The Moral Authority: A Theory of Political Character
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Jonathan Haidt has redrawn the ‘map of the moral domain’, by positing six heritable foundations that circumscribe one’s moral reasoning. Known as moral foundations theory, Haidt’s model currently lacks any application to Canadian political leadership. The following study seeks to bridge this gap by (psycho-)analyzing Canadian Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau through the lens of moral foundations theory. Specifically, it will consider whether the personal character of Canadian political leaders are significant factors in assessing their potential for enacting institutional reform—particularly in the context of moral conservatism. The moral similarities found between Trudeau and Harper contain compelling insights into the superficiality of ‘left-right’ ideological division, ultimately suggesting that differences in moral character may bear greater predictive capacity. Additionally, the findings give credence to the centrality of ‘agency’ in the debate between the roles of institutional structure and individual leadership in the policy-making process.