An interesting piece by Tom Edsall:
The publication last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior” provided fresh fodder for the liberal critique of the Republican Party and the corporate ethic.
The paper, by Paul K. Piff of the University of California, Berkeley, and four colleagues, reports that members of the upper class are more likely than others to behave unethically, to lie during negotiations, to drive illegally and to cheat when competing for a prize.
“Greed is a robust determinant of unethical behavior,” the authors conclude. “Relative to lower-class individuals, individuals from upper-class backgrounds behaved more unethically in both naturalistic and laboratory settings.”
The Piff paper is part of an extensive academic critique of the right.
One quibble: there are a great many in the sociopathic suck-on-this, bomb-them-all austerity crowd who are not generally considered members of “the right”. In fact, among white Americans, conservatism does not correlate with wealth that closely. (For example, college-educated white Americans earn more than non-college educated white Americans and are also more likely to vote Democrat than non-college-educated white Americans). I don’t like the 27 percenters. But the sociopathic behavior that dominates elite American discourse is in no way limited to the far right. It goes a lot deeper than that. I’m sure Charlie Rose and Tom Friedman voted for Obama. That doesn’t mean they’re not sociopaths.
But there is an important point here: the right’s central myth is that rich people are awesome moral specimens (unless they give money to liberal causes, in which case they are scumbags) while working-class people are mostly shiftless moocher and looters.