Maslow’s Needs & Politics

Perhaps the difference between the 2 dominant political perspectives can be boiled down to basic human needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that humans have 5 motivational needs to live happy lives, each building on the previous:

  1. At the foundation are physiological needs (food, water, shelter)
  2. Once those needs are met, we arrive at safety needs (security)
  3. Above that are social needs (romantic relationships, true friends)
  4. 2nd to last are esteem needs (prestige, feeling of accomplishment)
  5. And at the pinnacle is self-actualization (Nirvana, personal fulfillment, creativity)

I believe the difference between conservative and liberal are their focus on different levels. Conservatives seem to worry most about preserving their basic needs, physiological and safety, since that seems to be most threatened by those outside of their party. They want to quite literally “conserve” and worry about their own personal circle’s well-being versus the well-being of the entire population. “Every man for themself” mentality. On the other hand, Democrats are concerned with bigger issues or needs, like the well-being of themselves and others (social) in addition to personal satisfaction (esteem and self-actualization). They understand the need for education and life-long learning, happiness in life, understanding, empathy, opportunity (to name a few). “For the well-being of all” mentality.

It seems liberals are more likely to see things big picture (dare I say full pyramid?) while conservatives rarely see past the 2nd rung. Thoughts?


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