Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Conservative More Honest?

(Hat tip: Holy Hyrax) Note: After taking a test Moshe sent me yesterday, I discovered I'm a "conservative-leaning centrist", despite being a registered Democrat. So I might be biased, but Pew isn't:

Is it OK to cheat on your taxes? A total of 57 percent of those who described themselves as “very liberal” said yes in response to the World Values Survey, compared with only 20 percent of those who are “very conservative.” When Pew Research asked whether it was “morally wrong” to cheat Uncle Sam, 86 percent of conservatives agreed, compared with only 68 percent of liberals.

Ponder this scenario, offered by the National Cultural Values Survey: “You lose your job. Your friend’s company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do?”

Almost half, or 49 percent, of self-described progressives would go along with the scheme, but only 21 percent of conservatives said they would.

It's an interesting piece; I think another excerpt shows the reason for this well:
Those with a “liberal outlook” who “reject the idea of absolute truth” were more accepting of cheating at school, according to another study, involving 291 students and published in the Journal of Education for Business.

A study in the Journal of Business Ethics involving 392 college students found that stronger beliefs toward “conservatism” translated into “higher levels of ethical values.” And academics concluded in the Journal of Psychology that there was a link between “political liberalism” and “lying in your own self-interest,” based on a study involving 156 adults.

Liberals were more willing to “let others take the blame” for their own ethical lapses, “copy a published article” and pass it off as their own, and were more accepting of “cheating on an exam,” according to still another study in the Journal of Business Ethics.

I think we've seen evidence of these ideas all over, including the J-blogosphere and the media in general. When people don't believe that absolute truth exists, it makes it much easier to rationalize certain actions - much more of an "ends justify the means" approach. This is true from waving off plagiarism as not a big deal to the major news media organizations justifying false stories because "the points the stories made are still important/true". Certainly one could argue that there are instances where believing in absolute truth can have negative consequences, but it does not take away from the idea that not doing so results in dishonesty, cheating, and the like. Again, it's an interesting piece, check it out.