Thursday, May 15, 2014

Amorality of selected countries

Pew recently released a report entitled "Global Views on Morality" in which respondents in 40 countries were queried on the morality of eight traditional 'values'-related issues: Infidelity, gambling, homosexuality, abortion, premarital sex, alcohol usage, divorce, and contraception. Respondents categorized each of them as morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, or not moral issues at all.

The following table ranks countries by the amorality of their denizens. The percentages who labelled each of the eight issues as not being moral are simply summed for each country:

1. France388
2. Canada353
3. Australia304
4. Spain298
5. Great Britain296
6. United States269
7. Germany264
8. Italy249
9. Greece219
10. Israel215
11. Poland193
12. Japan182
13. China177
14. South Korea172
15. Senegal170
16. Argentina163
17. Czech Republic158
18. Chile155
18. Mexico155
20. Lebanon137
21. Jordan130
22. South Africa124
23. Egypt117
24. Brazil106
24. Kenya106
26. Nigeria104
26. Turkey104
28. Russia101
29. Malaysia98
30. India94
31. Palestinian territories92
32. Venezuela88
33. Bolivia82
33. Philippines82
35. El Salvador68
36. Tunisia66
37. Uganda65
38. Indonesia49
39. Ghana29
39. Pakistan29

What Jonathan Haidt terms "WEIRD" societies (read the modern West) tend to the least judgmental, followed by East Asia and the more European nations of Latin America, with sub-Saharan African and Muslim countries the most morally righteous (!). Descartes wept.

Okay, it's tough to employ the phrase "morally righteous" here without scoffing. These are traditional moral issues whose relevance stretches back millenia into the past--the average Roman living in the reign of Augustus would recognize and have an opinion on all of them as would a builder of the pyramids before him or the subject of the Angevins after him would. A good contemporary SWPL, in contrast, feels that expressing much of an opinion on them is a telltale sign that someone is not a member of the Elect. It evinces a level of cultural sophistication befitting a troglodyte.

The historically novel moral concerns of the Cathedral--most firmly rooted in the West--are quite different, but the Cathedral is scarcely less certain of the rightness of its values than the Caliphate is. In some cases, like infidelity and gambling, it's not that the Cathedral and the Umma are on opposing sides, it's that the former doesn't recognize what the latter does as moral concerns at all. They are merely behaviors people choose to engage in or abstain from. From the Cathedral's view, there is more morality wrapped up in the question of smoking a cigarette than there is in several of these issues.

Homosexuality is the only real exception among the eight items Pew evaluated, and the homosexual rights movement is largely galvanized by opposition to opposition to homosexuality. It's anti-anti-gay, as the visceral hate directed at the late Fred Phelps so frequently illustrated, rather than a special fondness for same-sex intimacy that makes the movement attractive.

Parenthetically, the inverse correlation between amorality and total fertility is a moderate .45 (p = .0000000000001). That is, amoral countries do less breeding than morally judgmental countries do. Not surprising, although before running the numbers I would've guessed it to be a bit stronger than it appears to be.


BehindtheLines said...

Most of the questions are asking about victimless crimes. It is to some extent a libertarian purity test. Western countries are the most libertarian, and the libertarianism of the other countries corresponds to national IQ, with a extra "penalty" from Muslim countries.

So, if you're a libertarian, you'd much rather have immigration from Europe and East Asia then any other part of the world.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Wow, so the French really are all Existentialists.

I find it interesting that debt has basically vanished from even consideration as a moral issue. Many of the justifications for why gambling would be immoral would apply to debt/moneylending as well and the ancients recognized it as such and cautioned against it. These days, though, it's an essential fuel for the economic engine and a rite of passage for unsuspecting high school graduates.

Lastly, I may be viewing this through Roissy-colored lenses, but it seems like the issues most advantageous to women's independence from responsibility of those with the least moral judgment attached: contraception and divorce lead the way, and alcohol is well known for its effectiveness in disclaiming responsibility for one's actions.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Good point about smoking, by the way. I've noticed that with younger people especially, if you try to light up, all their nonjudgmentalism goes up in a puff of, er, smoke.

Sam said...

Moral relativism and decadence are probably cyclic, like everything else.
"Everything old is new again"

Audacious Epigone said...

So, if you're a libertarian, you'd much rather have immigration from Europe and East Asia then any other part of the world.

That would seem sensible, but I don't hear much of it from the likes of Reason, etc.


Smoking cigarettes is singled out in such a way that has given me pause on a couple of occasions--once in the same conversation with someone who'd drank too much and driven home alone several miles away. Smoking, in the context, was the more appalling action.

JayMan said...

Future post....

Expect a reference to this... ;)