Nostalgian- Thank you for the thoughtful and well-written response. I would like to offer a couple comments in light of your post.
1. MFT is only one framework for thinking about how beliefs translate into attitudes. Another one is Social Dominance Orientation and Authoritarianism. Conservatives score high on both of these dimensions, while liberals score low on the same. That is to say that there is something fundamentally different about how both camps see the world. The more I study the antecedents of political attitudes, the less I come to respect those on the right, as they seem to emanate from base human instincts that ultimately divide people (i.e. selfishness, fear) as opposed to bringing them together (i.e. caring, equality). I understand their perspective, but I find it morally indefensible.
2. Political scientists are acutely aware of this criticism. The social world is notoriously messy and comprises many variables. That said, critical theory demonstrates that ALL fields are normative and power-laden in one way or another, so your critique applies equally to supposedly unbiased disciplines as well.
Thanks again for your well-articulated thoughts.