Interesting Nicholas Kristof column in today's NYTimes that touches on some of the recent social science research on how liberals and conservatives differ (other than the obvious stuff, such as liking Obama).
He manages to get at selective exposure, political perceptions, moral values, and a host of other favorites in the social science arena, all in one quick column. Basically the argument is this: liberals and conservatives differ not only on the obvious political preferences but also in basic moral values. That isn't a surprise to the talk show blowhards, but it's deeper than they realize. Liberals like fairness and prevention of harm, conservatives focus on authority, loyalty, and "revulsion at disgust." And some of it is just plain weird. You can tell a conservative by the level of disgust registered at nasty smells or stepping on squishy things or using a public toilet.
For those of you who read the classic The Authoritarian Personality, some of this comes as no surprise. Then again, I'm fairly certain the classic book failed to mention toilets.
Kristof mentions a web site terribly busy today and hard to reach: www.yourmorals.org. Try again in a few days, once the post-NYTimes attention eases.
This all kinda fits something I blogged about a couple of days ago, how journalism needs to look to social science for fresh material, for intellectual scoops, for new ways of helping people understand the world.