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Monday, December 2, 2013

Don’t Mess With My ‘Sacred Values’

By FRANK ROSE
The New York Times
Published: November 16, 2013

Here are two excerpts:

Faced with mundane choices, people will readily alter their behavior in response to money. You can pay someone to clean your house or defend you in a murder trial. But with issues like gun control or abortion, a fundamentally different calculus seems to be at work. Economic trade-offs — like lifting an embargo in exchange for concessions — suddenly become unacceptable. As Professor Tetlock (now also at the University of Pennsylvania) has observed, even to suggest such a trade-off is to invite moral outrage, along with feelings of contamination and a need for moral cleansing.

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Not every issue can be so easily finessed — but whatever the circumstance, money seems a subject best avoided. When Scott Atran of the French National Center for Scientific Research and Jeremy Ginges of the New School for Social Research asked people in the Middle East about potential solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they found that the mention of money frequently incited moral outrage. Among Palestinian refugees, those who were open to compromise responded favorably to the idea of giving up their right of return to Israel in exchange for financial support for the new state of Palestine. But when moral absolutists among the refugees were offered this solution, they greeted it with anger, disgust and increased support for violence. Symbolic gestures — like Israel’s giving up of its claim on the West Bank — had the opposite effect. The same pattern held with Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The entire article is here.
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