‘The Righteous Mind’ by: Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt – morality, emotion and politics: “Morality binds people together into teams that seek victory, not truth, and it closes hearts and minds.”

Taking the moral high ground is considered noble.  Being morally sound is an admirable trait.  But who determines if your moral stance is correct? Ultimately you do…don’t you?   I mean, as this week’s guest points out, even the Nazi’s thought they were morally just in their beliefs.  Hmmm, not so clear cut now is it?  Think about issues such as abortion, gun control, the death penalty, religion.  Morality becomes murky water when you start discussing the difficult issues. And if you’ve followed this show at all, you know that when there is murky water, there’s Jon and I, drinking it up with an enormous straw. Bring on the expert.

This week’s guest is Dr. Jonathan Haidt.  Dr. Haidt is a professor at New York University Stern School of Business. For 16 years he taught psychology at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on the psychological bases of morality across different cultures and political ideologies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology in 2001. In his new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt explains how morality plays a large role in the current political stalemate that grips America.  Learn more about his drive for a more productive and civil politics on his website www.CivilPolitics.org. Explore your own morals at www.yourmorals.org.

Comments (2)
  1. I really enjoyed hearing Haidt talk more about his newest book. Initially I wasn’t so sure I agreed with him (and I live in the midst of conservatives in a very red state). However, anytime I can find information to help me understand why people can look at information and see it so differently than I do, I want to understand it.

    I will say I only have one real issue with a statement by one of the hosts. You mentioned leftwing TV and rightwing TV channels. However, can you list a leftwing TV channel or show and if so, will you point me to it? I think this is a false equivalency. 4th Estate showed data that shows that even MSNBC will air a lot of negativity (overall) towards Obama vs. Romney.


    So I would say that it is not equally balanced and has had an enormous affect on what people think by watching Fox News and others slant their viewpoints instead of objectivity.

    • Hey Jill, thanks for tuning into the show!

      The first two shows that come to mind are The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews. I love seeing data like you showed us from 4thestate. That is very interesting stuff.

      Some may also argue that mainstream TV shows have a liberal slant as well. I don’t even know if I would call it liberal and I may get in trouble for saying this, but I like to refer to it as “real life”. When TV shows such as Friends or How I Met Your Mother tackle subjects such as gay marriage, they get called out for being “liberal”.

      And yes, I would 100% agree with you that splitting this country has had a HUGE effect on viewpoints. I often wonder how we will recover from this.

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