According to Peggy Fletcher Stack writing in the SLTrib (28 Apr 2011):
In his book “Moral Politics: How Liberal and Conservatives Think,” George Lakoff describes the two camps using separate metaphors. The best metaphor for the conservative world view, Lakoff writes, is the “strict father.” In this model, self-control and self-descipline as well as respect and obedience to authority are the highest values.
By contrast, the liberal ethos is more like the “nurturant parent,” model, Lakoff notes, which emphasizes empathy for others and helping those in need, both in the family and in the community.
Each category includes the other values, he writes, but assigns them different priorities.
Given this perspective, liberal Mormons may have an easier time negotiating differences with their church than conservatives, say UVU professor Boyd Petersen, since obedience is less important to them than compassion.
“A liberal might feel like she was being true to the spirit of the law, even if she were disagreeing with the rules of the church,” Petersen says. “But conservatives, with their obedience-oriented frame, are faced with obedience to competing authorities–their church and the rules.”