The Righteous Mind
Jonathan Haidt: My next book, the working title is, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
The book starts by showing readers, look, here’s what morality is. It’s not what you think. It’s not about increasing justice and reducing harm. That’s what liberals believe. That’s liberal morality.
But there’s this vast world of morality out there that you may have seen from the bus window or in reading ethnography, the stories of other cultures. For most people, morality is about binding groups together to collectively pursue noble ends. Often those are tribal or groupish [sic] ends.
Only once you understand morality as being more of a team sport than an individual game, can you see why we need it, why we are so divided, why we are so self-righteous, why it’s so hard for us to live together in peace.
My main goal in the book is to help liberals understand conservative morality and religious morality. I don’t want to convert anyone, but I want people to drop their self-righteousness, realize there are good ideas on both sides, realize that we are all partially blind. We all have only a small view of the truth.
Basically my goal in the book is to make people more morally humble, to make people realize that we all think we’re right and so does everyone else. And you know what? They are right, and we’re right. And until you recognize that, you’re in danger of becoming an extremist certain that you’re right, and blind to the truth.
Recorded on: May 9, 2008
We all think we are right, and so does everybody else.
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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