In many cases, groups rely on rigidly held social or political beliefs, or ideology, to indicate why their position is morally superior. Such ideology is often accompanied by a sense of urgency about the need for pursuing those ideals. Discourse often involves sweeping generalizations about members of the other group. People in moral conflicts tend to invidiously categorize and denounce the personalities, intelligence, and social manners of those with whom they disagree.
This is what social psychologists call the attribution error. For example, disputants may attribute the "strange" behavior of foreigners to undesirable character traits, such as moral depravity or lack of intelligence, rather than realizing that their seemingly inappropriate acts are simply a matter of cultural difference. Groups with radically different conceptions of morality may feel stunned and offended by the actions or words of the other group and denounce those actions or the group as a whole.
These belief systems pull together fundamental assumptions and global viewpoints that are in general not up for compromise.
They come to see the conflict entirely in win-lose terms. They may even get to the point that the goal of harming the other becomes more important than helping oneself. Not surprisingly, moral conflict often has harmful effects. Participants in moral conflict often behave immorally, even according to their own standards of behavior, because they believe the actions of their enemies force them to do so.
The demonization or dehumanization of one's opponent that often occurs in moral conflict paves the way for hateful action and violence. It often leads to human rights violations or even attempts at genocide , as parties may come to believe that the capitulation or elimination of the other group is the only way to resolve the conflict. Because of its deep-roots, moral conflicts tend to be intractable and long-lasting. Because they are arguing from different moral positions, they disagree about the meaning and significance of the important issues.
Resolution becomes even more difficult when parties disagree not only about substantive issues, but also about which forms of conflict resolution are morally right, aesthetically preferred, and politically prudent. Over the course of conflict, the original issues often become irrelevant and new causes for conflict are generated by actions within the conflict itself.
This is because in moral conflict, when groups try to act consistently with what they believe is morally good and just, they "prove" to the other side that they are fools or villains. As the conflict continues, substantive issues are largely forgotten and "the other side's means of dealing with the conflict is itself the force that drives the interactions among the various conflicted parties.
Parties involved in moral conflict also tend to have great difficulty in imagining a win-win resolution of the conflict at hand.
The substantive issues are often a matter of rigidly held moral beliefs, based in fundamental assumptions that cannot be proved wrong. Instead, as noted earlier, they may engage in diatribe, a rhetorical strategy that discredits adversaries by characterizing them as evil or morally inferior. Because rational discourse has become useless, each party may try to force the other side into compliance. Also, those involved in moral conflict may regard perpetuation of the conflict as virtuous or necessary.
They may derive part of their identity from being warriors or opponents of their enemy and have a stake in the continuation of the conflict because it provides them with a highly desirable role. They may view any compromise about their most cherished values as a threat to their very identity and a grave evil. Indeed, moral conflicts often stem from a desire to safeguard basic human needs such as security and social recognition of identity. On some occasions, the continuation of a conflict may seem preferable to what would have to be given up if the other party were accommodated.
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Unfortunately, those enmeshed in moral conflict may be unable to discern the effects of conflict, even if those effects themselves threaten the basic human needs that were at issue. Because moral conflicts tend to be intractable and have great potential for violence, we must search for new ways to manage them. In some cases, each party can heighten its understanding of the other's world-view through new forms of communication.
Some suggest that moral conflict be viewed as a particular form of communication and pattern of interaction. At various points in a moral conflict, people have the ability to handle their conflict differently. By using narratives and story-telling to communicate they can enrich the views that each side has about the other, often revealing commonalities in the midst of all the differences.
Third parties can sometime help the disputants to redefine or reframe their conflict, focusing more on attainable interests and less on non-negotiable positions or negative stereotypes. They can also help parties to seek mutually beneficial outcomes rather than competitive, win-lose outcomes. Even if the moral differences cannot be eliminated, sometimes the parties share interests or needs.
All sides, for example, have a need for security, and increasing the feeling of security of one side does not diminish the security of the other side, as is commonly believed. Rather the opposite is generally true: the more secure one side feels, the less it feels a need to attack the other side; hence the more secure the other side is likely to feel. Therefore, reframing the conflict as a problem at least in part of security can sometimes help to get the parties to focus on something they can achieve together rather than on their non-negotiable differences.
Similar to story-telling, dialogue is a process of in-depth communication that allows parties to get to know each other better and to find commonalities with the other side. Although there are many forms and contexts of dialogue, all seek to replace the ubiquitous "diatribe" of moral conflicts with respectful communication, empathic listening, improved understanding, and respect.
In some cases, these new forms of communication may help parties to see that their moral disagreements are less deep and fundamental than they previously thought. However, in other cases, the substantive issues will truly be beyond compromise.
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Some suggest that in these sorts of cases, parties must strive to develop a space for citizenly public discourse. In other words, they can come to an agreement about how to disagree. They can thereby find a way to manage their conflict in a way that minimizes the costs to both parties. While there are undoubtably many reasons why the election came out as it did, some observers believe that the past political successes of the left in forcing their moral views on the entire country was at least in part perhaps in large part responsible for the backlash that put Donald Trump in power.
Christian bakers didn't want to bake "gay cakes. The left, meanwhile, assumed that they were "right" meaning correct and that the rest of the country was "coming around. Morals, as this article argues, are very strong, very stable. And when a conflict involves such issues, it tends to become intractable. As I re-read this article to write this "current implications" note, I was particularly struck with Maiese's list of "Features of Moral Conflict. All of these are rampant between the right and the left right now.
We don't understand each others' worldviews, nor do we even try to talk to the other side to try to learn about their views. We "know" we are right, they are wrong, and we have no interest in compromising or even listening to the other side. All of this contributes to intractability. But note! This article lists some positive things that can be done to address such issues First, people can change their stories--they can explain who they are and why they believe what they do in different and sometimes more compelling ways.
When I listened to Trump voters explain why they voted for him, I was surprised and in some sense sympathetic. I maybe wouldn't have made the same choice had I been in their shoes. But I could understand and empathize with their struggles much more than before when I hadn't heard those stories. To the extent we can reframe the dialogue to be about "all of us" instead of "us-versus-them," the better off we could be. I too, actually, want to "make America great again. Many of my friends believe it's about going backwards--going back to the 50s and its anti-women, anti-minority attitudes.
That may be part of it, yes, but it is also about fundamental things such as security, jobs, and hope. We all want those. So if we can reframe the conversation about how we can all get those, we might be able to move away from the intractable moral conflict. Lastly dialogue. This is a very effective way to get willing people to listen and learn from "the other.
We need to figure out how to "scale dialogue up" so that its benefits can be experienced by s or hundreds of s of people. That's a serious challenge! Barnett Pearce and Stephen W. Bartos and Paul Wehr. Using Conflict Theory. New York: Cambridge University Press, , Morton Deutsch an Peter T. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, , Barash and Charles P. Peace and Conflict Studies.
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Main article: The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Disputed [ edit ] Not enough evidence God! Not enough evidence! As quoted in Wesley C. May 11, by Emily Eakin: "Asked what he would say if God appeared to him after his death and demanded to know why he had failed to believe, the British philosopher and staunch evidentialist Bertrand Russell replied that he would say, 'Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence. There, Rosten writes : "Confronted with the Almighty, [Russell] would ask, ' Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?
This has often been published as a quotation of Russell, when an author is given e.