crime, which I believe is also a
    product of our capitalist/consumer society insofar as this corruption is
    systemic and often legal. That some are able to adopt an arrogant
    class-consciousness would also be a product of our social system. I feel
    that society is responsible for what it produces, and if it
    consistently produces criminals – whether those of ‘the street’, or
    those of Wall St. I abhor the idea of empowering government to kill its
    citizens, and I firmly believe that a purely punitive justice system is
    counter-productive, and toxic to the entirety of our society. Look at
    what we’re now doing …. we’re imprisoning children for juvenile
    offenses, letting wealthy criminals go free without prosecution, and
    we’re subsidizing a police/prison industry which promises corporations a
    minimum level of occupancy with no regard for actual crime rates. Our
    system obviously is not evenhanded, and while street crime is reduced
    the prison occupancies are not. While street crime is reduced, Wall St.
    crimes are utterly ignored, if not condoned and abetted by the state.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    So all those positions/opinions place you on the map somewhere. The questions are not too broad because the questions are what they are and the results come from how people answer these questions, not some other questions. There is no correct or incorrect answers that would require better questions. On the couple questions I thought were too vague to answer without further definition I answered “no opinion.” That makes the survey work if you don’t like a question.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing short of a spiritual awakening will save this young lady.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    That’s what the sliding scale is for. If you think you agree for most crimes but not all crimes, then don’t mark “strongly agree” and only mark “agree somewhat.”

  • Kim Garcia

    Scary… I ranked right with conservatives on crime and punishment. Weird, since I think I am very liberal.

  • AstarteOurania

    I think the results should be taken very loosely as the questions oftentimes combined 2 ideas and you may agree with the one but not the other half of the question and that skews the response.

  • Sharon Peterson

    I had the same problem. On each question I thought about the whole spectrum of crime, from lifting a pack of gum to the most atrocious violent crimes. Still ended up right where I expected to be — firmly Progressive — although I do agree that there is (at this time) no possible rehabilitation for certain types of crimes and offenders. For them, and for the common good, secure isolation is a must. Still, I do believe we have an obligation to remember that they, too, are human. They still have the right to have basic human needs met (as do we all), and to have opportunities to create and produce, even in confinement.

  • shel

    so how did I end up as traditional as a conservative and as progressive as a liberal? I know at least one question that should have been presented as two separate…

  • WoundedEgo

    3.5 traditional (out of 7?) and 5.6 on progressive (out of 7?)

  • Elizabeth Faraone

    You’re so right. So those of us who scored a yellow are the “progressive” left wing. The “liberals” are middle of the road. And the “conservatives”, who are not conservative at all, are the reckless right wing. I scored 1.7 on the traditional scale and 6.4 on the progressive scale.

  • Carol Richter Rocha

    Very progressive, as I knew I would be. I was a case manager and had a caseload of individuals who were “offenders”. I, along with other professionals, worked very hard, along with the client, to keep them in the community, while keeping the community safe. The goal, of course, was to keep the individual from not offending again. Many services were put in place and the clients had to participate in the prescribed programs that met their individual, unique needs. I went to court numerous times, wrote “Diversion Plans” that monitored individuals so that they would not go back into the penal system and I witnessed how over-loaded our judicial system is. There are not enough defense lawyers or prosecuting attorneys and the system is barely working. Our prisons have become a dumping ground for people who are mentally ill and functioning illiterates with no skills. Not much is being done to rehabilitate those who can be rehabilitated. No, I do not believe all can be helped. Our system, though quite good at times, needs improvement .

  • katinohio56

    I have recently been in a position where I have had to advocate for a young person with serious mental health issues who had committed assault. The person that was assaulted was completely blameless and seriously hurt. I cannot say that I think the person committing the assault should be completely excused and held blameless, but the reasoning that many of us would be capable of is just not there during the periods of rage and aggression and frustration in the mentally ill person. Incarceration would not be the answer, that I am convinced of, but there are also no adequate treatment facilities that can handle these cases. The result is that eventually these people end up in jails and/or dead. We need to have more treatment facilities geared to the mentally ill. I was hoping that after the Senator got stabbed by his son, we would get more of a spotlight on the plight of the mentally ill, but no such luck…

  • Scousewife

    I had the exact same score as you. We must be kindred spirits.

  • Michael P. Morgan

    How is one’s “moral matrix” determined by answering questions dealing only with criminal justice?

  • Doris

    Most encouraging here is evidence that the majority are essentially moderate in their views. The media persists in picturing Americans as so very polarized that there’s no hope for consensus. But this little test shows us mostly in the center, or close to it, be we blue or red. If indeed we are moderate for the most part, in our opinions, then there is hope for healing of this badly wounded society. The next step will be to get the word out that we don’t want labels, we don’t want to be put into categories, parties, left or right, rich or poor, white or black, don’t pit us against one another. Because where it matters, we are close and we agree and we support one another in most things.

  • RR74

    Not a big shocker to me. I am a liberal.

  • WoundedEgo

    Yeah, justice is a tiered system in the US.

  • Anonymous

    I took the quiz and was surprised at my results not necessarily in a bad way. It’s the generality of the questions though because there are always exceptions.

  • WoundedEgo

    I would like to see whether there is any gender divide on these questions. In fact I’d love to analyze the data looking at religion, social status, State, age, race, education level, etc. All in all a useful metric.

  • WoundedEgo

    On the other end of the equation are those who enjoy great privilege and are pricks, commit crimes with great cynicism and are not held accountable. Are they truly victims of Affluenza? Or are they simply bad people?

  • Kevin Imus

    Senator stabbed by his son, autism spectrum shooter in Connecticut, Schizophrenic shooter of Gabby Giffords, etc, etc,. Clearly we do not deal with our mentally ill prior too or after committing crimes. Neither the left nor the right has done anything.

  • Kevin Imus

    Oversimplified, pseudo-pshycological pulp designed to massage your ego.

  • Kelli Hernandez

    I was shocked at how progressive my results were, yet there were several questions that could not be either agree/disagree, but required a more moderate response according to an individual’s situation. The progressive side of things is also reflective of my advocacy for victims of psychopath, sociopaths, narcissists and crime.

  • Don

    The recent spread of “One Punch” where vulnerable individuals are “sucker punched,” usually by young males shows a complete breakdown of decency and presumably guidance from the family. Who’s responsible? The Victim? No way! The puncher? Yes, but he is not alone. His family and a society that cultivates violence through media: Grand Theft Auto and movies that travel from one blood bath to the next have corrupted both kids and adults. The media shares the blame for violence. How about skipping all the holiday movies that glorify violence? Start with The Devastation of Smaug.

  • Aztrillium

    Neither of the terms conservative or liberal should be used as blanket terms covering all areas of life. One can be very conservative in one life area such as criminal justice or economics and very liberal in another life area such as help given to the needy or in their general political leanings. and vice versa, of course.

  • Santi

    Not a surprise and as in all surveys, there are always exceptions. Certainly it depends on the offense.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to recommend a book I read a while ago by James Kimmel called Suing for Peace. This book forces us to think about some of our basic assumptions about justice and the justice system……

  • Reynardine

    Some of those questions had me thinking: It depends. You don’t get to answer that.

  • Kelli Hernandez

    I cannot tell you how much I agree with you on the mental health issue. MANY crimes are committed by those with mental health issues and many victims also wind up with mental health issues as a result of crime, domestic abuse, even if there was not a hand laid upon them. Not only do we need more treatment facilities, but I also believe that we need treatment geared for people who were raised in violent and abusive homes. There was a question related to blaming others or something else as the reason to why the criminal committed the crime. Many times there IS. We cannot deal with the mentally ill, or even victims of crime in a way that negates the notion that an environment raised in extreme abuse has no effect on the adult in society, because it does. Without intervention, our society, into the future is affected, as well as the person suffering from such an environment. Many children growing up develop mental health issues due to poor and ineffective, abusive parenting. This is especially true in situations where the victim is replaying old tapes in an abusive relationship from past abuse and the children are exposed to verbal and physical violence, leading to adult choices that are poor in life skills, partner choices,economic deprivation, etc.

  • Kelli Hernandez

    Carol, from my experiences, the system needs MORE help and more education regarding how to help those with no skills, and who are illiterate. Some can be rehabilitated, while it’s true that it’s too late for others.

  • Reynardine

    The ones I’d sentence the most harshly and send to the worst prisons are the very “affluenza” offenders who are so sweetly mollycoddled right now. Huge-scale financial criminals that ruin millions of lives should be executed.

  • JR

    This quiz did not allow for the differentiation of offenders. If I took it thinking about crimes such as theft, I would answer differently than if I took it thinking about crimes such as rape or child abuse.

  • Kelli Hernandez

    Um, I scored a 6.5 on the progressive scale. Anyone score that high and find that surprising?

  • Maxyne Baker

    Simplistic survey that defeats the need for diversity. Many questions where too open ended to respond to hence, many “no opinion” responses. And truly, what is the point if in the end this quiz makes it obvious that it stems from a system that groups whole diverse cultures into conservative and liberal.

  • Anonymous

    6.1 pour moi. I am also surprised. Didn’t think I would be that “extreme”.

  • Anonymous

    The sucker-punch fad seems like an extension of recording-neighborhood-brawls fad. Hillbilly and Homey ethics may contribute to it, but, I don’t see fantasies like The Hobbit or Little Red Riding Hood being that much of a factor.
    Star Wars was also a Good vs Evil story. I admit that I haven’t seen “Smaug”.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always maintained that I’m conservative on some issues and liberal on others. Traditional attitudes run 3.7. Right between 3 for Liberal and 4.4 for conservative. Progressive on punishment though yielded a 6.1, liberal being a 5.4.
    I sincerely believe that this country needs to take a good hard long look at our judicial system and make some major changes in the area of incarceration and more importantly, rehabilitation.

  • Anonymous

    I found this survey ridiculous because it did not distinguish between violent and non-violent crimes. My answer regarding sex crimes would be very different from my answers regarding property crimes. i also believe all drug use should be decriminalized.

  • Anonymous

    Mine was 6.1 and I was surprised at how low it was. It was the failure to separate sex crimes from property crimes that lowered my score, I think.

  • Anonymous


  • johnnym2

    I think it’s a little unclear what Haidt’s definition of ‘progressive’ means. I believe myself to be a fairly liberal person, but in this I scored directly in the middle of the Traditional Subscale, while scoring .1 away from the conservative average on the Progressive Subscale.

    On a separate note, I feel like many people taking this quiz who identify as conservative/liberal going into this quiz can pick the obvious choice for their preferred side to prove to, or reassure, themselves on where they stand on crime/punishment without actually considering both sides of each question and deciding where they may actually stand.

  • fran darling

    The US prison population is the largest of all the countries in the world, and growing. What does that say about our society?

  • WoundedEgo

    What about drug profiteering?

  • WoundedEgo

    For profit prisons are a horrible idea (as is for profit medicine and education).

  • exflatlander

    I found this questionnaire too simplistic to be any genuine measurement of a sic values. There’s a world of difference between the “crime” of being caught with a few joints and the crime of bilking millions of their pensions. Which one does our society punish more severely? Yup. Furthermore, there were several questions that assumed guilt: should offenders’ rights be most carefully considered in the judicial process. Calling the person arrested the “offender” assumes guilt throughout the process. The biggest problem with our judicial system is that lower class people feel the full brunt of punishment while white collar crime may lead to advising Congress on how to oversee Wall Street. Country club prisons for white collar crime and the worst kind of corporate prisons for the person who may have merely been acting out frustration with his/her seemingly hopeless situation. Guess this makes me a liberal, but it also makes more more accurate than this bogus questionnaire.

  • Karen Cianci

    I scored 6.7 and I was shocked when I saw the results. I am obviously a “bleeding-heart liberal” just like my Mother. I believe that most crimes are the result of a society gone MAD.

  • Karen Cianci

    no opinion was a choice.

  • Toni Medford

    Hehehe. I am more liberal than the average liberal on crime and punishment; less liberal than the average liberal while being more liberal than the average conservative on crime and punishment. Uh, does this mean I’ve tested out as a Moderate again?!?

  • Andres Torres

    Where DID we get the idea that we shouldn’t try to rehabilitate prisoners? It’s not good for them, it’s not good for us, who does that benefit?

  • Karen Cianci

    Could very well be that a person’s stance on criminal justice closely correlates with other “moral” issues. I would bet a lot on that assumption.

  • Anonymous

    Why was this questionnaire only about crime? I thought it was going to be about morals? There’s a whole lot more to morals than just criminality.

  • Karen Cianci

    I scored as a high progressive and I think our society has abandoned the mentally ill. What’s up with the professional PhD’s and MSW’s etc. only taking private pay? This is the story in my state of CT. Disgusting. I have made a list of these professionals and I email them and ask them politely to consider taking insurance plans. I wish that Obamacare had been strict and applied to mental health as well. Similar to the “pre-existing conditions”. Providers MUST take those with mental health issues regardless if they can pay or not.

  • grandmaPhyllis

    I’ve always thought I was a moderate leaning toward the left/liberal…. this quiz seems to show me more liberal than I thought, but that definition is always subject to change.. Republicans like Eisenhower and Nixon were considered conservative in their time but compared to today’s politicians, they are very liberal (more than most Dems).. I agree with pjwhite.. it was difficult to answer many questions because crime was not broken down into types.. White collar crime which is just as rampant as violent/killing crimes and just as dangerous in many ways would have me answering differently about social, punishment, causes etc. The topic of Crime is too complex to evaluate in a few questions.

  • The Truthiness

    Things are not always B&W like the questions made them out to be. There’s a lot of gray area out there in the real world. Are prisons for punishment or rehabilitation? Life’s not this cut and dry…

  • WoundedEgo

    And for profit police, fire protection and water.

  • WoundedEgo

    And our current problem, for profit government.

  • Sharon Ivicevic

    Yes, I did, but I’m not really,
    very surprised as I’v never been graded before. I am 80 years old but more liberal than my children, but they KNOW NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    That’s no worse than alcohol and cigarette profiteering.

  • Ge Algebra

    Explain what you mean by traditional and progressive. Otherwise, your graphs are meaningless.

  • Anonymous

    P.S. – I scored 1.6 on the ‘traditional’ and 6.9 on the ‘progressive’ sub-scales.

  • Anonymous

    It is criminal to make these into for-profit businesses. Same with health care.

  • Sharon Ivicevic

    You are absolutely right!!!!! If there is an answer, it is good,professional treatment.!!!!

  • WoundedEgo

    So zero effort on the supply side?

  • Gelliant Gutfright

    Well…I’m a Bleeding-Heart, Left-Liberal

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree. My wife is addicted to the T.V. show “Lock-up”. If you haven’t seen it
    before, it’s a crew that visits different detention centers and follows
    different prisoners over the course of a few months. It’s not censored
    and the inmates are very candid what their thoughts.
    If you’ve lived
    on the lower end of the economic scale, crime is something that you’re
    more accustomed to than on the other end of the scale. It’s obvious that
    for-profit-prisons only serve to incarcerate as many people as possible
    and their guilt or innocence is inconsequential, they’re just an
    addition to the bottom line.
    Our entire attitude towards prisons and
    inmates needs to be revamped. It should be that people coming out of
    prison should be well prepped and able to integrate back into society.
    Truth is, people sent to prison for non violent offenses, more times
    than not, come out of the system more violent the before and are no more
    prepared to deal with life than prior to their incarceration. This is a
    societal problem that needs to be addressed in schools at a young age.
    And we should know that scare tactics don’t work these days.

  • Gwen Elaine Dallas

    Not sure what the two scales are supposed to mean exactly. I got a 4 on the first and a 5.4 on the other.

    I am politically liberal and spent a short time practicing as a criminal defense attorney before deciding law was “not for me.” I tend to think many individual defendants are not necessarily “bad” people (some are quite sympathetic), but *also* that many of them are quite messed-up in their morals and attitudes, and trying to “fix them” isn’t liable to work. I wouldn’t say I have a dim view of human nature, but I also am not naive or a “bleeding heart liberal.”

    On the other hand, I also think that the “system” is inherently corrupt, and that too much of what’s going on is just about oppressing the poor, and that we are warehousing people that “don’t fit in” instead of finding more productive solutions. The incarceration rate in this country is a scandal!

    So I think I’m middle-of-the-road, maybe a little conservative with my view of criminals, but also left-wing when it comes to the question of “what do we do with these jerks”?

  • Bonnie Parker De Angelis

    I scored less traditional than Liberals and more progressive than Liberals. I considered myself to be a Radical Humanist. To be CLEAR, that does NOT mean that I believe criminals should not be punished or that Everyone is capable of rehabilitation.
    I believe the questions are posed in this (vague/difficult) way for a reason… to make you STOP and THINK about ourselves and us as a Society. What constitutes a “crime,” how do we prosecute a criminal and do we attempt rehabilitation – do we consider a “criminal” to be the same as ourselves or different, perhaps a monster? My gut reaction, which is an emotional reaction – a reaction without thought, to some questions would have put me into a much more conservative tilt, especially when I think about rapists or bankers, but when I took the time to ponder the question thoughtfully my answers changed back to what is considered “Liberal” (I’ll admit it is difficult with bankers, CEO’s, etc.), though “Liberal” is an incorrect description. There has been tons of research not only in this country but many counties that shows a direct correlation between poverty and crime. We know that in this country the poorer (and darker) you are the higher the chances you’ll go to prison and for extended sentences – which in and of itself is unjust, therefore a crime, a crime against humanity, a crime that we all have allowed to exist…. so, the first question is, I believe, what constitutes a “crime?” And how have we, as a society participated in the cultivation of that criminal behavior.
    In addition, as others have pointed out, we have criminalized mental illness and drug addiction. Even “simple” mental illness has been criminalized by the fact that many end up homeless, hungry and unable to provide for themselves – which often leads to ‘crime.” Due to these unfortunate factors, that once again we as a society have allowed to exist, our prison system has become a revolving door for the mentally ill. What’s the true crime?
    Drug addiction has been deemed immoral which is a religious response to another form of illness. Through our religious self-righteousness, we again have created “criminals” from illness. There is also a direct correlation between hopelessness and drug addiction. Hopelessness stemming from endless poverty, limited access to education, etc, etc is again something that we as a society have allowed, therefore, whose the criminal?
    The partaking of illicit drugs for recreational use should be something each adult should be allowed to decide for themselves. But, due to religious zeal and the idea that drugs are “immoral” we have created another class of “criminal.” Why have we criminalized drugs, but not alcohol, we might ask ourselves? Alcohol, as a drug of choice, has been historically accepted by certain “cultures,” (read here – Europeans) while the partaking of mushrooms or opium – as just two examples, have been historically been seen as “different,” “not like us,” “foreign.” So, we as a society have criminalized “different” and “foreign.” Why have we done this? Fear perhaps?
    The first questions we may want to ask ourselves as a society are: What is a crime? Why do we consider it a crime? and How as a society do we understand the consequence of our own actions in creating a crime?
    Just some thoughts evoked from the questions.

  • WoundedEgo

    Good post.

  • Reynardine

    Not the same thing at all, in most cases.

  • Stella

    Bonnie, that was an excellent response to the quiz. I scored similarly to you. My opinion have been in part shaped by the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adriane Raine. I highly recommend it. After reading this book I moved from traditional thinking and judgement to progressive thinking and understanding.

  • Disappointed Quiz Taker

    found the quiz questions far too broad to elicit any sort of true basis
    for comparison, and felt my answers would have been more in tune with
    my thoughts if the questions had been MUCH more specific.

  • Kevin Duncan

    We are not executing enough, and there is no fear of being incarcerated. Criminals know they will be coddled. Punishment does not deter the crime.

  • W Lee Nichols

    Bonnie, I too regard your answer as an excellent response. I scored similar with a 2.2 on the traditional scale and 5.6 on the progressive one.. I think Norway’s criminal justice system has many answers worthy of a serious study.

  • Evelyn Connaway

    I agree with most all of your comment, I am more liberal and progressive.

  • diotima

    While doing the survey, I actually thought I was being a bit harsh toward criminals, but scored 2.4 and 6.1.

  • Marcia Dale-LeWinter

    I’m very low on the Traditional scale, and even with Liberals on the Progressive scale. If I could put my philosophy is one short sentence it would be that :: There is no single right answer to any problem cause by criminality, and that there are unintended consequences to every action taken. There is no “solution”, only continuous seeking for the truth – with compassion and empathy.

  • Donald A. Johnson

    I am similar to you. I got a 3.8 on the first and a 5.3 on the 2nd. I also label myself as politically liberal and dropped out of law school after having been assigned to the child advocacy clinic in criminal law at Antioch School of Law, and seeing how poorly the law solved problems for families and children at risk.
    I also tend to think that many (but not all) defendants are not necessarily evil people, but tend to be screwed-up with a poor moral compass due to early life experiences. While impressed with how much early life experiences affect later criminal behavior, I also believe that trying to “fix” these people after they become adults isn’t doing to do much good.
    I also agree that the system oppresses the poor and middle class, and has a double standard for the actions of the rich and powerful. I think that if I was a lawyer I would be in immigration law or bankrupcy law, helping people who really deserve to be helped. Having been burgled, and having several friends whose cars had been stolen, I don’t have much sympathy for criminals.
    The prison system is unnecessarily harsh punitive, and I strongly disagree with taking away the voting rights of criminals.

  • Diane Hughes

    What it mainly says about our society is that we have insanely privatized much of the penal system and too many people are making money by putting people in prison and keeping them there. The amount of corruption involved is staggering.

  • http://www.heatherwiech.com/ Heather

    I’m more traditional and more progressive than liberals. Go figure.

  • Patricia Shannon

    I notice there is no test for those who value truth. In my experience, liberals are much more likely to value truth than conservatives are.

  • Michael Case

    What a frightening world you imagine.

  • Evelyn Connaway

    I agree with you on many factors of our legal system. When my husband was going to SMU, I would type his work and argue cases with him. Many times I would argue and he would disagree – I would say to him, “morally, I am right and he proceeded to tell me – “there is no “moral/morally” in law – which I really felt there should be. I decided I didn’t approve of that kind of law. We are taught to live a moral life, and it should apply to the legal justice system also. He went into a form of law, that just required you to be honest in dealing, not judge an individual, unless they were dishonest in their dealing. I am 86 and have seen a lot of bad law practiced, some almost inhuman. I think we need to clean our books of lot of old laws. I don’t like a lot of the people who put a lot of these laws on the books.We have a mixture of the “First Constitution” The Holy Bible, written by many men, not just God and Jesus Christ. You know the part that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” , then turn around and say, “An eye for an eye” those two things contradict each other in regard to morally right or wrong. Then we have the Constitution of the United States, which did not consider part of the people in the US not important enough to even consider. White women, all other people not white, but all white men were considered. I have never seen the day that a man, any color was as important as a Woman! Maybe God made us for man’s little help mate, but I never fitted in that category!

  • Bruce Doxey

    Several questions do not provide enough information for a sensible answer.

  • Evelyn Connaway

    I agree with you and some aren’t very good Judges, the same as lawyers are very good at being honest, to them, its a matter of winning the case by hook or crook and getting paid. Being in prison is bad enough, but their time in there should be to help rehabilitate them, through education, work training in different vocations, that a lot of them didn’t have from the beginning of their lives. Except the white collar crimes, where educated me steal large sums of money from sheer greed. Everyone was taught by their parents when they were small not to steal. Those guys have no excuse, but rarely get punished as much as a poor white or black person does for drugs. There is no justice in that.!!!

  • Evelyn Connaway

    I think you should have said, “for profit politicians” not government.

  • Kenny Jaeger

    We judge ourselves as we judge others. We feel guilt therefore we wish to make others to feel guilt. pirateofcleveland dot org

  • Rachida Djebel

    The first murderer most know about was neither sentenced to prison nor to death….not in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. He was exiled away from all that was familiar and was never allowed to return to the place of his birth….think about that the next time you think to incarcerate of worse kill an offender…

  • Andi L

    So am I. I think the wording of the questions (using “some crimes”) creates a lot of leeway in the responses.

  • manofwoods

    When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Google eBook)
    Mark A. R. Kleiman

  • Anonymous

    The Abrahamic religions are not where I would go to learn about social justice. They have done great damage to humanity and continue to do so, previously in a violent manner; today in subtle and insideous ways.

  • Rosanchez

    Bonnie, I scored 2.4 and 6.1, and like you, I let the rapists go free, giving them a reasonable doubt on mental sanity, and bankers for the sake of the ones with social issues.
    I also have a book to recommend, A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava. It is a novel about a public attorney who works at Brooklyn courts defending, above all, people involved in drug business. The story is a criticism to the judicial system, but is written in a witty, ironic, and humorous manner. De la Pava himself and his wife are public attorneys in Manhattan courts, and his book, according to various book reviews was the best book on political fiction of the last decade.

  • Sandy N

    Bruce Doxey is right. I am a liberal but I know there are really bad people and some horrific inexplicable crimes. On the other hand, we all know that our laws are changing and peoples’ shared values are evolving. Some acts have become decriminalized while protections for minorities have been put in place. What is considered criminal covers a wide range of activities making the questions too broad.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t answer most of these questions. First, possessing illegal drugs, or even selling some drugs at the local level, is very different from murder, and so on. Second, how can one fully understand the effect of society, family, genetics, and choice on a criminal action? Do we even understand why some people are psychopaths?Someone who has studied psychology and sociology, or worked as a social worker, in law, etc., knows more about the effects of society, family, and psychological/emotional problems. Thus, they may give different answers. I know of an idealistic person in prison because of extreme naivety. He was moved to a “nicer” prison where an ex-CEO and a high level politician are staying.

  • Arizona Eagletarian

    A LOT of ambiguity in the questions.

  • Owen Johnson

    Mine came out the same. It seems contradictory.

  • Andy J Loiacono Tsm

    Answered all the Qs but it did not get submitted. Message said Unable to resolve the server’s DNS address … All my answers disappeared. A bit frustrating.

  • Ric Shorten

    We have no right to judge except to the law but we have the right to stop them and their damaging to others and themselves…always with compassion.

  • Arizona Eagletarian

    I appreciate your thoughtful words. Your citation of drug addiction as rooted in religiousity is right on the mark. I would hesitate to say it was “we” who deemed it that way, though I understand how it could easily be argued either way.

    Just a few short weeks ago, I was reading about the Controlled Substances Act of 1971. The very definition of “addict” is made in terms of immorality. My point about whether it was “we” who deemed it such is simply that I choose not to own the archaic notions imposed upon us by those in Congress in previous generations.

    Of course, there is a very vocal faction of American society today that advocates similarly for imposing what amounts to a christian theocracy. I wholeheartedly reject those efforts.


    “The term “addict” means any individual who
    habitually uses any narcotic drug so as to endanger the public morals, health,
    safety, or welfare…”

  • PotomacTebo

    To be fair, the first murderer had no precedent for which to know that his action would lead to the death of his brother. You couldn’t really accuse Cain of trying to murder Abel if no one even knew that murdering a human was possible…

  • Andy J Loiacono Tsm

    Resubmitted … seems to have worked now

  • Anonymous

    We both incarcerate and execute far more people, proportionally, than any other rich democracy, but we continue to have much more violent crime. So what is your explanation—that Americans are just more congenetically evil?

  • Nik

    It says that the private prison system values money over people. States that have private prisons (mostly in southern states) incarcerate more people and make more money off of them.

  • Betty Eyer

    Damn. I’m on the internet and a reasonable, thinking person responded to one of my posts. I don’t know how to act.

  • Anonymous

    As a person wrongfully accused im biased,
    and liberal and proud of it.

  • nikkipoy

    Well I am liberal as hell… but that’s not a surprise

  • Anonymous

    I scored 1.6 and 6.6, respectively. I believe in rehabilitation of felons and judgments that allow more latitude for the shortening of sentences at the court’s discretion rather than the one size fits all mandatory sentences that are currently all that’s available. I believe that the majority of criminal behaviour is a direct outgrowth of poverty. I believe that psycho/sociopaths should be dealt with differently from other criminals – bad luck for politicians. :-)

  • Betty Eyer

    I always use a screwdriver rather than a saw.
    To me, the sliding scale clarifies the answer to this statement not at all. If I strongly approve of using a screwdriver to loosen or tighten a screw and strongly approve of using a saw to cut a board, answering basically “eh, shrug” does not tell anyone what tool to use. In fact, it might be construed that I really don’t care much about what tool you use. So, no, the sliding scale seems an absurd response in that situation. Most of the questions were like that to me.

  • Steve Purnell

    Afluenza is a disease of the bench

  • Michael P. Morgan

    It would be interesting to see other studies that suggests that a person’s moral compass can be determined by their views associated with crime and the criminal justice system. I have not seen any, but might you suggest some I could read?

  • The Truthiness

    In a perfect system, I believe attempts should be made to rehabilitate criminals. Many times they are depraved on account of their being deprived (West Side Story) but there are some who can not, or will not, be rehabilitated and I feel that punishment is in order.

    What gets me is the imbalance of who does time. It really too often comes down to who has the $licker attorney like you said.
    Why does some poor guy or gal do time for a few joints while bankers screw the country and no one does time???
    What’s that about?

    It’s a complicated issue for sure with no easy answer that covers all cases but it certainly is far from being fair.

  • Patricia Stidham-Burns

    1.6-6.8 and proud of it!

  • DougNTexas


  • Michael Ryland


  • Brian

    Still bleeding’ after all these years: 1.8 and 6.6

  • Luis Burgos

    1.9 & 6.3!

  • Dennis Lange

    I am one of the most liberal/progressive people that i know, and i live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so that’s saying something. I came out closer to conservatives on the traditional scale, and half way in between progressives and conservatives on the progressive scale. These questions were way to vague, and can only be answered on a case by case basis. I cannot generalize enough about crime/ punishment/ accused/ convicted/ victims, enough to answer these questions. Almost all could be answered, “it depends”.

  • Anonymous

    some of these questions should be two separate, such as the prisons being comfortable; and reforming. prisons should be hard labor, but with opportunities to reform. no mention here of the “three strikes” deal, a great idea which has been done wrong many times.

  • Anonymous

    2.8 – 5.6

    Probably about right for a former public defender.

  • Stephen Connor

    Sort of right in the middle just like I figured.

  • Michael Ryan


  • Trust, anyone?

    It scares me a little to think we are asked these questions about crime so that we may discern our political views. Interesting, to say the least. What does this mean for us/them to take this survey? I’m always looking for something more than what’s on the surface. Why, with all the surveillance and injustices made on people, it’s hard for me to have trust. Anyway, just wondering what other view points there are to be had.

  • Mr. America

    And notice in these discussions the conservatives think minorities are getting away with stuff when in fact there is a huge disproportion of minorities in prison and on death row. When you compare punishments for the same crime against race you will find that minorities always pay a higher price. But my view is that it’s not so much race that causes the disparity as it is CLASS. The problem with our Judicial and Penal system is that it is more reflecting that our society has quickly and increasingly slipped back into Feudalism than anything else. Essentially what conservatives stand for is FEUDALISM. That is in fact why Freedom, Equal Rights, etc.. are Dirty words to them.
    Also note that there are people serving time in prisons for stealing golf clubs while there are white collar criminals that steal hundreds of millions that get off scott free. The emphasis is on petty criminals who are low class, not on those at the other end of the spectrum. In order to be a just society the laws need to be applied top down, not bottom up (and then stopping at the middle).

  • Great Big Dog

    4.7 on the traditional scale and 2.9 on the progressive scale! Yup, that’s me!

  • Anonymous

    2.7, 5.2

  • Thack


  • Harvey Redgrandad Smith


  • Piper Stephens Sellers


    Sounds about right. I didn’t like how some of the questions were phrased. But still more accurate than not.

  • Christian G

    i guess understanding root causes, acknowledging that criminals are not self-created, makes me an ultra-liberal. 1.0 / 4.3

  • Kiri The Wonderdog

    3.1 on Traditional Subscale (Liberal 3.0, Conservative 4.4); and 5.2 on Progressive Subscale (L5.4, C 4.3). Missed full marks as Progressive because of my Libertarian quirkiness, I guess.

  • shelagh

    I agree entirely about the questions I was reading and rereading them and thinking, “well in principle yes, but what if…” or “how can you possibly genaralise on something like that,there is no blanket solution to that”

  • Amanda Arsenault

    Turns out…not very traditional…very Progressive. Sounds right.

  • Tovena Dan

    2.2/5.9 and proud that I am less conservative and more liberal than I thought! Regardless, all behavior is mediated by our social situation so crime is a natural extension of people who have been systematically denied opportunity. Crime is therefore rooted in a historical legacy of racism, which was transplanted from a caste to class system. We imprison more Blacks now then shackled during the entire shameful period of slavery. The essence of discrimination is alive and well, and corporatists are making a fortune out of the prison industry to boot.

  • judith

    Glad that I’m not the only one with scores like that.

  • volsfan0911

    4.7/3.9 LMAO, guess I’m up there with Mussolini huh?

  • joe ferraro

    4.1 / 5.0 in the middle

  • Steven

    2.4 / 5.5 i agree 100 % with “crime is a natural extension of people who have been systematically denied opportunity. Crime is therefore rooted in a historical legacy of racism, which was transplanted from a caste to class system. “

  • Paulette

    I scored 1.1 for tradition and a 7 for progressive! Yep I’m a humanist, just like Jesus! Keep in mind he changed “an eye for an eye”, and was so radical he was crucified!

  • Paulette

    Love you bleeding hearts, me too! And I’ve been the victim of violent crime! I scored 1.1 and 7!

  • Paulette

    I concur with you!

  • Patricia Mink

    4.4 traditional and 4.6 progressive scale.

  • Nimmi

    Does not seem right.

  • Paulette

    I’m thrilled with my score, 1.1 and 7. Our penal system doesn’t work and minority driven. It’s become a cash cow for private industries who are dished out billion dollar contracts, very little is spent on rehabilitation. It’s become another kick back city abomination. And the bottom line is, those with money walk.

  • jeste

    Many questions are slippery–if we’re talking straight-up ‘christian values’, not really my bag–so couldn’t actually give an answer. Which is precisely where I like to be: out of the black/white, good/bad, moral/immoral paradigms. This a messy world! Deal with it.

  • Lotusblossom

    2.4/5.6. I am not surprised, but I did have to think about some of my answers from an unemotional standpoint and weigh my answers from a “what if” position. For example, I don’t care if someone’s information is posted who shoplifted from a store – I don’t think it deters them, anyway. I do, however, want violent criminals’ (i.e. sexual criminals’) information made public so I know who is in my neighborhood and who to make sure my kids avoid. There are times when I have a gut-level reaction and want to see a criminal dead – I have a friend who is a former prosecutor and there are some cases she described that I can’t bring myself to tell anyone else about, but cannot “unhear.” But I believe that nobody is born inherently evil. Either something is not wired correctly in their brains, or they have had a terrible childhood and do not have the tools with which to deal with it. A pastor once opined that every person is created by God and therefore, has inherent worth. For those of us who believe in God, who are we to make the decision of life vs. death? With that being said, violent criminals, in my opinion, do need to be kept separate from the public, unless they can be truly rehabilitated. If we focus on preventing the problem in the first place – through proper and adequate education for ALL children, and help for low-income parents so they don’t have to work three jobs to keep food on the table and can be there to guide their kids, maybe having a sense of that inherent worth might help prevent crime in the first place. Additionally, making counseling and education and personal development opportunities available to those who are already incarcerated might give them a road to healing and rehabilitating themselves and be able to become productive members of society. The way we do things right now doesn’t seem to prevent anything, so why not try it a new way??

  • Lotusblossom5

    I had the same issue with answering some of those questions, so I had to weight my answer. For example, the one about whether offenders’ info being published? In my mind, I don’t really need to know anything unless there’s someone on the sexual offender list, so I put slightly agree since most crimes are not sexual. I actually came out a little more liberal than people who identify as liberals, so I felt good about where I landed.

  • lotusblossom5

    You put your answer so much more succinctly than I did! :)

  • Letticia Garcia

    2.5/6.1 I guess my job might be to blame! lol I’m a Liberal’s Liberal !

  • lotusblossom5

    In my mind, this is why the answers are on a scale. If Gallup, or another professional polling agency wrote these questions, they write them vaguely on purpose – to let you define it yourself. Nothing is an all black or white answer. I think I probably look at the scale more from the perspective of what percentage to I agree with the statement and that helps me to answer more clearly.

  • Marie4662

    Well stated

  • Progressive Dude

    Crime is a result in most cases of poverty and hopelessness and criminalization of what they have to do to survive….which are due to injustice in the first place upon the “offender” by the state or local society. Fix the root cause and the result changes. This includes “crimes” committed by the mentally ill. We need to stop using prisions and jails as the replacement for mental institutions.

  • stelz

    1.4 trad, 6.0 progressive.
    I’m good with that. :)

  • Brandon Anderton

    2.6 and 5.4 for me..

    its not about claiming a party affiliation and proclamation of your results like a badge of honor or like you won the lottery… its about having grown up in a place where crime was common. the perspective i got getting out of that situation rather than becoming a statistic, was and is invaluable…

  • Eduardo Hernandez

    So I came as more traditional than a conservative, and more progressive than a liberal. I guess that makes me a “traditional überliberal”! Go figure! :-O

  • Robert Sevigny

    2.9 traditional, 5.9 progressive — I can live with that. Didn’t like the way they framed the questions though.

  • Anonymous

    I think maybe the words “traditional” and “progressive” need some defining, as I rather thought these were opposites, but in this quiz, apparently not.

  • gerard

    yeah, I got a 2 on traditional and a 6.1 on progressive (even higher than the average liberal) yippee

  • Anonymous

    As a psychologist, I have worked with sex offenders and other criminals, and have found that most of them are sociopaths and there is NO cure for that. So some of these questions seem geared to people who think criminal behavior can be unlearned when it is the way most of these people are “wired” and that is why they do crimes. It only has a little to do with their environment or socioeconomic class. The proof is that so many more people do not go this way under the same or worse circumstances.

  • Elpipster

    As a psychologist you seem to have an exceptionally poor grasp of neurophysiology and genetics. Given present scientific knowledge it is a fallacy to say that most criminals are “wired” for anything. This would be to presume that we have in any way figured out the interplay between genetics and environment on shaping behaviour. Countless studies have revealed that many law abiding people also have psychopathic tendencies. These traits are especially common amongst the corporate executives, surgeons and salespersons for example. In fact, what evidence there is suggests quite the opposite of what you content: that environment may be a huge factor in determining whether or not someone with an inherent genetic potential for sociopathic behaviour ends up as a law-abiding citizen, or as a violent criminal. The fact that the criminals you work with are sociopathic reflects your bias, because you do not work equally with top corporate executives, who, very owing to a secure upbringing with a good education are able to channel their lack of empathy into a socially acceptable profession.

  • quigley bigbody

    @dcicconi, false. The fact that you use sociopath in place of psychopath leads me to question your competence as a psychologist. While APD is more prevalent in correctional populations than in the general population, this doesn’t mean that most offenders have the disorder.

  • diskus

    1.7 traditional, 6.9 progressive. sorry if I offended someone.

  • Anonymous

    An extremely poorly designed questionnaire that should not be taken seriously.

  • D’Arcy

    While I have no training in Physiology, and came up Liberal, I must agree with your assessment of this test. Some people are psychopaths, and most of them are running the country. These people are not, I repeat Not, human. They are advanced reptiles brains walking around in human bodies. They are charming enough and articulate enough to hide their true heartless nature and string the rest of us along. These types are detrimental to our entire world. If we could identify them accurately I would be for destroying them. But our entire culture has been created mainly by these psychopaths and schizophrenics. There is no hope for asylum , we are governed by the inmates.

  • TreasaNicanChrosain

    This is obviously very informal survey. I always like Kohlberg’s scale of moral reasoning. I am a liberal but I believe in rehabilitation is necessary for those who choose to be rehabilitated.

  • Anonymous

    It is intuitively reasonable to speculate that sociopaths are more highly represented among all offenders–especially sex offenders–than they are in the general population. I question the claim that most of these offenders are sociopaths.

    One cannot exculpate society, its systems, and its policies as major factors in crminality–including sex crimes.

    Most crimes should be dealt with as mental health problems. Failure to do so serves only to harden the incarcerated.

  • Anonymous

    Nelson Mandela, upon being elected president of South Africa, could have taken the position that whites were the cause of the country’s problems. Instead, he correctly identified the problem as a policy–Apartheid–, which was abolished. All South Africans were accorded equal rights and dignity under the law.

    The US should learn from this example. Blaming people for a dysfunctional society not only blames the victims in many (most?) cases, but it also exacerbates the problem by implicitly endorsing existing public policy as correct and in the best interests of all citizens.

  • Anonymous

    Paulette has correctly identified the problem of criminality in the US as one resting largely on harmful, often vengeful, public policy. She also notes the fact that profitization of incarceration serves as an incentive to imprison people for profit. There is no excuse for the US to have the largest prison population in the world.

  • Anonymous

    Sociopathy and psychopathy are not universally diagnosed as mental disorders. It is argued by many that they are a “fever” or symptom of an underlying disorder or set of disorders.

  • emtee

    well said. from a 2.3 to a 6.8….

  • Anonymous

    The Crash of 07-08 resulted from reckless acts and speculation of hIgh-level executives; this crash ruined the lives of millions. Yet, as Sen. Warren has pointed out, not one of these executives or their corporations has been hauled into court. They get away with slap-on-the-wrist settlements.

    Furthermore, these individuals and their corporations were rescued with taxpayer dollars, which they used to pay themselves generous bonuses.

    As 90% of Americans see their incomes stagnate or fall, the top 10% of the top 1% see their incomes balloon into the hundreds of millions and billions.

    A society that incarcerates a youth for years for stealing a car but that allows people will offshore accounts, univested and untaxed, in the trillions to go on increasing their own incomes is wildly dysfunctional. Such mores do not lend themselves to a healthy society governed by servant leaders representing We the People.

  • gmf

    so the fact that some people smoke and never get cancer is proof that cigarettes don’t cause cancer?

  • Pretty Progressive

    The nature of the crime or context really effects how I would answer most of these questions. Crimes related to possession or the sale of a small amount of drugs are so different than violent, intentional murder or rape. Rehabilitating a true violent sociopath shouldn’t use a lot of our resources but rehabilitating a drug offender that grew up in poverty and has no job skills should be a high priority, starting with investing in public education. Both our justice system and this quiz should be sensitive to the nature of the crime.

  • Stevepyong

    Guess that I’m a knuckle dragging neanderthal in feeling that prisons were meant to punish, not rehabilitate. For all you liberals that want to America become Europe, they still believe that prisons are there to punish. 23 hours in you cell, one hour for exercise. That in most of those countries, proof of innocence is required, not proof of guilt. In some of those countries, prisoners are REQUIRED to work to pay for the prison, if the prisoner can’t work then the family is sent a bill. If the family can’t pay, the prisoners care is decreased. Seems to work in those countries.

  • Secular Advocate

    Almost all the questions beg the question. Very poor.

  • Anonymous

    Sir, if the label is to fit, it’s always better if it’s one’s own label.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, not sure about this questionnaire (and some questions were hard to interpret). So I am real progressive and also conservative? ;-O I suppose it is possible as I do have mixed beliefs vs. a “party line” on all things…

  • Justin Bereiter

    4.6 and 4.4…Going over the questions one word comes to mind and it is balance. Ignorance is believing that all people who have made a mistake can’t learn from it and ignorance is thinking all people can learn from their mistakes. Some people are a product of their environment, but that does not give them the justification to do whatever they want with no repercussions. Just as some are given every advantage life offers and it is squandered by poor decisions.

  • Don

    If you liked Tolkien’s Hobbit, you may conclude that The Devastation of Smaug, betrayed the original characters and plot, using them as trivial links between bloodbaths. Tolkien gave little space to violence, but the movie industry has expanded the last portion of The Hobbit into two massive productions marketed to the the tastes of the bloodthirsty.. The three previews shown before Smaug fit into the same violent genre, varying only in the weapons used. The next segment of The Hobbit should emphasize Bilbo’s diplomacy and peacemaking skills, but instead it will likely focus on a massive battle between the forces of evil and good. I plan to miss it.

  • kathy

    I found the questions to cut and dried to be useful, There is a great deal of difference in say, a “criminal” who is caught with a felonious amount of marijuana and a person who has abused or murdered a child, for instance. No one in his or her right mind would assign the same rules or significance to such dissimilar circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Can we agree not to use the term progressive? It’s so biased. If I don’t agree with the progressive agenda am I regressive? Who determines that what a progressive thinks is progress? Not all change is progress.

  • Kathy Minges

    My responses were colored, I’m afraid, by the actions and the response of the justice system to a former family member. Remorse for being caught, not for the crimes committed, and an abbreviated sentence for “good behavior” while in prison were less than satisfactory. I never expected remorse, but the time off for good behavior seemed ludicrous, as none of his fellow inmates fit his victim profile.

  • Botyfltiger Edwards

    Right and you are the first one to get all pissy when someone compares our country to a 3rd World country I am sure….

  • mvres

    I think it’s a better counterpoint to “conservative” than “liberal.” Conservative implies wanting to retain the current traditions. Progressive implies wanting to push forward, abandoning certain traditions. Most people are a combination of both. But progress always involves change — even though all change is not progress.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the questions… well, for example, the “forced counseling” one. It should be readily available for those willing to try to change, but it doesn’t work otherwise. Likewise with any of the other rehab vs. punitive type questions.

  • Toni

    Progressive is more inclined to change. Conservative is less likely to change. I am not using absolutes, so what’s the problem using these terms?

  • Anonymous

    My replies were tempered by the fact that I disagree with some laws, and I disagree with the way many laws are applied. A poor man who steals is wrong, but not as wrong as someone who isn’t poor who also steals. A prison should not be a cruel and unsusual punishment where the law of the jungle rules. It should be a somewhat comfortable facility that empowers people to improve themselves and become better citizens, not better criminals. Apparently I’m more conservative than the conservatives on the Traditional Subscale and more liberal than the liberals on the Progressive Subscale. I have little sympathy for repeat violent offenders, and almost none for murderers. An eye for an eye is a basic guiding principle, but isn’t always the best principle.

  • Anonymous

    Offshore accounts and such are not illegal. It would hardly be fair to put people in prison for things that are not crimes, or that weren’t at the time.

  • Anonymous

    I consider myself politically progressive and independent. I don’t identify with the GOP or the Democrats. My responses to the questions are influenced by personal experience of friends being victims of violent crimes, in one case a friend was slain at the hands of a paroled sex offender.. In cases of habitual sex offenses for example, such as rapes, molestation, etc.. there’s already a pathological pattern of behavior entrenched. Most of it is not due to environmental factors but determined by biochemical or brain structural anomalies. In those cases, rehabilitation is not possible. Since these offenders will inevitably repeat their crimes, the only pragmatic course of action is lifelong supervision and monitoring within a controlled secure environment, ie.. psych facility, Psych supported secure housing or prison . These individuals always repeat offend and should never ever be paroled. That’s an inadequacy within the justice system that needs to be remedied. People that habitually commit crimes need intensive consistent therapeutic social supports to prevent their behaviors and prevent tragic outcomes. However, its important to specifically define that violent predatory criminals require a more severe response than a petty offender who shoplifts. The punishment and course of treatment should fit the crime.

  • Andrew

    I don’t like questions that contain the word “always” or “never”.

  • Stevepyong

    Joanne, unlike you, I’ve been around the world twice and with the exceptions of Australia and Antarctica, I’ve been on every continent. I’ve seen prisons and hospitals Somalia to Germany, Chile to Korea. I know I’m WAAAAY to the right of Gengus Khan. but i don’t try to hide it. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  • eizabeth dragon

    Like most quizzes, any thoughtful person will have a very difficult time agreeing or not agreeing with many of the questions; they are intentionally non-specific. “Democracy can be a messy thing.”
    Q5: A sexual predator needs to be publicly known in order to protect future potential victims. But a person who steals food from a grocery store because he is starving? It would be absurd to post his picture in the newspaper or PO.
    Q6 (“Vigilante justice (such as the people of a town taking action on their own)…” Vigilante invokes images of the KKK and that nutcase George whatshisname in FLA. A group of citizens fed up with an inert City Council, Congress or a dysfunctional tax code must take action in order to protect their constitutional rights, protect the air they breathe, water they drink, etc…if their actions are technically illegal, recall that bad laws need to be changed.
    I guess it comes down to violent vs. non-violent crimes but even there we have to refine “violence” to include political crime against the welfare of citizens (and, as an aside, these are the faces that should be posted in newspapers, and post-offices) and certainly the financially violent crimes of Wall St. CEOs and corporations.

  • Anonymous

    They also, I believe, have much shorter sentences. Punishment itself can be corrective if it doesn’t last so long they have no life left outside.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a good sign.

  • Anonymous

    Not all change is progress, and also, not all progress is good.

  • Anonymous

    Retired from the IRS, I can assure you than any American citizen or resident must pay tax on worldwide income. GOP deprives IRS of funds to enforce the law, and accounts are in countries that don’t report the income. Tax evasion is illegal.

    Furthermore, I define “earn” as to return to society in value what you take. The very rich don’t do that. In the Bush Crash of 07/08, they left millions without jobs, pensions, and homes–yet they were bailed out by you and me and are now taking more money than ever before–investing none of it and creating very few jobs in the US.

  • Anonymous

    You are a thinker after my heart, Mvres. Progress must build on the proven traditions and ethos that have brought us to where we are. We discard only those beliefs and practices that harm us: racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, crony capitalism, etc.

  • Michael Fortunato

    Elizabeth — I combed through examples for each and that’s what make these questions worthwhile. Finding principles that cover all major cases is valuable. The Likert scale allows us to pick middling positions (say moderate disagreement) when we can think of counterexamples.

  • Michael Fortunato

    You should not answer 1 or 7 to any of them.

  • Michael Fortunato

    The comments below confirm that many people resist interpretations of their points-of-view that characterize them; most people want to control the labels applied to them, whether or not they are accurate. This instrument is useful to uncover evidence of this phenomenon, as well.

  • Anonymous

    The question about publishing names specifically said it was for the purpose of shaming them and causing them embarrassment. To me, that gets a very different answer than doing the same for public safety reasons.

  • Anonymous

    Neither old nor new means either good or bad, yet so many insist on pairing them one way around or the other

  • Phil Culmer

    Depends whether you want the judicial system to reduce crime or to provide slave labour to make a profit for whoever runs the prison. Given that the US has the world’s highest proportion of its population in prison, retribution and slave labour don’t seem to provide much of a deterrent.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Well and succinctly stated.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    A thermometer is an incredibly simplistic instrument, as are the stethoscope and the blood pressure cuff, yet together they reveal significant information. Similarly 28 incredibly simple questions do reveal very much about us. See the comment by Michael Fortunato..

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    That’s not a problem. I too felt there was more definition required to answer the first question one way or the other. That is way the mid-point answer of “no opinion” is there. “No opinion” to the question as it is asked makes the response honest.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Yes, answer 3, 4, or 5. Sadly, people are not taught very well about how to respond to questions with scaled answers. We live in such an “all or nothing” mind set.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    None, if they are used consistently by a speaker. Obviously some speakers will differ in their use, but the problems arise when the same speaker uses the word one way for one context or circumstance and then uses it in another way for another context or circumstance. For example, I notice you did not use the word “liberal” but progressive and conservative. Why was that? The test measured how you compared to people who self-identified as liberal or conservative, not against people who self-identified as progressive or conservative. The results were shown on two charts that showed “traditional” and “progressive”, not conservative and progressive. So by mixing up the labels in your comment you have made your comment unclear as to whether you are referring to the sampled groups or the resulting charts.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Nothing to be afraid of there. What ever colors one’s responses is not material to the result. If you look at your result and know that your responses were colored by a particular opinion, then the survey has accomplished its goal of giving you the opportunity to reflect on your views and how they arise in the social context.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    The labels are social conventions having no inherent meaning outside the social construct. Progressive means someone who wants progress. It says nothing at all about what that progress looks like. Conservative means someone who wants to conserve, but it says nothing at all about what that conservation looks like. Ever hear of the “March of Progress”? Big railroads and big buildings, industrial “revolution” and the despoiling of the planet, rather than the conservation of natural resources were all done in the name of progress. Today those who want to be conservative about natural resources are called progressives. The labels are only of little use to identify groups based on current conventional social constructions and have no meaning in themselves and can change. That is why when the American people are given a survey on issues without the labels they always come up liberal. Many people surveyed will say they are against “Obamacare” but for “The Affordable Care Act” just because of the label without having a clue the two are the exactly the same law.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Interesting comment, but what does it have to do with this topic? Can you clarify the connection?

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You are mixing up the labels. The comparative groups are labeled “liberal” and “conservative.” The two charts are labeled “traditional” and “progressive.”
    The results tell you how you compare to people who identified themselves as either a “liberal” or a “conservative” and how you compare with those two groups in the dimensions called “traditional” or “progressive.” What were your results? Without seeing your results no one can answer you question about being a progressive and also a conservative.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You have described what a good survey will do. Questions that beg the question force the responder to read the question like a Rorschach image and reveal something about themselves that they would not reveal if the question was not open ended and ambiguous.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Too bad you did not learn anything from those travels.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Not true. Your preconceptions are creating the label “poorly designed.” The questions are intended to bypass your intellectual self-image. If you hold on dearly to that self-image then you will think the questionnaire is poorly designed when it forces you to see yourself without the protection of your self image.. If you want to prove it was poorly designed then post your results and tell us how they were wrong.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Until you post your results and why they are wrong, no one can evaluate your allegation that the survey is ridiculous.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You have created a novel example, but it is not an example from the test. That is called the logical fallacy of the Red Herring. Please give us an example of a question from the test that you object to and I can show you how to use the scale to honestly answer the question.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not the only problem. “No opinion” is not a good choice when the truth is “I have a very strong opinion, but which it is depends on what you’re not telling me” or “this half of the statement is very right and the other half very wrong.” It’s only the least bad answer available, which is not at all the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is that the questions, as written, can generate vastly different answers from people whose views, were they allowed to explain them, might be identical or nearly so. Or, for that matter, from the same person whose opinion has not changed at all looking at the question on a different day. That’s not going to yield trustworthy results.

  • Anonymous

    That you would have to is itself evidence the questions are badly done.

  • Stevepyong

    Just the point, prisons in the US are country clubs compared to Europe. Texas used to have the work farms, where what you produced went to feed the population, excess went for sale and they got a share of the profit, until the Feds said they couldn’t. I happen to live in Korea where the prisons are HARSH. Crime here is mostly limited to extortion, some drug, DWIs, but murder is almost unheard of and those that do occur are usually commuted by foreigners. . Could be that 85% of the population knows tae kwan do.

  • Anonymous

    Very poorly devised questions. For example, it asks is you think that justice is the most important thing in a society. If you answer that you slightly disagree, you are really answering that it is not the most important. Similarly if you answer that you strongly disagree you are also answering that it is not the most important. In other words, both answers are equivalent.

    Another example: “One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal.” I would never hurt a defenseless animal (other than a cockroach or mosquito-I hate them) but there is no way I rank whacking a dog up there with genocide, slavery, rape, human trafficking, etc. You would have to be a terrible person to place mistreating a dog up there with the Holocaust. But by answering that I strongly disagree I seem to be unfeeling towards the suffering of animals, which I am not (except for the aforementioned bugs).

  • Anonymous

    You have no idea what my “preconceptions” are.

  • Anonymous

    In the standardization process, variations in interpretations of individual questions are accounted for in the frequency of a range of responses within certain cohorts, NOT by striving to write questions that everyone will interpret in the same way.

  • schala

    You’re so funny,i love it…welcome to the other side!

  • Linda

    Damn…I hate it when that happens…

  • http://www.arkansawyer.com/wordpress/ John A Arkansawyer

    How do you know he didn’t mean deification?

  • Anthony Endres

    //” Liberals value compassion, or care, over all else, while conservatives assign equal weight to values including care, liberty, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. It’s not that liberals don’t believe in the others, but when faced with a moral dilemma, care (or avoidance of harm) trumps everything else.”//

    I kind of have a some tiny issues with that absurdly bloomy conservative American generalized redefinition of what is “liberal” and what conservative.
    Sure the dude is a “scientist” and not just an demagogic ideologue?

  • Anthony Endres

    //“NOT by striving to write questions that everyone will interpret in the same way.”//

    What would make that kind of “standardization process” MOST inaccurate for evaluating objective fact,as such even less, nicht wahr?

  • Anonymous

    The “objective” “fact” that is being assessed is how people respond compared to how certain identified cohorts of people responded in the standardization process, not about what something means. Whatever the questions meant to the test samples, it is how they responded to those questions that established the groupings which the current quiz takers are compared to.

  • Betty Eyer

    It’s called an analogy, Gregory, not a red herring. This isn’t a contest. I don’t agree with you, just let it go at that.

  • Joan

    Actually, the way you should read it is that you are **much** more progressive than most conservatives. Perhaps that could tell you something about the group you identify with…

  • Anthony Endres


    The sort of grouping and comparing of those sample groups you mention do not establish facts. But I feel where you are coming from.
    Generalization of the psychology of humans is an atypical American simplification which does not really exist as such on a global level.
    Maybe such applies for the U.S. alone more, ha?

  • Anthony Endres

    Homo Sapiens is a simpleton, granted. But simple, the psychology and biology of us simplistic humans are not as these sort of simplistic quizzes want to make things look.

  • Verbena

    Interesting… is “offender” the same as “convicted” “arrested” “imprisoned” “accused” or…”targeted”?

  • Anonymous

    Many Americans savor the idea of inflicting suffering and humiliation on other Americans. To people of this bent, results are irrelevant. Fortunately, many other Americans, like you, do not allow satisfaction of an emotionally-founded lust for retribution override reason and a respect for the fact that all of us are human.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t look them up again. But I was real nontraditional. I was very progressive and about average for conservative.
    Again, hard to interpret some of the questions, tho…. needed fuller explanation!

  • Anonymous

    To me it meant a poorly constructed question.

    I do polling all the time and we try to avoid such bad constructions.

  • Don

    The reply on the Hobbit movie came in response to an earlier comment. It seems that the media fascination with violence erodes decency and leads to many problems generally related to this survey.

  • Dave K

    Some of these questions should specify the type of crime. Many people feel differently about violent crimes vs “victimless” crimes.

  • Leah E.

    I agree, many of these questions are overly generalized and lacking context, making it tough to answer. I did the best I could, my results reading as more liberal than not and exceeding libs on the progressive end of the scale, and I say this as a victim of violent crime, having lost a loved one to the same.

    That said, I don’t know if every individual driven to criminal acts can be effectively reconditioned and rehabilitated. Certainly not with our current system and level of understanding. We have so much more to learn about ourselves and other human beings, our individual ecology, our family and ancestral ecology, our communal, cultural and societal ecologies as living systems within systems, the petri dish we develop from and are raised up in. Fascinating, yet beyond the moral questions @ personal responsibility, where we’re currently at is still quite limited.


  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Sadly, you are interpreting the label “no opinion” literally and misunderstanding how the survey works. If the answer would be a strong opinion if more information were given then the answer is also “no opinion” based on the information that is given. People want to “fight the question”, but the that just removes you from the pool of test subjects because you won’t follow the directions.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You are overthinking the whole survey. The point is the survey generates answers based on these questions which can be different answers even for people who might believe they shared the same views. It would be good to have a background in how this testing actually produces results before claiming the results are not trustworthy. Did you take the survey? If you want to prove the survey is not trustworthy, then tell us your results and explain how the results were wrong.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You are using another logical fallacy. Please point to a single question that you claim is “bad” and explain how it is “bad.”

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Yes I do. You have the preconception that you know how surveys are developed and evaluated when in fact you do not know. You have the preconception that you can spout off your opinion without any facts to support it because you still refuse to say what your results were and give the evidence how those results were wrong. Now of course, you have put yourself in the position that your test results can’t be evaluated because we won’t know if you deliberately sabotaged the result because of your preconceptions.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    An irrelevant or false analogy is a Red Herring. You still haven’t pointed out a single actual question that is even remotely like your false analogy.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    I didn’t say homo sapiens are simpletons. Lets stay on point. I said the questions in the survey were simple questions, that taken together can add up to a revealing look at moral perspectives. It is also revealing to see how people want to blame the questions for their own issues.

  • richard san

    being the husband of a murder victim, and the resultant life altering condition, i answered best i could. i “think” i’m more progressive and liberal than the result depicts. maybe an individual’s experiences are what drives our opinions in answering the questions as they were posed.

  • Anonymous

    My “test results” have nothing to do with my view of the poor construction of the questions. Stop assuming that you know anything at all about me.

  • Anonymous

    That doesn’t make the question as-is a good one.

  • Anonymous

    “It produces results” does not mean the results are good ones. Would you mind explaining the mechanism by which, at least in principle, a question which people with the same opinion (if they could only explain that, and NOT just that they “might believe” it’s the same, as you changed it to) can give opposite answers because of how they read it will give accurate results?

  • Anonymous

    No. If you have to come in after the fact, take someone’s true opinion, and explain how they should then have misstated it to make the survey give the right answer, the survey is not clear enough on its own. That’s on basic principle, not specific to any question or even any survey, and reducing it to a single question obscures that and would allow you to put forth some excuse for that one as if it settled things.

  • Anonymous

    The questions are, in many cases, TOO simple. That’s the problem. At least THIS test doesn’t then complain that you’ve answered “no opinion” too many times as some do.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Your survey results have everything to do with your credibility as someone who is able to evaluate whether or not the questions are constructed poorly. You refusal to admit that shows you know nothing about survey questions.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Pick a question, any question, and let’s discuss why it is not “a good one.” So far, I have not seen any actual evidence presented by the detractors.

  • Anonymous

    So no one can critique a question until after they have taken the test and gotten the results back? Do you realize how nonsensical that sounds?

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You’re in a hypothetical fantasyland. Generally, there are two kinds of survey questions: those that measure the taker’s knowledge of facts and those that measure opinions. You and the other detractors of this survey seem to be confused about this point and all appear to be assuming this is a test to measure your factual knowledge, when it is just a test to measure your opinions. A test to measure opinions requires some ambiguity so that the test taker can fill in the ambiguity with the opinion. It is not an opinion survey to ask, “Do you agree that 2 + 2 =4?”. There is no ambiguity in that question so answering “no” is not giving an opinion. It is precisely the ambiguity of the question that brings forth the opinion from people who explain to themselves that they would really share the same opinion if they could only explain it more. “Do dogs sometimes bite?” Is not an opinion question. “Are dogs mean?” is a question that calls for an opinion and if only people could explain what dogs or what situations are being talked about then their opinions would agree, but that is not the point. The question calls for your opinion about dogs being mean, not about dogs being mean in one or another circumstance or one or another breed.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    I’m trying to have a rational discussion but it sure is difficult. The survey doesn’t need to “be clear” to be effective. There is no such thing as being “on basic principle” without referring to the questions. You have stated that the questions are poor so you have to provide the evidence of which question is poor. I’m not reducing it to a single question, but it just seemed easier to ask for discussion of at least one question rather than to overwhelm you with the demand that you show how even a majority of the questions might be defective.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Please name one question that might be “TOO simple.” If as you say there are “many cases” then it should not be TOO difficult to name at least one.

  • Anonymous

    OK then, here are my test scores: 2.0 on the Traditional Scale and 5.4 on the Progressive Subscale. Now tell me why they make me someone able or unable to evaluate test scores.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    It is not nonsensical. No one can critique a question until they have evidence to show that the question doesn’t work. Since none of us have any evidence of how others have answered the questions, the only evidence we can have first hand is the results from ourselves. I took the survey and the results were just what I expected. Many of my Facebook friends have taken the survey and shared their results and they all found the survey agreed with what they expected, and that applies to both the liberals and conservatives and one friend who proudly said “I’m a centrist, and my results were in between the liberals and the conservatives.” So yes, there have to be some results to evaluate and the easiest results to access are your own. But if you have someone else’s results then by all means share them.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Glad to see that someone else has arrived who understands what the survey is doing. The ambiguity is exactly what reveals the point of view.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You both do not understand that this is not a survey of what you think. It is a survey of your orientation and perspective. If they were interested in what you think like a political election poll, then your comments might have some merit. But they are interested in your opinion and the social orientation for your opinion. So to specify “the type of crime” would make the survey less useful and require more questions.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    ” they are intentionally non-specific. ” THAT is the POINT! As far as the question is concerned It doesn’t come down to violent vs non-violent crimes, because that is not the point of the question. The point of the question is to put people into an ambiguous frame of mind and see what they do with it. It is like the Rorschach ink blots. Would you be complaining about the ink blots not being explained more before you answer? . would you say “I guess it comes down to whether that blotch in the middle is an eye or a whirlpool?” Yes you can think like that in your mind before you answer, but that has nothing to do with the ink blot on the page.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    So do you agree or disagree with those results. If you agree then there is no basis to say the questions were defective. If you disagree then in what way do you disagree? If you disagree for a silly reason then you can evaluate your own disagreement.

  • Anonymous

    You said: “Your survey results have everything to do with your credibility”. Now tell me how they determine my credibility?

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    You are more untraditional than most liberals and you are exactly as progressive as most liberals. Isn’t that true? That determines your credibility.

  • Anonymous

    Again, you said: “Your survey results have everything to do with your credibility”, how does that determine my credibility?

  • Anonymous

    The only purpose in demanding a specific question in this case is to avoid answering on principle. The question is this: how can a question which two people whose opinion on the subject, if they’re allowed to explain it, is essentially the same (IS, not just they thought it to be) can honestly answer in opposite ways be relied on to give accurate, meaningful results?

  • Anonymous

    For that matter, knowing your results is worthless without FIRST knowing the questions and method are trustworthy, unless you have another test for the same thing producing comparable results which you already know to work.

  • Anonymous

    That is not AT ALL the problem people are having with this test. We know it is asking for opinion. The complaint is not that it should be asking fact, and especially not that it provides for a range of answers. The problem is that there are too FEW allowed answers, not that there are too many.

  • Anonymous

    See my post a few minutes ago. Nothing in the question I asked requires an example question. Nothing even remotely suggests confusion about the difference between fact and opinion, which for reasons known only to yourself you nonetheless decided to base a lengthy but useless (because it avoided, either by error or by design, the question in favor of a wholly imaginary confusion) answer on. The question again: how can a question on a subject on which two people do on fact hold essentially the same opinion, yet which, as the question is worded and with the provided choices of answer, they can honestly answer oppositely, yield reliable, accurate results?

  • Anonymous

    You’ve already had examples provided, and waved them away eith no genuine explanation at all, only saying to pick “no opinion” and move on. It doesn’t matter what the question is; take your own pick if you need one. The problem common to all is a two-dimensional range of answers; how severe that problem is varies. Some add the problem of containing two different ideas, which a person might agree with one and disagree with the other, but which clearly the author doesn’t see that way. For that, you can take the one about printing names in the paper. But please answer the general case first.

  • Anonymous

    So: we must assume the test is good and are not allowed to ask how it can be expected to produce accurate results unless we first prove it wrong? That’s absurd.

  • Anonymous

    That I realized just a few minutes ago. But no, might have some merit is watering it down way too far if it were about finding out people’s opinions.
    The test as is might, for all I know, be fine for its purpose. I’d still like to know the more general answer, though, because surveys seeking opinions tend to be written the same way, or else provide an inadequately chosen set of multiple choice answers.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I would complain, and be justified in doing so, if I were presented with an inkblot test without being told in general terms how the test works. That would not, of course, involve explaining any of the specific images in the set.

  • Anonymous

    How is he supposed to know whether that’s true or not?

  • Dave K

    But, many of my answers are far different for rapists and murderers than they are for someone unjustly in jail for pot possession. There is no way to assess my true orientation and perspective with these questions.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    Sorry, but you have an idea that the survey is trying to “assess [your] true orientation and perspective with these questions.” The survey is not trying to assess your feelings or opinions about rapists and murderers or people sent to jail for pot possession. That is what is in your mind, not what is in the survey.

  • Anonymous

    You never did answer how a question which can get opposite results from people who have the same opinion can be reliable. (What the question is in any particular instance is irrelevant; all necessary conditions are contained in my question.)