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Maslow and the Parties’ Agendas September 20, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.

We’ve talked before about how conservatives and liberals are at different tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’ll reproduce a bit of that post here, for the too-lazy-to-click crowd:

…I believe that conservative and liberal attitudes are informed by different positions on the Maslow hierarchy of needs chart. That’s the chart that shows that as societies/individuals progress, they move from one set of needs up to the next, gradually working toward self-actualization:


This chart is one I’ve used before, and I am lazy, so I didn’t change the “DNC” label to something more relevant. But suffice to say that I think that conservatives live in Tiers 2 – 4, with special emphasis on the Safety Tier* (Tier 2). Liberals, on the other hand, occupy Tiers 3 – 5, with their emphasis on Tiers 4 & 5 (Esteem and Self-Actualization).

With that context, take a look at this WaPo column:

To the Democratic candidates, the 2016 presidential campaign is about shrinking the gap between rich and poor; combating climate change; and expanding voting rights, gay rights and workplace equality for women.

To listen to the Republican candidates is to hear an entirely different campaign — one that centers on defeating Islamic State terrorists, deterring a nuclear Iran, restricting abortion, and debating whether to deport illegal immigrants and construct a wall to keep them out.

The WaPo columnist thinks this shows how out-of-touch the GOP candidates are. But to me, it shows a consistent pattern: Conservatives are campaigning at the “Safety” Tier, and liberals are campaigning at the “Self-Actualization” tier.

Why are GOP candidates concerned with issues at such a low rung on Maslow’s ladder? Because that’s the highest level at which conservatives and libertarians expect government support. And because the right-leaning public has serious concerns about whether the country can continue to meet its obligations to provide security and stability. And finally, because the planks in the liberal platform are irrelevant if the issues at the “Safety” tier are not addressed.

Seems pretty in-touch to me.


1. Lipstick - September 22, 2015

Dang, that’s so true.

2. lauraw - September 22, 2015

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