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Concept: Libertarianism


We investigated the moral stereotypes political liberals and conservatives have of themselves and each other. In reality, liberals endorse the individual-focused moral concerns of compassion and fairness more than conservatives do, and conservatives endorse the group-focused moral concerns of ingroup loyalty, respect for authorities and traditions, and physical/spiritual purity more than liberals do. 2,212 U.S. participants filled out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire with their own answers, or as a typical liberal or conservative would answer. Across the political spectrum, moral stereotypes about “typical” liberals and conservatives correctly reflected the direction of actual differences in foundation endorsement but exaggerated the magnitude of these differences. Contrary to common theories of stereotyping, the moral stereotypes were not simple underestimations of the political outgroup’s morality. Both liberals and conservatives exaggerated the ideological extremity of moral concerns for the ingroup as well as the outgroup. Liberals were least accurate about both groups.

Concepts: Right-wing politics, Social psychology, Political philosophy, Conservatism, Political spectrum, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Positive liberty


Two studies explored the relationship between political ideology and endorsement of a range of moral principles. Political liberals and conservatives did not differ on intrapersonal or interpersonal moralities, which require self-regulation. However differences emerged on collective moralities, which involve social regulation. Contrary to Moral Foundations Theory, both liberals and conservatives endorsed a group-focused binding morality, specifically Social Justice and Social Order respectively. Libertarians were the group without a binding morality. Although Social Justice and Social Order appear conflictual, analyses based on earlier cross-cultural work on societal tightness-looseness suggest that countries actually benefit in terms of economic success and societal well-being when these group-based moralities co-exist and serve as counterweights in social regulation.

Concepts: Sociology, Right-wing politics, Religion, Morality, Political philosophy, Political spectrum, Liberalism, Libertarianism


Dread Pirate Roberts, founder of the first cryptomarket for illicit drugs named Silk Road, articulated libertarian political motives for his ventures. Previous research argues that there is a significant political component present or involved in cryptomarket drug dealing which is specifically libertarian. The aim of the paper is to investigate the prevalence of political discourses within discussions of cryptomarket drug dealing, and further to research the potential changes of these over the timespan of the study.

Concepts: Drug, Politics, Heroin, Political philosophy, Discourse, Illegal drug trade, Gang, Libertarianism


Political scientists traditionally have analyzed the effect of politics on subjective well-being (SWB) at the collective level, finding that more liberal countries report greater SWB. Conversely, psychologists have focused primarily on SWB at the individual level and shown that being more conservative corresponds in greater SWB. We integrate the theoretical foundations of these 2 literatures (e.g., livability and system justification theories) to compare and contrast the effects of country- and individual-level political orientation on SWB simultaneously. Using a panel of 16 West European countries representative of 1,134,384 individuals from 1970 to 2002, we demonstrated this SWB political paradox: More liberal countries and more conservative individuals had higher levels of SWB. More important, we explored measurement as a moderator of the political orientation-SWB relationship to shed some light on why this paradox exists. When orientation is measured in terms of enacted values (i.e., what the government actually does), liberalism corresponds in higher SWB, but when politics is measured in terms of espoused values (i.e., what individuals believe), greater conservatism coincided in higher SWB. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Political philosophy, Conservatism, Political spectrum, Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Classical liberalism, Libertarianism, Conservatism in the United States


Previous research has found that conservatives and liberals emphasize different moral foundations. The purpose of these two studies was to investigate whether moral foundations mediate the relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward rape among U.S. college students. In Study 1, moral foundations fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and rape myth acceptance. Study 2 generally replicated the results of Study 1, with binding foundations demonstrating the most consistent mediating effects. These results suggest that individual differences in moral decision-making may explain the relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward rape.

Concepts: Education, Political philosophy, Political spectrum, Aristotle, Communism, Liberalism, Political party, Libertarianism


In a recent paper in this journal, Jason Brennan correctly notes that libertarians struggle to justify a policy of compulsory vaccination. The most straightforward argument that justifies compulsory vaccination is that such a policy promotes welfare. But libertarians cannot make this argument because they claim that the state is justified only in protecting negative rights, not in promoting welfare. I consider two representative libertarian attempts to justify compulsory vaccination, and I argue that such arguments are unsuccessful. They either fail to show that the state is justified in implementing the policy or overgeneralise. I suggest that Brennan’s solution is especially well motivated insofar as it addresses the shortcomings of these arguments. Brennan argues that we violate the rights of others by participating in an activity that imposes an unacceptable collective risk of harm. Going unvaccinated is an activity that imposes an unacceptable collective risk of harm, and thus amounts to a rights violation. So, the state can implement a policy of compulsory vaccination I object, however, that Brennan’s delineation of acceptable and unacceptable risk implicitly rests on classical liberal rather than libertarian principles; he justifies compulsory vaccination on the grounds that it promotes welfare. I also object that Brennan’s argument would entail significant departures from libertarian institutional arrangements. This leaves libertarians with a choice: they can develop new arguments to demonstrate that their position is compatible with compulsory vaccination, or they can accept that their view entails the impermissibility of compulsory vaccination, and argue that this is not an unpalatable implication of their view.

Concepts: Vaccination, Implementation, Logic, Political philosophy, Argument, Liberalism, Classical liberalism, Libertarianism


Is love possible if we are not free? Some philosophers consider that true love is necessarily free, while others think that the nature of love makes it incompatible with a certain type of freedom. Here, we explored the relationship between feelings of passionate love, belief in free will and determinism across three online studies. In Study 1 (N=257), participants who believed strongly in free will (or determinism) expressed stronger passionate love. In Study 2 (N=305), we again found a positive association between belief in free will (or determinism) and passionate love, although the passionate love-determinism relationship seems more conditional. Finally, Study 3 (N=309) confirmed the relationship between belief in free will and passionate love but not between belief in determinism and passionate love. These findings, along with a meta-analysis, suggest that both beliefs in free will and determinism are compatible with passionate love.

Concepts: Mind, Metaphysics, Free will, Love, Determinism, William James, David Hume, Libertarianism


Although individual differences in the application of moral principles, such as utilitarianism, have been documented, so too have powerful context effects - effects that raise doubts about the durability of people’s moral principles. In this paper, we examine the robustness of individual differences in moral judgment by examining them across time and across different decision contexts.

Concepts: Morality, Utilitarianism, ConTeXt, Hedonism, Libertarianism, Ethical egoism


Previous research has associated self-reported political conservatism to mental health stigma. Although the limitations of self-reported political attitudes are well documented, no study has evaluated this relationship from a more nuanced perspective of sociopolitical identity.

Concepts: Political spectrum, French Revolution, Public administration, Political party, Libertarianism


People’s social and political opinions are grounded in their moral concerns about right and wrong. We examine whether five moral foundations-harm, fairness, ingroup, authority, and purity-can influence political attitudes of liberals and conservatives across a variety of issues. Framing issues using moral foundations may change political attitudes in at least two possible ways: (a) Entrenching: Relevant moral foundations will strengthen existing political attitudes when framing pro-attitudinal issues (e.g., conservatives exposed to a free-market economic stance) and (b) Persuasion: Mere presence of relevant moral foundations may also alter political attitudes in counter-attitudinal directions (e.g., conservatives exposed to an economic regulation stance). Studies 1 and 2 support the entrenching hypothesis. Relevant moral foundation-based frames bolstered political attitudes for conservatives (Study 1) and liberals (Study 2). Only Study 2 partially supports the persuasion hypothesis. Conservative-relevant moral frames of liberal issues increased conservatives' liberal attitudes.

Concepts: Centre-right, Conservatism, Political spectrum, Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Classical liberalism, Libertarianism, Free market