Social media is usually a prime example of people failing to connect across the political spectrum. Rarely does a partisan post resonate with someone from a different party. Instances of a post changing someone’s heart and mind are seemingly unheard of.
The reason for this is generally because the person who made the post neglected to take into consideration the values others hold. There are some values that every human, on all corners of the Earth, hold in varying amounts. These are called “majoritarian values,” and being aware of them is an effective tool for communicating with those who do not share your views.
There are six majoritarian values:
- Cherishing and protecting others.
- Opposite of harm.
Fairness or proportionality
- Rendering justice according to shared rules.
- Opposite of cheating.
- The loathing of tyranny.
- Opposite of oppression.
Loyalty or ingroup
- Standing with your group, family, nation.
- Opposite of betrayal.
Authority or respect
- Submitting to tradition and legitimate author.
- Opposite of subversion.
Sanctity or purity
- Abhorrence for disgusting things, food, actions.
- Opposite of degradation.
These are derived from something called the Moral Foundations Theory, created by a group of social and cultural psychologists. The theory states that some morals, in this case, called “majoritarian values,” can be found in societies throughout the world, and people form their opinions and views based on them.
If you can understand which values people hold most dear, and if you can see outside your own set of morals, you can effectively communicate with others who hold different views than you.
For example, if you’re discussing tax reform with someone who doesn’t think Americans will see any benefits, you should ask questions to learn more about their majoritarian values.
Maybe you’ll find that the other person values care the most. Then, you can focus the discussion on the benefits families will see, like being able to better provide for their children with more take-home pay.
Or maybe you’ll learn that the other person values liberty the most. In that case, you can focus the discussion on keeping more of your hard-earned money out of the hands of the government.
Communicating across the spectrum can be a daunting task. But the important thing is to listen. Majoritarian values will show you the best way to talk about potentially tricky subjects.
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