Jonathan Haidt on The Righteous Mind

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions, from our intuitions to our morality to our “groupishness.” In The Righteous Mind he investigates Why our political leaders can’t seem to work together to deal with threats and problems and why people so readily assume the worst about their fellow citizens.


Jonathan Haidt

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Comments [44]

Ed from Larchmont

The Left does ignore science: the science that there may well be a connection between abortion and breast cancer - ignored. That there is good evidence that the fetus feels pain (the reaction is whole body, not just one limb), without the pain suppression adults have - ignored. That abortion leads to much higher levels of depression and suicide attempts and drug abuse among women in psychological studies - ignored.

To say that reason can tell us how to arrive at what we aim at, but not what to aim at, is pretty clear.

Apr. 19 2012 06:05 AM


I hesitate to ask; I don't really want to give you an occasion to retype, more likely cut and paste, a mind-numbing mass of text from some source that you find interesting. But why didn't you just give the web-link for the source of your comments, maybe a few examples of your own thoughts, and free up some carbon usage? Has WNYC initiated a premium for the length and or number of comments?

Apr. 18 2012 06:45 PM
NJ Citizen from Dover, NJ

Mr. Haidt has done his neuro-science and evolution and cultural anthropology home work very well. Edward T. Hall and Marshall McCluhan were doing seminal work in the 60's that kicked off this line of inquiry. I plan to buy Haidt's book and check him out. Culture is not just ballet or rock concerts or clothing fashion. Most of culture operates far more deeply than we realize, only surfacing when we are caught unconsciously believing something that even we have to admit is off the mark. The wisest people I know are those who can say "Hmm, that is a strange belief that I seem to hold and act on. I don't remember ever consciously assenting to it--where did I get it from?"

Apr. 18 2012 09:29 AM

Derbyshire speech part 2c of 3

That our elites might turn racist does indeed sound outlandish. The reigning doctrine on race throughout the Western world today is the Standard Social Science Model, which I'll just trim down to "Standard Model" in what follows. According to this doctrine, all observed group differences are the result of social forces. The Standard Model says that there is a conceivable, discoverable, attainable configuration of social forces in which all group differences would vanish; and that we ought to strive to shift our own society towards that configuration. Among our political and cultural elites, the Standard Model is universally accepted.

Looking to the future, there are three possibilities. One of them, Possibility One, is that our elites will continue to adhere to the Standard Model. The other two are implied in the extract I just quoted from Herrnstein and Murray: Possibility Two: We may attain "the candor and realism about race that is so urgently needed." Possibility Three: Our elites will revert to "open racism."

Let's take the three possibilities in turn. First, continued adherence to the Standard Model. Note that, taking group differences in all generality, the Standard Model is not preposterous. The social and economic underachievement of women in Moslem countries, for example, or for that matter in our own countries in times past, easily yields to a Standard Model analysis. Make some key changes in your laws and customs, and the men-women gap disappears. In some social areas it more than disappears: 57 percent of U.S. college students are female today.

In group difference of outcome between races, the Standard Model was likewise not preposterous fifty years ago. Here in the U.S.A., nonwhite citizens labored under well-known legal and social disabilities. In what we were just beginning to call the Third World, nonwhite populations had been humiliated and subordinated by decades of colonialism. Remove the disabilities, dismantle colonialism, and socio-economic group differences would surely melt away. The Standard Model as applied to race was not preposterous fifty years ago.

I think it is fair to say that it is now, half a century on, well into the zone of preposterosity. Segregation and colonialism have long since been dismantled; trillions of dollars have been spent to rectify past wrongs; countless helping-hand policies have been enacted; yet still the world, and our individual nations, are deeply stratified by race. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."

Apr. 17 2012 11:17 PM

Derbyshire speech part 2b of 3

This is the cognitive dissonance that Herrnstein and Murray wrote about. Neurologists tell us that the brain abhors cognitive dissonance as nature abhors a vacuum; and that, as with a vacuum, the resolution can be sudden and dramatic.

Our elites are snobs, but not fools. The dissonance between what all good folk are supposed to believe, and the evidence of our lying eyes, must sooner or later be resolved, when enough little boys have called out that the Emperor has no clothes.

If you want to say that such dramatic turnarounds simply don't happen, I need only remind you that our elites well within living memory expressed opinions about race that would disqualify them from public office nowadays. About other things, too. Quote: "To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching." That was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—a person I think can fairly be taken to belong to the elite. The date was 1986, Bowers v. Hardwick.

Apr. 17 2012 11:16 PM

Derbyshire speech part 2a of 3

If you want to object that elite opinions are in line of descent from Marxist egalitarianism, and that racial egalitarianism is of their essence, I will remind you that Marx, in common with wellnigh all thinkers on large social and economic matters until the mid-20th century, was entirely Eurocentric. He had no interest in non-Europeans. His theory of the Asiatic Mode of Production is universally considered to be the least well-thought-out, most perfunctory part of his work. Plenty of Marxist-inspired movements have been racist. Back in the 1920s when it was starting up, the South African Communist Party marched under banners reading: WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE FOR A WHITE SOUTH AFRICA. Today's China and North Korea are both officially Marxist, yet they are two of the most racially particularist states that have ever existed.

China in fact offers us another reason to think that our elites will dump the Standard Model. In China the Standard Model is not held in very high regard. When Taylor Wang went into orbit on the Space Shuttle in 1985, CCTV (China's government network) marveled that he was, quote, "The first descendant of the Yellow Emperor to travel in space." Even in the aggressively Anglo-Saxon U.S.A. of 1961, it is hard to imagine Walter Cronkite hailing Alan Shepard as "The first descendant of Alfred the Great to travel in space."

The rise of a competitor superpower with frankly race-realist attitudes can only increase the cognitive dissonance that Herrnstein and Murray wrote about. For an accelerant, there will be the fact that an ever-larger portion of our elites will themselves be descendants of the Yellow Emperor. Advances in the human sciences will provide further accelerant. Sooner or later a point of crisis will be reached. The spark will jump the gap, what has been stretched will break, the avalanche will slip, and the Standard Model will no longer be tenable, even for elites as preening in their moral vanity as ours.

So much for Possibility One, continued adherence to the Standard Model. It will not happen.

Apr. 17 2012 11:14 PM

Derbyshire speech to CPAC part 3 of 3

Without the Standard Model, however, our elites will not necessarily take the path predicted by Herrnstein and Murray, the path to, quote, "racial divisiveness and hostility that is as great as, or greater, than America experienced before the civil rights movement"—what I called Possibility Three.

There is also, as an alternative, the second path, what I called Possibility Two: a turn to "candor and realism" about race. This path is obviously to be preferred to the other, and it is the point of view for which I proselytize.

It is also to be preferred to the Standard Model. The common perception is that the Standard Model is a humane and socially healthful point of view, while race realism is the sick product of twisted minds. It seems to me that the opposite is the case. The Standard Model seems to me to be socially poisonous, a great generator of rancor, resentment, rage, and division—an evil and destructive doctrine.

Imagine you are a member of a group that, in the generality, underachieves socially and economically: a black in the U.S.A., an Inuit in Canada, a Pacific Islander in New Zealand, even a Malay in Malaysia. If the Standard Model is true, the only possible explanation for your group's underachievement is malice on the part of other groups. Hence the rancor, resentment, rage, and division.

If, on the other hand, group underachievement is a consequence of the laws of biology working on human populations, there is no blame to assign. The fact of group inequalities, even in societies that have striven mightily to remove them, is as natural and inevitable as individual inequality, which nobody minds very much. The only proper object of blame is Mother Nature; and she is capable of inflicting far worse things on us than mere statistical disparities between ancient inbred populations.

Under a reigning philosophy of candor and realism, each of us can strive to be the best he can be, to play as best he can the hand he's been dealt, in liberty and equality under the law.

I hope this will be the point of view our elites will arrive at when the Standard Model has crumbled into dust. The other alternative, the one envisaged by Herrnstein and Murray, would be worse, far worse. I intend to do all I can to promote the idea that there is a sane path, a path of reason, fairness, and liberty, of "candor and realism," between phony egalitarianism and vicious neo-racism. Follow me down that path, please.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Apr. 17 2012 11:12 PM

John Derbyshire's CPAC Speech
February 10, 2012 at 11:38pm

Thank you,Robert Vandervoort executive director of ProEnglish

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I am going to put to you what I think you will find a rather startling, perhaps absurd, proposition: that the elite classes of the U.S.A. may turn racist.

As startling as it may be, this is not an original idea.

Charles Murray has been in the news recently on account of his new book on cognitive stratification in U.S. society—the trend, now more than half a century old, for professional elites to separate off from working-class Americans, developing different and diverging lifestyles, and practicing "assortative mating" — elites marrying elites.

This is a return to the theme of The Bell Curve which Murray co-authored with the late Richard Herrnstein, and which was published in 1994—almost twenty years ago.

As my starting point here today, I'm going to quote from that earlier book. This is from Chapter 21 of The Bell Curve, in which Herrnstein and Murray are discussing possible consequences of cognitive stratification. Perhaps the most startling of the possibilities they suggest is that, quote, "Racism will emerge in a new and more virulent form." Here is the passage that follows.

The tension between what the white elite is supposed to think and what it is actually thinking about race will reach something close to breaking point. This pessimistic prognosis must be contemplated: When the break comes, the result, as so often happens when cognitive dissonance is resolved, will be an overreaction in the other direction. Instead of the candor and realism about race that is so urgently needed, the nation will be faced with racial divisiveness and hostility that is as great as, or greater, than America experienced before the civil rights movement. We realize how outlandish it seems to predict that educated and influential Americans, who have been so puritanical about racial conversation, will openly revert to racism. We would not go so far as to say it is probable. It is, however, more than just possible. If it were to happen, all the scenarios for the custodial state would be more unpleasant—more vicious—than anyone can now imagine.

I should explain that by the phrase "the custodial state," Herrnstein and Murray mean a sort of Indian-reservation policy in which the elites "fence off" the low-IQ underclass.

(part 1 of 3)(cont.)

Apr. 17 2012 11:08 PM

Psychologist, University of Virginia; Author, The Happiness Hypothesis


The most offensive idea in all of science for the last 40 years is the possibility that behavioral differences between racial and ethnic groups have some genetic basis. Knowing nothing but the long-term offensiveness of this idea, a betting person would have to predict that as we decode the genomes of people around the world, we're going to find deeper differences than most scientists now expect. Expectations, after all, are not based purely on current evidence; they are biased, even if only slightly, by the gut feelings of the researchers, and those gut feelings include disgust toward racism..

A wall has long protected respectable evolutionary inquiry from accusations of aiding and abetting racism. That wall is the belief that genetic change happens at such a glacial pace that there simply was not time, in the 50,000 years since humans spread out from Africa, for selection pressures to have altered the genome in anything but the most trivial way (e.g., changes in skin color and nose shape were adaptive responses to cold climates). Evolutionary psychology has therefore focused on the Pleistocene era – the period from about 1.8 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture — during which our common humanity was forged for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide "races") adapted to local circumstances by a process known as "co-evolution" in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole "races" but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.

(end of part 1 of 2)(cont)

Apr. 17 2012 10:56 PM

(p 2 of 2)

Recent "sweeps" of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. (See papers by Benjamin Voight, Scott Williamson, and Bruce Lahn). No new mental modules can be created from scratch in a few millennia, but slight tweaks to existing mechanisms can happen quickly, and small genetic changes can have big behavioral effects, as with those Russian foxes. We must therefore begin looking beyond the Pleistocene and turn our attention to the Holocene era as well – the last 10,000 years. This was the period after the spread of agriculture during which the pace of genetic change sped up in response to the enormous increase in the variety of ways that humans earned their living, formed larger coalitions, fought wars, and competed for resources and mates.

The protective "wall" is about to come crashing down, and all sorts of uncomfortable claims are going to pour in. Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a "game changing" scientific event. (By "ethnic" I mean any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others.)

I believe that the "Bell Curve" wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this "war" will break out between 2012 and 2017.

There are reasons to hope that we'll ultimately reach a consensus that does not aid and abet racism. I expect that dozens or hundreds of ethnic differences will be found, so that any group — like any person — can be said to have many strengths and a few weaknesses, all of which are context-dependent. Furthermore, these cross-group differences are likely to be small when compared to the enormous variation within ethnic groups and the enormous and obvious effects of cultural learning. But whatever consensus we ultimately reach, the ways in which we now think about genes, groups, evolution and ethnicity will be radically changed by the unstoppable progress of the human genome project.

Apr. 17 2012 10:54 PM

@Catherine from NYC:

"criticisms he has of the movement are offered in the "spirit" of helping that movement succeed."

"depressed, anxious, manic etc. individuals should not be listened to?"

it's certainly not a crime to suggest that left wing movements and organizations be functional, efficient, and committed to co-ordinating their ideas and goals into effective ACTION. if that is going to be denounced as antithetical to the aims of the left then they may as well go home.

many older activists, wanting to see the young lead their movement independently, have been reluctant to impose their views and criticize OWS for its lack of leadership and direction. some say this is a strength ... that an emphasis on programmatic agendas would have marginalized and limited the movement too much. But I think every truth is true by degrees.. black & white absolutes get you nowhere and by definition lead to extremism.

that being said.. the mental states you describe are NOT the issue.. we are not dealing with neurosis or mild anxiety disorders. in an unrestricted public square you will get CRAZIES.. if you have not been to zuccotti or union square on a good day.. then just check out some video from Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention in D.C. last week. I don't know if this link will work but click to the NAN site

and when the video plays just drag the time bar until it says 46:00 in... and then just watch for about 4 minutes the two questioners here. When people like THIS are chewing up 5 or 10 minutes and defeating the very purpose of discussion you don't have real democracy. the Koch Brothers COULD afford to have this level of disorganization that even to insist on reality would be considered fascistic but the left really CAN'T afford it.. AT ALL.. not just because of minutes wasted but focus and energy lost to the movement and its ability to PLAN and ACT!

Apr. 17 2012 10:34 PM

@Catherine from NYC:

So I re-listened to the end portion (31:58 to 33:05) of the show, which is when I recalled that Occupy Wall Street was discussed. Mr. Haidt seemed, at least to me, to be fully on board with the "liberal" delusion of "Occupy Wall Street"'s motives.
The criticisms he has of the movement are offered in the "spirit" of helping that movement succeed. For the two minutes or so that "Occupy" was discussed there is one "disparagement" for allowing mentally ill people to speak at the meeting; most of the criticism had to do with his perception that the "Occupiers" were not definitive enough, or forceful enough, in their rejection of those who advocated violence as an acceptable tactic for achieving their goals. Towards the end of the discussion, Leonard seems to attempt to deflect the violence as a tactic ideas from left wing anarchists onto "crazy talk" (his words, not mine or Mr. Haidth's. I was not able to locate any comments about President Lincoln or Abraham Lincoln. Nor were there any mentions of the depressed, the anxious, or the manic. Perhaps you can point to where they were made.

peace & love

Apr. 17 2012 06:08 PM
John A.

Be aware that there exists public philosophies, sort of the opposite of mass hysteria, where the mass belief of the age changes from age to age. Things like "Free Market Economics" and "Culture of Life" to chose only two might be said to be Both passing fancies and (Important) the truths of their times. I'm not sure how far Haidt is going to go with his approach, but he's using the time honored technique of professional negotiators to ignore the bad and emphasize the good of both halves of this split. When you think that the other side's truths and your truths too can both be subject to realignments in philosophy, then I hope you then see a possible convergence.

Apr. 17 2012 05:33 PM
Catherine from NYC

The interview with Jonathan Haidt was engaging, but he revealed a pretty offensive bias when he disparaged Occupy Wall Street for listening to and allowing expression of every point of view, even the "mentally ill." Mr. Haidt stated that he thought the failure of the Occupy Movement was due to its willingness to listen to people with mental illnesses. Does he think depressed, anxious, manic etc. individuals should not be listened to? What does he think of Abraham Lincoln? Aren't there quite a lot of extraordinary people with mental illnesses who have contributed to philosophy and social science, the fields that Mr. Haidt has committed his life to? I was more than a little offended.

Apr. 17 2012 04:41 PM


Would you file this under pompous, soft-spoken, naive masturbation?
Apr. 17 2012 12:30 PM

What are the data about race and gender that the left won't deal with? How cogent was Summers' argument? Would be a great segment.
Apr. 17 2012 12:23 PM

I only wish this COULD be filed under soft-spoken naive eggheadedness, until I consider the latter comment which I kind of wished I hadn't heard. Once again, the "data on race and gender" leads to the two headed monster of Lawrence Summers' comments on women in science and his invisible twin brother who often sits in on discussions in progressive media politely sipping his tea, Charles Murray and his "brutha who ain't here" Richard Herrnstein.

Apparently.. while exposed to the shock and awe of Indian daily life, Haidt came under the spell of the grand theory of everything that currently animates the conservative swells who keep on swelling in our midst and the various accommodationists and sympathizers on the left who keep trying to love them. I don't want to bring down a sophisticated discussion of philosophy, psychology, science, and America's political future by speaking the "R" word that dare not speak it's accusation in today's post "R" word discussion culture, but after David Brooks bringing up Charles Murray leading to John Derbyshire and now Mr. Haidt, I'm open to the suggestion that we "get real" "serious" "transform the memes" around this discussion.

Though can we at least get agreement from "kids who grew up in households where they never met a conservative 'til they were 40" that they will stop characterizing their political orientation before this point as "liberal"? Are we supposed to believe that Breitbart, Haidt, Dennis Miller, Dennis Hopper, et al were just cruising along working at a New Deal summer camp one day... the heroin was hot and fresh.. the love was free and fast and then they were struck by a lightning bolt that now makes them cozy with Limbaugh & Hannity OR possessed with an overwhelming urge to explain to us with breitbartian specificity just how we on the liberal fringe can understand and better speak to conservatives in our midst who are actively and vociferously disagreeing with us regardless of what we say or how we say it... they disagree with WHO WE ARE.

unfortunately.. the ONLY people in the liberal coalition who don't get to deny this fact or negotiate their way out of it.. are women & minorities. LONG before we turn 40... we realize that all those "truths and facts accepted about us" don't give us much to work with in life. We are forced into being rather ingracious opponents of the ideas and mindsets that inform conservative and right wing politics. doesn't do much for your social life in some circles but it does pay the bills as they say!

Apr. 17 2012 04:32 PM

From the article: :

" . . . Finally, and maybe most importantly, we are not saying that people should not use reasoning. People should use reasoning. But we claim — and provide a substantial amount of evidence in support of this claim — that when people reason, they are usually better off reasoning with people who disagree with them rather than with like-minded peers or on their own."

Is this consistent with the WNYC mission statement?

Apr. 17 2012 03:32 PM

Apr. 17 2012 03:19 PM
Colin from Brooklyn

John A,
With respect, Haidt is talking about polarized politics because the politics of today are polarized. The point he seems to be eluding though (based on this interview) is that regardless of how someone comes to believe something, that belief either aligns with reality or does not. It is unlikely we will reach the wisest decisions if compromise is encouraged to trump fact.

Apr. 17 2012 03:13 PM
John A.

Barbara Lifton from New York City, Colin from Brooklyn,
You are talking about polarized politics. Just a reminder to listen when you hear people talking about how politics did indeed function with more compromises a generation ago.

Apr. 17 2012 01:45 PM

Maybe Mr. Lopate can be a little less "W.I.E.R.D." (as the author uses the acronym) and try to be a little more exploratory in his questioning - a little less "strip mining" technique and a little more "archeological-dig" finesse. Or have I made a mistakenly listened to this broadcast with the intent to learn about and understand Mr. Haidt's theories. So much time was given over to a demonstration of the "clever Righteousness of the Lopate mind"?

For those who want to engage the ideas, rather than summarily trash them, you may want to view the following:

Some background from other sources:

peace & love
(and no offense intended)

Apr. 17 2012 01:42 PM
Barbara Lifton from New York City

Since power is the primary aim of all political activity, approaching an issue with your "opponent" by showing emotional indentification with him is useless. The Speaker of the House doesn't give a tinker's dam which position on an issue is more "reasonable" or beneficial to our citizens-- all he cares about is obtaining a political advantage so that he can consolidate his power.
People who disagree about religious belief may not seem so overtly power-hungry - but in fact we all are: we want to be seen to have the "true" argument, to be "right" about an issue - even though there is no such thing as "the truth!"
Approaching the "elephant" emotionally to argue what is the "truth" will get us nowhere. There is either selfish cruelty or concern for others. One choice will advance our species, and is right, the other will cause our species to disintegrate and die.
Acting for Justice and doing good for others are all that count in this sorry existence. That is what Secular Humanism is all about. And we don't kill people because their beliefs, religious or otherwise are "heretical."

Apr. 17 2012 01:19 PM
Colin from Brooklyn

Hearing this is frustrating. Even if humans do justify their liberal/conservative ideologies only after some subconscious moral intuition what actually matters is that only one of those conflicting views accurately maps onto the hard landscape of reality.

Apr. 17 2012 01:14 PM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights, northern Manhattan

Growing up without being exposed to "conservative ideas" ?

You would have to have your head in the sand.

Conservative ideas are propagated everywhere -- much of the media: NY Post, NY Daily News, Fox "News"
Even if you don't consume these particular media outlets, their opinions are echoed by politicians, government officials, business lobbyists, etc. everywhere.

And what conscious liberal does not then think about how to engage those ideas?

The problem with American culture is not the polarization of the left and the right, but the non-involvement of most citizens, who do not bother to vote, do not examine the pressing issues which face us as a country, and are dismissive of the rest of the world. If asked, some of these would self-identify as liberals, some as conservatives. But most are apolitical, not recognizing that they have thereby forfeited the ability to influence the direction of our society, forfeited it to those whose money and power give them undue influence.

Apr. 17 2012 12:47 PM
John A.

I still haven't been able to justify getting the Professor's book after two viewings. Still, I appreciate his mind and direction and indeed have a bit more hope for the future THX to him. I see online that he won the Templeton about a decade ago. I will continue to look for (more) things he's written and other media, past present & future.

Apr. 17 2012 12:47 PM
Nick from UWS

Since both religion and politics are based on lies, fantasies, smoke and mirrors, there cannot by definition be a consensus on them. People cannot agree upon something that has no perceivable truth.

Apr. 17 2012 12:44 PM

Good lord that man has a robust and complex set of neuroses bend on the intent to claim there no one is 'right' or 'wrong'. Predictably his last words allow him alone to declare what is horribly 'wrong' with the occupy movement.

Apr. 17 2012 12:44 PM

Anarchists insist they are not liberals, and actually tend to have some disdain for liberals. (I happen to be close to a self-professed anarchist.) Liberalism is closer to Conservatism than it is to Anarchism, in an anarchist's eyes, because the focus of both is on the *individual.*

Apr. 17 2012 12:42 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY


Thank you.

Apr. 17 2012 12:34 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I was born in a refugee camp to Holocaust survivors, but raised in a housing project in Brooklyn where I was periodically assaulted, called "Jew boy" and robbed by black kids. Nonetheless, I grew up as a strong supporter of civil rights for blacks and everyone else, but I learned while living in Israel many years later, that socialism SUCKS! I lived in a kibbutz for a year.

I think my people, the Jews, are a very confused people. That's what I mostly learned growing up as Jew.

Apr. 17 2012 12:33 PM

I have a taste for pederasty and a cultural preference for clitorectomy at age 14. He wants to call this morality? On what ground would any morality be called corrupt??

This is really poorly thought-out stuff.

Apr. 17 2012 12:31 PM

Would you file this under pompous, soft-spoken, naive masturbation?

Apr. 17 2012 12:30 PM

I count myself a leftist _and_ a libertarian. My claim is that people experience the greatest freedom under conditions of comparative equality (not strict equality), as opposed to enormous inequality. I'm by no means alone, contrary to what Mr. Haidt seems to suggest. Noam Chomsky has called himself a libertarian socialist.

Apr. 17 2012 12:29 PM
Hy from New York

How do you have a discussion with someone who is spouting clear falsehoods that he/she is attached to, like the usual falsehoods about Obama, or that tax cuts alone are the cure-all for the economy?

Apr. 17 2012 12:26 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Gingrich must have read Dale Carnegie. I remember reading in the '90s how he'd meet w/groups who disagreed w/him & put everything in their terms in ways that made it sound as if he would do what they wanted, then go ahead & do what he was already going to do anyway.

Apr. 17 2012 12:24 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

What are the data about race and gender that the left won't deal with? How cogent was Summers' argument? Would be a great segment.

Apr. 17 2012 12:23 PM

Factual question on reason—
That's a rational evaluation, that reason isn't suited to evaluation?
Is Hume's decision that reason is at the entire beck and call of the emotions itself evidence of emotion trumping reason?

I can sympathize with Haidt's conclusions, but the theories that he believes grounds them are unintelligible. On what principle (rationally arrived at?) did we decide that this little list is the decisive set of moral categories? What conversation would one have with this elephant? What guidelines would you have for telling the elephant that this or that is the just, moral thing to believe and do?

Apr. 17 2012 12:21 PM
Amy from Manhattan

How is deciding where to site an incinerator not a moral decision? If it's not in your back yard, it has to be in someone else's, & that almost always ends up being the people who don't have the political & economic power to keep it from being put in their back yard, or even their front yard. Then they & their children get the health problems caused by the pollution from the incinerator. Isn't that immoral?

Apr. 17 2012 12:21 PM
John A.

A comment on Atheism, perhaps.
It is very popular as a backlash position in American youth right now.
Has the professor lived through an atheist phase himself and does he say he is away from that now?

Apr. 17 2012 12:20 PM

Jonathon is spewing contradiction nonsense trying to sell a book. I am turning for my radio for this segment.

Apr. 17 2012 12:20 PM
Jim B

Mr. Haidt's analysis is very interesting but doesn't address how a particular political climate got that way. Lyndon Johnson's America was not Ronald Reagan's; Europe is not the USA. What is the real utility of this approach?

Apr. 17 2012 12:20 PM

Worth remembering:
according to Aristotle, ethics is a branch of political science.

Apr. 17 2012 12:13 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

There was an enormous amount of jobs created by tax breaks over the last 2 decades, but most of them were in China and other parts of Asia. There is no guarantee that a tax break creates a job HERE in the US! OTOH, do we want government to continue creating more jobs?

Apr. 17 2012 12:11 PM
John A.

Its so clear to me that if we believe that all freedoms are all good all of the time then after years of pursuing this path of freedom there will result nothing to tie us together. We'll be freed from each other. At that point something has gone wrong.

Apr. 17 2012 12:08 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Centuries ago the divisions were theological: which truth described objective reality. Now the largest division is between those who believe that there is a truth, and those that don't believe there is a truth (secularists). See Gregory, Brad 'The unintended reformation' Harvard, 2013 to see the roots of secularism starting in late medieval Europe.

Apr. 17 2012 06:03 AM

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