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BILL MOYERS: This Week on Moyers and Company.

JONATHAN HAIDT Politics is really religion. Politics is about sacredness. Politics is about offering a vision that will bind the nation together to pursue greatness. And Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been really good at that.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. This is pledge time for public television, when we remind you that there are programs here unlike anything else on TV – such as this one.

People I meet on the left, on the right and in the middle agree on one thing: our country is in a mess, and our politics are not making it better. The problems seem insurmountable, three times last year congress came close to shutting down the government. In August, we almost defaulted on our more than 14 trillion dollars debt, which could skyrocket even further if the Bush tax cuts are continued and spending is untouched at year’s end.

But as the ship of state is sinking, the crew is at each other’s throats, too busy fighting to plug the holes and pump out the water. And everything’s been made rotten by the toxic rancor and demonizing that have shredded civil discourse and devastated our ability to govern ourselves. Just look at the ugliness of the election campaign. So we’re left with paralysis, dysfunction, and a whole lot of rage.

On that cheery note, listen to this fellow. I first saw him on the website TED.com, that stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It’s the non-profit that brings together some of our most creative and provocative thinkers.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Suppose that two American friends are traveling together in Italy. They go to see Michelangelo’s David. And when they finally come face to face with the statue, they both freeze dead in their tracks. The first guy, we’ll call him Adam, is transfixed by the beauty of the perfect human form. The second guy, we’ll call him Bill, is transfixed by embarrassment of staring at the thing there in the center. So here’s my question for you: which one of these two guys was more likely to have voted for George Bush? Which for Al Gore? I don’t need a show of hands because we all have the same political stereotypes, we all know that it’s Bill. And in this case the stereotype corresponds to a reality. It really is a fact that liberals are much higher than conservatives on a major personality trait called “openness to experience.” People who are high on openness to experience just crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel. People low on it like things that are familiar, that are safe and dependable.

If you know about this trait you can understand a lot of puzzles about human behavior. You can understand why artists are so different from accountants, you can actually predict what kinds of books they like to read, what kinds of places they like to travel to and what kinds of foods they like to eat. Once you understand this trait you can understand why anybody would eat at Applebee’s, but not anybody that you know.

BILL MOYERS: Jonathan Haidt has taken the core of that speech which you can see at our website BillMoyers.com, and turned it into an important and timely book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” to be published in March. His ideas are controversial but they make you think. Haidt says, for example, that liberals misunderstand conservatives more than the other way around, and that while conservatives see self-sufficiency as a profound moral value for individuals, liberals are more focused on a public code of care and equity.

Jonathan Haidt has made his reputation as a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, where he and his colleagues explore reason and intuition, why people disagree so passionately and how the moral mind works. They post their research on the website yourmorals.org.

Welcome.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Thank you, Bill.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean righteous mind?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Anytime we're interacting with someone, we're judging them, we're sharing expectations, we think they didn't live up to those expectations.

So, in analyzing any social situation you have to understand moral psychology. Our moral sense really evolved to bind groups together into teams that can cooperate in order to compete with other teams.

So, some situations will sort of ramp up that tribal us-versus-them mentality. Nothing gets us together like a foreign attack. And we've seen that, 9/11, and Pearl Harbor. And, conversely, when there are moral divisions within the group, and no external attack, the tribalism can ramp up, and reach really pathological proportions. And that's where we are now.

BILL MOYERS: So, but, it's sort of a tradition to divide into teams. The Giants versus the Patriots. Or the Republicans versus the Democrats. Us versus them, is almost something un-American to suggest that there's something wrong with that?

JONATHAN HAIDT: No. Groupishness is generally actually good. A lot of research in social psychology shows that when you divide people into teams, to compete, they love their in-group members a lot more. And the hostility toward out-group members is usually minimal. So sports competitions-- and I'm at a big football school, UVA. You know-

BILL MOYERS: University of Virginia-

JONATHAN HAIDT: University of Virginia. And you know, the other team comes, there's, you know, some pseudo aggression in the stands. You know, hostile motions. But, you know, that night, there aren't bar fights, when everybody's drinking together downtown.

That's the way, sort of, healthy, normal, groupish tribalism works. But, the tribalism evolved, ultimately, for war. And when it reaches a certain intensity, that's when, sort of, the switches flip, the other side is evil, they're not just our opponents, they're evil. And once you think they're evil, then the ends justify the means. And you can break laws, and you can do anything, because it's in the service of fighting evil.

BILL MOYERS: When I saw the title of your book, “The Righteous Mind,” I thought, "Well, that's interesting." Because you point out that the derivative, the root of the word righteous is an old English world that does mean just, upright and virtuous. Then it gets picked up and used in Hebrew to translate the word describing people who act in accordance with God's wishes, and it becomes an attribute of God, and of God's judgment on people. So the righteous mind becomes a harsh judge.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. I chose that title in part because we all think, you know, morality is a good thing, justice, ethics. And I wanted to get across the sense that, let's just look with open eyes at human nature. And right, morality is part of our nature. And morality is, makes us do things that we think are good, but it also makes us do things that we often think are bad. It's all part of our groupish, tribal, judgmental, hyper-judgmental, hypocritical nature. We are all born to be hypocrites. That's part of the design.

BILL MOYERS: Born to be hypocrites.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Born to be hypocrites. That's right.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Our minds evolved not just to help us find the truth about how things work. If you're navigating through a landscape, sure, you need to know, you know, where the dangers are, where the opportunities are. But in the social world, our minds are not designed to figure out who really did what to whom. They are finely tuned navigational machines to work through a complicated social network, in which you've got to maintain your alliances, and your reputation.

And as Machiavelli told us long ago, it matters far more what people think of you than what the reality is. And we are experts at manipulating our self-presentation. So, we're so good at it, that we actually believe the nonsense that we say to other people.

BILL MOYERS: So, take the subtitle. "Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion." Why are they? And what does the righteous mind have to do with it?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Politics has always been about coalitions and teams fighting each other. But those teams, those teams were never evenly divided on morality. Now, well, basically it all started, as you well know, on the day Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. You tell me what he said on that day. I think I heard you say this once.

BILL MOYERS: He actually said to me that evening, "I think we've just turned the South over to the Republican Party for the rest of my life, and yours."

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yeah. And he was prescient, that's exactly what happened. So there was this anomaly for the 20th Century that both parties were coalitions of different regions, and interest groups. But there were liberal Republicans, there were conservative Democrats. So the two teams, they had, they were people whose moralities could meet up. Even though they were playing on different teams.

And once Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, and the South, which had been Democrat, because Lincoln had been a Republican, so once they all moved over to the Republican party, and then the moderate Republicans began to lose office in the '80s, and '90s, and the last ones going just recently, for the first time we have an ideologically pure division of the parties.

And now, this groupish tribalism, which is usually not so destructive, we can usually, you know, when you leave the playing field, you can still meet up, and be friends. But now that it truly is a moral division, now the other side is evil. And there's nobody, there aren't really pairs of people who can match up, and say, well, come on. We all agree on this, let's work together.

BILL MOYERS You remind me that when we set out to try to pass the Civil Rights Act of '64, and the Voting Rights Act of '65, LBJ commissioned us to go spend much of our time with the moderate Republicans in the House, and in the Senate. Because he said, "When push comes to shove, and when the roll is called, we're going to need them to pass this bill." And at one point, in the signing of one of those bills, he turned and handed the pen to Everett Dirksen, the senior Republican from Illinois and the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate and he was the one who, in the critical moments, brought a number of moderate Republicans to vote for the Civil Rights bill. You’re saying that was a deciding moment, a defining moment?

JONATHAN HAIDT: So there are three major historical facts, or changes, that have gotten us into the mess that we're in. So the first is the realignment of the South into the Republican column, which allowed both parties now to be pure. So that now there are basically no liberal Republicans matching up with conservative Democrats. So, the parties are totally separated. The second thing that happened was the replacement of the Greatest Generation by the Baby Boomers.

BILL MOYERS: The Greatest Generation fought World War II. Came home. Built the country, ran the economy. People's politics, and, created this consensual government your talking--

JONATHAN HAIDT: Exactly. These are people who joined groups, had a sense of civic responsibility, participated in the democratic process. And so these people, as they moved through. I mean, they could disagree. Politics has always been contentious. But at the end of the day, they felt they were part of the same country, and in the Senate and the House, they were part of the same institution. They're replaced by the Baby Boomers. And what's their foundational experience?

It's not responding together to a foreign threat. It's fighting each other over whether this country is doing evil, or good. So you get the good/evil dichotomy about America, and about each other happening in the '60s, and '70s, when these people grow up, assume political office. Now, you got Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. It's a lot harder for them to agree than it was for Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan.

BILL MOYERS: So we get through the culture wars. Fights over abortion, prayer in schools. And that conflict becomes very polarizing.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Exactly.

BILL MOYERS: And that's because of the Baby Boomers, and-

JONATHAN HAIDT: Well, the Baby Boomers, I think, are more prone to Manichaean thinking.

BILL MOYERS: Manichaean thinking. Good and evil.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. Manichaeus was a, I think, third century Persian prophet, who preached that the world is a battleground between the forces of light, and the forces of darkness. And everybody has to take a side. And some people have sided with good, and of course, we all believe that we've sided with good. But that means that the other people have sided with evil.

And when it gets so that your opponents are not just people you disagree with, but when it gets to the mental state in which I am fighting for good, and you are fighting for evil, it's very difficult to compromise. Compromise becomes a dirty word.

BILL MOYERS: Let me play you an exchange between House Speaker John Boehner and Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes.” Take a look at this.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: We have to govern, that’s what we were elected to do.

LESLEY STAHL: But governing means compromising.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: It means working together.

LESLEY STAHL: It also means compromising.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: It means finding common ground.

LESLEY STAHL: Ok, is that compromising?

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Let me be clear I am not going to compromise on my principles, nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people.

LESLEY STAHL: You’re saying “I want common ground but I’m not going to compromise.” I don’t understand that, I really don’t.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: When you say the word compromise, a lot of Americans look up and go, ‘oh, oh, they’re going to sell me out.’ And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.

LESLEY STAHL: I reminded him that his goal had been to get all the Bush tax cuts made permanent.

So you did compromise.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: We found common ground.

LESLEY STAHL: Why won’t you say-- you’re afraid of the word!

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I reject the word.

BILL MOYERS: He could barely say the word compromise.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right, that’s right. Because once you've crossed over from normal political disagreement into Manichaean good versus evil, to compromise, I mean, we say, you know, his ethics were compromised, you don't compromise with evil. Now, I think it's especially an issue for Republicans because they are better at doing, sort of, tribal team based loyalties. The data we have at yourmorals.org shows that conservatives score much higher on this foundation of loyalty, groupishness. And the Republican, I mean, which job would you rather have in Congress? The Republican whip or the Democratic whip? You know?

BILL MOYERS: Right.

JONATHAN HAIDT: The Republicans can hang together better. And part of it is, they're better at drawing bright lines and saying, ‘I will not go over this line.’

BILL MOYERS: But governing is all about brokering compromise.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes, absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: You cannot in a pluralistic, multicultural society with all the different beliefs, have a mantra that unites us all. You've got to broker compromise.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Well, it depends what perspective you're taking. If you're looking at the good of the nation, you're absolutely right. But for competition within the nation, taking this hard lined position is working out pretty well for them. So, sure. You can have a hard line against compromise. And especially if the other side can't get as tough, can't threaten to break legs, you end up winning.

And I think Democrats are a little weaker here. And certainly Obama took a lot of flack for that, in his negotiation strategy with the Republicans, as far as I can see, he's never really presented a credible threat. So, they've been better off walking away from the table.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, but the country suffers, doesn't it, when-

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes. Absolutely-

BILL MOYERS: Boehner and the Republicans think it's immoral to compromise, and Obama thinks it's immoral not to compromise?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Well, that's true. I would say Obama could've done a much better job with his negotiating strategy.

BILL MOYERS: By?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Obama is such a great orator and wowed so many of us in the campaign. But then, once he was elected, you know, he's been focusing on the terrific, terrible problems that he's had to deal with. But I think he has not made the moral case that would back up the arguments from the politicians in Washington.

I think the Democrats need to be developing a credible argument about fairness, capitalism, American history. They need to be developing this master narrative so that when they then have an argument on a particular issue, it'll resonate with people. And they're not doing that. But the Republicans have.

BILL MOYERS: So the Greatest Generation disappears. The Boomers come along. The Civil Rights fight divides the country. And the third one?

JONATHAN HAIDT: The third is that America has gone from being a nation with localities that were diverse by class, in particular, let's say. You had rich people, and poor people living together.

It's become, in the post-war world, gradually a nation of lifestyle enclaves, where people chose to self-segregate. If people are concentrating just with people who are like them, then they're not exposed to the ideas from the other side, from people that they can actually like and respect. If you get all your ideas about the other side from the internet, where there's no human connection, it's just so easy, and automatic to reject it, and demonize it. So once we've sorted ourselves into homogeneous moral communities, it becomes a lot harder to work together.

BILL MOYERS: This gets us to the, what you talk about in the book, consensual hallucinations.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Right.

BILL MOYERS: What's that?

JONATHAN HAIDT: So I assume many viewers have seen the movie “The Matrix” and, or, one of those movies. And, it's a conceit in the science fiction book that the matrix is a consensual hallucination generated by computers and that we all live in it.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

JONATHAN HAIDT: And I think this is a brilliant social psych metaphor. Back when we all encountered people of the other party, you couldn't have a consensual hallucination that wasn't interrupted by other people.

But once we can all live in these lifestyle enclaves, we only watch certain TV shows, we only go to certain websites, we only meet people like us, the matrix gets so closed in that each side here lives in a separate moral universe with its own facts, its own experts. And there's no way to get into the other matrix, to just throw, you can't just throw arguments or scientific studies at them and say, ‘Here conservatives, deal with this finding.’

It's not going to do anything. And conversely, they throw it back at you. We all feel as though we're living in reality. But them, they're caught up in this matrix. They're in la-la land. But we're all in la-la land. If you are part of a partisan community, if you're part of any community that has come together to pursue moral ends, you are in a moral matrix.

BILL MOYERS: My side is right, your side is wrong. Just ipso facto, right?

JONATHAN HAIDT: That’s right.

BILL MOYERS: Let me get some clarity on one of your basic foundations here. Your research in the book, you and your associates, organizes morality into six moral foundations or concerns. Sketch them briefly and tell me how liberals and conservatives differ on each of them.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Sure. So, if you imagine each of our righteous minds as being, like an audio equalizer with six slider switches, and the first one is care, compassion, those sorts of issues, liberals have it turned up to 11. And we have this on a lot of different surveys. Liberals really feel. When they see an animal being mistreated, they're more likely to feel something than conservatives, and especially than libertarians, who are very, very low on this one.

JONATHAN HAIDT: The next two, liberty and fairness, when liberty and fairness conflict with care, are you going to punish someone, or are you going to be compassionate? Liberals are more likely to go with care.

JONATHAN HAIDT: In other words, care trumps liberty and fairness, even though everybody cares about all three of those. The next three, loyalty, authority and sanctity, what we find, across many questionnaires, many surveys and analyses of texts and sermons, all sorts of things, is that liberals don't talk a lot about loyalty, you know, group loyalty. They don't talk a lot about authority and the importance of order and authority, maintaining order. They don't talk a lot about sanctity. Conservatives on the other hand, what we find is that, they value all of these more or less equally.

And I think this is part of the reason why conservatives have done a much better job of connecting with American morality and convincing people that they are the party of moral values.

BILL MOYERS: Let’s get down to some brass tacks, or brass knuckles as one might want to say. There's so much anger and incivility in our politics today. And the twain do not seem able to meet.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: You have a lot of photographs of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street that get at how moral psychology divides us, just-

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: Walk me through some of these.

JONATHAN HAIDT: The first step that we all need to take is to understand that the other side is not crazy. They're not holding their position just because they've been bribed or because they're racist or whatever evil motives you want to attribute.

JONATHAN HAIDT: So what I'm hoping my book will do is kind of give people almost a decoding manual so they can look at anything from the other side and instead of saying, ‘See, this shows how evil they are,’ you say, ‘Oh, okay, I see why they're saying that.’ All right, so, let's take, ‘Stop punishing success, stop rewarding failure.’

BILL MOYERS: I remember seeing that at one of the early Tea Party rallies.

JONATHAN HAIDT: So that's one version of fairness. Fairness adds proportionality.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Well, if people work hard, they should succeed. If people don't work hard, they should fail. And if anyone bails them out, that is evil. You should not bail people out who have failed, especially if it's because of lack of hard work, something like that. So as the right sees it, government is evil because it keeps punishing success, with redistributive policies, okay, take from the successful and give to the unsuccessful.

And it keeps rewarding failure by giving out welfare and other payments to people who aren't working. So what I've found is that fairness is at the heart of both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. But because the words have different meanings and they relate to additional moral foundations, that's why they're really, very, very different moral views.

There was a lot of empathy and caring at Occupy Wall Street. So this sign, "I can't hurt another without hurting myself." This is part of the ethos on the left, this is why you get a lot of Buddhists and sort of the Christian left.

It's a lot of emphasis on care and compassion. When they talk about fairness, it's in particular, fairness, that will benefit the weak and the poor. So, here's a sign, “Marching for the meek and weary, hungry and homeless." "Tax the wealthy, fair and square," as though because they're hungry and homeless people, it's fair to take from them and give to them. Now, I think there are really good arguments for why we need to increase tax rates on the top. But simply saying, ‘Some have and some have not, therefore it's fair,’ that's not a moral argument for most Americans.

BILL MOYERS: And what's the conservative moral position on this?

JONATHAN HAIDT: The conservative moral position is the Protestant work ethic. It's karma.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean by that?

JONATHAN HAIDT: So karma, karma's a Sanskrit word, for, literally for work, or fruit. That is, if you do some work, you should get the fruit of it. If I help you, I will eventually get the fruit of it. Even if you don't help me, something will happen. It's just a law of the universe. So, Hindus traditionally believed it's, that the universe will balance itself, right itself. It's like gravity. If I am lazy, good-for-nothing lying scoundrel, the universe will right that and I will suffer. But then along comes liberal do-gooders and the federal government to bail them out.

So I think the conservative view, for social conservatives this is, is that basically liberals are trying to revoke the law of karma. Almost as though, imagine somebody trying to revoke the law of gravity, and everything's going to float away into chaos.

BILL MOYERS: All right, let's go back to Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Flags are everywhere. American flags are everywhere at the Tea Party. And you never see them defaced, modified, touching the ground. At Occupy Wall Street, however, the majority of them had been modified.

So here's one showing America as a nation taken over by corporations and war. Here's another one, “Occupy Wall Street, the 99 percent is you." Now, what this shows, I think, is that at Occupy Wall Street, certainly ‘The flag is not sacred, I think America is not sacred.’ The left tends to be wary of nation states. And this is, I think, a nice example of how sacralization blinds you.

And on the right, where they do sacralize America, they can't think about the nuances about how America is not always right, American foreign policy did contribute to 9/11, but you can't say that because people on the right will see that as sacrilege. So they're blind. Whereas people on the left have a more nuanced view.

So, you know, everything's a Rorschach test. As long as there's any ambiguity, one side will see the things that damn it, the other side will see the things that praise it.

BILL MOYERS: But isn't there reality below that Rorschach test? If Occupy Wall Street is saying, ‘Inequality is growing, the American dream, upward mobility is disappearing. Fifty million people in poverty,’ something's wrong with our democratic and capitalist system-

JONATHAN HAIDT: And I think something is wrong with our Democratic and capitalist system. And this is where I think the left has really fallen down in articulating what's wrong. The right has been extremely effective and has funded think tanks that have made the case very powerfully for what's good about capitalism.

And they're right. I mean, without capitalism, without free markets, we would not have the massive wealth that supports you and me and everyone else who doesn't physically make stuff. But since you need the push and pull, you need the give and take. You need the yin and yang. You need a good argument against that view. And I think it needs to be an argument about how capitalism, yes, it is good. But it only works under certain conditions.

There's a wonderful new book out called “The Gardens of Democracy” by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. And they say, ‘Democracy is like a garden. And the capitalist system is like a garden. You can't just say, 'Free market, grow as you like.' You have- it takes some tending.'

And even as Adam Smith knew, only external regulation can prevent externalities, prevent monopolies. You got to have a clear argument about what capitalism is, why it's good, and how to make it better. And, as I see it, the left hasn't done that.

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BILL MOYERS: Does your research suggest it's preferable to have a greater moral range?

JONATHAN HAIDT: When I began this work, I was very much a liberal. And over time, in doing the research for my book and in reading a lot of conservative writing, I've come to believe that conservative intellectuals actually are more in touch with human nature. They have a more accurate view of human nature.

We need structure. We need families. We need groups. It's okay to have memberships and rivalries. All that stuff is okay, unless it crosses the threshold into Manichaeism. So I think that it would be very difficult to run a good society without resting much on loyalty, authority and sanctity. I think you need to use those.

BILL MOYERS: But it seems to me that liberals, progressives are more in touch with the nature of the social order. I had an anthropology teacher at the University of Texas who had spent five years amongst the Apaches in West Texas for his graduate work.

And he used both their example and the example through ages of saying, through the long history of human beings, we have accomplished more by cooperation, than we have by competition. And it seems to me that's the truth that progressives or liberals or whomever you want to call them see that conservatives don't.

JONATHAN HAIDT: But cooperation and competition are opposite sides of the same coin. And we've gotten this far because we cooperate to compete. So you can say that liberals are more accurate or in touch with how the system works. But I would say they're more in touch with some aspects of how systems go awry and oppress some people, ignore other people. Liberals see some aspects of where the social system breaks down. And conservatives see others. You have to have consequences following bad behavior. That is as basic an aspect of system design as any. And that's one where conservatives see it much more clearly than liberals.

I think I'm a centrist, in terms of liberal conservative. And I feel like I'm sort of, I sort of, like, stepped out of the game. And now that the game has gotten so deadly, I'm hoping that, in the coming year, I can be the guy saying, ‘Come on, people, just, here, understand the other side so you stop demonizing, and now you can argue more productively.’

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, well, how do we do that when, in fact, there's a great advantage to one side or the other side to demonize the enemy? And here, you know, you bring us right to Newt Gingrich and his career.

In 1990, Newt Gingrich was chairman of something called GOPAC, which was a conservative political action committee. And he issued a memo to the members, the conservative members of that organization about words that conservatives should use to describe themselves and words they should use to describe Democrats and liberals.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Abuse of power, betray, bizarre, corrupt, criminal rights, cheat, devour, disgrace, greed, steal, sick, traitors, radical, red tape, unionized, waste, welfare. Quote, “The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.” Those words were used, as you know, quite successfully.

That's right. So two things to say about Gingrich. One is that he's a screaming hypocrite. But as I said, we're all hypocrites. That's part of the design. The other is that he's a very good moral psychologist. And as I've said, the Democrats are generally not.

So he had words there that touch all six of the foundations, you know, from abuse of power to sick and corrupt for the sanctity stuff. So while I'm non-partisan, my big issue is demonizing.

BILL MOYERS: And yet you also acknowledge that demonizing the other can be rewarded politically.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. It can because that makes you stronger in the contest within the group. Within the nation your side can beat the other side if you demonize, but it makes the nation weaker.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Most of our politics is driven by the people at the extremes, the people who have these dispositions fairly strongly, get passionate, get engaged, give money, blog, argue. Those people rarely cross over. So, but most Americans are not that politically engaged, and they're the ones that decide the elections.

So, since most people aren't extreme either way in their basic disposition, they're up for grabs. And, whichever party can connect with their moral values. And this is where I think again, the Democrats have not fully understood moral psychology. I listen to them in election after election, especially 2000, 2004, saying, ‘We've got this policy for you. We're going to give you more support,’ as though politics is shopping.

As though, ‘Come, you know, buy from us. We've got a better deal for you.’ The Democrats, I find, have not been as good at understanding that politics is really religion. Politics is about sacredness. Politics is about offering a vision that will bind the nation together to pursue greatness. And Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been really good at that.

BILL MOYERS: At the same time, it can blind you. It can bind you--

JONATHAN HAIDT: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: -into a tribe, but it can blind the whole tribe.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Absolutely. That's what we're stuck with. That's the nature of moral psychology. You got it.

BILL MOYERS: There's a chapter called “Vote For Me, Here's Why.” Let me run down a series of points you make in that chapter, and get your short take on what you want us to take away from that. Quote, "We're all intuitive politicians."

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. So a politician is always asking the question, ‘How am I doing?’ As Mayor Koch used to say. That's what we always want to know. And so when we interact with people we're intuitively we're like politicians, out to get their vote. Out to make them like us, make them be impressed by us. Who knows if they could be useful to us in the future.

So we say one thing to one person, one thing to another. We change our views, our attitudes. Oh, did you like that movie? Oh, I hated it because I know that he hated it, oh yes, I loved it, because I know that she liked it. We do this all the time. And we don't even know we're doing it.

So many people think, ‘Oh, you know, I dance to, I move to my own drum. I, you know, I'm independent. I'm a maverick.’ People think that about themselves. But research shows that even people who think that about themselves are just as influenced by what other people think of them. Basically we are clueless and hypocritical about ourselves. We're actually moderately accurate in our predictions of other people. Our blindness is about ourselves.

BILL MOYERS: Quote, "We are obsessed with polls."

JONATHAN HAIDT: Once again, what we really want to know is what others think of us. The research shows that when you give people the opportunity to cheat, in a way where they can get away with it, because there's no reputational consequence, most people cheat.

Other research shows that philosophers, and moral philosophers are no better than anyone else. So we all think that we're going to behave, we're going to have this inner moral compass. But really what we're most concerned with is what's this going to do to my poll numbers.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. I remember, you quote somebody's research in here, that they looked into how often books on ethics were taken out of the library, and not returned. And it was a very high ratio. And often by moral philosophers, or teachers of ethics. Right.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Eric Schwitzgebel, a philosopher, looked at how often books had not been returned, from lots of libraries. And, right, the ethics books were more likely to have been not returned than other philosophy books. My guess is that moral philosophers are extremely expert in coming up with justifications for whatever they want to do.

BILL MOYERS: This one hit me personally. Quote, “Our in-house press secretary automatically justifies everything.”

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. When someone accuses you of something, you can't help it. Instantly, your mind is off and running, drafting the press release to explain how, while it might look like I was hypocritical, but actually, so, we just, this is the way we think automatically. And again, it's part of this sort of Machiavellian psychology.

BILL MOYERS: Quote, "We lie, cheat, and justify so well that we honestly believe we're honest."

JONATHAN HAIDT: Everybody believes they're above average in honesty. But in fact, again, the studies show that when you give people a chance to cheat, literally the majority take advantage of it.

They'll fudge a number here, or they'll go over-time. They'll change an answer on a test, if, say, they get paid more money for getting more correct answers, for example. And the amazing thing is they're able to justify it. They're… they walk out of there thinking that they didn't cheat and lie.

BILL MOYERS: Quote, "Reasoning and Google can take you wherever you want to go."

JONATHAN HAIDT: Something we need to talk about here is what's called the confirmation bias. That is, you might think that our reasoning is designed to find the truth. And if you want to find the truth, you should look on both sides of a proposition. But in fact what happens is, when someone gives you a proposition, our minds, we send them out, we sent them out to do research for us.

But it's research, like, as a lawyer does, or as a press secretary would do, it’s like, ‘Find me one piece of evidence that will support this claim that I want to make.’ And if I can find one piece of evidence, I'm done. I can stop thinking. Well, that's the way we've been for millions of years. And, well, hundreds of thousands of years.

And suddenly Google comes along. You don't have to do any research. You just type it in. You know, "I think Obama, was Obama born in Kenya?" Just type it in. You'll find hits. You know, “Is global warming a hoax?” Type it, you'll find hits. So Google can basically solve your needs for confirmation, 24 hours a day.

BILL MOYERS: Quote, "We can believe almost anything that supports our team."

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. So it's bad enough when we're cheating and dissembling and manipulating things for our own benefit, but when we're doing it for our team it somehow is even more honorable, and easier to do. And this brings us right back to the culture war. People can believe any kind of crazy nonsense they want.

If you hated George Bush, when he was President, and somebody would give you an argument. I mean, you, it just seems automatically compelling. And you don't have to think very hard, conversely, now, about Barack Obama. So, all these things I'm saying. These biases of reasoning, that are so obvious at the personal level, when you ramp them up to the group level they get even more severe.

BILL MOYERS: This one took me aback, because it flies right in the face of my predisposition. “Anyone who values truth should stop worshiping reason.”

JONATHAN HAIDT: The idea of sacredness, the idea of sacralizing something. What I see as an academic, and as a philosophy major as an undergrad, is there are a lot of people in the academic world that sac- they think, oh, you know, no sacred cows. We shouldn't sacralize anything.

But they sacralize reason itself, as though reason is this noble attribute, reason is our highest nature. And if we could just reason, we will solve our problems. All right, that sounds good on paper. But given all the stuff I just told you about what psychologists have discovered about reason, reasoning is not good at finding the truth. Conscious verbal reasoning is really good at confirming.

We're really good lawyers. So what this means is that if you sacralize reason itself, you are first of all wrong about it. And as I say in the book, follow the sacredness. Wherever people sacralize something, there you will find ignorance, blindness to the truth, and resistance to evidence.

BILL MOYERS: So what does, what did the Hebrew prophet mean when he said, "Come now, and let us reason together." Are you saying we can't get at the truth that way?

JONATHAN HAIDT: No. That actually is very wise. Because what I'm saying here is that individual reasoning is post-hoc, and justificatory. Individual reasoning is not reliable because of the confirmation bias. The only cure for the confirmation bias is other people.

So, if you bring people together who disagree, and they have a sense of friendship, family, having something in common, having an institution to preserve, they can challenge each other's reason. And this is the way the scientific world is supposed to work.

And this is the way it does work in almost every part of it. You know, I've got my theory, and I'm really good at justifying it. But fortunately there's peer review, and there's lots of people are really good at undercutting it. And saying, "Well, what about this phenomenon? You didn't account for that."

And we worked together even if we don't want to, we end up being forced to work together, challenging each other's confirmation biases, and truth emerges. And this is a place where actually I think the Christians have it right, because they're always talking about how flawed we are. They're encouraging us to be more modest.

And from my reading, these apostles of reason nowadays, they're anything but modest. And they think that individuals can reason well. Wisdom comes out of a group of people well-constituted who have some faith or trust in each other. That's what our political institutions used to do, but they don't do anymore.

BILL MOYERS: You're helping me to understand this fundamental dichotomy in American political life, the- a country that mythologizes the rugged individual.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Right.

BILL MOYERS: But a country that's now governed by dogmatic group politics, right?

JONATHAN HAIDT: So this gets us right into sacredness, one of the dictums of the book is "follow the sacredness." It, once you see the basic dynamic of human life is individuals competing with individuals, but when necessary, coming together so that the group can compete with the group. So it's perfectly consistent for the right to worship rugged individualism at the individual level and to see government and especially government safety nets and nanny states as deeply immoral because it undercuts rugged individualism.

But at the same time, for them to be tribal and to come together around a pledge on taxes. Now, Grover Norquist was brilliant in exploiting the psychology of sacredness in making them sign this pledge. Even if many of them knew in their heart it was the wrong thing to do, we're so concerned about our poll numbers, we're so concerned about what people think of us, any candidate that said, "No, I'm not going to sign," you can bet Norquist was going to hold his feet to the fire.

And now they're stuck. And you get that crazy scene in that Republican debate, "If you could work out a deal, $10 of spending cuts for every one dollar of tax increases, would you take it?"

BRET BAIER: Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal, 10 to one as Byron said. Spending cuts to tax increases. Speaker you’re already shaking your head. But who on this stage would walk away from that deal? Can you raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not raising taxes you’d walk away on the 10 to one deal?

JONATHAN HAIDT: It's straight out of all the conformity experiments in social psychology. It’s-- you don't want to look, you don't want to be the one who stands up and is different. It's a lot of conformity pressure. A little further out, it's not just that you're afraid of being different, it's that you know what's waiting for you if you didn't get your hand up. And that is Grover Norquist and everybody else saying, "He's going to raise my taxes, he's going to raise my taxes."

BILL MOYERS: And you will be ejected from the group.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: You're not longer in the tribe.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: Out to the wilderness, right-

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. Now, we can go even further back, and this is what I think people on the left have trouble understanding, is the rejection of taxes, this dogmatic attitude about taxes, it's not just, ‘Oh, I want to keep my money, give me money, I'm greedy,’ it's that the federal, they've seen the federal government, and this begins in the '30s with Roosevelt, they've seen the federal government doing things that they think are evil. That is, the government got into the business of bailing people out when they make mistakes. Now, usually people need help not because they made a mistake. There are important reasons to have a safety net. But welfare policies, and it got even more so in the '60s, the government began doing things that supported people who were slackers or free-riders.

So as entitlement programs grow, as they begin to do things that are really antithetical to conservative ideas about fairness and responsibility, now government, it's not hard to see government as evil. And the only way to stop it is to starve the beast.

BILL MOYERS: What's the Democratic liberal left equivalent of the tax pledge, no new taxes, the group think on one issue that, if you violate it gets you thrown out of the tribe?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Right, well, it's touchy to talk about, but basically I think the new left, the commitment that was made in the '60s, was toward victim groups. So it was civil rights, women's rights, gay rights. Now these were all incredibly important battles that had to be fought. And again, follow the sacredness. If you sacralize these groups, it makes you, it binds you together to fight for them.

So the sacralization had to happen, the sacralization of victim groups had to happen to bring the left together to fight what was a truly altruistic and heroic battle. And they won, and things are now better in this country because of that. But, follow the sacredness. Once you've sacralized something, you become blind to evidence.

So evidence about, let's say, how welfare was working, or any other social policy that many of these social policies would backfire. But you can't see it because you've sacralized a group. Anything that seems to be helping that group, anything our group says is going to help them, you go with. So both sides are blind to evidence around their sacred commitments.

BILL MOYERS: I want to go to a very important moment in an early Republican debate that seems to me to go to the heart of what you're writing about in terms of moral psychology and how the conservatives see it. This was a question to Ron Paul. Let's play it.

WOLF BLITZER: Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But, you know, something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who's going to pay for, if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?

RON PAUL: Well, in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.

WOLF BLITZER: Well, what do you want?

RON PAUL: But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy, but not be forced--

WOLF BLITZER: But he doesn't have that. He doesn't have it, and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?

RON PAUL: That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody--

WOLF BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

RON PAUL: No.

JONATHAN HAIDT: This is a perfect example of what the culture war has turned into. It's a battle over ideas about fairness versus compassion. So the reason that that video went viral is because of the applause at the end.

So I got sent this video by a lot of people because, oh, my God, these Republicans are so heartless. They're so evil and cruel and terrible. But it's exactly Aesop's ant and the grasshopper. The grasshopper fiddles away all the summer while the ants are working and working and working, preparing for the winter. The grasshopper says, "Oh, you're being silly, working so hard." And then winter comes. The grasshopper comes, knocks on the ants' door and he's starving to death, he's freezing. He says, "Take me in. Feed me." And as some liberals see it, the point of the ant and the grasshopper and that the ants are supposed to feed the grasshopper. But that's not what Aesop meant.

And that's not what most Americans think it means. So what they're applauding for there and what they're saying, "Yeah, let him die," the reason they're saying that is because they want a world in which karma functions. This guy made a choice. He made a choice to be a free rider. He made a choice to not buy health insurance. And if karma works as it should, no one will pay for it and he will die. Now, if you care, if you value the care foundation, that is extremely cold. But if you value fairness as proportionality, that's what has to happen.

BILL MOYERS: What did Aesop mean?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Aesop meant, that you better take care of yourself because if you don't, if you're lazy and you expect others to take care of you, you deserve to die. You deserve to be left out in the cold. And that's why welfare has always been so contentious because, on the left, they think it's doing good bringing money to their sacralized victim groups. But on the right, it's doing bad because it's encouraging dependence. It's discouraging hard work. It's rotting away the Protestant work ethic. And it's encouraging irresponsibility. Welfare's always been an incredibly contentious.

BILL MOYERS: It has been but liberals and progressives are right, are they not, when they say government has been a big force in the development of this country, all the way from infrastructure, canals, and railroads and airports and all of that to the social contract, which prevents elderly people from falling into a life of despair at the end of their years.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. That's all true. And if the Democrats could make a good, clear case of what the proper role of government is, I think they'd be successful because that's absolutely right. The problem is that government, whoever has the reins of government uses it for moralistic purposes.

They use it to further their sacred ends. And they use it to channel money and programs and largesse to their favorite groups. So people on the right don't trust government to do what's right with their tax dollars. And the left, again, needs to come up with a clear story about what is the proper role of government and what is not. And they need to regain the trust.

BILL MOYERS: But it means that we can never get together to try to resolve it when one party says ‘we won’t compromise’ and the other party says ‘you are evil.’

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. That's right. So, we're in a lot of trouble. I don't see an easy way out here. There are some electoral reforms that would make things better. But the problem is that all electoral reforms will tend to favor one side over the other, which means it's very difficult to get them enacted.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you're also asking the very people benefiting from the present status quo system to change what is to their benefit.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: To keep it going.

JONATHAN HAIDT: That's right. So, I mean, my only thoughts about how we can make the kind of end run about this, is we need to develop norms of certain things that are beyond the pale, certain things that are bad. And so, for example, just as we developed our discourse about, say, sexual harassment, you know, when movies and TV shows from the '60s, it was common. It was laughed at.

But, you know, in just a few decades we've come a long way and recognized certain kinds of behaviors are unacceptable. We've changed our attitudes about smoking in public. We've done all sorts of things like that. We've moralized things. I'd like to propose that we moralize two things.

One is demonization. When you have people saying, you can disagree as much as you want, but when you start saying, "They're only saying that because they're, you know, they're a racist or they're in bed with this company," or, and even though sometimes that might be true. But we are so prone to dismiss other people and demonize their motives that we’re usually going to be wrong about that. So if we could begin to see this in each other and even challenge each other and say, "Hey, you're demonizing." Like, just, you know, disagree with them but stop attributing bad motives to the other side. So if ten years from now people sort of recognize that and could call each other out on in, that would at least be some progress.

The other one is corruption. Until we develop a massive groundswell of public revulsion at the fact that our Congress is bought and paid for, not entirely of course. Many of them are decent people. I don't want to demonize. I'm sorry. But the nature of the institution is such that they've got to raise tons of money. And then they're responsive to those interests. So perhaps there's some norms that we could develop that will put some pressure on Congress to clean up its act.

BILL MOYERS: Jonathan Haidt, thank you very much for sharing your ideas with us.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Oh, my pleasure, Bill. This has been great fun.

BILL MOYERS: That’s it for this week. Coming up on Moyers & Company writer producer Marty Kaplan on our nation’s capitol -- then and now.

You wrote The Distinguished Gentleman 20 years ago. Could you write it today?

MARTY KAPLAN: Oh God, it still is the same. All you have to do is add a couple of zeros to the amount of money. And the same laws still apply. It is fabulous and miserable at the same time.

OLAF ANDERSEN in The Distinguished Gentleman: High six figures! Seven figures? I suppose a million dollars isn’t too much to insure against losing $5 billion.

DICK DODGE in The Distinguished Gentleman: Now you talking.

OLAF ANDERSEN in The Distinguished Gentleman: But how can I funnel this kind of money to you?

TERRY CORRIGAN in The Distinguished Gentleman: If that’s what you want, we can find a loophole. No one will see your fingerprints.

OLAF ANDERSEN in The Distinguished Gentleman: No one will know?

TERRY CORRIGAN in The Distinguished Gentleman:No one will know.

DICK DODGE in The Distinguished Gentleman:Olaf's just making a contribution as a patriotic citizen. And in return for that, he's getting…

TOMMY JEFFERSON JOHNSON in The Distinguished Gentleman: Good government.

DICK DODGE in The Distinguished Gentleman: Exactly. A little access, that's all.

BILL MOYERS: Was Washington then, and is it now, the biggest con game going?

MARTY KAPLAN: It is the biggest con game going. And the stakes are enormous. And the effort to regulate them is hopeless, because the very people who are in charge of regulating them are the same people who are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the lobbies that run them.

BILL MOYERS: And if want to hear more from Jonathan Haidt, this week you’ll have a chance when he joins us for a special live chat on our website, BillMoyers.com. Go there for more information and to start asking him your questions. That’s at BillMoyers.com. I'll see you there and see you here next time.

Encore: How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?

June 1, 2012

Our country is more politically polarized than ever. Is it possible to agree to disagree and still move on to solve our massive problems? Or are the blind leading the blind — over the cliff?

Bill and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talk about the psychological underpinnings of our contentious culture, why we can’t trust our own opinions, and the demonizing of our adversaries.

“When it gets so that your opponents are not just people you disagree with, but… the mental state in which I am fighting for good, and you are fighting for evil, it’s very difficult to compromise,” Haidt tells Moyers. “Compromise becomes a dirty word.”


Test Your Morals

Test your morals with Haidt’s assessment surveys related to Moral Foundations and Criminal Justice.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.fisher.7121 Robert Fisher

     I have just one question.
    After the 9/11 attacks and the population being scared out of our skins, so we would agree to go to War in the Middle East without ANY justification for 10 years now.  
    After Thousands of our sons and daughters have been killed and tens of thousands crippled for life. (I had 2 sons in the military, one in Iraq) 
    After our Civil Liberties have been stripped away using more scare tactics over 9/11.
    After our military budget was blown out of control without any approvals of the people, on war equipment that has made a special few corporations Billions in profits.
    After Billions in Bribes paid to a few Unholy Government Leaders just so we can use there land to wage these wars, and they Still Work with the Terrorist behind our backs, laughing all the while.
    After our economy was slammed into the dirt by a few greedy corporations taking home Billions in profits while WE, the working class are left to Pay the Bill and are left Unemployed in 2008.  
    After our Government has been taken over and is now OWNED & Operated by these same Big Corporations.
    After our political system has become a Total JOKE and no longer represents the Majority, the People of America, but is Bought and Paid For by these few Big Corporations.

    I have only one question, that if,, IT WHERE Explained to me and I was made to believe it, I could accept the rest of this crazy Decade we have been though and join the fight.  (Before you answer the question; I’m a General Building Contractor and I also have a Building Inspection Certification, a B-2 with the International Code Council)  

    HOW DID BUILDING #7, (a concrete steel framed building) COLLAPSE ON 9/11, WHEN IT ONLY HAD A FEW SMALL OFFICE/FURNITURE FIRES ON SEVERAL FLOORS??  
    Now, I know NO ONE is going to tell the truth on how and why it was demolished, so it puts everything else I mentions above ( and a lot more) in Suspect!

    Ps;  You need to add this song to your list of Activist Songs on your web site.  Play it on You Tube and enjoy the “LYRICS‘!  

  • Anonymous

    Too bad that you’re re-airing this middlebrow, pop psychological twaddle. There are real reasons that many of us don’t view the 1% as honorable people worthy of respectful discourse.

    Nice “liberals” like Haidt, Matt Miller and Tom Friedman are SO perturbed at our incivility over the fact that the country has been despoiled, the birthright of our children stolen. Oh, right. It doesn’t affect them.

    Bill, CNN has people like Haidt very well covered. Why you?

  • Anonymous

    What is your guest’s definition of “truth”?  What is your idea of truth, Bill?  Perhaps I missed this discussion.  But it seems to me that it is basic?  Also, what is reality?  And what is morality?  Where they defined?

  • Anonymous

    First I have not read Haidt’s book, so my comments are based on the interview.  Haidt has apparently done something that he advises against, sacralized conservatives.  There may be those ideologically pure conservatives out there that truly believe as Haidt describes, but they are not representative of the current crop of supposedly conservative politicians.  I live in Florida, we have Rick Scott.  Scott is an opportunist, asserting he is conservative when he is simply a power seeking kleptomaniac.  You cannot be a true ideological conservative when your wealth comes from bilking the government you say is spending too much money.  Scott made his fortune from medicare fraud.  Please, Mr. Haidt, inform us where fairness, loyalty and sanctity (all those values conservatives exceed liberals on) fit in with massive medicare fraud?  And, per the second story on the show, where does fairness fit in with intentionally disenfranchising legal voters?  This is a power grad, pure and simple.  Maybe there should be a little sliding scale for sheer self-aggrandizing POWER (that authority thing)?  I think Mr. Moyers was a little too accepting of Haidt’s characterization of conservatives, at least those in power who claim to be conservative.  I think there should have been more questions about how conservative voters are manipulated by the Republican party telling them what they want to hear and then betraying (loyalty?) that trust to sell them out to the highest bidder (who ever pays the pandering politician the most). 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Richard-Clinton-Maenpaa/711810943 John Richard Clinton Maenpaa

    There was some useful stuff in this episode, but there was one glaring omission in this discussion of our national discourse: the willingness to lie continuously on the part of talk-radio hosts, and more especially on Faux News. I am not saying this as a Democrat. In fact, I am not a Democrat. I’m saying this as someone who was driven from the Republican Party by the em ergence of the Fox Nation.
         And this is not just my perception on the issue – The governing Conservative party of Canada has gone so far as to deny Fox a license to broadcast in their country, because, though they may have much in common ideologically with Newscorpse, they don’t want their people lied to, and conversely, they allow MSNBC despite their ideological differences, because they don’t fabricate stories out of thin air, and they fact check.
         I know there are “…lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.” But sometimes I wonder how the Fox Nation can possibly believe some of this stuff: How many zillions of dollars does the president spend each day while visiting Indonesia? And why does he bring half the Pacific Fleet with him as escort? And why is celebrity chef Rachel Ray (sp?) promoting Islamic Jihad in Dunkin’ Donuts commercials? 
         Why does Rupert Murdoch’s Saudi business partner build a mosque within a mile of ground zero, and then get his own viewers all foamy about said mosque? And why do those viewers choose to be spun that way? ”
         ”Enquiring minds want to know?”
         People have a right to their own opinions, but they don’t have a right to their own facts. Surely this should have been part of your discussion.
         You want a discussion on our toxic political culture? Then maybe it should begin there…
         Just my 2p, adjusted for inflation, of course… :)

  • Hadenough

    Oh, give me a break! This guy really thinks the free market is a good thing. How does he define morality, what about honesty, truth? I think he is a conservative and is not in touch with how most of us live. He is not a centrist but a right wing nut job. Come on Bill, really?

  • Chrisioh

    Talk about living in a bubble! Mr Haidt is obviously a conservative in sheeps clothing spouting academic psycho-babble in an attempt to whitewash his enormous false equivalencies. He also appears to be the personification of the statement that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. Mr. Moyers at times appeared totally speechless at the nonsense this guy spewing!

  • Julogue1

    Great program and presentation by Haidt, Bill. 

    The recent Bain debate has opened a Pandora’s box of questions about “work,” which most Americans sacralize.  Most of us think of work as producing something of value for which one receives a reward.  Bain gains a big reward whether or not it is successfully produces anything.  Republicans, not suprisingly, and certain Democrats are supporting this part of our financial matrix.  Shameful.  Hopefully, after this election is over there will at least a discussion of possible laws which limit the too quick, sure and large rewards for the failure of entities like Bain. 

    Is being poor because you do not  work or do not work hard enough  less shameful than making a huge profit where there is no requirement for success or risk to the invester?

    This may be a delicious time to examine how capitalism, which obviously takes many forms and is never “pure,”  has worked.  It’s a pretty good bet that an objective study would find that  the financier is being coddled just as much or more as the more average worker or those who don’t work.  (I have yet to meet a person who does not want to work.)

    The only good thing about the Bush era is, that the tragic events inadvertently educated many more of the electorate about how some of the wealthy are coddled.  

  • Djermano
  • Djermano
  • Anonymous

    The problem with Jonathan Haidt  is not his using
    psychological phenomena (and research) to explain why the sides differ and
    disagree via their cognitions, their biases, their ‘world-views’…that may
    present a window into how either side can (although, I withhold all optimism)
    reasonably discuss and debate issues. It’s clear that greater awareness into
    our own biases can foster an open-mind. Fine.

    However, the disservice Mr. Haidt does (not via willful
    intention but via the very polarity of positions he discusses) is that in his
    discussion he provides tacit approval of Republican positions. Because they are
    generally viewed as more extreme (based on research and the more ‘right’
    leaning tendencies/direction we have witnessed the past 30+ years) this serves
    to legitimize that position.

    As he talks about the psychology of individuals and groups
    and how they ‘see’ the world, how both sides construct their moral positions or
    demonize the positions of others. HOWEVER, that is dramatically different than
    the FACTS of what is occurring in this country and who is responsible for the
    collapsing equality (what I would argue is the greatest threat to a true
    Democracy) in our society. e.g.

    It is fact that 60% of the wealth in this country is
    controlled by 1% of the people. That is a fact.

    It is fact that under Republicans government costs and
    growth of government balloon (completely contrary to the republican canard and
    hypocrisy of ‘we are for smaller government’).

    This list is exhaustive and while both sides might claim
    ownership of facts that support their dispositions (at the expense of reason)
    the truth is endorsement of current right-wing, tea-party, extremism is
    factually (economic, Global Index Measures of health, wealth, and well-being)
    inconsistent. This has nothing to do with my beliefs or cognitive
    justifications/biases etc.

    And, therein is the problem with how he presents his data
    both ‘sides’ (Republicans and Democrats) are not functional equivalents in the
    execution of their psychological underpinnings as expressed in the political
    sphere. Because political decisions have outcomes that effect and impact more
    than our psychology. Fully acknowledging, that in Washington D.C., BOTH sides
    are colluding to support our plutocracy because of the influence and power of
    a.) corporations and b.) the uber wealthy. Does not negate the very real
    outcomes of the rights political positions that impact us all.

    In a sense, this becomes a discussion that can be distilled
    down to one that asks ‘What kind of society do we wish to live in?”. A
    society with no government? No social contract? No desire to take care of those
    we do not know -whether newly born or nearly dead? A society in which five
    members of the Walton family are worth more than the poorest 128,000,000
    Americans? An unwillingness to regulate mega-corporations? An accepting that
    50+ million Americans do not have health care? A society in which (as I write
    this) 1.7 million children will go hungry each night?

    Not stressing the differences between psychological positions
    and how those positions have very real political implications for our society via
    policy is his achilles heel and we are all the worse for it….unless, of
    course, you wish to live in a society guided by Darwin and not Democracy.

  • Denisespearsjohnson

    I am amazed at Mr. Haidt’s comments, as I heard them, that welfare has always been seen as a negative program because people should plan for bad times and not expect assistance from the government when bad times happen. Does he not realize some of us are just getting by and are not able to plan for bad times?  We the people are the government and we are in this together. There should be a social safety net and if you think you will never need assistance you are wrong.  Any one of us can find ourselves needing help.  But I guess not Mr. Haidt.  He was lucky enough not to grow up in poverty, attend good schools so he can have a lucrative career.  Not everyone is that lucky, and sometimes it is just luck.  I just don’t agree with this conservative point of view.

  • Tamas

    However much we may agree or disagree with Mr. Haidt’s characterization of liberals and conservatives, one comment he made struck right to the heart of the matter: Congress is bought and paid for by special interests.
    There is a possible solution to this. It derives from legal concept of recusal. If a Congressperson receives any contributions, front door, back door or side door, he must recuse himself on any matter related to those contributors. If we can find a way to identify those funds and then enforce this provision, it might help. The first effect, I imagine, would be that contributions from major organizations would shrink. Well, maybe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/litlgrey Carl Howard

     My god, can you construct a case.  That was fantastic!

  • http://janetcheathambell.com/ Aging Grace

    I was completely engaged by Haidt’s discussion; however disappointed that no mention was made by either of you about corporate “welfare,” like oil subsidies and tax loopholes that allow giant companies like General Electric to avoid paying any taxes at all. My guess is that the cost of this kind of welfare is far more expensive than the monthly checks that make sure children don’t go hungry.

  • Pam Bickell

    Mr. Moyers,
    I just saw part of your discussion with Jonathan Haidt and while his ideas about opposing political positions are interesting, did he address the subject that every person on Earth is a child of God and as such, deserves our care when they ‘tip over?’
    People on the far right seem to see themselves as perfect, therefore deserving all the good things of life. Mr. Haidt mentioned karma several times as an explantion of why the people on the right are correct in their opinions of people on welfare. I actually believe we live many lives and that we are all born with karma, but is it not clearly stated in the Christian bible, ‘What you do unto the least of these you do unto me.’
    We are all brothers and sisters and as such, responsible for each other. Contrary to what the right-leaning believe, most of the people who receive government ‘handouts’ can’t wait to get on their feet or back on their feet.
    I wonder if the right-leaning ever think of the homeless man on the corner and how he got there, or why the 15-yr-old girl who, because she has been raped by her father since she was seven, believes she deserves men who abuse her?
    It seems to me that right-leaners are more worried about higher taxes affecting their lifestyles than they are about their fellow humans who are not as fortunate as them. It is sad that Mr. Haidt, after all his research is now leaning right. Is he protecting his income?
    Pam Bickell

  • Christopher David Anderson

    Your argument about inequality oddly has the same rational structure as the argument for less welfare.

    It seems that both inequality and large amounts of welfare are both indicators of something is systemically wrong.  Extremes lead to fractures.  But before those occure there are signs of stress and pain; which we can see in both the Tea Party and OWS movements.  The question is not that something is wrong.  Both sides agree that inequality is a very bad thing, and so is welfare. 

    The question I ask myself is: does it matter why inequality and welfare are bad indicators?  My answer is no.  I think we instinctively understand that these situations lead to bad outcomes, for individuals and groups.  It is not the rational used to identify a problem that is important.  However, it is the language describing the problem which is, because it leads to initial thoughts about how to go about solving it.  Which play to biases.

    Are there too many people on welfare? 
    Are there too many loopholes for the rich?
    Are there too many moneyed interests in politics?

    The answers to these questions actually don’t offer much in terms of solving the problem.  Instead of answering them with utopian like ideals, they offer ideas of what and where to measure.  Questions which provoke exploratory, curious, & productive responses are much more effective:

    Can we identify a range (of ratios) where the percentage of those recieving welfare and the amount of inequality in a country indicate stable production, growth and happiness?

    The idea is to create data based arguments where we can work on policies and plans that move us towards shared goals.  But we have to identify, validate and dignify the goals of each other.  Even if you are pushed, acknowledge the discomfort and explore.  Constent to explore and pursue knowledge is not to give up your morality.

    Personally, the most important thing to keep in mind is that our shared biology is an indicator of shared ideas and goals.  We all respond to positive and negative environmental factors.  Reading those and identifying what we need to improve are not contentious.  How to do so is, and that requires that we acknowledge and validate one another.

    Listen and asking conscientious and thoughtful questions.  Find measurements, comparisons, and data which describe our biological signals and needs.  Then look at solutions to move us from where we are and towards the regions in which we thrive.

  • Anonymous

    Haidt has a keen eye on our social distress and draws a fine picture of how the ‘tribes’ have separated. I would have asked him if the pressures from rising population and the imposing scarcity of resources contribute to the social divide?

    Haidt’s use of Aesop, the ant and the grasshopper, fails for the same reason it has always been questioned: it never speaks about how the community of ants treats their own ‘free-riders’. If he can show us that the ants don’t feed for their own weak, their own disabled, their own ‘slackers’, I’ll give his theory more credit. He also avoids the question of determining ability and disability and how those qualities determine the work that can be done by each individual. Since it can’t be that we are all equal in our potential for doing work, some of us can do more than others but that doesn’t make them more equal than the rest of us.

    Haidt’s perspective seems to promote judgement as though it were always clear; one or zero, black or white, yes or no. I would think that as a psychologist he might at least have spoken to the importance of reason in making any judgement rather than simply trying to demonize reason; that demonization strikes me as being the underpinning of most conservative rebuttals. We have evolved to this point through our ability to reason and to suggest that reason can be a detriment to us is simply inappropriate.

  • Mike

    I think Haidt alluded to that toward the end of the interview when he listed the two things he would like to see moralized: demonization and corruption. His comments about the latter, in my estimation, speak implicitly and succinctly to your concerns.

  • dsdora

    It’s fascinating reading some of the comments because the posters don’t get the point of Haidt’s main thrust – the only way to get this nation back on track is for the left to get smarter and tougher…..which will also mean taking a good hard look at some of the abuses of our social programs that have become institutionalised.
    But the other takeaway is that the oligarchy that governs us like the polarisation just fine…..divide and conquer…..

  • Dargansg

    Regarding the TV clip of the debate where Ron Paul is asked whether he would let the willfully uninsured person die of an unexpected disease, it should be noted that Paul’s answer was “no.” He went on to say that help should be given, but by voluntary associations, not the federal government. I think many liberals err in assuming that a problem is not really solved unless the federal government assumes responsibility. On the other hand, many conservatives err in thinking that the free market relieves them of responsibility for the welfare of their neighbors, with the result that social problems fester to the point that liberal federal programs become the only Christian alternative.

  • Anonymous

    In Haidt’s admiration of the stubborn, backward-looking, group-think, survival-of-the-fittest, conservative viewpoint, he fails to admire that the open mind and rationality and forward-looking viewpoint of liberals is what moves a society forward. Liberalism is a productive loose coalition, which allows for the freedom of worthy ideas from all comers, looks at ALL people as equal in the working of society, each according to his/her ability, not penalized for (or preyed upon because of) perceived weakness. It seeks justice and fairness for all who seek it.

    Conservative thinking was detrimental for the maturing Roman Empire. The wealthy wanted to keep their wealth. They did not want to pay (taxes) for the upkeep on the innovations brought about by early innovation: roads, the aquaduct system, etc., Then came the heavy reliance on slavery/free-labor, which came to outnumber a citizenry that could have continued to support the single-minded selfish lazy wealthy and the empire through their own wages earned through productive labor.

    This same detrimental pattern is emerging in the United States today–fewer and fewer decently paid workers and the wealthy stopping the flow of money in the economy at themselves without turning over their FAIR SHARE to the health of the society. If they are the job-creators–let them create jobs, nothing is stopping them but their own greed–workers with money keep the economy flowing; it’s a simple equation.

    Conservatism is helpful ONLY to the survival of a lucky ruthless few, at the expense of a vast impoverished other (all previous political systems). Innovation comes at the hands of free-thought. Conservatism relies on keeping what it has taken and protecting that gain. Liberalism allows for the survival of many and their chance of a decent living–the chance to rear their children, put food on the table, live in safety and in health, through daily work–fairly paid wages and a FAIR share of taxes from ALL–a contribution to the power of the nation as a whole.

    A liberal society is the world I’d much rather live in. It’s the world I have taught
    my children and grandchildren to aspire to–to fight for.

    I am a proud LIBERAL.

  • Helgacanad

    HERE IT IS THE FULL INTEVIEW Americas only hope.

  • ShastaSam

    The essence of Haidt’s psychobabble is that Republicans are better at tribe (party) loyalty and cohesiveness but they are not good for the country.  Amen

  • Dsweeton

    The perpetuation of divisions between right and left, conservative and liberal will continue as long as there is controlled media, owned and used for personal (political) power.
    Truth in reporting is lacking. Education of the public is sadly lacking. True moral values are sadly lacking. Competition, violence, sex, crime, extreme religious exploitation are the replacements. Oh yes, MONEY drives the media.
    Thank goodness for the rare programs like Moyers that bring some rationality to the public. It should be required viewing. Thank you, Mr. Moyers and Company and PBS for airing it.
    The Sweeton Family  

  • Bbates13

    What Jonathan Haidt said was that he had been a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who has, through a purposeful effort to research his book, found more of a balance between the two US political extremes.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us – |ALL of us — were able to do that and become capable of seeing things “from the other side”?  No one said compromise your beliefs, but rather to understand the opposition.  Just because the opposition may want to demonize your side doesn’t justify not trying to understand theirs.  Capitalism did not win the cold war – democracy did.  Capitalism is competition, and by inference, there must be winners and losers.  How does a winner then have compassion for the loser?  It can’t since there is no compassion in competition, and therefore there cannot be (much) compassion in capitalism.  Part of the Democratic message problem is conveying to the public how we can keep capitalism and yet be a compassionate society.  And I’m sure that it will be complicated, but it is possible:  especially if ALL of us can make a concerted effort to see the other side’s point of view.  Case in point:  the morning of 9/11, a little girl crying and holding on to her mother’s skirt, looked up at her mother and asked “Why do they hate us so much?” and until the United States makes the concerted effort to understand that, and things of that quality, areas of our society will continue to be blinded, look through capitalist colored glasses, and live arrogantly.One of those areas to deal with is slavery.  Yes, slavery.  We continue to condone slavery, but now it has morphed strictly into a physcological and economic form.  With a majority of Amercians stating that they do not “like” their job and would rather have a “vocation” they could be passionate about, it is no wonder that most people experience stresses associated with the feeling of hopelessness, with being forced to stay in their economic situation (for so many reasons it could not be listed here), with no ability to pursue (even if they could imagine or visualize it) something that they love or would gladly give their lives for,  etc. human capital has for a large extent become slavery.  And if this country wants to keep capitalism, it must comes to grips with how human capital/slavery is treated (living wages, more paid time off, universal health care, less overtime – time daily to pursue passions – all in a sustainable fashion), conscious and subconscious deleterious psycological effects will fester and the U.S. will no longer exist as the promise of the future, but rather become another in a long list of societies that was not smart or internally powerful enough to right its wrongs and pursue a progressive future.

  • Sue Sims

    Alas. Mr. Haidt, however well-intentioned displays the same tunnel vision he ascribes to both consevatives and liberals. On health care he uses an example of a healthy, 30 year old male, who does not buy health insurance and then later needs it when he’s injured or ill. Shall we let him die? The crowd does a noisy thumbs up or thumbs down jeering response, Roman Collosium style. It’s a rather immature debate like one might overhear kids argue, but then that’s quite usual for our level of debate.  Haidt does not mention an essential fact required in the equation.  If the 30 year old male is a USA citizen there’s this goofy unsolved problem to be circularly debated.  However, if the 30 year old male is a citizen of Sweden, Britian, Holland or other developed nation he has paid taxes that will be used for his and others health care.  Everyone puts money in the pool and when someone needs medical care that person goes and gets it.  Of course this deprives the crowd of their reality show vote and entertainment. Shall we kick him off the island or include him as a member of our animal family, herd, flock, pack or tribe, slowly evolving toward human beings.  The consumer capitalism of privately owned insurance companies will protest.  Privately owned insurance companies are less interested in human medical care than in money paid for private insurance that can then be invested in Wall Street, hedge funds etc., to make mega profits for the insurance company and its owners.  Perhaps if his disease isn’t too toxic, we could just kill him and eat him, or a big food corporation could use him for fertilizer.  By limiting the choices to our immature USA individualism, Mr. Haidt neglects the opportunity to encourage a one world, one planet, intelligent human species expanded perspective. Creation manifests life on earth in great diversity including both grasshoppers (as annoying as they can sometimes be) and ants (as annoying as they also can sometimes be).   

  • 126 East

    Haidt provides us with clear example of reductionism in service of false equivalency. If  only what we are going through were so simple that it can be described by a guy flogging a book in a couple of thousand words. While he does bring attention to valid issues deserving our attention he skates over the more prickly realties. Number one being that the Ayn Randian Republican vision for the US and the world is a guaranteed roller coaster ride through successively ever deeper levels of hell on earth. Can the deliberate perpetuation of a slave class, and religious domination be rational self interest?

    The most important item addressed is the left’s inability to coherently state its case. Particularly Obama’s complete neglect when it comes to explanations regarding any of the most contentious issues that he has largely chosen to sidestep. So I guess that’s where that’s at.

    Kind of convenient how he surfed over massive unemployment, poverty, and lack of health care and old age security for around fifty-million people more than eager to work hard to pay their way.

    We can only hope that someone like Jacob Hacker (The Great Risk Shift and other books) will be brought on  to bring the conversation back to actual planet earth reality. Haidt started out on terra firms then ended up in Oz.

  • Madeline Breslin

    Sorry Bill, Jonathon doesn’t move me.  He appears to be so one-sided he cannot possibly speak for liberals or define mores` for those not like him.   For example, he doesn’t have a clue about Democrats and Democracy.  He’s got Capitalism certainly and with certainty.   He puts on others his cluelessness and hypocrisy and blindness.  He’s very close to the ultimate definition of what a POLITICIAN IS & DOES.

  • Bruce Johnson

    It is great to have someone give a clear picture as to what is and has been going on in the country.  I used to look forward to discussing politics with people that would be opposed to my position.  I often would learn something. Now  I don’t want to have these discussions  because of the radicalism that has overtaken our polictical parties.  I no longer can call myself a supporter of the polictial situation in this country.  I consider myself non’partisan.

  • Yzer1

    I found the audio quality extremely poor and unintelligible, Mr. Haidt had multitude of times where he spoke so softly that he could not be understood. 35% was unintelligent.  he was extremely difficult to follow.
    With so many missed words the show was difficult to follow.

  • Ewan S Fallon

    The real question is should we have a representative government or not? or should we just have a market based constitution, an actor spokesman for the market as a president, no social programs, biggest military in the world, and a “war” every ten years or so?  
    Disraeli, way back, set the way to overthrow the incumbent.
    Just say no to everything proposed, “be troubled”  and steer the conversation to trivial details.  Then claim the government is so ineffective and unable to pass anything that they should ALL be turned out of office.  This is the Republican play book, note how they are voting out their worthy long term incumbents,  (making them take one for the team)  in favor of T Party neophytes. 
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joyce-Cates/1731266410 Joyce Cates

    This is one of the most interesting psychological discussions I’ve heard to explain why we are so divided in partisan ‘beliefs, morality, lifestyle – ‘excuses’ as to why there is a line in the sand in analyzing the moral case of arguments – fairness is a democratic moral principle – republican stand (conservative moral issue) is based on individuals ‘Kara’ (what?) that if ‘we’ do not put in our obligation to do a job, whatever job, we are failing our ‘Karma’.  This guy is a bit over my head, must say – but the only thing I get out of it is:  (1) Right is all about wealth – (2) Left is about democracy – needless to say, I think this guy needs therapy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bob Clark

    The main ideas I absorbed from the interview were that political discourse might be improved if we worked harder to discover a fairer or more balanced understanding of the values that may seem hidden in the other guys’ arguments while we simultaneously become more aware of the often irrational grounds for our own. I don’t think he meant this to be a complete solution.  I thought this was a worthwhile recommendation.  Unfortunately, after reading most of these comments it seems this was not at all a conclusion shared by most.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HTXBOKLFONTJ2W5QGVEOQBSEKA tom paine

    Did we watch the same show?

  • Diane

    Regarding the Ron Paul video with the scenario of the guy who doesn’t buy insurance, alluded to later with the grasshopper/ant story…I am tired of people thinking you can just go out and buy health insurance like your weekly groceries. That young man, if he had a wife who didn’t work and had a kid, would probably not find a policy for less than $1200/month. So then he has to decide between health insurance and food…and when he chooses the latter, as many Americans have done (myself included), we’re lazy grasshoppers, huh? And how about when he does opt for that policy, pays his premiums for several years, THEN he gets sick and the insurance company sends him a letter saying “after reviewing your case we have determined that we will not cover this treatment” (meanwhile their CEO gets his annual $10million bonus)…I am no lazy grasshopper, and I certainly don’t think anything should be free, but when I point out these problems the only response I get from right wingers is to be called a socialist.

  • Bedouglas

    The captions have improved, but not well enough for those with hearing problems. Good captions are widely available,
    Bodie Douglas

  • Jaime Yarbrough

    This is a MUST SEE !  Please make the time – listen, understand….watch until you do for the benefit of us all.

  • WachetAuf

    I agree with  Mr. Haidt’s larger views, even his conclusions and remedies. I do believe, however, that he has devalued the importance of ”reason” by giving credit to those tribes within our society who use demagoguery and fallacious rhetoric as being men of “reason”.  By not pointing it out and calling it what it is he is kowtowing to primitive instinct and is doing a great disservice to the one and only valuable thing which has lifted us out of the jungle. I am not advocating a primitive, impulsive counter-assault against those who choose to engage in demagoguery. We must respect their authentically held concerns. We must not compare the best in ourselves against the worst in others. We must agree with our opponents when we must. We must admit our own errors. But we must also speak out strongly against the demagoguery.  The so-called “conservatives” will take no prisoners. They will accuse their opponents of appeasement. Let’s take an equally firm stand on the value of reason. It is, after all, the one valuable message in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus asked us to be “born again” to a higher nature and to reject our primitive, impulsive instincts. I can take that to mean only one thing, to use our reasoning minds.

  • Anonymous

    >”Haidt has apparently done something that he advises against, sacralized conservatives.”<

    I got the impression that Haidt wasn't listening to his own words, because he did exactly what you just pointed out.  Mr. Haidt is so polite in his justificationism, and yet so dismally unaware of the fact that he's doing it. I have to wonder what ever gave him the idea that the examples he points to in his book by "more psychologists" actually justify his findings or carry any scientific authority? It's psychology Mr. Haidt. Not science. Your suggestion that we all look for things to confirm our beliefs inductively is complete nonsense.  That may be what conservatives do, which is probably where the problem lies.  But it's opposite to what science does which is look for things that falsify claims through Modus Tollens deductive reasoning. You cannot prove a theory inductively sir. The object is to disprove it deductively.

    Mr. Haidt is also a Burkean conservative looking for the "collective wisdom" as a guide to his/our morality as opposed to the individual reason that he seems to suggest is sacralized while he sacrilizes that collective wisdom to inform him of what reason may criticize as false. Collective wisdom thought slavery was a good idea at one time.

    Bill is a gracious host to be sure, but allowing this guy to peddle psuedo-science to justify conservatism is a bit much.

  • Anonymous

    >”that demonization strikes me as being the underpinning of most conservative rebuttals.”<

    Exactly. But that's what Mr. Haidt is. A Conservative. It's important for him to demonize reason since conservatism denies reason as having any importance in how we deal with our problems. They tend to be faith based ideololgues.  They "sacrilize" their ideology which Mr. Haidt seemed to overlook.

    Mr. Haidt also made it clear that his orientation stems from Edmund Burke conservative ideals. Burke was the anti-Enlightenment figure in history. He's considered the father of modern conservatism. Of course the country was founded on the Enlightenment views of people like Jefferson and Paine who's Age of Reason would probably not be sitting on Haidts bookshelf. But teaching at UVa must be a problem for him with Jeffersonian reason looking over his shoulder.

  • Anonymous

    Considering the overwhelming poverty and unemployment in this country, the capabilities of voluntary associations such as churchs, would be quickly overwhelmed by the number of people in need of help.

  • Anonymous

    >”A liberal society is the world I’d much rather live in. It’s the world I have taught my children and grandchildren to aspire to–to fight for.I am a proud LIBERAL.”<

    Same here. Move on up to Vermont. There's a lot of us here.

  • Anonymous

    I’m still trying to figure out why tribalism is some kind of virtue.  He stresses the importance of
    solidarity to the group.

    Mr. Haidt is pretty obviously an Identity Philosopher. They believe, and this is what makes them identity philosophers, that they owe their primary allegiance to some group to which they belong. The thrust of their attack against truth is not that we cannot know what is true. It is that truth is but one value amongst many, and not the one that counts most for building a just society. They believe that when it comes to a choice between truth and solidarity, it is solidarity that counts—so that we are not merely justified in
    misrepresenting the truth, but that it may actually be our duty to do so if the solidarity of our community hangs in the balance.

    But no one, I hope, would accuse identity philosophers of tolerating or respecting the views of others.

  • Anonymous

    >”What Jonathan Haidt said was that he had been a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who has, through a purposeful effort to research his book, found more of a balance between the two US political extremes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us – |ALL of us — were able to do that and become capable of seeing things “from the other side”?”<

    Well…he said that, and all we have to go on is his claim. I think, from what I've seen of the comments here, that the problem is that his views as presented to Bill Moyers are easily criticizable for most people here.

    Mr. Haidt was essentially justifying conservatism as a rational viewpoint. It was a defense of conservatism, although more politely done than anything we might see from TeaBaggers like Joe Walsh or Sara Palin.

    Liberalism is more recognizable for what it isn't, than for what it claims to be. It's not ideological. It's capable of self criticism. It always admits new knowlege. The basic difference is that the Conservative knows that he's right, and the liberal knows that he could be wrong. Which of those views is closer to the truth?

    I think the guiding view of most liberals is their sense of scepticism. They tend to reject absolutes since they can't be demonstrated as true. Mr. Haidt resorts to psychological goulash to make his case with his morals test presuming that we should accept his methodology as logically sound. For example: why is it important or even desirable that a balanced score on his test is significant? The fact that the conservative sees all things presented as being valued equally shows me an inability to determine values in a critical sense, which his test shows is a liberal trait. But moreover, why should any of that matter since your values can't be demonstrated as true in the first place? What his test shows is the sense of tribalism that is consistant within conservative ideology. It shows that solidarity to the group is more important than truth.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CU2ROWE636BM2NYTWRIFEOMOM4 thinkaboutit

    I completely agree with you Madeline. I didn’t agree with many things Jonathan said: liberals not valuing family,  liberals not being together about things… How about the Occupy Movement? That’s one hell of a big family, I’d say! I don’t recall him mentioning that once apart from his claim that writing 99% on the flag was not being patriotic. Liberals respect the COUNTRY more so than symbols of the country. But when the flag is used so shallowly by conservatives, liberals have to start taking it back for themselves as well. There are so few liberals in the Democratic Party, I consider both parties to be extremely conservative. And it seemed to me that Jonathan’s limited understanding about “liberals” could be that he doesn’t understand just how conservative Democrats are. I know he’s a smarty pants psychologist, but UVA is a far cry from what Thomas Jefferson wanted it to be. I grew up there, and I picked up all those clues from his clean cut, orderly, particular, know it all, metrosexual manner. C’ville is very much connected to NOVA and the beltway mentality, where the value system favors POWER and where it’s completely natural for everyone to aspire to have more of it. Of course he sides more with Republicans because he IS a Republican. He lives in one of the most regressive states in the union with one of the lowest minimum wages, where women have no legal authority over their own bodies….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CU2ROWE636BM2NYTWRIFEOMOM4 thinkaboutit

    We did indeed, sir.

  • Anonymous

    Well…the formula seems to be working. The other day Boehner told his people, “This election is about jobs, jobs, jobs”…( I know…he said the same thing in 2010…but his time he means it) The very next day the House brought up more bills on abortion. Then they’ll ask where are the jobs????

    It’s astonishing to me that this election could even be close. It’s clear that the Republicans have stone walled EVERY attempt to move the country forward and out of the recession, in order to get rid of this president. They hate the guy. Many of them for reasons having nothing to do with policy. So…the country suffers because of political power struggles.

    Attempts to buy the election via Super Pacs as a result of Citizens United are a shock to our system. I can still see Alito at the SOTU address when the SCOTUS was criticized by the president for the unleashing of unlimited money into campaigns, shaking his head saying…”not true”. What a dummy this guy is. How could he NOT see what was coming when the rest of the world could??

    Attempts to undermine voting registration??

    Attempts to destroy collective bargaining?

    Now we have a guy running for president that jumps into bed with the Birthers, the Religious Right, the Tea Party, the 1%, Rush Limbaugh…who’ve I left out?? And this election is considered close??? He’s lost the Latino vote, the gay vote, the women vote, the youth vote, forget the black vote…Repubs never get that anyway.

    How can this election be close?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CU2ROWE636BM2NYTWRIFEOMOM4 thinkaboutit

    Bill, you did an excellent job interviewing this guy! There were times when you could have taken issue with some of his points, but you allowed him to keep it focused on psychology. It’s the well-restrained mark of an excellent journalist! I noticed that a lot of his examples about liberals were inaccurate stereotypes that most liberals I know would not agree with. And liberals  tend to be self evaluating, another great liberal quality not mentioned. Keep up the excellent show, Bill!

  • Anonymous

    >”‘Kara’ (what?) that if ‘we’ do not put in our obligation to do a job, whatever job, we are failing our ‘Karma’.”<

    Yeah…delving into Hindu mysticism to make his case was a quite a stretch.

  • Anonymous

    >” I thought this was a worthwhile recommendation. Unfortunately, after reading most of these comments it seems this was not at all a conclusion shared by most.”<

    On the contrary…it's definately a worthwhile recommendation. However it can't simply be a one way street. One has to first be able to admit his own fallibility. The question becomes how can a fallible human being claim to be adhering to an infallible ideology created by fallible human beings??

    Self criticism is a requirment, and I  have yet to meet a conservative that considers the possibility of his being wrong about anything,. I don't own the truth. I can be wrong about a lot of things. Show me a conservative that will say the same thing, and we have room for a dialogue. I don't hold absolute points of view. I'll question everything. I don't think I'll find that with a conservative. I haven't yet. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that if I did….he wouldn't be a conservative. Ideologues admit no new knowledge. They're pretty rigid. That makes the ideology very open to criticism, and the conservative wont' examine his own ideology. That alone is going to shut down any attempt at dialogue.

  • Anonymous

    >”I can take that to mean only one thing, to use our reasoning minds.”<

    Considering that reason is the enemy of conservatism…I see a problem.

  • D West1311

    On his example of the ant and grasshopper , not sure of what is thought on people with mental disabilties ? I do know what the left thinks ,but  I wonder would the right just let those people die or just fend for themselves in are growing homelessness population?

  • elioflight

    Thanks for the invite. As a matter of fact, Vermont is one of the states my husband and I are considering for a move in the future.

    Though I love many things about Ohio, it has become oppressively, meanly  conservative. I’d rather pay taxes in a state that is more egalitarian in its treatment of citizens.

  • Clb

    I wonder about how the “Protestant work ethic” works. Who is lazy? The Wall Street financier? He does no physical labor; Mick Jager? He doesn’t work very hard. The concept that people must be slaves to economic productivity strikes me as skewed.

  • Anonymous

    Bill. Thank you for broadcasting this interview again. I believe the ideas discussed are primary matters and ones with which we must come to terms. The focus on the “rational” was of particular interest. All sides of our debates presume their reasoning is somehow objective. With this we readily discount the other side as irrational and therefore just wrong. We don’t (or maybe can’t) see how our reasoning is replete with our own subjective judgments and personal desires. 

    I suppose this is why we can’t see Jonathan’s point that our political demands can so easily resemble religious belief about the good, the fair and the just.  Instead we reason to conclusions based on what? Our subjective interpretations of the Constitution and how we feel liberty and justice ought to be defined and made into law. The overwhelming subjectivity that goes into these great ideas, our reasoning and into our politics ought to stop us in our tracks.  Jonathan Haidt’s prescription to follow what is “sacred” to each and every political side seems so vitally important. If we miss that and continue to judge the other side as wrong we neither will understand each other nor reconcile our differences. And worse, demonization will continue to rule our rhetoric.  Thanks again for such a insightful conversation.      

  • Papagato

    I look forward to Bill having on Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein.

  • evesardi

    It is obvious he doesn’t believe in reasoning, it requires logic.

  • Patricia Elgee

    Why do conservatives always have to tell me what I believe and what I want?  They always draw ridiculous conclusions.   Truth has changed over the years.
    Still democrats are for the people, individual rights, education, health care.
    Both Dem and Rep’s once tried to get bucks for their state, like military contracts for weapons.  Now they get for themselves.
    Republicans are perceived to back buisness, but that has changed.
    If you are a business man whose business makes 6 million/year, you may vote republician, but for those  you vote into office, you are not even on their radar.  The republican only fights for those who give them 6 million a year.
    Funny, but the US Consititution list 3 grounds for impeachment:  bribery, treason, and other high crimes against the state. 
    So lobbyist are illegal.   ATT spends 70million a year for lobbyist!  Mobil/Exxon spend more. 
    Most lobbyist money goes to republicans, but some to democrats as well.  Just google Ted Kennedy and $5 million.

  • Pshaw

    >Mr. Haidt was essentially justifying conservatism as a rational viewpoint. It was a defense of conservatism, although more politely done than anything we might see from TeaBaggers like Joe Walsh or Sara Palin.<

    Quite contrary to that, in his book, Mr Haidt demonstrates that the state of research in moral phychology supports the idea that we are all intuitive creatures who rationalize or reason (apply reason to) our actions and intutions post hoc. His point is not that conservative OR liberal are rational, but that "rational" is something any one individual does to justify his actions to himself and his peer group. This makes individual rational thought much more fallible than rational thought in a collective of varied opinions, where you have others to test and augment or disprove your conclusions, and hopefully arrive at a more precise map of reality.

  • Pshaw

    Unfortunately, the Federal or State government is the only institution in the position to take that action with any degree of thuroughness. If the poor, cancer ridden patient lives in some area of Mississippi, and depends on a local church to help him with his medical bills, and give him access to the sort of treatments that will actually save his life/allow him to rejoin society as a productive member, paying taxes and keeping his family off of welfare, the church has limited resources. The church concil may decide they don’t like his politics or his religion, or the way he practices their religion (uses condoms? puts a Democrat campaign sign on his lawn?) they are doing this service voluntarily, what is to keep them from saying, “No.”?

  • DaveH

    I was very put off by mr Haidt.  He seemed to deny absolute morals.  He attempted to say that Republicans and their arguments were all perfectly moral and acceptable because of some Republican mindset but he hardly mentioned that many politicians are being paid to hold certain viewpoints and that many republican voters are intentionally misinformed to get them to feel a certain way.  I call it the “Give us Barrabas” effect.  Im sure
    that Hitlers Germany was filled with intentional misinformation.

    As another poster here said: we need more facts and truth in media.

    I also found it odd that Mr Haidt seems to do what he accuses everyone else of doing — finding narrow facts to support their own viewpoint.

  • Pshaw

    Can you cite for me the moment in the interview or in his book that he “demonize['s] reason”? I think what he does quite thouroughly is put reasoning in its evolutionary context, and demonstrates the folly of doing it in isolation in our modern day silos of polarized thought and confirmation bias. I am a die hard Obama supporter, daily, avid reader of Rachel Maddow’s blog (I love you, Steve Brennan!), and general all around liberal. The fact that I feel I have to make this plain to you when coming to Mr Haidt’s defense is sad. Mr. Haidt says he started very liberal, still considers himself liberal, but has a much more balanced appreciation for opposing viewpoints and for his own fallibility. For you to insist that he is conservative is simply because you feel your tribal-think being threatened by his open discussion of the current state of moral psychology and its perspective on political discourse is itself demonizing.

  • evesardi

    Unfortunately most Republicans won’t change their channel from Fox News, and if they did would reject what others deem as truth and fact.  

  • Ldy2l8

    Insightful comment.  Like many of the posters, Haidt’s views made me uncomfortable and challenged my long cherished world views.  That in itself tells me I need to open my mind and try to understand the other views and values instead of automatically discounting them as irrational and sometimes even as immora, or hypocritical.    I’ve heard the political/religious comparision before – in fact, I’ve used it – now I see more clearly why it is so easy to dismiss other views when our “religious” fervor blinds us to other equally valid conclusions.   As all who consider ourselves rational thinkers should realize by now, there is no controversy without two VALID points of view.

  • jc

    I agree w/ DaveH!!
    Why is “sanctity” a value to accept in a civic context?!
    …yes, people have selfish instincts, so … we have to fight against that (heard of “civilization”?) … not give in to it (and follow G.O.P.!!).

  • jc

    Did i just hear Haidt stereotyping welare recipients as “slackers”?   BILL, WHERE ARE THE QUESTIONS?!!~

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CQ6C6JXM6MIKM64MGP5XWIWLM Michael Couch

    As a Conservative that voted for Obama, reluctantly because I was pretty sure he was what he turned out to be, a neo-con in liberal clothing; I have a view that is not being expressed in mass media. 
    Christians should be unable to vote for the GOP or the Democratic candidate. None of them represent a truly Christian agenda.
    As the vapid sparse applause during a recent Jay Leno monologue when both party’s candidates were mentioned indicates; nobody really wants any of these guys running our country. I am fairly certain, that my views represent the vast majority of Americans. But this view is nowhere represented in the media.
    I would love to have an opportunity to express what I believe is the Majority Christian view of the election choices and the “right track” that neither party is travelling. Please, have me on your show to give voice to this Majority view.

    Charles Michael Couch

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately there is no transcript to draw from, but at 34:44 Bill quotes from the book: “Reasoning and Google will take you wherever you want to go”. Haidt then talks about “confirmation bias”. Then as an example he says, “Find me one one piece of evidence that supports the claim I want to make.” ” If I can find one, I’m done. I can stop thinking”. This is exactly the kind of reasoning process used by the Bush/Cheney crowd to justify invading Iraq. It was INDUCTIVE reasoning. Rather than the DEDUCTIVE reasoning that would have said find me something to contradict my theories. Of course they ignored all evidence to the contrary and we spent 8 years in Iraq.

    Haidt indicts reason without bringing up the fact that reason employs both additive and subtractive process. We don’t use reason to support or justify  our theories inductively. We use it to falsify our theories deductively. He then implies that by using Google and Reason we can justify our claims. Google can certainly provide mountains of information pro and con on any subject, but what do we use to find the truth?

    Haidt goes on to claim that we sacrilize reason itself. He says that anyone looking for truth should stop worshipping reason. Reason isn’t a religion or a deity. It’s a tool. We dont’ worship a tool. We use it to solve a problem.

    At 36:48 Haidt says that “giving all the stuff he just told us and what psychologists have discovered about reason; reasoning is not good at finding truth”, claiming that it’s really good at confirming what we believe without recognizing that it’s also very good at falsifying our claims.  Haidt of course is a social psychologist and is justifying his claims, using…Reason.
    “Wherever you find sacrilizing, you’ll find blindness, ignorance and resistence to evidence”.

    AT 37:25 he states that individual reason is not reliable because of confirmation bias. But that isn’t what we are using reason for. I can’t speak for him, but I don’t use reason to confirm anything. I use to to question everything. He seems to think that we say, I’ve got my theory and I’m really good at justifying it, but I really don’t know liberals that think that way. I know a lot of conservatives that do because they subscribe to an ideology that goes back to Burke. He then goes on to say that this is where the Christians have it right. And of course they never sacrilize anything….do they?

    We never find truth inductively. We find it when we eliminate the things that obscure it. Truth is what is left when we eliminate that which is false.

  • Bluegrassbloke

     Listen again.

  • DMA

    Very powerful show tonight! Great to hear Mr. Haidt’s views! Thank you, Mr. Moyers!

  • Anonymous

    >”This makes individual rational thought much more fallible than rational thought in a collective of varied opinions, where you have others to test and augment or disprove your conclusions, and hopefully arrive at a more precise map of reality.”<

    Unfortunately that isn't demonstrably true. It in itself is a fallible theory. Man is fallible. We must begin with that understanding. And no amount of collective group think will change that or bring us to infallible results. All of our theories are subject to peer review, but hopefully that peer review is used to criticize our theories relentlessly. Those that withstand criticism are accepted until such time as new information can refute or contradict them. We can never prove a theory even through a collective of varied opinion. The REASON for that is that no amount of inductive confirmation ever proves anything. We can never know if tomorrow will provide us with new information that would falsify our claim or belief. BUT all we need is one thing to disprove a theory or contradict it, and we are forced to either dump it or modify it to deal with the contradiction.

    Again, what makes our science rational isn't justification. It's our ability to criticize our theories that makes us rational. Our ability to do that, is the demarcation between science and psuedo-science and metaphysics.

  • PenOverSword

    Very interesting and in many ways insightful, but…

    It seems to me Dr. Haidt takes his arguments too far.  While each of us has biases, recognized as well as hidden, many of us do make a good-faith effort to try and find the truth of a given matter.  I don’t think our morality is all just “for show” or to get along with the crowd. 

    Moreover, Haidt is unconvincing in equating the morality of the Left with the morality of the Right.  It’s frankly ridiculous to compare the former’s compassion for the less fortunate with the latter’s rigid application of so-called “principles.”  That cheering at the hypothetical case of the death of a man that didn’t buy health insurance should be seen as sick, not moral, by any sentient being.  Of course, society can make sure such a man gets the treatment he needs, then work out a gradual payback of the monies spent, or most of them.  At the very, very least, there could be some regret rather than enthusiasm at leaving the man untreated.  And the attack on the OWS sign was a cheap shot – there’s no room on a tiny sign to provide nuance.

    I also found Haidt’s references to welfare recipients as slackers and freeloaders offensive.  The man has obviously never been close to poverty.  In many areas, opportunities for living-wage work are severely limited, especially where the “New Jim Crow” is in effect, railroading young people of color into the criminal justice system and burdening them with criminal records that make getting a job nearly impossible.  Also, most single mothers work very, very hard raising children – maybe it’s not such a bad thing for society to pay them something to do this valuable job.  Also, when evaluating welfare programs, we would do well, rather than compare them to some ideal, compare them to likely alternatives, like letting people quietly starve, homeless on the streets, or turn to crime.

    Furthermore, the intellectual laziness exhibited by those on the Right, and their naked prejudice against certain minority groups, far exceeds anything I see on the Left.  There’s simply no comparison.  The Tea Party, for example, while not all about racism, is largely infected with it.  Just spend a little time with these people, or on their websites, and you can’t miss it.

  • http://twitter.com/pallist K Pallist

    Good show… Haidt proposes many ideas that are worth thinking about.  I think his conflating liberals with politicians in the Democratic Party and conservatives with the same is a mistake and oversimplifies a very complex human problem. Nor do I think the people who fall on the extreme side (some may call them leaders) of the poliitcal spectrum define ideas about liberalism and conservatism.  They may be the loudest, some of them may actually do memorable things, but as Haidt admitted, they don’t necessarily reflect the broader ideas that liberalism and conservatism mean to many people, which is why most people define themselves as nonpolitical.

    Ronald Reagan would be considered liberal today by many of the radicals in the Congress right now. So would Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton is considered quite conservative in the eyes of many progressives. So what are we talking about when we reduce people’s complex understanding of the world to “right” and “left”?  Overgeneralizations, while making it easier to make an argument, often skew reality as much as internal reasoning.
    I found it hard to believe that people who think an ant should let a grasshopper die in the middle of winter because he didn’t work hard enough (in the ant’s view) is indicative of someone who values caring.  What do they care about? That you work or that you may die due to an error because no one cares? What if he learns the moral of the story and has to die anyway? How does Karma deal with that? The word caring may mean compassion to one person, a very human trait that most religious people ought to be familiar with, but something entirely different to another.

    The terms that describe our values and even the idea of “morality” do need to be looked at more closely. Ultimately one person’s definition of loyalty, authority, fairness etc. is not only different from someone with a different political viewpoint, but even from person to person. And leaving out the reality of how our public discussion is skewed by opportunistic public figures, demogogues and the private interests of Billionaires and Corporations is not indicative of our social reality.  We have much more in common than we have different.  Who’s exploiting the differences and turning them into irreconciliable conflict and WHY?  That’s the real issues.

  • Mike D

    I don’t think the issue is one of self-righteousness. The pendulum has always swung between left and right but humans are mostly comfortable at the centre, the pendulum returning to balance either by political change or war.

    What has happened is despair – the pendulum is stuck. In Greece, for instance, both the Far-Right and the Far-Left have made significant gains. The Conservative in me cannot understand what a trillion dollars is, let alone trillions of dollars of debt we are bestowing on our children. The Liberal in me finds the Karma of drone srikes on wedding parties utterly incomprehensible.

  • E. Nowak

    I normally listen to word on every episode, but I had to stop when I heard Mr. Haidt say that in the past few decades we have, for the first time an “ideologically pure division of the parties,” I knew this man wasn’t worth listening to.

    Perhaps the CANDIDATES aim their campaigns at two “ideologically pure” segments of our population. However, in the past 20 years, once in office, both parties interests have merged. And in the past few years, both parties, with the exception of social issues (where both parties introduce legislation they know won’t pass, but will be red meat for the base, so the politicians do nothing to usher them through Congress) the interests of both paties have become IDENTICAL. And what interest is that? Wall Street and corporate interests.

    Mr. Haidt is putting forth this false thesis because it reinforces the mythology that Big Business’s religion of “free markets” and “rugged individualism” is our savior. When anyone with his head OUTSIDE of the academic clouds can see, that’s what’s killing this country.

  • evesardi

    Stephen Colbert interviewed Haidt (May 2) and said, 
    “I made a snap judgement not to trust you.”
     I agree with Colbert, he is not trustworthy.  

  • AutismUXB

    The ant and the grasshopper – ANTS are social animals and GRASSHOPPERS are not – the analogy is anti-libertarian. What a pathetic argument !!!

  • Avataress

     K. Pallist, I thought that your response showed great differentiated (developed) independent thinking ability, as well as balance and wisdom.  I too agreed with much of what Haidt said, especially that we need to try very hard not to demonize those who disagree with us.  However, I could not agree that attributing negative or bad motives to people is necessarily demonization.  For, people DO, in fact, at one time or another, if not more often than that have bad motives!  We are not all shining goodness and light.  A man I decidedly don’t like and decidedly don’t want to be in a closed space like the elevator in my building with asked me to hold the elevator for him today while the doors were closing.  I said no and did not do it.  That was a decidedly bad motive, but an honestly held and expressed one.  I even went so far as to tell myself that if this man asked me in the future, which I’m pretty sure he won’t have the courage  to do because he knows the answer, why I didn’t hold the elevator for him, I will just as boldly tell him why!  The only bad motives I can’t deal with are covertly held and expressed and ones.  Of course this is a very complicated issue which most people don’t even know how to discuss, but we need to learn.  We really need to learn so much to heal our wounds, as humans, but I don’t see us, except maybe many of the people on this forum, even trying to do so; at least not the vast majority of the people I live and intereact with daily certainly are not trying to do so  in my opinion.  For more on what I’m talking about see the website:  http://www.gangstalkingjournal.com

  • Avataress

     Good point, Diane!  I just thought, well we can’t just let uninsured people die because they didn’t buy health insurance!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your comments. Our emotional investments in our so called rational ideas seem to me to require careful and honest scrutiny. Maybe I’m wrong but I believe acknowledging those personal investments remain entirely necessary for true respect and honor of the ideas themselves. 

    Without that acknowledged awareness I think we’re doomed to repeat the worst of our history. Thanks again for your note. Appreciate it.       

  • Avataress

     Yser1, Most people who speak on TV do so sotto voce or in a soft voice.  It seems to be de rigeur or necessary to be thought an acceptable decent person.  Most times I have to really turn the volume on my TV up to hear well!  I suggest you do the same.  I, however, speak so that my hearers can hear me.  Most people resent this, especially if they think I’m yelling, which my sister, an inveterate liar and I don’t know what else, will not tolerate, although she tolerates the other moral faults she indulges in.  On the other hand, my speaking voice is also well-modulated, which has been described as “liquid honey,” if I may relate this fact without seeming to boast, which I may, in fact,  be doing (I’m proud of my good traits; extreme modesty also being de rigeur in our demented society, where people who save others from burning buildings seem to have to say they are not heroes/heroines; well, I’m one!  Maybe if people felt it more acceptable to toot their own horns about their good traits, they might not feel so enslaved to their bad ones to try to get attention!)

  • Avataress

     I agree with this assessment, as I’ve stated many times here in different words.  I especially like the angle on psychological slavery.  The best way to keep people enslaved is for them to believe that they are free!

  • Mlee952

     I don’t know about Conservatives, but Libertarians have compassion for humans and animals.  Big govt. hurts the poor and middle class and even most rich people by using them to subsidize rich corporations (Goldman Sachs, AIG, etc.)  Most of us would be vastly better off if govt. weren’t trying so hard to pretend to help you and me – while actually helping the 0.1%

  • Avataress

     This reminds me of H.G. Wells’ statement in his book, The Fate of Man, that, and this is my paraphrase, people mainly don’t value or respect truth because it has no immediate (not to say no vital) survival value.  Lies seem more expedient to most people as I have found.

  • Avataress

    Robert Pirsig, in his well-thought out philosophy, which he began to explicate in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and expanded on in his book, Lila:  An Inquiry Into Morals, said, and I agree, that we need both.  The one he called, “Static Quality” and the other “Dynamic Quality.”  Carl Jung developed this belief on the nature of duality before Pirsig which, like the philosopher who came up with the dialectic (his name escapes me just now) that with the dialectic, there is a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis, this last and  third which reconciles the tension between the first two.  This knowledge has saved my life (psychologically) many times!

  • Mlee952

    Moyer’s intro. was mostly exaggeration.  Our country is more divided than ever?  That’s obviously false – consider 1860-1865 for instance. 

    He also said the Congress “almost had the US default on $14 trillion last year”.  That’s false.  They did not nearly default – they almost stopped adding to the debt.  It’s like cutting up a credit card.  You are still making the payments but not charging any more – there is no default.

    But, “journalists” like to exaggerate to get your attention.

  • Tchrmkl

    If you listen carefully to Haidt when he refers to those who are at the bottom he uses language that assumes they are there through their own fault and that the liberals protect these victims.  When he talks about the conservative view of those at the bottom he says it is what they deserve  for not working harder.  He talks about Karma as survival of the fittest.  He oversimplifies the view of the liberals regarding their idea about what is fair.  He is clearly biased.  I didn’t hear him talk about those at the bottom through no fault of their own, for example, those retirees who lost everything because of Wall Street gambling with their investments.  There are a lot of people who have done everything right and have worked very hard, just to loose everything; another example, health crisis. 
    He never mentioned how the religious rights views play into this.  For example, the bible saying that we should take care of the sick.  He made some good points but he did a very poor job of keeping his own world view out of his report.  

  • Tchrmkl

    If you listen carefully to Haidt when he refers to those who are at the bottom he uses language that assumes they are there through their own fault and that the liberals protect these victims.  When he talks about the conservative view of those at the bottom he says it is what they deserve  for not working harder.  He talks about Karma as survival of the fittest.  He oversimplifies the view of the liberals regarding their idea about what is fair.  He is clearly biased.  I didn’t hear him talk about those at the bottom through no fault of their own, for example, those retirees who lost everything because of Wall Street gambling with their investments.  There are a lot of people who have done everything right and have worked very hard, just to loose everything; another example, health crisis. 
    He never mentioned how the religious rights views play into this.  For example, the bible saying that we should take care of the sick.  He made some good points but he did a very poor job of keeping his own world view out of his report.  

  • Karl Hoff

    Some of what Mr. Haidt says, I agree with, some I don’t. What was lacking was any clearly stated solutions. I am sure that conservatives believe that their way is right and liberals believe their way is right. So, to be in the center only satisfies part of the two sides. I have always believed that two wrong don’t make a right. Why not solve the problem?  If liberals believe their way doesn’t have serious problems, they need to come to my neighborhood, which I am sure is like many and see how the drug dealers use the welfare system. At one point I counted they were 40% of my area. And, for the conservatives that believe that their way of putting so much in the private sector, I have figured that my auto insurance has doubled in the last 7  1/2 years. If that keeps up my SSI will soon not cover me driving anymore. There is no question that the more we try to cure the problems with more laws, the worse it gets,  just like putting up too many road warning signs. Now all over the World they are finding that removing them reduces accidents. Maybe if we started giving more rights back to the people the same would happen. Right now government is so broke there is little they can do if you need their help. If we look at what really makes our life better, laws and ways to govern are at the end of the list. I am one that believes that the creation of antibiotics and immmunization were the most important thing to improve life in the last century. I would not be here with out them!!! Until we begin to solve our problems, such as water, energy, distribution of wealth by creating better ways without making a law and expecting change to happen, when it is only getting worse, we will be debating this subject for a long time. I will be also be debating, but will keep working the other 98% of my time trying to come up with better ways to solve the problems as well as working to not make this beautiful planet worse, even if it is only to conserve what we have left.

  • Karl Hoff

    Some of what Mr. Haidt says, I agree with, some I don’t. What was lacking was any clearly stated solutions. I am sure that conservatives believe that their way is right and liberals believe their way is right. So, to be in the center only satisfies part of the two sides. I have always believed that two wrong don’t make a right. Why not solve the problem?  If liberals believe their way doesn’t have serious problems, they need to come to my neighborhood, which I am sure is like many and see how the drug dealers use the welfare system. At one point I counted they were 40% of my area. And, for the conservatives that believe that their way of putting so much in the private sector, I have figured that my auto insurance has doubled in the last 7  1/2 years. If that keeps up my SSI will soon not cover me driving anymore. There is no question that the more we try to cure the problems with more laws, the worse it gets,  just like putting up too many road warning signs. Now all over the World they are finding that removing them reduces accidents. Maybe if we started giving more rights back to the people the same would happen. Right now government is so broke there is little they can do if you need their help. If we look at what really makes our life better, laws and ways to govern are at the end of the list. I am one that believes that the creation of antibiotics and immmunization were the most important thing to improve life in the last century. I would not be here with out them!!! Until we begin to solve our problems, such as water, energy, distribution of wealth by creating better ways without making a law and expecting change to happen, when it is only getting worse, we will be debating this subject for a long time. I will be also be debating, but will keep working the other 98% of my time trying to come up with better ways to solve the problems as well as working to not make this beautiful planet worse, even if it is only to conserve what we have left.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree with some of Mr. Haidt’s points, his use of Aesop’s Fable to describe those who need our safety nets is nothing short of fraudulent.  He assumes that the poor are in need as the result of laziness, while many are there as a result of circumstances beyond their control, such as economic downturns, layoffs, poor education, poor parenting and bad luck.

  • Avataress

     What solutions would you suggest even to the problems you name?  One solution to solving the problem of illicit/illegal drug use, from my point of view (and people abuse legal drugs too, like Oxycodon and Vicodin, especially, and always have as long as there have been drugs; the illustrious Sigmund Freud, whose psychological theories form the basis of most psychotherapy in this country, rightly or wrongly, was a cocaine addict and strongly approved of drug use for the general population as it saw fit!)  is to no longer make the use of any drug that adults choose to use illegal.  There was a time in this country when that was so.  I don’t know that we were any worse off then.  I do know that those who used said drugs had to take the responsibility for doing so and that they did not end in jail, although some may have otherwise come to harm.  I never thought of the following as a reason why drugs which are now illegal, except of course Marijuana, which has been used legally in some states in the U.S. before, or at least in CA, but it might be hard to regulate the ingredients in drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine and crack and properly label them as alcohol and cigarettes are labeled. 

    However, big pharma (the legal drug companies) tell us in plain English that many of the drugs they sell us may kill us or give us other fatal diseases besides the ones they are intended to treat!  I agree with you about antibiotics.  Also with drugs, my doctor wanted me to take a drug , the side effects of which I didn’t feel comfortable with and he told me I HAD to take it because my disease was worse than the drug.  I countered to him that that is merely his opinion, for these drugs, including the type he had prescribed to me had also killed people, and that it is MY choice finally what drugs I will take from which ones I won’t take and that although I seek his medical advice and expertise, I have to educate myself as best I can about the situation, and again that the final choice is mine and that I don’t expect my use of his services to be a power struggle between us about who decides what is best for my health!  Finally, in this vein, I have a very good knowledge about alternative herbal treatments and have used them before, more than once to cure serious ailments like breast cancer and internal bleeding, for which emergency room physicians wanted to give me a blood transfusion, which I refused.  If you’d like to know more about any of this, please e-mail me at:  avataress@msn.com

    There is so much to all of these arguments and there seem to be no simple solutions that everyone can agree upon.  We cannot legislate morality, as I have said here before.  I don’t believe it is the government’s job to save us from ourselves or make us better people morally.  Only we, as individuals can do that out of the crucible of doing hard, independent thinking, knowing what evils we are capable of and willing to do, and otherwise acting in as good faith, and with as much good will, and just generally being as benevolent as we possibly can, which most people don’t seem to be interested in doing!  All of this comes from paying attention to who we are inside, not to anything on the outside, like politics, or capitalism.  Most people either don’t understand this equation, or simply don’t believe it is so.

  • Avataress

     What solutions would you suggest even to the problems you name?  One solution to solving the problem of illicit/illegal drug use, from my point of view (and people abuse legal drugs too, like Oxycodon and Vicodin, especially, and always have as long as there have been drugs; the illustrious Sigmund Freud, whose psychological theories form the basis of most psychotherapy in this country, rightly or wrongly, was a cocaine addict and strongly approved of drug use for the general population as it saw fit!)  is to no longer make the use of any drug that adults choose to use illegal.  There was a time in this country when that was so.  I don’t know that we were any worse off then.  I do know that those who used said drugs had to take the responsibility for doing so and that they did not end in jail, although some may have otherwise come to harm.  I never thought of the following as a reason why drugs which are now illegal, except of course Marijuana, which has been used legally in some states in the U.S. before, or at least in CA, but it might be hard to regulate the ingredients in drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine and crack and properly label them as alcohol and cigarettes are labeled. 

    However, big pharma (the legal drug companies) tell us in plain English that many of the drugs they sell us may kill us or give us other fatal diseases besides the ones they are intended to treat!  I agree with you about antibiotics.  Also with drugs, my doctor wanted me to take a drug , the side effects of which I didn’t feel comfortable with and he told me I HAD to take it because my disease was worse than the drug.  I countered to him that that is merely his opinion, for these drugs, including the type he had prescribed to me had also killed people, and that it is MY choice finally what drugs I will take from which ones I won’t take and that although I seek his medical advice and expertise, I have to educate myself as best I can about the situation, and again that the final choice is mine and that I don’t expect my use of his services to be a power struggle between us about who decides what is best for my health!  Finally, in this vein, I have a very good knowledge about alternative herbal treatments and have used them before, more than once to cure serious ailments like breast cancer and internal bleeding, for which emergency room physicians wanted to give me a blood transfusion, which I refused.  If you’d like to know more about any of this, please e-mail me at:  avataress@msn.com

    There is so much to all of these arguments and there seem to be no simple solutions that everyone can agree upon.  We cannot legislate morality, as I have said here before.  I don’t believe it is the government’s job to save us from ourselves or make us better people morally.  Only we, as individuals can do that out of the crucible of doing hard, independent thinking, knowing what evils we are capable of and willing to do, and otherwise acting in as good faith, and with as much good will, and just generally being as benevolent as we possibly can, which most people don’t seem to be interested in doing!  All of this comes from paying attention to who we are inside, not to anything on the outside, like politics, or capitalism.  Most people either don’t understand this equation, or simply don’t believe it is so.

  • 4AverageJoe

    The left is outspent 50 to one. It is not a level plaing field, where ideas from a cohesive left and right have a cogent, calm conversation that is equal in time, and equally represented in the media.
    The problem is absurdly and crudely boiled down by this guy. The right has two mantras: No new taxes” , and “shrink government”. It is the left that represents every other view.
    This is true in Wisconsin. This is true for the largest news organizations, with the largest viewership by far, Fox News.
    Articulating a cogent, cohesive message takes money. Money is in the hands of finance, in the hands of corporations who can increase their profits by accellerating jobs overseas, and decrease in corporate taxes.
    We’re in trouble not because the Left doesn’t articulate a message, but because any message sent by the left is drowned out in the mighty wurlitzer of the right, and the 10 second spot allowed for discourse is ineffective without the chain of support of the right.
    I agree: love thy tea partier, get him on your side for the bankers, for the criminals and bizses– there is common ground between middle class right and left. However, there is a deliberate push by the high dollar funded meida and politicians to block, obfuscate, and make ‘a religion’ out of a political party.
    With rabit ears, in my home town, there are two fox news programs, one newspaper that overspent and took over another, and military presence everywhere. The people that win the political discourse have 25% profits end over end every year. Big surprise they’re winning.

  • Anonymous

    The critical problems that threaten our global economy and perhaps most of our lives are so complex that they are beyond the grasp of intuition, or even our best modeling efforts. We have been smart enough to create problems for ourselves we aren’t smart enough to solve.

    The good news is that the leaders of the major parties seem to be agreed that we are on a path that takes us off a cliff. The bad news is they differ greatly on on long we have and what we can do about it.

    The Democrats, from the policies they support, seem to think we have more than 20 years, with enough time to use spending stimulus to grow us out of danger, even though what they propose would make the debt even more unsustainable.

    The Republicans think we have at least 10 years, and can cut spending enough to make a soft landing.

    This Libertarian thinks we may have less than two years, and that there is now no way to avoid catastrophe. About all we can do is prepare to recover from it. That involves such radical cuts that it will trigger collapse sooner, but make it a little less devastating. That is a tough thing to sell to voters who don’t understand or know who to trust and are freaked.

    The solution is not some middle position or compromise. That paradigm totally fails.

    Do a search on “Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems”.

  • Anonymous

    The critical problems that threaten our global economy and perhaps most of our lives are so complex that they are beyond the grasp of intuition, or even our best modeling efforts. We have been smart enough to create problems for ourselves we aren’t smart enough to solve.

    The good news is that the leaders of the major parties seem to be agreed that we are on a path that takes us off a cliff. The bad news is they differ greatly on on long we have and what we can do about it.

    The Democrats, from the policies they support, seem to think we have more than 20 years, with enough time to use spending stimulus to grow us out of danger, even though what they propose would make the debt even more unsustainable.

    The Republicans think we have at least 10 years, and can cut spending enough to make a soft landing.

    This Libertarian thinks we may have less than two years, and that there is now no way to avoid catastrophe. About all we can do is prepare to recover from it. That involves such radical cuts that it will trigger collapse sooner, but make it a little less devastating. That is a tough thing to sell to voters who don’t understand or know who to trust and are freaked.

    The solution is not some middle position or compromise. That paradigm totally fails.

    Do a search on “Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems”.

  • Edie

    Jonathan Haidt asssessment  is all wet. He admits he holds conservative views now so how can he judge liberals? Moyers is right about how conservatives demonize liberals with negative labels and words which democrats don’t do. Jonathan Mann and Norm Ornstein are exactly right in their new book. “It is Worse ThanYou Think” about how Republicans are the causeof the problems we have now in politics. They give specific examples. Republicans are bullies in their rhetoric and in their behavior in Congress. Obama and Democrats tried to compromise withRepublicans but they refused to cooperate even when they get what they wanted., like Romneycare, they rejected Obama’s plan on the federal level.  They will reject their own ideas in order to defeat Obama. Mr. Moyers please have Jonathan Mann and Norm Ornstein on your program to discuss their new book.

  • Edie

    Jonathan Haidt asssessment  is all wet. He admits he holds conservative views now so how can he judge liberals? Moyers is right about how conservatives demonize liberals with negative labels and words which democrats don’t do. Jonathan Mann and Norm Ornstein are exactly right in their new book. “It is Worse ThanYou Think” about how Republicans are the causeof the problems we have now in politics. They give specific examples. Republicans are bullies in their rhetoric and in their behavior in Congress. Obama and Democrats tried to compromise withRepublicans but they refused to cooperate even when they get what they wanted., like Romneycare, they rejected Obama’s plan on the federal level.  They will reject their own ideas in order to defeat Obama. Mr. Moyers please have Jonathan Mann and Norm Ornstein on your program to discuss their new book.

  • David

    I think Mr. Haidt is off track. He says “don’t demonize”, but those who don’t have, he says  are “lazy”, “slackers”  ”non-productive”.  He is ignorant of their plight, unaware of their social situation. The Protestant Work Ethic does not work, nor does Adam Smith’s idea of Capitalism in a society where the odds for self-achievement are not available. I heard more evil about those receiving welfare, and not much about those like Chrysler et. al. receiving corporate welfare. He salutes the Tea Party’s flag-waiving, but doesn’t mention that it is so easy to hide behind a flag. I cannot believe he says politics is sacred. 

    All that smooth-talking didn’t move me at all. 

  • David

    I think Mr. Haidt is off track. He says “don’t demonize”, but those who don’t have, he says  are “lazy”, “slackers”  ”non-productive”.  He is ignorant of their plight, unaware of their social situation. The Protestant Work Ethic does not work, nor does Adam Smith’s idea of Capitalism in a society where the odds for self-achievement are not available. I heard more evil about those receiving welfare, and not much about those like Chrysler et. al. receiving corporate welfare. He salutes the Tea Party’s flag-waiving, but doesn’t mention that it is so easy to hide behind a flag. I cannot believe he says politics is sacred. 

    All that smooth-talking didn’t move me at all. 

  • Ccbuck

    Mr Haidt said the battle for civil right, women’s rights and gay right are over and won. I think his blindness is showing.

  • Anonymous

    >”people mainly don’t value or respect truth because it has no immediate (not to say no vital) survival value.”<

    You may be right. But I value it for it's own sake. In fact, it's probably the only "value" that I take seriously.  I'm so sick of lies, I figure I'd stick with truth just to piss people off. It seems to work.

  • Anonymous

    >”people mainly don’t value or respect truth because it has no immediate (not to say no vital) survival value.”<

    You may be right. But I value it for it's own sake. In fact, it's probably the only "value" that I take seriously.  I'm so sick of lies, I figure I'd stick with truth just to piss people off. It seems to work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JMPowell1966 James Powell

    As if the moral divide, or “moral matrix” as Haidt describes it could be overcome by a civil discourse on the bias perceptions held by each group towards the other, if anyone could do so, it would be Bill Moyers.

    What I find most fascinating about Haidt’s analysis of the “Righteous Mind” is that it asserts that none of us is capable of judgment without bias, and yet we naturally do so daily, and in doing so are reduced to hypocrites on a stage playing for our audience’s approval. Additionally, despite our hypocritical state, it would appear that Haidt believes that “liberals misunderstand conservatives more than the other way around”. Perhaps, this can be explained by the amount of money conservative think tanks spend studying the voting public and their behaviors.

    Nonetheless, the tribalism described by Haidt is an excellent observation of natural human behavior, and his argument that the origins of our internal moral sense evolved in order to bind groups, which facilitated both cooperation and competition between groups, is extremely insightful.

    Yet, I cannot seem to shake the feeling that Haidt’s assertions are correct and that our country’s politics are currently immersed in a crippling “Manichaean” struggle for control, or as the Republicans put it: a battle for the soul of the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JMPowell1966 James Powell

    As if the moral divide, or “moral matrix” as Haidt describes it could be overcome by a civil discourse on the bias perceptions held by each group towards the other, if anyone could do so, it would be Bill Moyers.

    What I find most fascinating about Haidt’s analysis of the “Righteous Mind” is that it asserts that none of us is capable of judgment without bias, and yet we naturally do so daily, and in doing so are reduced to hypocrites on a stage playing for our audience’s approval. Additionally, despite our hypocritical state, it would appear that Haidt believes that “liberals misunderstand conservatives more than the other way around”. Perhaps, this can be explained by the amount of money conservative think tanks spend studying the voting public and their behaviors.

    Nonetheless, the tribalism described by Haidt is an excellent observation of natural human behavior, and his argument that the origins of our internal moral sense evolved in order to bind groups, which facilitated both cooperation and competition between groups, is extremely insightful.

    Yet, I cannot seem to shake the feeling that Haidt’s assertions are correct and that our country’s politics are currently immersed in a crippling “Manichaean” struggle for control, or as the Republicans put it: a battle for the soul of the country.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avataress. Being that I spend up to 6hrs. a day watching the drug dealers, I know how they have grown without being stopped. First they only deliver taking a small amount at a time, which is a missdemeanor, which makes the Sheriff and court cost far more than they can get back. Also they have in many cases produce kids like rabbits, making Child Protective Services unable to jail them without paying for foster care for much of the kids young life. Watch “Frontline’s Meth Epedics”, and you will see that as they say,”one puff on a meth and one will get an intense high all day”. At that point, the addiction is almost impossible to stop. As long as the Drug companies make the drugs needed to make meth or the pills available to them, it will continue. There are no drug wars with meth, because the demand is far greater than the supply and they need each other to get the sudafed and that they do by going from one drug store to another, using many people that either need drugs or money. Once they get the drugs, the Draino and other products can be gotten anywhere. They also steal electric and other utilities, by not paying their bill, then when the electric is turned off, they jump the meter. If you turn them in, they just get the Liberals to help them pay the bill and jump the meter at night and weekends. Knowing all their tricks to keep and grow what the drug dealer use does little good if the number of drug dealers out number the Sheriff’s deputies 1,000 to one and they get help from the liberals giving them free cell phones to warn when the Sheriff is coming. How do you stop it? Probaby when it get so bad that everyone gets really and I mean really PISSED! and pulls their head out of the sand and Backs up law enforcement.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avataress. Being that I spend up to 6hrs. a day watching the drug dealers, I know how they have grown without being stopped. First they only deliver taking a small amount at a time, which is a missdemeanor, which makes the Sheriff and court cost far more than they can get back. Also they have in many cases produce kids like rabbits, making Child Protective Services unable to jail them without paying for foster care for much of the kids young life. Watch “Frontline’s Meth Epedics”, and you will see that as they say,”one puff on a meth and one will get an intense high all day”. At that point, the addiction is almost impossible to stop. As long as the Drug companies make the drugs needed to make meth or the pills available to them, it will continue. There are no drug wars with meth, because the demand is far greater than the supply and they need each other to get the sudafed and that they do by going from one drug store to another, using many people that either need drugs or money. Once they get the drugs, the Draino and other products can be gotten anywhere. They also steal electric and other utilities, by not paying their bill, then when the electric is turned off, they jump the meter. If you turn them in, they just get the Liberals to help them pay the bill and jump the meter at night and weekends. Knowing all their tricks to keep and grow what the drug dealer use does little good if the number of drug dealers out number the Sheriff’s deputies 1,000 to one and they get help from the liberals giving them free cell phones to warn when the Sheriff is coming. How do you stop it? Probaby when it get so bad that everyone gets really and I mean really PISSED! and pulls their head out of the sand and Backs up law enforcement.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Mlee952. It is true that the Civil War was one of the most corrupt times, just like any War. As I remember the whistle blowing laws started then, paying 50% to anyone blowing the whistle. What I believe Bill Moyers was talking about was the overall picture of what is happening all over the World. The data is in the Almanac and on line. It is not a pretty picture. Right now we are paying about $52,000,000 an hour in interest alone and that is with some of the lowest interest rates. Meaning if we stopped borrowing the national debt will still soar. When we add to that, the credit card debt, trade debt, student loan debt, mortgage debt, and every other debt people have, the numbers are staggering. Can we pay down the debt? Using examples like FDR and Reagan (two of the biggest debt increasers) we see that nearly since this country was taken over by the Europeans, the national debt has increased. With the goverment we have in place and the politicians wanting to take it over it clearly shows we are in big trouble. I believe anything is possible, but not without a lot of long lean times. Right now, I believe that our ability to not default is just about equal to being achieved as, ”A Baby using one arm while standing on a vertical sheet of greased glass and throwing a Bull Elphant twenty feet straight up”. Thank you for your comments.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Mlee952. It is true that the Civil War was one of the most corrupt times, just like any War. As I remember the whistle blowing laws started then, paying 50% to anyone blowing the whistle. What I believe Bill Moyers was talking about was the overall picture of what is happening all over the World. The data is in the Almanac and on line. It is not a pretty picture. Right now we are paying about $52,000,000 an hour in interest alone and that is with some of the lowest interest rates. Meaning if we stopped borrowing the national debt will still soar. When we add to that, the credit card debt, trade debt, student loan debt, mortgage debt, and every other debt people have, the numbers are staggering. Can we pay down the debt? Using examples like FDR and Reagan (two of the biggest debt increasers) we see that nearly since this country was taken over by the Europeans, the national debt has increased. With the goverment we have in place and the politicians wanting to take it over it clearly shows we are in big trouble. I believe anything is possible, but not without a lot of long lean times. Right now, I believe that our ability to not default is just about equal to being achieved as, ”A Baby using one arm while standing on a vertical sheet of greased glass and throwing a Bull Elphant twenty feet straight up”. Thank you for your comments.

  • Galen Stucky

    The moral divide and the matrix analogy are based on the assumption that there is no true morality, so that all actions are justified.  As I understand Haidt’s definition, morality is only what each of us perceives it to be, defined solely by our need to be recognized and have the proper attention of an audience. By Haidt’s definition, Hitler had world class moral judgement.   I do not call that morality. It is a very minimal, reductionist perspective with little substance.  
    A living cell can survive and live only if its many components efficiently interchange information with each other and collectively respond to the needs of the cell and its environment.  It is a system. The same is true of the collection of cells we call a human being, and of a collection of human beings who have identified themselves as a family or on a larger scale as a nation.  If in a human being, there is competition between normal  and cancer cells, and the normal cells win, the human system survives.  If the cancer cells win, the human dies. For all living systems there is life if all the components of each cell, and all the different types of cells that make up the total system are networked together, collectively exchanging signals, chemicals and neural information with each other and with the total system environment. This I believe represents true morality.  A system divided against itself, as in the cancer-normal cell example, cannot survive. Neither can a family or a nation. I strongly believe that this is also ultimately true for the global collection of nations and the ecosphere that we call earth. 
    Systems are complex, dynamic entities that scientists cannot predictively describe. The morality of life requires that we have as much respect for all of life and our global ecosystem as we have for ourselves.  Moral actions are those that support and promote positive interactions among the different people that make up a family or a nation to give it unity and a life that integrates it  with the whole as  a responsive, interactive,  and necessary component. Evil is that which does the opposite– isolate, create self aggrandizement, divide and conquer, destroy, make desolate, and kill.  
    As a scientist, it is always necessary to first define the problem, in this case to define what is meant by moral and immoral. There is no solution without that definition. An individual, whether it be a cell or a human being does not create an arbitrary self morality.  Neither did the Nazi’s under Hitler, nor have other reductionist ideologies. 
     

  • Harrietenglander

    Talk about self delusion.  ”I am non-partisan,” he says. And then he quotes Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ant and applies it to today’s economic world, insinuating that the people on welfare are the lazy grasshoppers.  Why did you let him get away with that analogy, Bill Moyers? 

  • wiserage

    If Dr. Haidt is to apply Aesop’s fable to the concept of
    welfare then “corporate welfare” should stop and taxes to pay for unofficial
    wars/military occupations should stop. I think what liberals are most upset
    with is that government funding is going to the powerful who made the messes
    (grasshopper banks and grasshopper military hungry leaders) and the less
    powerful with basic needs for education and medical care go without – many of
    who are the ants who work very hard to meet just basic needs.

    Rather than a fable I prefer this quote to assess the
    functionality as a society,

    “A student asked anthropologist Margaret Mead for the
    earliest sign of civilization in a great culture. The student expected the
    answer to be a clay pot, perhaps a fishhook or a grinding stone. Dr. Mead’s
    answer was: “A healed femur.”                                             
    Mead explained that no mended bones are found where the law of the
    jungle, survival of the fittest reigns. A healed femur shows that someone
    cared. Someone helped the femur to heal and that the injured person’s hunting
    and gathering had to be done for him or her until the leg healed. The evidence
    of compassion is the first sign of civilization.” Quote from R. Wayne Willis

  • Anonymous

    The left-right paradigm doesn’t work. It also doesn’t work to blame poverty mainly on either lack of virtue or on bad luck. Those are factors, but what no one wants to confront is that those who tend to become and stay poor are the less fit for life in a modern economy, whether that be from lack of talent or from poor health. Machines are taking lower-skilled jobs and are threatening to take the higher-skilled ones as well. People won’t be able to buy what machines produce unless they own one, but perhaps some day machines will even be owned by other machines, and then humanity will be reduced to vermin living on the few scraps the machines don’t recycle.

  • Anonymous

    Although most people tend to justify their positions and beliefs, many find explanations to be more honest and responsible.  By avoiding absolutes, questioning assumptions, and dismissing dogma anyone can let go of   righteousness.   

    Bob Altemeyer (see his “The Authoritarians”) has found that righteousness characterizes how authoritarians think.  He also notes that authoritarians tend to compartmentalize their thinking.  This may be why they tend to make strong in-group/out-group distinctions and how they can hold “moral foundations” that conflict with care and fairness. 

    I suggest that we send Plato (universal, necessary, and certain knowlege) packing, work at integrating left and right hemisphere ways of thinking (see Iain McGilchrist’s work), and intensify our exploration of the biological and cultural coevolution of our moral behaviors (see E.O. Wilson’s and Frans de Waal’s works).    

  • BG

    Since in reality we are all living on the same planet, divide and conquer is a sure way to fail ourselves.  It only makes sense that we ultimately see each other as members of one group.  The more we focus on our common interests, the healthier our society will be. 
    This does demand communication and respect between the individuals of a family, the citizens of a nation, and the nations of our planet.

  • Karl Hoff

    I like the way you state your position. We both agree that we may have only a few years before the beginning of the greatest depression. I am going to go out on a limb here and offer a solution, which none of the politicians really do. It is very simple and worked really well for me and it takes doing only one of two things. If you are not in debt. Don’t go into debt! If you are in debt. Get out of debt as quickly as possible! I hope no one tries to sneak up and knock me in the head for saying that. You don’t even need the government’s permision…..Yet!!!  It’s simple, without debt no one can lose what they have by not being able to pay their debt, because they own it lock, stock and barrel.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     what you are asking is for their perception..    one mans truth is anothers lie.    perception is a man made construct, an illusion.      your calling out in anger for what their definition of truth is, would not be enough for your perception of such.

  • Robert F.

    Haidt has some fascinating insights into the political landscape of America.
    However, I found his own claim of being in the center questionable.  
    He seems to accept the premise that it is fair and just, that due to Karma, each should have what is coming to them based on their own personal responsibility/work in life. 
    This of course presumes an equal playing field of starting off with opportunity, luck/ misfortune, being at the right place at the right time, and of course being born into wealth and the right connections along with the right education.
    The  conservative Karma analogy  would work only in a society that followed a sort of a Maoist Cultural Revolution every generation, where the alreadfy entranched/privileged class was made to start at the same starting point as everyone else, in society.   Otherwise it is just a hollow self righteous justification of the ‘haves’ to say that they worked harder than the ‘have-not-s’ , and thus their wealth is self made and legitimate. 
    This premise is of course blatantly, false.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

    it seems this guy has done what most cons do ‘these’ days, they spin it to prop up their case for, may the best ‘man’ win, winner take all.     these types have no problem in what could be called socializing the wealthiest, all the while calling out libs and that tiny portion of those who steal from the so-call gov hand outs.      what portion do take advantage of the social net, its a grain of sand compared to the corporately corrupt thieves who take trillions.   he speaks of karma in an attempt to spin it, that you get what you deserve, what goes around comes around, all the while making his con case for how culturally, religiously and psychologically more grounded him and his conservative ideology and agendas are, by having the highest and loftiest intent, and the bottom feeders, many of which are there because of these winner take all idealists, and calls it karma’s way.      this man while obviously an intellectual (by conservative standards ;) , very well spoken and charismatic, it will be interesting to see how his karma plays out.      it seems from a mystical sense, he is clueless to that concept.

    thank you for ignoring my phrasing and grammar :)  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     exactly, well done.     read my above post.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     very good, galen?     we are all in ‘this’ together. something his karma spins towards the normal conservative construct, everything is black or white, my way or the highway, winner take all….. of that, which is left from nothing.    a dualistic separationist view!    oneness is the only Way.

    galen

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     with all the monies spent by con so-called thinking tanks of spin, why do they at this point in human history, fall extremely into the minority of the few, ever more extremists that should control the majority?     spinning karma for karma’s and con dogmas sake, does little for the whole of mankind.     if this mentality is so true and virtuous, and this thinking did control the planet, in a small amount of time, it would be nothing but fire and chaos, and be up in flames in a few years.     this ideology would cannibalize the planet and its own humankind in a short time.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

    Moyers does a great job, good man and has done his share of voicing mankind’s ills and victories.      but this interview seemed to fit the classic lib vs con, where the interviewer had to show some grace as host, but cowered down in the face of karmic spin.     this is what the Dems do, they are more passive-aggressive, cowering in the corner while the bullying cons look into the camera and lie like hell!

    just the same Bill, another great interview, and we can be very thankful for that!

  • Suran

    Completely irresponsible translation of “karma”! This guy tries to claim sterotypically “liberal” words for the corporate apologist he is –Machiavellian indeed! 

  • Patricia W

    I was really disappointed with this interview.  Although I have much respect for Bill Moyers, I thought he “soft-balled” this guy, let him get away from some extremely over-simplified ideas, especially about progressive perspectives.  Some of the examples given by Haidt should have raised a real moral red flag.  The Dems in Congress for too long have compromised their asses off to the point where many on the left wonder whether most of them have any spine left.  And the right, esp. the Teaparty people have, along with their filibuster forever Republican compadres have been the most rigid, reactionary people in Congress we’ve ever had.  Yes, there are rigid, closed people in both camps but this was NOT an honest portrayal of the big picture.  I hope Bill Maher has his on his show or better yet, Rachel Maddow…Let’s see if he gets away with as much black and white thinking as in this interview. 
    Very disappointed and frustrated with Bill.

  • Sail Rick

    How about the Karma of destroying the ecosystems that are the biological basis of all life?
    And then there is science.  The GOP is the only party in the world that denies anthropogenic global warming.  They are in disagreement with virtually every major scientific organization, (with any relevance) in the world, and 97-98% of climate scientists who actually do the research.

    Too many conservatives have turned  individual liberty being good, into individual liberty being the ONLY good; and every man  for himself.
    I guess they missed the part about “in order to form a more perfect union”.and “promote the public welfare”.  They tend to automatically equate wealth with having been ‘responsible’.
     I find that to be a questionable assumption. 
    They talk about personal responsibility. They never consider greed as irresponsible.  
    Responsibility is about the consequences of your actions.If your primary focus in life is making more money, you will probably make lots of money.  What’s that got to do with being responsible?  Some of us have more important things to focus on than just money. 

    “The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.”Rutherford B. Hayes

  • Sail Rick

    If Karma works as it should, there are no bad consequences for the rich?How about the Karma of the Koch brothers, who have spent as much as $25 million a year spreading disinformation on climate change
    They fund all kinds of opposition to environmental protection. 
     Let us compare that with the Karma of a slacker.Let’s not forget that the Koch brothers were born very rich.
    What about the karma of greed?
     Where is the moral compass of the right on climate change?  I don’t buy into the argument that the right has a better understanding of Karma.

  • Sail Rick

    The GOP wants more Trickle Down economics/ Reaganomics I call it Peed On economics
    vote GOP and get your complimentary golden shower
    Here’s why From 1982 -2006, only 11% of the growth in wealth went to the bottom 80% of us. 
    Normalized to 1979, the top 1% have seen their share of America’s income more than double. The bottom 90% have seen their portion shrink Average loss/gain in income per household from 1979 to 2005
     top 1% + $597,241 more next 4% + $29,8985 more next4% + $4,912 more next 10% – $3,733 less next 20% – $8,598 less next 20% – $10,100 less next 20% – $8,582 less bottom 20% – $5,623 less In 1979, corporate executives made 25-40 times as much as their workers. They now make 250-400 times as much as their workers. Occupy Wall ST In 1981 average salary for the securities industry in New York City was $85,000 verses $43,000 for all other sectors in New York City So it was roughly a 2-1 ratio.
    In 2010 average salary for Wall St. $361,000 verses $66,000 for all other sectors. The new ratio is about 6-1 The 400 richest families in America now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million people. 400 taxpayers with highest income – average income up 392% average tax rate – down 37% 
    70% of Americans think the rich should pay more taxes

  • Sail Rick

    attempt to make that legible

    The GOP wants more Trickle Down economics/ Reaganomics
     I call it Peed On economics
    vote GOP and get your complimentary golden shower

    Here’s why 
    From 1982 -2006, only 11% of the growth in wealth went to the bottom 80% of us. 

    Normalized to 1979, the top 1% have seen their share of America’s income more than double. The bottom 90% have seen their portion shrink 
    Average loss/gain in income per household from 1979 to 2005

     top 1% + $597,241 more
     next 4% + $29,8985 more
     next4% + $4,912 more
     next 10% – $3,733 less
     next 20% – $8,598 less
     next 20% – $10,100 less
     next 20% – $8,582 less
     bottom 20% – $5,623 less
     In 1979, corporate executives made 25-40 times as much as their workers.
     They now make 250-400 times as much as their workers. 
    Occupy Wall ST 
    In 1981 average salary for the securities industry in New York City was $85,000 verses $43,000 for all other sectors in New York City So it was roughly a 2-1 ratio.

    In 2010 average salary for Wall St. $361,000 verses $66,000 for all other sectors. The new ratio is about 6-1 The 400 richest families in America now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million people. 400 taxpayers with highest income – average income up 392% average tax rate – down 37% 

    70% of Americans think the rich should pay more taxes

  • Sail Rick

    I can somewhat understand the conservative opposition to the welfare state.
     
    However, without leveling the playing field, which they refuse to do, what can be done?

  • Sail Rick

    We are still waiting for the karmic consequences of the following.

    The Bush administration played a major role in the propaganda campaign to discredit climate science. President Bush authorized a major study on climate change, then had a Petroleum Institute lawyer edit the report done by climate scientists, to water it down. They also tried to prevent world renowned climate scientist James Hansen from releasing a report about global temperature for 2005, because 2005 was either the warmest year on record or tied with 1998 for warmest.

    There was a systematic attempt to stifle the free speech of climate scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where Hansen works. They had public policy people inserted into the Institute to ride herd over the scientists.
     The same Petroleum Institute lawyer (Cooney) led this assault on science. 
    To learn much more about this, read the book:
     ”Censoring Science: the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming” by Mark Bowen
    And today’s GOP has put this agenda on steroids
    ————-

    GOP politicians are aiding and abetting this criminal endeavor, some wittingly, some unwittingly perhaps.
    Here are some books documenting the global warming denial misinformation PR machine and its history.

    “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

    “The Inquisition of Climate Science” by James Lawrence Powell ”Climate Cover-Up”: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”by James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore  ”The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”by Michael mann

    “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change”   by Clive HamiltonHe outlines the decade-long, coal-industry funded campaign in Australia to deny climate science.

     ”Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate” by Stephan H. Schneider and Tim Flannery

    “Global Warming and Political Intimidation, How Politicians Cracked Down On Scientists as the Earth Heated Up”    by Raymond Bradley

    “Climate Change Denial, Heads in the Sand”  by Hayden Washington and John Cook

    “The Heat Is On”   and    “The Boiling Point”      by Ross Gelbspan
     

  • Sail Rick

    karma?
    Here is what Republican politicians are part and parcel of.They are aiding and abetting the fossil fuel industry, helping spread their lies about climate change.  – whether wittingly or unwittingly

    Here is how the deceivers spread their misinformation about climate change and “wipe the oil” off the money, by funneling it through groups like these and others.

    These 32 conservative ‘think tanks’ (really industry front groups) have all been involved in the tobacco industry’s campaign to deny the science showing the dangers of tobacco. 
    They are all now involved in the campaign to deny the science of climate change.
     1. Acton Institute
     2. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
     3. Alexis de Tocquerville Institute
     4. American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
     5. Americans for Prosperity
     6. Atlas Economic Research Foundation
     7. Burson-Marsteller (PR firm)
     8. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)
     9. Cato Institute 
    10. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)
     11. Consumer Alert
     12. DCI Group (PR firm)
     13. European Science and Environment Forum
     14. Fraser Institute
     15. Frontiers of Freedom
     16. George C. Marshall Institute
     17. Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
     18. Heartland Institute
     19. Heritage Foundation
     20. Independent Institute
     21. International Center for a Scientific Ecology
     22. International Policy Network
     23. John Locke Foundation
     24. Junk Science
     25. National Center for Public Policy Research
     26. National Journalism Center
     27. National Legal Center for the Public Interest (NLCPI)
     28. Pacific Research Institute
     29. Reason Foundation
     30. Small Business Survival Committee
     31. The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC)
     32. Washington Legal Foundation
     #5 and #9 were created by the billionaire oil and lumber tycoon Koch brothers, who fund all kinds of anti-enviromental PR. They also fund denial of the science saying formaldahyde causes cancer. This is no surprise, since they are major owners of Georgia Pacific lumber company.

    #24 Junk Science, which is aptly named, is run by Steve Milloy, who Fox News like to feature as an “expert” on climate change.  Milloy is NOT a scientist.  He’s a paid lobbyist for fossil fuel interests and a professional PR man.  Fox ever divulge that to you?   I doubt it.

    “Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil.”Chris Mooney at Mother Jones”The global warming denial PR machine and the GOP”

  • Sail Rick

    The GOP’s ideological blinding threatens life itself.

    The alternate universe of  GOP climate science
    Remember;  These are some of the politicians who think they know better than 97% of active climate scientists, every National Academy of Science in the world, and virtually every other major science organization in the world, with any relevance to climate and earth sciences.
    GOP congressman Rohrbacher suggests trees cause global warming
    Speaker of the House Boehner says CO2 emissions nothing to worry about because humans breathe CO2 in and out.
    Excuse me speaker, ever hear of the greenhouse effect?
    Michelle Bachman says there have been no scientific studies showing CO2 is harmful. I guess she missed the 10,000 (up to about 2006) published research papers that show that CO2 causes global warming. There are thousands more research papers since then.  Hundreds of papers are published every week relating to climate
    Rick Perry likens himself and other deniers to Galileo.Sorry Rick, but Galileo was correct and had the evidence.You are wrong and have no evidence, while ignoring the mountain of evidence for AGW.    (AGW = anthropogenic global warming – man made)Perry and the rest are more like the religious authorities who persecued Galileo.
    GOP Rep Fred Upton says there can be no global warming because God won’t allow it to happen.
      Sen Inhofe says its all a big hoax.
    Sure Senator, the entire world scientific community is just trying to get more grant money.
    And of course, Sen Inhofe (R Oklahoma) liked to invite science fiction writer Michael Crichton as an “expert witness” on climate change.Apparently all you have to do is a write nonsense novel to be invited as an expert.
    Senator Inhofe;
    “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
    Senator Inhofe is outrageous.God Help us if we don’t vote out the deniers.

  • Sail Rick

    But wait, there’s more fun in the GOP Science Fun House

    Minnestota GOP state senator, Michael Jungbauer, claims to have studied all 13 fields of science related to climate change. Just so you know, no climate scientist would make such an absurd claim.

     Jungbauer is the leading global warming denier in the Minnesota state senate. Turns out he doesn’t even have a bachelor degree in ANY field of science.

    Ron Paul wonders why scientists changed the name from Global Warming to Climate Change. Really?   The Intergovernmental Panel on CLIMATE CHANGE was named and founded 23 years ago, in 1988.   And scientists have used both terms since the mid 1970s.

    Speaker of the House – John Boehner
    “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical”

    No Mr Speaker. What is comical and pathetic is that you believe than any scientist would ever say such an absurd thing. Either that or you are playing to the low information voter. 

     Rep. Shimkus: “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

    God Help Us.

    The GOP won’t

  • Sail Rick

    more fun at the Mad Mad World of GOP climate science
     Republican Joe Barton introduced Monckton to a U.S. House committee hearing as an expert witness on climate change
     Barton (R-TX) describes Christopher Monckton

    “as being generally regarded as one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most
    knowledgeable, experts on the skeptic side.”

    Monckton is NOT A SCIENTIST
     Viscount Monckton as he likes to be called, who the GOP loves to call as an expert witness on climate change, is not a scientist of any kind. His only higher education is in journalism. Monckton is a complete charlatan, who has been completely and devastatingly debunked on many occasions by real scientists.

    The GOP has at least twice had him as an expert witness on climate change, at important House Committee hearings.

     Monckton had been told twice by the British House of Lords, to stop claiming he is a member. Yet he intoduces himself to U.S. congress as an emissary from Parliament. He embellishes all his fake temperature charts, etc and other publications, with a very close facsimlie of the seal of Parliament, the crowned porcullis. They have told him to stop using their seal.

    He claims to have discovered cures for HIV, the flu, the cold, Graves disease. He claims to have been a science advisor to Margaret Thatcher. He never was.

    Monckton is also a “birther”

     He is looney beyond belief, IMO. And he is well paid by the Koch brothers and others, to spread confusion. Monckton is a showman, very persuasive in front of an audience and knows how to sound scientific, while spreading complete nonsense.

     Barton and Inhofe get more oil money than any other legislators, in the House and Senate, respectively.

  • Sail Rick

    It is transparently obvious to what lengths the tobacco industry went to hide, deny and play down the dangers of cigarette smoke, yet deniers can’t seem to imagine the same kind of agenda when it comes to the fossil fuel industry, which has an even larger financial stake in denying scientific evidence. The fossil fuel industry makes the tobacco industry look like a mom and pop grocery store by comparison. It’s the biggest economic enterprise in the history of the world. And it isn’t going to give up easy.

    Can you say gullible and ideologically blinded?
    …….    
    This is how the blinding occurs.

    “Why Climate Denialists are Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology”by Johnny Rook

    “Your adversary will deny the facts, cherry pick the scientific evidence for bits of data that, taken out of context, support his/her denialist view, or drag out long-debunked counter-arguments in the hope that they are unfamiliar to you and that you will not be able to refute them. If you succeed in countering all of his arguments he will most likely reword them and start all over again.

    The answer is simply that you are operating off of a mistaken premise. You think that the question of whether or not climate change is real and has an anthropogenic (human) cause is a question to be answered by application of an open mind, research, facts, and critical thinking. Isn’t that how scientists approach these problems? They’re skeptical and critique each others work, discarding ideas which fail to stand up to scrutiny by their colleagues and replacing them with ones that better describe the facts.

    Denialists, however, have no interest in facts except as weapons in an ideological struggle. They don’t even care if “facts” are correct or not, since their intention is not to establish that something is true or false, but rather to win a battle in an ideological war.

    I’m not talking about people who are skeptical only because they are uninformed about the issue. Nor, am I talking about scientists who disagree with other scientists over the details of global warming.

    For conservative/libertarian ideologues who compose the overwhelming majority of denialists, Climaticide is just such a case. If a conservative/libertarian ideologue were to accept global warming as real then he/she would be forced to admit that the problem is so big and so complex that government action is required to deal with it.

    But for an conservative/libertarian ideologue that is impossible because he/she believes that government is the cause of ALL problems and that the solution to all problems is “freedom”.

    Denialists frequently make this attitude explicit when they accuse the “liberals” concerned about climate change of having invented it as an excuse to expand government. The latest version of this tactic that I’ve encountered is that none of the science in support of global warming need be taken seriously because it is the product of government-paid scientists who are only doing their bureaucratic masters’ bidding, apparently forgetting that the current “masters” are themselves Climaticide denialists. (Bush was President when he wrote this)

    Government science is corrupt science because it’s government science. “Scientists” in the pay of the oil and gas industries on the other hand are free of this corruption because they are doing science for the capitalist heroes who defend our “freedom”.

  • http://okparrothead.myopenid.com/ OKParrothead

    I thought about what he said in his interview with Bill Moyer and have come to this conclusion.

    Haidt is simply pushing another brand of conservative doublespeak. His attempts at re-naming the obvious should be discounted at the onset.

    I live in a very Red state and I’ve known way too many conservatives who are simply bullies with no loyalty or sanctity, though they profess to be Christian, and who give no thought to fairness, caring or loyalty. They vote for the Prez that will promise them the biggest tax credit, take government grants that their representatives lobby against, try to cheat their employees and belittle anyone who is progressive as “godless government layabouts”.

    These conservatives go through life like NASCAR drivers pushing everyone out of the way trying to get what they consider to be “their fair share” and devil take the hindmost. There isn’t a shred of anything but greed and avarice in their moral structure.

    For Haidt to profess that this is simply a matter of different perception is laughable on its face.

    I have seen the face of conservatism close up and often. I have the data. His analysis is at best self serving and at worst mere doublespeak to excuse the actions of the righteous right.

  • Sail Rick

    Here’s  what a real honest to goodness scientific skeptic has to say. 
     Read the article from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The author is Mark Boslough, a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories 
    excerpt:
    “Denialists have attempted to call the science into question by writing articles that include fabricated data. They’ve improperly graphed data using tricks to hide evidence that contradicts their beliefs. They chronically misrepresent the careful published work of scientists, distorting all logic and meaning in an organized misinformation campaign. To an uncritical media and gullible non-scientists, this ongoing conflict has had the intended effect: it gives the appearance of a scientific controversy and seems to contradict climate researchers who have stated that the scientific debate over the reality of human-caused climate change is over (statements that have been distorted by denialists to imply the ridiculous claim that in all respects the science is settled).”

    and I can show you hundreds of examples of what Mark is talking about

  • Sail Rick

    9 out of 10 leading skeptical climate scientists are linked to Exxon

    The Carbon Brief (TCB) has a nice analysis on the not-very-startling coincidence that at least nine of the top 10 ‘skeptical’ ‘scientists’ who are publishing on climate change have direct links to Exxon. 
     Analysing the ‘900 papers supporting climate scepticism’: 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil15 Apr 2011In a second instalment, TCB also took a closer look at both the quality and content of the purported “900+” science papers identified by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) as somehow skeptical of the science of climate change. The news, for the skeptics as for the climate, turns out to be all bad.
     Only a small number of the papers actually appeared in reputable publications (eg., 34 in Nature, 33 in Science), and many of those either don’t address the climate question directly or do NOT come to the conclusion that the GWPF attributes

  • Sail Rick

    The key phrase in the interview, was when Haidt said that progressives see the world in a more nuanced way.

    So by definition, progressives are less prone to the ideological blinding that he speaks of.

  • Anonymous

     Murphy, the “polls” have merged with the entertainment industry. Have you noticed how many and how often?  Surveying a few hundred people and using questions that elicit the desired results is hardly a statistically accurate indication of what “people think.”  Besides that, people lie a lot when asked what they think.

    Which is why so many claim to be Christians but obviously are NOT. They are merely bullied into religious practices by the perceived “majority.” 

    The social sciences are, in general, very unscientific.  Polls are not really indicative of anything much.  To imply that they mean anything is basically lies.

  • evesardi

    Far too many jobs do not provide a living wage, so the ‘working poor’ still needs to rely on social programs.  This is not a personal choice, this is a choice society has made.

  • Dianekoro

    The last statistic I saw showed only 6% of American scientists as being republicans, so none of what you’ve posted should be a shock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Luke/100002464576512 Frank Luke

    Though progresives and liberals tend to be more nuanced thinkers, that doesn’t keep them from being idealogues as well and are as staunch in holding on to their firm belief of ideals in the way conservatives do. What’s also true is that progressives will often ride their high horses in feeling morally superior to any adversaries, do they not?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Luke/100002464576512 Frank Luke

    When we label conservatives and progressives categorically, that doesn’t take into account the exceptions to the rule or category. The moderates of both camps will often not strictly conform to Mr Haidt’s generalizations.

  • James Monroe Powell

    Galen,

    Be careful of your impassioned analysis, less your ramblings
    reveal your own hypocritical biases.  It
    would appear that your “moral matrix” is not only fatalistic, but also reeks of
    defeatism.  Although some, if not most,
    of the mass media frequently engages in the manipulation of voter’s perceptions
    for a fee, we, the mindless voters, still posses the capacity to critically
    examine their assertions at will.  The real
    questions are will we engage in such a critical inquiry, or will we simply
    accept what the television presents to us as truth?

    No doubt, many chose to simply sit back, and become
    spectators of the political process because they are too preoccupied with additional
    personal matters while others chose to engage the controversial political ideas
    being forwarded within the public sphere. 
    Perhaps, this is why you saw the emergence of “extremist minorities” or political
    factions coalescing around a “moral matrix” which espouses values which they
    deemed “scared” to their cause.   For
    instance, the Tea Party faction felt betrayed by the previous Republican administration’s
    borrow and spend approach to budgeting, and additionally, found the bailout of the
    Wall Street fat cats unforgiveable, while the Occupy Wall street movement’s “moral
    matrix” was more focused on the gross inequities within the system, and the
    historic disparities in wealth that such an inequitable system has generated.   Although both “moral matrixes” find fairness
    to be a “scared” value, they have divergent views about what is fair.

    For instance, conservatives view “Karma”, which is a positive
    veiled reference to Social Darwinism, as fair, because those individuals or
    corporations, who are less fit, or engage in actions or inactions which they
    should not, should suffer the consequences of their actions.  This negative idea of fairness or justice is
    closely linked to the concept of punishment. 
    In short, you should reap what you sow, or fail to sow in the case of
    the grasshopper allegory.  However, with
    liberals, the ideas of fairness and justice take on a positive connotation
    because liberals tend to focus on the rewards offered by a fair or just
    system.  For instance, if the system was
    a merit based system, then the wages of productive workers would not have been
    stagnant for over a decade while most C.E.O. salaries undeservedly skyrocketed
    even though some of their companies were driven into ruin. 

  • Avataress

     Hello, Mr. Hoff!  And thank you for your response, although I’m not sure what to make of it.  Do you think the situation with the illegal drug dealers might be different if they were able to sell the drugs they’re dealing legally?  Or are you trying to say that these people are morally inferior to people who don’t sell and take drugs by nature?  The former was my point.  There are a lot of bad people in this world.  However, we have learned or been conditioned to think of people who commit crimes that the majority has come to despise like “drug dealers” (other than “big pharma” or the “legitimate/legal drug dealers!”) and welfare cheats as baser criminals than white collar criminals like banks, and again, “big pharma,” who commit legal highway robbery against us everyday!  For instance, if a person mistakenly bounces a check for $2, they are still charged a $35 fee!  If that’s not legal robbery, I don’t know what is!  As I said previously, “big pharma” also sells drugs that get you hopelessly addicted and can and do kill many, and they tell you outright that this may happen in very certain terms!  You seem to be ignoring this fact in your complaints about the drug dealers and welfare cheats in your neighborhood whom you watch six hours per day!  That’s almost a full time job!  How are you recompensed for this surveillance work?  My personal take on drugs for myself is that I don’t want to have to take any, for pain relief, nor to get high, nor for any other sensation!  I am high on my life.  But that’s just me.  A lot of people don’t have that perspective, which as I also tried to say in my post is none of my business in what is supposed to be a free country.  I try to abide by the law and the vast majority of the time I do.  However, as I tried to state in my post, I don’t think it should be illegal for adult people to ingest any substance they want, no matter how addictive.  If this then affects their behavior to the point where they rob people, or shoot people, or other such crimes against people and their property, then they should be treated as the criminals they are.  However, I don’t consider addiction, in and of itself, or alone,  to be a crime.  Finally, in that vein, I saw a program on PBS a couple of years back that followed the careers of several doctors from med school through some of their years of practice and one of the doctors who became an emergency room doctor said that the worst health problems he saw come through the door where he worked were from alcohol, which is perfectly legal–mind you, he didn’t say from methamphetamine!  I live in a bad neighborhood, too and am very offended by the rabble whom I have to pass everyday.  However, I don’t spend my time watching them, except for the brief moments when I’m out and about.  I spend my time trying to better myself and to gather around me associates, which, in itself is very hard to do, who are trying to do the same.  In a free country, we must tolerate a lot of  “shadow” or dark propensities if we want to be free to live as we’d like.  I don’t know if you understand my point or if you will take it well.  I mean no offense.  I’m just speaking the truth as I find it.  Thanks for listening! 

  • Avataress

     I don’t stick with truth or do much of anything else just to piss people off because I can’t expend my energy, which is limited, in that way.  However, I feel the same way you do about lies, and about the liars who tell them.  Sometimes we must face the truth about our opponents, worthy or otherwise. . .and about ourselves.  Thanks for your response.

  • Theresa Piazza

    I listened to what Haidt was saying and he comes across as someone who is making excuses for the Republicans bad behavior.  There is so much not taken into consideration.  Many of these people will call themselves “Christian” yet could care less about the poor.  They have adopted            
    Ayn Rand’s view every man for himself.  Not What would Jesus do?” philosophy.   He calls everyone a hypocrite.  But how do you defend outright lying by the conservative media?  They seem to be taking the good Christians for a ride by their morals while selling out their unions, pensions and safety nets that many of them will need at one time or another.   He justifies corporate greed  and if you are not successful you are lazy.  WTF?  Many people are working hard and still  not able to make ends meet.   No one addresses what is corporate responsibility to  a society that helped to  make their money.  They go through alot not to pay their fair share.   Taxes should  be looked upon as their thank you to the country that makes them great.  Not to mention their customers.  If the people have no money eventually corporations are going to lose out.  Oh, by the way, what about the conservative plot to take voting rights from millions of people to keep Obama from getting back in.  Good old Christian values at work you say? That doesn’t sound very Christian to me.   Any thing goes as long as you get your way  What a bunch  of spoiled brats.   Mr. Haidt, if it looks like a duck it is a duck.  And to my mind Republicans are just evil, stingyand  just another word for racist.  They are keeping this country back through backwards selfish  thinking.     

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.eichelberger Don Eichelberger

    While Mr. Haidt’s analysis offers some insights in finding common ground between unyielding opponents, I am disappointed that Mr. Moyers  did not challenge him more on the issue of corporate welfare in his discussion of Karma.  Is Karma only for those not too big to fail?

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.eichelberger Don Eichelberger

    I must take issue with Mr. Haidt’s assertion that the Right values Care about equally as all the other values; Liberty, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity. 

    As one whose politics go well beyond Liberal,  I agree that Care is by far the most important value.  That is partially why I have for over 30 years, demonstrated against the elite men’s gathering at Bohemian Grove- you may know of it.

    Here, as its first order of business, this elite summer gathering of financiers, politicians, military leaders, academics and entertainers cremate an effigy of Care.

    They call it the “Dull Cares of the Marketplace”, and dawning red, hooded robes, our nation’s leaders, a small percentage of the 1%,  burn the effigy at the base of their 40-foot tall stone owl alter.

    They call it a harmless little secret ritual, but if you want to witness demonization, we are admonished that by their deeds we shall know them: continuing cuts to social programs, continuing increases in military spending and “homeland security”, ensuring corporate profits with taxpayer bailouts and subsidies, growth of the prison industrial complex, and  increased movement toward fascism as government resources are increasingly deployed to protect US business interests here and abroad.

    One might say these men Care a great deal- about getting the biggest share of the pie; all of it, if possible.

    For more on this year’s protest and other information, go to http://www.occupybohemiangrove.org/

  • Kv27

    I have read many of the comments and most make sense. I add that the question asked of Paul should the person without insurance be allowed to die without treatment. His answer was “No” but he thought charities or churches should do it. I think that is the nub of conservatism, “It’s not our responsibility, others can do it.” In the ant-grasshopper fable the ants were the social creatures that took on their responsibility. The grasshopper was the individualist just wanting to do as he wished.  Liberal vs Conservative?

  • Sail Rick

    I can’t totally disagree with what you say.
    As for riding their high horse in feeling morally superior to an adversaries, that seems as much if not more of a characteristic of the religious right. 

    Which has always bothered me.  What I mean is that they always seem concerned with the morality of someone else.  Spirituality has absolutely nothing to do with judging others, and this seems to be a central characteristic of these people.  In fact true spirituality, is almost totally about giving up your judgements, not only about others, but about yourself as well.  That is what Jesus taught.
     Love your enemies.  And like all spiritual leaders of worth, he taught the wisdom of knowing thyself, of finding God within. 

  • Sail Rick

    Jonathan Haidt doesn’t have a very good understanding of karma.

    His description of karma ,being work and it’s product, is like a Cliff Note version designed for grade school children.
    The whole idea of karma and work revolves around the motivation for the work.
    Work done for some reward is not good karma.Work done from the heart, without regard to reward is good karma.

    Even this explanation falls short, because there is no such thing as good karma and bad karma.  There is just karma. 
    Karma means further entanglement, because one’s actions have a motive based in the ego, and therefore do not lead to freedom or enlightenment, but to further entanglement, further karmic debt, less freedom and hence less spirituality. 
     Work done as “service”, with no ulterior or ego based motive, no expectation of reward or praise, is liberating.

    Lao Tsu, the famous Taoist sage
    Woe to him who wilfully innovates While ignorant of the constant, But should one act from knowledge of the constant One’s action will lead to impartiality, Impartiality to kingliness, Kingliness to heaven, Heaven to the way, The way to perpetuity, And to the end of one’s days one will meet with no danger.

  • Donsphil1984

    Sometimes there is just plain wrong. I realize this man is highly intelligent but on the ground in the real world evil does exist. the major symptom of evil is let the sick and helpless die.

     There is no reasoning with these people as facts has no place in their minds.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avatress. I did not ask to live under my world of silent alarms, cameras and standing guard. You need to talk to one of my neighbors that lived under death threats, was robbed repeatedly and forced off her properity. When she came every day to feed her horses that still lived on her land, the drug dealers slowly stole everything from her trailer, and I mean everything. So the drug dealers wanted to stop even that she still came up there, so they attached her horses with their killer pit bull, badly injuring one of them. When that didn’t stop her they shot and Killed one of her horses. I helped her bury it and when that didn’t stop her, they used the fact that the remaining horse was injured, they called animal control and got her arrested. In the end she loss over $50,000 and had to go to court where they through the charges out because she was totally inocent. Then a few months ago they started up a meth lab in her now gutted trailer on her properity. She is one of the kindess and sweetest women I have ever known and now the trailer is condemed and she cannot even enter it or tear it down or build on her properity.They could not be arrested, because they know that it was not on their property and catching them in the act is not possible because they have forced everyone near them off. What do I say about what happened?  “I will burn in hell before I back off”. Anyone that believes that addictive drugs can be taken without thing like the recent man getting his face eaten off is not seeing what I see. I do not use any addictive drugs, even coffee. So, I find it difficult to believe that taking the chance that one will not act or do bad thing when I have never seen anyone using these addictive drugs leading a life that doesn’t in the end either killing them or destroy their life, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Why do I know what happened? I saw it, it is not enough to see it happen, because the these drug lords have hundreds that will swear under oath they didn’t do it. And the law goes to ten liars even if I am telling the truth. I don’t know how this will end, but it has been very educational for me and those I teach what I have learned.  I am not bragging but just like the Cops, I can talk to nearly anyone a few seconds and know if they are a drug addict or if the are dealing. I can also watch them and in a short time under cover and I see everything. I am retired and see what people that work can’t! I am also very, very, very patience and persistance, which drives the drug lords crazy and they also fear me.

  • Reality Check

    Thoroughly unimpressed, and greatly disappointed that Moyers would feature this half-baked psuedo-scientist.  A soft voice and smiling face isn’t enough to hide the fact that this guy is taking positions (like Karma requires we let the uninsured die?) that are completely out of line.

  • Cvprimerica

    No way Jose, JH admitted his political position and should be feeling shame on his evident ignorance of reality. But like himself implied, he is acting like the Ostrich, the head in the hole.
    Too bad, he could had done better with his research efforts.
    He decided to place himself in the “evil” side.

  • Avataress

     Mr. Hoff, I’m sorry to hear of your situation.  But unfortunately, I don’t think you’re getting the gist of what I’m saying, and I don’t know any other way to explain it to you.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave you to your own devices.  Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JMPowell1966 James Powell

    Ultimately, the two dichotomous warring political “tribes”,
    conservatives and liberals, have “moral matrixes” which posit selfishness and
    selflessness as the “sacred” nucleuses of their respective value systems.  Whereas conservatism tends to focus on
    harnessing man’s natural selfish impulses by forwarding the notion of pursuing
    one’s own self interest, liberals tend to focus on pursuing the good of the
    community as a whole because that which benefits the entire community also benefits
    all of its members.

     

    This political dichotomy can also be seen emerging in the
    competition vs. cooperation survival strategies employed by both groups.  Although Haidt asserts, “groups
    cooperate in order to compete” against other groups, this form of “tribalism
    evolved for the practice of warfare.” 
    So, when the intensity of the political arguments reach a fever pitch
    between competing interest groups, the political discourse often becomes
    degraded into a form of verbal political warfare where each side sits in their
    respective “moral matrices” and ignores the rants of the other while branding the
    opposing side as evil.  

  • Avataress

    Hi, again, Mr. Hoff, In spite of myself, what you said in this post is haunting me.  I think I may be able to help you, but I need more information.  If you would like to try to get some help with your situation, which sounds dire, please e-mail me at avataress@msn.com I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • Irfan Mohammed

     JH definitely has a reconciliation tone which is far and rare to be stumbled into these days but unfortunately his arguments are far from bulls-eye. Talking about the karma of individuals who may face catastrophe of no fault of their own and or unforeseeable future while the corporate America’s greed and karma has put the future of human race in hanging balance. Message to JH, you have come a long way but you have long ways to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcia.huyette Marcia Huyette

    Really Bill? Really? SO disappointed with this interview – - or should be called underview—- why did you just sit there smiling, letting this pseudo-intellectual get away with such a bunch of nonsense?? I listened – and afterwards – heard nothing. That’s what happens when you hear double-speak wrapped up in lies. Mr. Haidt was never a “liberal” – he was always a Republican, but is so ego-centric maybe he didn’t know it. He is DEAD wrong in his “views” and I have no problem with not compromising on that! His soft-voiced style really suited all the BS coming out of his mouth. What would he have done during WW2, say that Hitler was just expressing his opinion?!? Get real. There are times to take a stand – and the times are here. Now. Please don’t do that again Bill – it is shocking to see you let someone like that take you (and us) places we should NOT go.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avataress. I am not offended by anything you have said, but to believe that being a victim makes me  need help or that my situation is dire is like saying Mother Taresa’s situation was the same.  I really enjoy helping people and being thought of as a Hero to those that are trying to raise kids in a world where some believe the solution to the drug problem is to make it legal, even the former President of Mexico believes that way. In the 1970s I read in National Geographics about what happened in China when they showed a 12 yr. old child that had never walked, because he was born addicted and had to have to drugs or the with draw would have probably kill him. China stopped that from happening by making those drugs illegal. When legalizing these drugs causes so much distruction in every aspect of our lives, it is like saying if we want to control stealing and murder,  we just need to legalize it. I have posted this before: in my area some hospitals now have over 1/2 of the babies born addicted, 7o % of the murders are drug related and 85 to 90% of the thefts are too. What will it take for the world to realize that drug use is out of control and Bad, Bad, Bad! Again I do not spend my time, money and intellectaul capital because I need help. I do it to help save a world in big trouble. Thank you for your replies.

  • Diane

    The more I think about his ant/grasshopper example, the more I am seeing the poor old horse from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” who kept saying “I’ll just work harder…I’ll just work harder…”  In the end he gets shipped off to the glue factory.

  • johnbtrask

    Marcia, I believe that if you examine your reaction to Mr Haidt, in terms of his message you should recognize that it confirms his thesis.  We may not like to hear what he is telling us, but it’s a mistake to dismiss it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     he thesis may have come value, but he still is a con spinner, esp on karma.

  • Patricia W

    “The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly on having more as a
    privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that,
    in the egoistic pursuit of having as a possessing class, they suffocate
    in their own possessions and no longer are; they merely have.”


    Paulo Freire

  • ObsidianOne

    I thought this interview and Haidt was thought provoking.  It makes so much sense to me why we don’t get along.  I don’t see a resolve in these issues we have because we are making decisions based on core beliefs.  I do find there are superficial topics where we can find a common ground and this is why I remain friends with the other belief system and stay away from hot topics of politics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UKUBFYWO4BWUZ4YUZNKILW4XB4 Galen

     speaking of manipulation and defeatsim, how is your fear mongering and Fox News doing??

    when speaking of voter manipulation, you cons own that, but good try with your projection.

    your rambling spin speaking but bias, no doubt here.

    i think you would be better off adding one more name to your name.

  • Avataress

    Carry on, then, Mr. Hoff.  I must say though that I do not see taking any drug as being the same as murder and robbery.  But, you’re sure you’re right, so there’s nothing left for us to discuss.  Good luck!

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     We must come to accept that some on welfare ARE like grasshoppers.  Others lack the means to provide for their own basic needs.  The left has done a poor job of making any distinction.

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     I’m stuck on the other side wondering just who is poor.  Is it the person who cannot afford HBO and Showtime, or high speed internet, or can’t buy a smartphone, or air conditioning or a flat screen TV, or eat at Applebee’s.  I see welfare recipients with all these things and I wonder if both ends of the political spectrum can ever agree on what is necessary to remain out of “poverty.”

  • Avataress

    Hello, Erasmus B. Aiken,  There is an ancient proverb, which it took me over 30 years to realize, or make real in my life about this; it goes:  “Who is rich?  S/he who is content with her/his portion!”

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     Quite true, Murphy.  But consider a society in which 85% of citizens were regular worshipers who gave 10% instead of our current situation (25% attending giving 3%?).  Of course taxes would have to be cut for paritioners to be able to afford this kind of giving.

  • Avataress

     Hello, again Erasmus B. Aiken, I noted your response above before, but not your name, until I got a second message from you along the same lines.  In regards to your assessment above, I believe it is true, about the left having done a poor job of making the distinction you mention.  However, the right has done an equally poor job in making that distinction!

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     Extremely well stated, Pshaw.  And I’m a die-hard Reaganite who listens to Fox and thinks Ann Coulter is hot (well, maybe not). 

  • Paul Egan

    What he’s wrong about is whether or not liberals understand moral psychology.

    We understand it well.

    It’s a matter of using  a corrupt method. 

    liberals generally won’t.

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     Nicely stated.  But I’ll just add that too often a safety net becomes a hammock.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CQ6C6JXM6MIKM64MGP5XWIWLM Michael Couch


    Bill:
    Please watch this 9 part series that describes with detail history the origins of the Banking Cartel. It will open your eyes to what is going on in the World. Much like the video of Max Bauchus that I forwarded to you exposed the phony Health Commission under Obama.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CQ6C6JXM6MIKM64MGP5XWIWLM Michael Couch

    If the link doesn’t work just put “The True History of the Banking Cartel”

  • Will Hardin

    could i get a text of this? I’m hard of hearing,  
    Will hardin ,
    willandnan@gmail.com

  • Allan S. Miller

     On 6/4/12, in conversation with Jonathan Haidt, you
    presented a clip which attempted to saddle Ron Paul with a libertarian dilemma
    in which a failure to purchase medical insurance might cost an otherwise
    industrious and responsible person his life, unless the government intervened.
    Those opposed to any form of government intervention would naturally applaud
    such a death, and completely miss the essential point. Such deaths could, and do
    occur despite insurance coverage, because it is profitable for insurers to deny claims. The
    government’s role in regulating this industry, such as by establishing adequate
    fund reserves, is what makes insurance dependable. AIG’s role in the meltdown of
    ’08, among many recent examples, should demonstrate the naivete of deregulation
    when every risk is actuarialy profitable and there are no inherent disincentives to risk
    or fraud. The more relevant question for government intervention is not whether an
    individual should be allowed to accept his own risks, but whether he can depend
    on the private sector to honor its commitment after it accepts payment to do so.
    It is here that the government’s role matters most, and the right’s view is wrongest.
     

  • moderator

    Hi Will,

    If you click on the Full Transcript link below the video, you can then read the transcript of the show.

    Thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • StrikingTheTruth

    I have the solution to the divisiveness. It is called the truth.

    The factual truth of our issues is buried in misinformation and disinformation. We need one place with accurate, unbiased, diligently researched information and now we can have it.

    Take a look at – http://www.StrikingTheTruth.com

  • Anonymous

    >” Of course taxes would have to be cut for paritioners to be able to afford this kind of giving.”<

    85% of the people are regular church goers?? Are they? Even if taxes were cut for people, what guarantees that people will come through or even go to church more. Maybe they go to church less. I mean…why does the one thing mean the other will happen? 

    There's another problem…what does cutting taxes mean to a man without a paycheck? He needs a job before he can get that/

    The fact is that private sources like the church would be overwhelmed in short order. They just don't have those kind of resources.

  • Tpshsh

    Listen to these guys condemn bias EVEN AS THEY SPOUT ABOUT THE EVIL CONSERVATIVES!  Hilarious!  Its as though they say this:  “Its stupid to say one is right and wrong, but we are right and they are wrong!” 

  • Adam

    Most impressive research and thinking.  The understanding generated needs be widely dispersed.  Hope the book does well! I certainly will try to read it.

    Thanks for having Dr. Haidt on the show.  Have him back to explain more!

  • Jamilgram

    Thank you Mr. Moyers and company for your good work.  I cannot express my gratitude for your work….your passion for truth and justice is wonderful, and inspiring!

  • GS_Idaho

    I was sorely disappointed in this piece, in which the fast talking Johnathan Heidt mouthed several platitudes like not “deamonizing” the other side, and sprinkled around a few crumbs of scientific evidence regarding nuanced (liberal) vs linear (conservative) thinking, but then went right on to make the statement that conservatives have made a clear and compelling case for “karma” while liberals have yet to effectively articulate their social values. To the contrary, these values have been eloquently articulated by individuals like Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement and by Jesus Christ himself in the New Testament. One need not be either black or Christian (I’m neither) to be moved by the power of the progressive ideas put forth by these and many others champions of social justice.

    But the glaring flaw in Heidt’s argument regarding economic Karma is the assumption that individuals relying on the social safety net are by and large those who will not work. I challenge this assumption to its core. While abuses occur, in my experience the great majority of those forced to lean on society for help would much rather be self sufficient. The elderly, for example, have little control over economic and health issues once the die is cast, and this is more often than not the result of the accident of birth these days. To say “they should have planned better” is just another way of saying “I don’t care”.

    There were times when Bill Moyers gazed at Heidt incredulously at some of his answers, but failed to apply that razor intellect to lay bare Heidt’s thinly disguised pseudo-scientific smoke screen to shore up the right’s callous views on society’s responsibility to “the least of us”. And Moyers is a self professed devout Christian.

     I was left with the impression that this program amounted to a “book review” and promotion session, foisted on Mr. Moyers by the corporate sponsors who, increasingly, control the media, including PBS.

  • Donald Giles Miller

    Thanks for your comments. I agree. Though I did find he help me think about things outsid my awareness. 

  • Lucius

    Thought I had posted this a couple of days ago.  Apparently not.  In any event, Prof. Haidt makes a case that left brain and right brain types need to learn to speak to one another across a conceptual and perceptual divide.  But what happens when xtian fundamentalists teach little children that genocide is not only acceptable but endorsed by their ‘god’? How is that chasm bridged?  See…
    http://www.alternet.org/story/...
     
    The problem is not that each ‘side’ maintains different values and sees the world differently, but that there are folks on one side who are deranged sociopaths in positions of influence.  Now I know Prof. Haidt would call that ‘demonizing’, but it’s also calling a spade a spade.  Teaching children that the extermination of non-believers is perfectly in accord with the ‘wishes’ of their insane ‘god’ goes well beyond simply maintaining different values.  These kind of malevolent, demented values hearken back to Germany of 1939.  All values are not created equal.

  • Donald Giles Miller

    I have been reading his book. I suggest you read it. His research and ideas are more fully explained than in his interview.  Maybe being a psychologist helps. this isn’t to say I think many of the comments are right.

  • Keith

    Enjoyed your interview with social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. I agree
    that we have become too politically polarized. No issues will get properly
    resolved until one issue is addressed. 
    We need publicly funded elections as the only election option.  No more fund raisers.  Everyone gets the same level of funding. Candidates
    get equal and free radio and TV time as part of FCC license renewals.  Free USPS mailings. Until politicians work
    for the public nothing will change for the public. Good science will be ignored
    for personal interest. No private donations or personal funds would be allowed
    to be used for campaigns.  Special
    interests will have to sway votes based only on their argument to support the
    public good. Health care, jobs, the economy have to take the back seat for this
    one issue. None of those will be properly resolved in the current process. 

  • mkltchr

    Regarding the morality discussion ;  some of the comments I’ve read brought up Jesus Christ and his world view which I believe is what I would call liberal. I was a devout Catholic and remember being taught to strive to live a Christ like life which did not include much in the way of material goods and talked a lot about self sacrifice and taking care of the less fortunate.  To listen to Haidt and then think of the Christian right makes my head spin.  The New Testament is the inconvenient truth for right wing christians regarding morality.  And what about the 7 deadly sins?  

  • Keith

    Don’t take what Mr. Haidt said as a personal attack, but rather take his information on how to create a better strategic strategy based on his observations. One side is saying that not everyone deserves a safety net because of the choices they made and fully understood. They accepted their karma whether it’s success or failure. Failure is an option. Other people may not have taken those same risks, they played by the rules, worked hard and still failed.  They expect a hand-up vice a  hand-out to get back on the track of success.  Mr. Haidt was just trying to show the other side’s perspective. The constitution discusses the pursuit of happiness, not the attainment of happiness. You have the right to pursuit what makes you happy, but there is no guarantee that you will obtain it and the public should not be held responsible if you don’t.

  • Keith

    A person’s right to fail and playing by the rules are two different arguments and should not be bundled together. If you don’t buy fire insurance for your house, the fireman still try to put out the fire, but you are on your own to rebuild. It should not be the public’s responsibility to rebuild your house because you didn’t buy fire insurance. That is a choice involving risk and the possibility to fail.  If you have an insurance policy and the company doesn’t pay, then the government should intervene to correct the situation. You chose not to take the risk removing the choice of failure. There are consequences for good and bad decisions. The public and the government is one and the same and they can’t and shouldn’t protect everyone from their bad choices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/larry.heitkamp.7 Larry Heitkamp

    I watched this show yesterday and it disturbed me.  Today it hit me, Jonathon seems to have a very skewed understanding of karma.  He used the word over and over with the idea it is OK to say to someone, this is the decision you made, these are the consequences and if you die that’s OK.  He totally misses the point that your karma is affected by the fact that you did nothing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/larry.heitkamp.7 Larry Heitkamp

    I watched this show yesterday and it disturbed me. Today it hit me, Jonathon seems to have a very skewed understanding of karma. He used the word over and over with the idea it is OK to say to someone, this is the decision you made, these are the consequences and if you die that’s OK. He totally misses the point that your karma is affected by the fact that you did nothing when you could have helped!

  • GS_Idaho

     Keith, I didn’t at all take Mr. Haidt’s arguments as a personal attack, although I have a deep personal conviction regarding the roll of government in society.

    I believe his lightly touched upon comments on the “nuanced” thinking trend of liberals is key to all of this. For example, an individual taking the conservative tack will use the fact that “some” individuals will use the availability of safety nets to “game the system” at the expense of others who work hard for their money. Then they will go on to build elaborate justifications for why these nets are “evil” and counter productive in a free capitalist society. A more nuanced consideration would take into account history, for example, whether society was better off in the “gilded age” (which very much resembles the situation today) in the period just prior to The New Deal and whether those progressive initiatives benefited society as a whole.

    There’s a great book, “heirarchy in the Forest” by C. Boehm, which explores the “tribal behavior” Mr. Haidt referred to frequently. Anyone having read that book or others on the subject would have seen his remarks regarding tribal behavior as very constricted and bent to suit his narrow argument. Small bands of hunter gatherers were highly egalitarian and shared everything. They had to for survival by nature of their situation. This fact forms the very roots of our species and is woven through our DNA. Selfishness was simply not tolerated and group members caught hoarding were ejected, or worse. (I admit this is a gross oversimplification of Boehm’s work).

    The point I was trying to make in my earlier post was that I was disappointed that some of these other considerations were not brought into the discussion by Bill Moyers if not Haidt himself. Rather, he was allowed to ramble on with a very thinly constructed argument which concluded,  if just below the surface, that conservatives are the ‘winning team’, liberals are a bunch of incoherent ‘Starbucks sippers’ who tend to burn flags and collect welfare. I watched it again online yesterday to see if I had missed something. I found very little thoughtful discussion about the actual basis for the different thought processes of the two respective groups, as the title of the program would have led one to expect. Rather, this was a pseudo intellectual discussion that seemed to try to present the conservative viewpoint as more rational and to lend credibility to this view because the guy presenting it happens to teach at UVA. If I took anything personally, it was the assault on my intelligence.

  • S.King

    the GOP pay’s his monthly bills im  sure, of that lol this man has 2 right hands, and he looks like a ken doll, lol 

  • http://www.facebook.com/JMPowell1966 James Powell

    Despite the deep moral divisions that this insightful
    political discourse on moral psychology has brought to my attention, the one
    that stands out most is the generalization that conservatives tend to make
    regarding those unemployed individuals suffering from economic misfortune: they
    are all hard core unemployed.  For me,
    this hasty generalization of economic circumstance presents a glaring example
    of how naïve rationalism can factually distort a group’s “moral matrix”.  For one thing, there are three known types of
    unemployment – hard-core, structural, and frictional – and due to the recent structural
    shifts in our economy, most of our present unemployment can be attributed to
    structural shifts.   In fact, one might
    argue that most unemployment is brought about by the inept business practices
    of upper management, and that the laid off laborers are simply the causalities
    of their managerial incompetence.

    What is more, the history of this conservative position can
    be traced historically to the Protestant Work Ethic which is
    based upon the notion that the Calvinist emphasis on the necessity for hard work is a component of a
    person’s calling, and worldly success is a visible sign or result (not a cause)
    of personal salvation. 

     In essence, this conservative view posits the
    possibility that the wealthy are saved, and the poor are simply dammed.

  • Roger Woodward

    Bill Moyers is absolutely right. What happened to tolerance with our politicians? 

    Roger Woodward

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     Murph, you obviously replied before achieving an understanding of my comment.

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     This comment is a fairly good example of the demonizing Haidt writes about.

  • Erasmus B Aiken

     I agree with all you’ve stated.  I’ll just add that in loving faith-based communities (e.g. some Amish and some others) the destroyed home would get rebuilt by charitable neighbors, not by government.

  • Anonymous

    Very sorry Erasmus. I must have misread your meaning. My bad.

  • Cherrie

    In reading the comments, I’m saddened to see that by and large, we’re just proving our polarity again with anger and defensiveness.  The cry from my heart, into the void, is that we “GET IT”, that we can only survive if we work together and release our tight grips on our “sides”.  I want to get the book for the purpose of self examination…to determine where *I* can make changes, soften, shift…because the only change I can make is with ME.

  • GS_Idaho

    Cherrie, your sentiments are commendable but unrealistic. It’s the classic case of “sheep negotiating with wolves to take lamb chops off the menu”. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t try, but until liberals and progressives start developing a little backbone and group cohesion, this pattern will continue. We don’t have to demonize conservatives to stand up to them. I, personally, feel that we have an advantage in the long run. We just need to keep in mind the fact that humans ARE different, one from another, and can be divided into rough categories, just as the differences between women and men go beyond the obvious physical. There are studies for example that show very distinct brain function patterns between self identified conservatives vs liberals. The “fear centers” in conservatives’ brains are very much more active compared to liberals. Does this suggest to you any basis for Tea Party behavior? For the insecurity of the extremely wealthy in never having “enough”? Work hard to play down the hate, but don’t delude yourself as to who you’re dealing with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mack.The.Turtle Mack TheTurtle

    To take an example, values explain why I, as a liberal, I’m not fond of the general idea of abstinence-only education.  I think it is sexually repressive, and stifles the individual.  A conservative, by contrast, could well support such education on that grounds that it is be a better moral position and better for social cohesion.

    But how to explain the conservative who continues to support such educational initiatives after empirical evidence shows that they just flat don’t work?  

    Again, as contrast, I want to tax the rich more, much more.  But if the empirical evidence actually showed that doing so would hurt employment chances for the middle class, I’d rethink that policy position.  

  • Avataress

     Cherrie, I firmly believe with you that if more “MEs” wanted to work on ourselves rather than on others that that is what would shift the state of affairs.  This is what’s known as a psychological attitude rather than a political one.  We are not sheep and wolves.  I don’t know about the rest of the animals, but in the human world, our circumstances tend to reflect what’s inside us.  It is astounding how changing the inside changes the outside.  In this way, I have seen that I can create miracles!  We all can!  Bravo to you, Cherrie!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lizthares Elizabeth Thares

    For those with a little time.

  • Anonymous

    Love your comments. Yes get the book, I did. It has changed me. there so much new research since I taught this stuff. I love stuff that force me to see the world and others differently.

  • curie

    The great big exception to karma rewarding hard work is Wall Street.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Cherrie. So well put. When you find what we can do to make everyone doves rather than a mix of hawks and doves, please let me know. I have through out my life heard people say that kindness is perceived as weakness.  Also, meanness gets you respect. If you put a bunch of hawks and doves together there will soon be only hawks and without the doves and other pray, the hawks will starve or attack each other. I know that being nice to people is the best way to create peace in the world, but haven’t figured out how that will work when someone will strap on a bomb with the only purpose being to blow up people that do nothing more than to dissagree with them. Thanks much for your comment, Karl

  • Kent

    Jonathan Haidt fails to mention when discussing that taxing the rich and giving to the poor is not a sign of fairness, is that when children are born, they dont get to choose which parents to be born to and which school system their parents will live. So, all children do not have the exact same opportunities growing up and some children have sub standard educations. If every single child had the exact same education, exact same parental support, exact same living conditions and nutritional profile and some are not working and others are rich, maybe that would be unfair to the Rich who would have to lift them up. But since kids from rich suburbs have the support and higher educational opportunities the poor don’t then it is obvious that it is the poor that win the arguement that they haven’t been treated fairly.  IF you say that peoples bad decisions shouldt be rewarded, as Jonathan Haidt did, than you assume that everyone is starting from the same position, which clearly isnt the case.

  • Avataress

     ButtlerGiles, I think there is another book you might want to get, as well as Mr. Hoff, who asks for solutions, but doesn’t try them out but sticks to his same old ways, and Cherrie, as well, who is, as we all agree, all ready on the right track.  I believe the contents of this book are the next step in human evolution and healing and may not catch on for a while, but will by the next generation and further into the future, which future, because of this book, I can imagine further and can see that it can definitely be better.  The title of the book is, The DNA of Healing, and it is by Margaret Ruby.  Problems that I have been struggling with for almost 50 years have begun to heal in just a few days.  It does involve going within, though, not fighting what we perceive to be outside of and independent of our inner selves.  “Wherever you go, there YOU are!”

  • Avataress

     Humans are not hawks and doves, as they are not sheep and wolves.  Those are metaphors, which is the same as going into a restaurant hungry, seeing the description of food on the menu, but you don’t eat the menu!

  • Avataress

     Here is a story about problems/difficulties and solving them, the moral of which, I’ll tell you at the end, which moral I learned from studying myself and the psychological theories of Carl Jung and Sheldon Kopp, mainly:  When I was around 7 and 8 years old, all the kids in my class would gang up on me and beat me up because I was the smartest kid in the class and they envied me.  I began praying every day in the bathroom before I left school, while urinating, that God would stop my attackers from attacking me.  They continued to do so for at least two years, and I continued to pray to God for them to stop.  Finally, they did.  However, I also stopped going to the bathroom after school each day to urinate and pray and as a result would wet myself almost every day before I would reach home.  The moral of this story is that if we pray long enough or concentrate our energy within ourselves, whether or not there is a God who answers our prayers, that the things we pray for will usually come to pass.  On the other hand, for every good, there is a corresponding evil and every problem we solve breeds another, probably different problem.  And as Sheldon Kopp said, to paraphrase, solving problems breeds more problems, but we still need to continuously work toward solution somehow.  Maybe it’s our nature, maybe there’s some evolutionary or spiritual reason.  The latter, notwithstanding, the former are facts, if we could be see them.  Finally, for many years I thought of these incidents in my childhood without clarity of vision and assumed that I shouldn’t prayer because it didn’t work for me then (although it did or seemed to, anyway; it just took more time than I would have liked) and therefore, that prayer doesn’t work.  Prayer does work, but it’s for children and those who are at their last ditch and can’t think of any other way out.  Then it can definitely help marshall or gather or intensify one’s inner psychological resources and apparently magically also make things happen in one’s outer environment, God notwithstanding.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avatress. You are right. I used hawks and doves that way. I would think that was clear, being for a long time people have use those terms to describe their views on war and other things that they are in favor or opposed to.  Just ask me what I mean and I will be glad to explain. Thank you for your comments. Karl

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avararess. I don’t know how I can make the changes Cherrie might tell me of without first hearing them from Cherrie. Please let me know what I believed before I was labeled as one stuck “in my same old ways”. The book I wrote “Unified Theory” is so radical in its content that no one would ever consider that I haven’t change my views drastically. One thing I have changed is going from one that after years of being called every name in the book, to understanding that it takes people time to test what I have written and to do my best to not jump to conclusions by making what I believe to be so called “Set in stone”. I am simply stating my beliefs and enjoy hearing other people’s beliefs.

  • Avataress

     My dear Mr. Hoff, Please forgive me if I have misjudged you, which it seems I may have.  However, Cherrie might not be the only one here or elsewhere who can tell you, or suggest to you, changes you might want to make.  Also, how would I, or anyone, for that matter, know that you have radically changed your views since writing your book, “Unified Theory,” especially when we, or at least, I, didn’t know you had written such a book, nor what you were like before you wrote it?  Also, you seem to think that people are more than metaphorically like doves and hawks, as your analogy implied, and that those who take and “deal” illegal drugs are morally inferior to those who sell legal drugs, simply because what they do is illegal and they are bothering you.  If I have not understood you correctly on these scores, please let me know.  Most people can’t get to what I wrote in my Pulitzer Prize contending book, Nowheresville, Everywhere, Earth, either.  Mainly because they don’t choose to.  I have also written to at least a score of people in detail since I read the book, The DNA of Healing, by Margaret Ruby, and I believe only one of them has thought it important enough, provided they got my e-mails, to answer me about it in a timely manner.  In any case, I don’t know what’s in your book, “Unified Theory,” but I am pretty sure that what is in Ms. Ruby’s book is comprehensible and doable and is the next step in human evolution, as I related here and to my acquaintances and family members.  And if you wrote that book, why do you find it necessary to live in a drug-infested place?  It would seem you have the financial resources to live elsewhere where there are not so many drug dealers.  But then, again, you also seem to think that your efforts are going wipe out what you see as this scourge and that it is in, and of itself, a heroic effort.   I have lived in my home for over 20 years, and humble as it is, I am extremely reluctant to leave it, and have not done so because I don’t have the financial resources.  However, if and when I do get them, I will be moving swiftly to a better, and larger location.  But, I must say that I see now that all I’ve done and experienced in my life appears to have been my destiny,, which I followed rightly with the tools I had at the time.  Finally, I will be applying for a provisional patent this month with the help of a partner, or next month on my own for another product that I believe can revolutionize the way we eat in this country and benefit a huge number of people without much trouble at all!  Blessed be!

  • Avataress

     Unfortunately, even though a lot of people have used the terms you have to describe what you did, that does not mean that they are using them correctly or understand the difference between a metaphor, which stands for a reality, but is not the reality in its totality, and the reality itself.  For instance, you state something to the effect that if there are too many “hawks,” there won’t be any “doves” left.  Perhaps this is true in the reality of nature, between real hawks and doves.  I don’t know that much about ecological balance.  But I am an astute student of history and prognosticator (predictor) of the future, and I don’t see your statement about human “hawks” completely wiping out human “doves” now or at any time past or future to be the reality of the situation, but a metaphor, and if I may say so, a bad one, regardless of how those terms have been (incorrectly) used before or will be used in the future by others.  If I have not understood your meaning, as described above, please, do explain further!  Thank you, too!

  • Sandra

    I am very intrigued by Prof. Haidt’s comments on how liberals have failed to put out a story that resonates like the conservative story. Liberals (and I am one) have to do a better job obviously. But I ask the following: Why do conservative folks say that providing help to those who are in need is not the thing to do; that people who need help are slackers and are responsible for their problems and that govt should NOT be in the business of helping them out. I would counter that our current laws continue to favor Wall St, large corporations like WalMart, Monsanto, large banks (the list is endless). If laws did not favor them and instead provided for a better living wage with benefits for the ordinary worker, we as a society would be better off. We would have kids in schools that were good schools; we would have access to good food and not junk food; we would have laws that favored small farmers rather than industrial farming.  There is NOTHING fair about many of our rules and laws. But conservatives see nothing wrong with this. And having money and power contributes to the status quo. Why should money  and power be righteous? Why should current laws that allow this to continue be any better than laws that would change that situation?  Are conservatives blind to that fact that current laws favor those who already have much? 

  • Anonymous

    your right. thanks.I was born into one of those poor homes through no fault of my own. my father worked hard.through hard work and help I became a college professor of psychology. the real problem is Haidt attempts to put complex human behavior into little boxes..other pop psychologist do this..while some insight may occur it is misleading and false..men are not from mars ….labels of democrat or republican are not very useful that is like “dysfunctional”..we are all dysfunctional  as is the present congress..also i found “problems in daily living” was a more useful way of observing mental struggles but not helpful in collecting insurance. 

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Avataress. It seems to get more confused the more you explain it. I said if you put a bunch of hawks  and doves together, the hawks will kill and eat the doves, not that their are more hawks. I do not really understand why that that term is so used that way and I am being singled out for doing the same as wrong. I guess I can’t use the term”Dog eat dog”, because I have never seen a dog eat a dog, even though I have seen dog kill a dog. Also because it is use to describe human behavior, one could say that humans are not really eating humans.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Vataress. I will try to explain to you why I am what I am. First off I did not move to a drug infessed area, but instead move to the most pristeen area in the US with the lowest crime rate. Because I live in the most rural state in the union, it became a haven for drug lords, which came from the big cities to escape the long arm of the law. It’s simple, it takes too long for the Sheriff to appear before they hide their stach. I do not feel that those that do addictive or illegal drug are inferior. Extremely dangerous are better words. One of my best friends was murdered by drug addicts. I believe that anyone that uses them will have an extremely high risk of doing crimes that they would not have done otherwise which causes me and others to live as we must to control them. I may be one of the few that is fortunate that I cannot take most if not all of the standard pain pills. Both me and my mother were born that way and will throw them up if we try. Some how we also have a very high threshold for pain, so we really don’t need them. We also don’t suffer from any depression. Next, when I retired I descovered that the first 17 years I worked, I made less than $2500 a year and about 1/4 million total when I retired. I was just talking to a long time friend and I told him,”I pinch myself every day because I don’t know how in hell I have so much and live so well when much of my life I worked for minimum wage and now that I have been an egalitarian for over 40 yrs. I spend much of my time learning to live well without making others pay for it. Finally the Unified Theory is to trace our existence back to the beginning of our universe, ending up as zero or nothing, or that wouldn’t be the beginning. The problems with writing such a book without being famous is that no one believes me unless they read it, and so far the few that have let, all do. I will chose my time to make it available. Then they will believe, if I live long enough. Thank you for you complex comments. I am just a simple Hill Billy, Karl

  • Avataress

     You’re right, Mr. Hoff, things are becoming more confused the more we discuss this, for instance, I never said that you said there would be more hawks!  I repeated exactly what you said.  Please re-read both our posts concerning this.  I did not say that the metaphor did not apply –metaphorically, but that’s not the actually reality, again, just as you would not walk into a restaurant, see beefsteak on the menu and eat the menu.  Dog eat dog is another such metaphor and does not refer to an actual reality.  It seems that in your analogy, by saying that if there are more hawks or warmongers than doves or peaceful people that all the warmongers will kill off all the peaceful people, whcih is hardly the reality and never has been or the human race would have disappeared  long ago.  There is in reality a dynamic or every changing balance, as there is it seems with literal doves and hawks as well.  I’d really rather not keep rehasing this!  It is not going to help anything, nor change your mind, I don’t believe e.  Finally, I’, I’m not singling you out, I’m just  pointing out the logical fallacy in you r position that if there are too many hawks there won’t be any more doves.

  • Avataress

    Hi, Mr. Hoff, To write about things as complex as the beginning of the universe and believe you are a “Simple Hill Billy” and that you are in a heroic struggle to “control drug lords and addicts,” sounds like an oxymoron or contradiction in terms.  In any case, you still do not get my point, which is that the only reason you see the illegal drug trade as a menace is because it is illegal.  People and their loved ones are killed daily by perfectly legal drugs sold by the large pharmaceutical companies worldwide.  The only differenc e between them and the drug dealers you fight are that the former are legitimized.  You don’t seem to undersftand that.  Further, if your neighborhood has become drug infested, then you do , it seems ,, have the option to move somehwere else.  But I’m pretty surethat the drug dealers wherever you go, you would find to be a problem.  For, as I said before here, “Wherever you go, there YOU are!”

  • Ccwilson5

    I have been saying the same thing for years. My emphasis is manly on health care. Get the Pharm. and Ins. CO’s out of elections now , that is the only way we can have independent thinkers running for office. I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. I am sure Mr. Haidt will let me know.

  • Karl Hoff

    I said additive or illegal drugs. meaning legal addictive drugs.

  • Karl Hoff

    If you are not pointing out that I’m wrong and you are right, I would hate to see your posts if you did. I thank you for that. I never thought that working tirelessly to help others would ever  be so poorly accepted.

  • David Horst

    I found Jonathan Haidt’s presentation to be very thought proviking and compelling, but also disturbing.  While his conclusions and arguments are mostly sound, the overall impression is misleading.  One comes away with the impression that the left and right are equal in their tendency to “sacrilize” a position and to be hypocritical in failing to listen to or consider the positions of the other side.  This falls into the trap of the mainstream news media of being satisfied with “fair and balanced” reporting in which opposing views are presented with little or no discussion of objective evidence or quantitative aspects.  This approach overlooks the asymetry between the left and the right with regard to these tendencies. 

    As mentioned in the beginning of the interview, people on the left are more prone to openness to data, new ideas and experiences.  This is a value of the left.  Related to that, the left is more willing to commit their ideas to challenge and refinement and yes, to compromise from the public arena. 

    The right however, and not just elements, but the leadership, systematically creates sacrilized narritives that can be used to further their ends.  We have think tanks like the Heritage foundation or Concord coalition that know the answer before starting the research just by checking from where their paychecks come.  And there are Fox News and Clear channel which turn fair and balanced into an Orwellian phrase.  And now many super pacs with unlimited funding. 

    While it is true that we humans have this tendency to simplify, rationalize and call upon our internal press secretaries, we also have other compensating tendencies and we should expect our leaders to look for ways to compensate for these deficiencies in our design, not to cynically utilize them. 

    It is true that the left needs to create it’s narritive, hopefully less cynically than the right.  Professor Haidt is correct that the left must change its tactics.  As long as the right is playing with a win-lose strategy, the left plays into their hands by offering compromise.   President Obama and the democrats seem to be adjusting their tactics toward a more realistic approach.  Unfortunately for us, we can expect more government shutdowns and failure to address the country’s problems.   

  • Avataress

    Mr. Hoff, I am trying to tell you that I really think that you’re like a quick-walking man walking in the wrong direction, the faster and more determinedly you walk, the further you go astray.  But you can’t see that, so all I can do is say, carry on, but you get no kudos from me because I think you are mistaken in what you are doing!   But, again, you can’t see that!   In other words, I think your efforts in working tirelessly to do what you are doing are misguided!  The former part of your post, I don’t understand.  I am saying that you are mistaking your metaphor for reality, and in that way you are in error logically.  If that makes me right and you wrong, then so be it and what of it?  Is that impossible that I could be right and you could be mistaken?

  • Avataress

     Mr. Hoff, I am not inclined to argue this with you anymore because of the fact that you went from thanking me for my posts to using the word hate to describe your feelings about them.  I didn’t come here to be flamed, as I’m sure no one else did. 

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi Vataress. I have only shown you patience and kindness in trying to explain my points. What I have gotten in return is no matter how I explain my points, it some how makes you mad and then I get back that I am wrong. I have never intended for you to take what I said to be any thing other than my points of view. It’s not in my DNA to ever say you are mistaken or misguided as you did to me. I’m so sorry that you have taken such offence against me when all I have done is try to defend myself. Though I have used strong words against those in the World that are hurting it, I have always used as much restraint in my blogs as possible even if we disagree greatly. If we attack each other in these blogs, how is that going to bring us together to make things better in this messed up World?

  • Eddie McCraw

    I was flabbergasted to hear his comparison of  the Protestant Work Ethic and KARMA.  That is something new to me.  He also seemed to dismiss the notion that the manipulation of our government by corporations is not as important as the simple idea that we all live in a matrix.  
    The issue of  Democrats adoption of   “victims rights”  including Gays, Women, and Civil Rights which are not as popular as low taxes have helped give Republicans an edge.  
    He sounded really intelligent, but then again, so do New Gingrich, Frank Luntz and Grover Norquist.  But their arguments usually make me sick to my stomach.
    Eddie McCraw

  • Avataress

    Mr. Hoff, You cannot seem to understand that what I am trying to tell you thy is that I don’t believe the world is messed up but tha but that thinking makesthinking makes it so.  I don’t take offence at your opinions.  I just think, onceyour viewpoints, I feel nothing about them what soever.  I do THINK, NOT FEEL THAT YOU ARE MISGUIDED!  pLEADISCONTINUE THIS LINE OF ARGUING, IT IS GETTING US NOWHERE!

  • Avataress

    I am reporting here to one and all, and especially to Mr. Hoff, that I am reading nor responding to no more comments on this show.  It is getting me nowhere and I’m finding it quite tiresome.  Good luck to you all.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Mr. Haidt fails us. He sees Republicans as the keepers of our moral values. Psychologists focus too much on “how things are said” and completely miss “what was said or done”. Democracy depends on morality and the latter has completely broken down. Republicans only complain about the “sins of sex” as shown by gay marriage or abortion. They fail to see the “sins for money”. They have walked away with trillions of dollars as a prize for supporting the “Right Wing culture wars”. Ron Suskind (Price of Loyalty), Joe Scarborough (Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day), Paul O’Neill, and others have exposed the fact that Republicans lie, and “lie a lot”. Their claim to be “the keepers of our moral values” is false and is only a distraction to hide the plundering of the public treasury. Psychologists are aware of the 5% that are deceitful, irrational, manipulative, and selfish to the very core of their being and say nothing about them or how they have saturated the political system with deception.

  • Mykelbarber

    Haidt is an idiot.  The Third Reich thought they were moral as well.

  • Mykelbarber

    They aren’t blind to them, they created them especially because their own pockets are lined by the same people the laws favor.

  • Anonymous

    Nice libertarian drivel!

    If the “rules” of the game are crafted so that a tiny majority has the best chance to achieve “happiness” (and they are) then yes, the “public” should be held responsible to ameliorate the damage…in fact, they should be MADE to do so…

    Mr. Haidt conveniently ignores the fact that one “side” is basically doing evil — viz. destroying our Earth.  That’s a pretty good working definition of being evil…

  • Johnny

    “What was said or done”?   Stats show conservatives give more to charity then liberals, although liberals talk a good game. Biden gave $326 to charity last year.  You people are jokes.

  • Johnny

    When you say large corporations like Wallmart, do you realize they employ millions of Americans, pay billions in taxes, and give millions to charities each year?  Do you realize that dont you?

  • Johnny

    But you dont think that everyone should start out on equal footing do you? Some people have worked hard & smart  to provide for their children, why should another family start out the same as them when the other family failed to work hard and smart?   We are not a communistic state, in fact we faught a war to make sure of that.  No system will be a perfect one, but the one where people have opportunity  is still the best system. The goal of everyone having equal assets is not in line with the laws of nature, and shouldnt be.

  • rocco

    You realize your liberal leaders proliferate the industrial farming too.  The congress, like this gentleman said, is bought and paid for, does not really matter what party/side.  Both parties feel they have to serve their rich donors.  I am just a working man, blue collar, so I agree about a lot of what you are saying, especially livable wage jobs.  With that said, and with a livable wage, each individual is free to choose what to do with that.  They should be responsible for themselves and held accountable for their actions.  You cant spend what you dont have.  We cannot fight for better pay through government jobs, the fight must be aimed at big corporations, they will outspend everyone for laws that benefit their own cause (ie: tax breaks/loopholes) so bankrupting the country is not the answer, the corporations win.  Stop buying their products with money you do not have is a step in the right direction.  And by you, I do not necessarily mean you Sandra but people who act in this way.

  • Bktis

    I think Mr. Haidt is brilliant. My observation is that he see how we are not really so disparate in our views, collectively, but in how we present them. I also appreciated his perspectives of drawing the lines for “good” and “evil”. I believe this is a major component of why we cannot get anything done in the US anymore, there is no middle ground. If you “don’t think like, you must be evil”. Very fascinating conversation.

  • Bill Barrett

    Let’s remember that Dr. Haidt is a social scientist, not a political activist.  His work has shed light on an important political issue, namely, why conservatives are what they are and why liberals are what they are.  That is what scientists do, and Haidt is a good one.
    But this is not the same as doing stump speeches on behave of certain political factions, whether it be a small businessman, a billionaire, a single mother struggling with a low-pay job, a foreclosed family, etc.
    I’ve been wondering why so many have abandoned the enlightened scientific approach in favor of irrational dreams and myths — why the current demand for prayers in school, preventing women from contraceptives and abortions, refusal to pass an equal gender rights amendment, refuse to let gays marry, and more . 
    In the end, these are religious attitudes.  They can be traced back to the powerful influence of certain radical religious right leaders, such as Pat Robertson or David Kennedy.  These have an audience of millions through the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
     To read more about this, see Chris Hedges’ book ‘Christian Fascists’.  Especially if you consider yourself a Christian!  There’s a movement afoot in America that is rooted in thousands of evangelical churches, including the Southern Baptist Convention, and expressed through the popular Tim LeHaye’s Left Behind books, that has essentially captured the Republican party.  While TBN claims to be spreading Christian moral principles, in fact, it intends to replace our democratic system with one driven by Christian priests — and they do not include Catholic or mainstream ministers.  Purity of doctrine toward a literal reading of the Bible is their aim for everyone.  There’s a focus on end-times, an apocalypse that will collect the “true” Christians and thrust everyone else into the fire.  Maybe that’s coming, but we have no business encouraging it or neglecting to care for our fellow humans.
    Let’s not let these TV preachers dictate our lives and beliefs.  Let’s keep the enlightenment torch lit, not let the least fortunate among us suffer, and maintain our dedication to our wonderful democratic system, with church-state separation. 

  • Erasmus B Aiken

    “But how to explain the conservative who continues to support such
    educational initiatives after empirical evidence shows that they just
    flat don’t work?  “   Oh, like Head Start.

  • Martin Grondin

    When I read that Head Start wasn’t effective, I decided I would support the possibility of repealing it/removing it. If it does no harm, though, it is basically a glorified day care… then I don’t see any harm in keeping it around.

  • Coventryk

    He’s so right that the left has lost the rhetorical war.  We don’t know how to explain our ideas so that they make sense to conservatives. Capitalism, for example. It’s like the most powerful team of horses in the world (the good part), but unless you put some reins on it, it will ride your roughshod.

  • Guest

    The last thing this country needed was Wal-Mart!!! It displaced companies and many, many people all for ONE FAMILY to make billions.
    Only GREEDY people would approve of this venture. I suppose you are one with them.

  • Anonymous

    The have also destroyed small towns and thousands of Mom and Pop stores. Besides low wages and lack of health care for employees and crap on women. Do realize that don’t you? 

  • Tim

     Did you watch this before you replied?

  • Anonymous

    His books are better before you judge harshly. He is wrong about some things but does have some thoughtful insights. 

  • Thauron

    Why do conservative folks say that providing help to those who are in need is not the thing to do?

    We don’t say that, not in the least. Conservatives, statistically speaking, give far more to charity than liberals. We simply don’t favor the channels that Liberals do, largly due to concerns over coercive power.

    To the Conservative, the higest form of charity is giving a person a productive, private sector job. In addition to the voluntary and contractual nature of work, it satisfies the basic human need to feel that they are in control of their fate and bound by their own word.

    Money and credit are, in this way, a measure of one’s ability to endure, perserve, plan, and optimize -all traits which encourage a successful civilization.

  • Thauron

    This is exactly the point made by Prof. Haidt: Liberal’s take care and compassion up to eleven and then demonize anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Anonymous

     You are correct.  You can’t explain the left’s idea that it is OK to bankrupt the country…suppress individual rights…replace private charity with inefficient and corrupt government entitlements.  As for capitalism…if you believe in it…you are in the minority of leftists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.shipp Karen Shipp

    The thing I find most compelling in this discussion is the argument against demonization on either side of the political fence.

  • Cathy Carroll

     Inequality leads to more on welfare.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZFQA62DEMBWFNZEHKBQVYGNBQQ hp

    If people would get so eager to have Gov, control on everything, you would find that the Free Market policeses it’s self. You don’t have the right or duty to be the savior of the world. When you try that you will get all kinds of rejection. There is a God and your not Him.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZFQA62DEMBWFNZEHKBQVYGNBQQ hp

    Stop trying to force everyone else to have the same conviction you have. You want to help homeless people, then you do it. Don’t fight for laws to force everyone to do so. God does not force such giving, and when the Gov, takes on that forcing the people will rebel. Quit think you are the guardians of mankind.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZFQA62DEMBWFNZEHKBQVYGNBQQ hp

    The Dems handed over the South to the Rep. because the Rep. are the ones who passed the Civil Rights bill. Moyers lies about what really happened. The Dems. were totally against the passing. Sen. Byrd was, and remained a KKK member until he died. I was from his area. I saw his real feeling about Blacks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZFQA62DEMBWFNZEHKBQVYGNBQQ hp

    Liberals are so against any one who makes millions of dollars, unless it is their favorite actor, actress, or sports player. Hypocrites.

  • Anonymous

    that’s only true if you believe there is a god. Hawkins and others have another view. Yea they put you on a cross. But your right and there is a reason without a God. 

  • Bluegrassbloke

     There is a ‘God’ just not your apparent idea of God.
     He is so beyond our puny primitive minds – including yours.
    Remember, God is not anything we attempt to think we know.
     Just surrender to what is, and learn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1290476589 Pat Thompson

    Oh, Thauron, hiring somebody to do work that you or any “Conservative” needs to have done to earn your living,  is NOT charity… the most bewildering idea I’ve encountered in this discussion. 

  • Grex0

    Your carefully phrased sharing of your illusions here is but a long (as opposed to “well”) thought out self-serving, attempt to delude the rest of us with your efforts to re-paint right-wing excesses with a noble brush.  Those who believe the accumulation of wealth is a reliable measure of one’s worth to the world are just as deluded as any other fascists.  The hope for Thauron is that most Progressive principles hit him hard enough to trigger this elaborate 
    rationalization – he tackled a large number of them; revealing his sensitivity to the messages.

  • Grex0

    You two need face time!

  • Kathydqualls

    I’m a liberal and am certainly not against anyone building a fortune…. So long as that building process isn’t done on the backs of others.

  • Martin Moyano

    What a beautiful defense of liberalism!! I feel the words coming from the heart and from long thought, I could not agree more with you. If you look at the history of the world, all the progress in the last 2000 years have come from progressives, from people who broke the status quo with their ideas and struggle. Institutions sooner or later become conservative, and will not change without protest or outright violence, and this is what we see today in the resistance of the powerful to help build a more just society.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, I couldn’t have expressed it better.

  • TheTimeHasCome

    I look and am amazed at how the posts here defend the liberal mindset and demonize the right. My research is clear that liberals dont have the self esteem to look at themselves mutually exclusive from a conservative. You define yourself by your opposition. Who would you be without conservatives?
    The divide is beyond repair and i predict a war between Americans much worse than the first civil war.
    Once the second …much worse recession hits….there will be nothing holding the fabric of America together. It will happen soon…fast…hard.
    Too bad it has come down to this.

    Change happens when you look at yourself critically….the conservatives have a hard time with..the liberals…impossible!
    We are toast!
    The Soviet Union couldnt have planned it better…if only they lasted long enough to see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Edward-Dodson/100002074367800 Edward Dodson

    Those who describe themselves as conservatives should take the time to read John Locke, particularly his analysis of what constitutes private versus societal property. Locke’s distinction between liberty and licence is brilliant, and ignored by today’s pseuo-conservatives. Liberals could benefit by returning to a serous study of Thomas Paine’s writings, particularly his essay, ‘Agrarian Justice’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diedrich.weiss.1 Diedrich Weiss

    As I’ve read through the comments, I’m struck by how few people have read the book. When and if you do, the irony within most comments here is THUNDERING! Listen to yourselves! And laugh a bit too, it’s not easy.

  • Nick

    Great blog!

  • Megan

    Does this mean that the lack of world war is the seed of this current disorder, and that we’re like a forest that needs periodic fires to keep healthy? Is there no peaceful alternative?

  • Anonymous

    This country might survive Obama, but she wont survive an electorate that could vote and support him.

  • wiiaml

    Thank you for that.Ithink that Locke would agree that the test of any public policy is how well it serves the community.

  • hugh

    Read Chris Mooney’s “The Republican Brain” to understand why right-winger ‘legitimately’ deny facts like climate change. Then add the current dominance of them by a tiny group of super-rich that prey on them.

  • barbarajean

    Yes, I believe, our political view is a reflection of our personal spiritual journey. I live my life as a progressive democrat & born again Christian. Raised catholic, I rejected religion for many years, but when the good life revealed itself to be an empty hologram! And, thanks to a moment of clarity, I realized GOD had nothing to do w/religion & after reading about how radical, kind, gentle & loving Jesus was/is, I choose to live my life as Christian & patriotic democrat.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly how we feel about “an electorate that could vote and support” almost any current major Republican you could name. So where do we go from a schism like this? Wouldn’t we all profit from letting down our walls of defense and realizing neither side is as evil as its opponents fear?

  • Anonymous

    “Quit think you are the guardians of mankind.”

    Tell that to Christians who demand we live our lives according to their beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    Your image of “leftists” proves exactly what this blog is saying. You’re so busy putting them down you can’t hear what they’re saying. More importantly, you won’t LET yourself hear.

  • Anonymous

    How do you explain that blue states are givers and red states are takers? It’s an economic fact.

  • Anonymous

    How do you square your defense of conservative charity to the demonstrable economic fact that blue states and cities are givers and red states and cities are takers?

  • Anonymous

    It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

    Obama is only a symptom of the problem. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

    A vote for Obama is an attack on my country.

  • nnyl

    So you do you support the move to plutocracy?

  • nnyl

    If the free market did such a good job of policing itself, we wouldn’t have had that last economic collapse. Even Greenspan recognized it was folly after the fact. Anyone with sense knows you don’t put the fox in charge of the hen house.

  • Anonymous

    I get stuck by the idea that the right has more sanctity and yet the one arch today of corporate rule in D.C. makes the sanctity of democracy and individual improvement subject to forces like the mulltinationals. These multinationals are sociopathic in nature and nature is destroyed under the reckless form of corporate socialism promoted by right. The idea there is no right or wrong makes for our present relativism or pragmatism that keeps society from understanding the right or wrong of each issue and gaining respect from most or all sides.

    Most on right are just plain evil as the put money over life or the environment and many on the left go along. The no compromise of right insures we go down that road of the same evils Lincoln and Eisenhower warned about. What this author falls for is the same as one with a deadened consciousness and that is where evil does side. Evil on both sides but not articulating it sides with more of it.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps a good example is John Boehner taking a mil or more from the carbon industry. Then investing in TarSands companies and using their distortions or lies to promote it and finally trying to blackmail it on a last minute jobs bill with Ryan trying much the same with the debt talk today. The failure to call this an evil and to simply look for a well formed consensus denies the basic need for individual responsibility to just do the right thing and confront an evil wether or not you happen to be in one party or the other. Global Warming denial makes 100% of Republicans corrupt and many on the left that go along with Keystone pipes and perhaps even the President. As an independent this author does point to the need for more independents willing to say no to both sides if they rely on bribes and do not challenge the system.

  • Anonymous

    You are a special kind of stupid aren’t you?

  • Anonymous

    The right wing is much like a robber holding a gun to the collective head of society. They would just as soon shoot because they deny the idea of collective good. But the left willingly holds up it’s hands for key issues like the KeystoneXL and looks for ways to compromise with an uncompromising force. As an independent both sides are wrong for most issues as pragmatism or the idea that if it works it is right allows the drift the right demands continue. The President seems the master at allowing his hands in the air as winking at the southern leg of KeystoneXL shows clearly and making All Of The Above equal too or much the same as Drill Baby Drill. I want him to succeed and that means standing up to the evil and calling it for what it is. Slavery gave us Civil War but this evil is more clear and pervasive and demands taking sides.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    Is your country a dictatorship in Africa?

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    I would define it as being part of an oligarchy that would favor passing laws that allow wealthy persons to not pay a fair linearly progressive tax rate, as it was in the “1950′s”, and corporations and persons that offshore proffits to avoid the same..

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    The “Tea Party” has made it obvious how to de-rail discusions by introducing defenses of views that are 90º off topic. They seem to be defense, but their purpose is to make other (off-topic) defense seem needed.

  • Greg Zeglen

    what you say is pretty much a great display of the uncompromising attitude of the liberal mindset in the US…i believe if you catch the underlying meaning of the article your thoughts are representative of the intolerant attitudes of which you accuse others…not to mention that most of what you say is not backed up with any research whatsoever and in general is pretty much pigheaded BS….while I hold no personal animosity toward you as a person, I certainly cannot believe that your passionate and obviously politically motivated mischaracterization of conservatives holds even a grain of truth….

  • Greg Zeglen

    your simplistic characterization of the cause of the civil war is typical of liberal thought processes…don’t know your age or education but it appears you certainly would benefit from an in depth reading of history and some independent research..

  • Greg Zeglen

    …the one sensible and accurate comment on this thread….

  • Greg Zeglen

    some opinions/analysis of the current incumbents will show that the last mid term elections were a rejection by the electorate of the liberal ideas much more than they were in support of the conservative…so maybe you should reconsider your affirmation of a principle without proof…

  • Greg Zeglen

    contextually it is……

  • Perri McCary

    It seems that the responses to this particular Moyer’s show illustrate what is wrong with America. Everyone was looking for something to justify their own views and looked for whether or not Haidt supported them. As with most surveys and research is that the researcher brings his or her own biases as well and that is clearly evident in Haidt’s final product (or outcome). Supposedly he “finds out” that he REALLY is a conservative. I could have told him that in how he gathered his research. He TRIED (I’ll give him that) to be fair, but he, in the end, talks about the hypocrisy that lives in all of us and I think he proves that point over and over again. That we should be reasonable means that we may not find the truth. Listening is a key components of his research also show that we justify what we want to believe–and if we are not dialoguing and entering into relationship with the “other” then we will never, ever get it right. And this country is built on everybody being the other except white men, who create the research, develop the hypotheses of that research, and tell us what it means. Not good enough.

  • moderator

    Personal attacks are strictly prohibited. If you choose to ignore our comment policy, you will be unable to participate in our community.

    thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    I know I’m an outlier, having grown up in NY and lived most of my life in the Bay Area, but you express a lot of stereotypes here! I don’t associated political liberalism with not eating at Applebee’s, for instance! Nor do I associate working for a nonprofit with liberalism.

  • Terence

    Try reading ‘Bunker Hill’.

  • Anonymous

    Can you please articulate why the KeystoneXL is not more evil than slavery? Debate or dialouge demands some thought.

  • Terence

    No one forces you to buy a ticket.

  • Greg Zeglen

    Philbrick’s?…read it..not exactly a go to source on the causes of the civil war…..

  • Greg Zeglen

    was not involved in any such discussion of disparate topics..one is not comparable to the other…might be able to discuss the keystone project but I never indulge radicals in such discussions as I find in general, and this may not apply to you, they are only looking to make a point instead of discussing…if you feel that keystone is evil you obviously have made your decison and you are welcome to hold and defend it…I remain absolutely neutral on that subject….

  • Terence

    Unbridled ‘Free’ Enterprise running roughshod over hill & dale.

  • Terence

    I said, ‘Surrender to what ‘is’. That which can only be described as ‘That’.You cannot know -and no doubt will ever know- if there is a Great Architect in the sky. If you entertain such fanciful notions, that is.

  • Terence

    Does that mean you’ve read it? If so…

  • Greg Zeglen

    yes…as I said I did you may assume so…big Philbrick fan…still not the source i would cite in any academic paper…

  • Greg Zeglen

    as I said previously I have indeed…i am a huge fan of Philbrick…stil would not use him as a source/citation for an academic paper….

  • Anonymous

    What principle do you see me affirming?

  • David Rice

    “Encore: How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?”

    What about the rest of us?

  • Anonymous

    My comment about Applebees was in reference to a joke to that Haidt himself made in a TED talk (sorry for the obscurity).

    And conservatives have famously tried to defund many a non-profit –as well as PBS, specifically because of the perceived number of liberals involved.

  • Garth Croft

    What I say is not backed up by ‘any research whatsoever’?
    Really? How much would you be willing to bet on that?

    You won’t, because you’ve stated something you don’t actually know to be true in the wanton pursuit of being adversarial.

    So, once I produce a study, or simple fact, that backs up something I’ve said, where do you hide then?

    Again…. HOW MUCH are you willing to bet?

  • Andrew C Livingston

    Wow, you got all that from his post? That’s your only take-away?

    Your facile and black and white “understanding” of reality, or what passes as “understanding”, is typical of the lack of any discernible thought process in conservatism.

    See? Both sides can do it.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    And yet by a clear margin that very same electorate voted Obama into his second term.

    Lots of pretty words, buddy. Too bad you say literally nothing.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Render unto God what is God.

    “God does not force such giving”. No, I spose that’s true, but if you believe you’re going to heaven with a belief like yours, it’s very clear from what the Bible says that you are not.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    In every country on the face of this Earth, “the left” outnumbers “the right” 5 to 1. Why do we have to explain “our ideas” to them? The sooner people realise just how small the actual “right” is, the better. There’s no need to explain to people who simply will not listen.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    Here’s a good example. There is simply no explaining anything to this person.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    A free society does its own thinking. It does not “surrender to what is”.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    Exactly. Apparently, “deficits don’t matter”, but only when the Republicans are running them up.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    I say give them their rapture. It’s easily arranged.

  • Andrew C Livingston

    He doesn’t. He simply reads on a right-wing blog somewhere the completely fanciful “conservatives give more to charity” horsesh*t and then parrots it here.

  • Terence

    But… I like hating! It keeps me occupied without much thought. Like chewing gum.

  • thinkerman

    The problem, as I observe it from Canada, seems to be extremist religiosity, which has expanded to a unique extent in the US among modern countries. The religious mindset deals in faith-based assertions, not factual reasoning. Right there is your divide, carried into politics.

    One cannot debate with fundamentalists. Their modus is not to look dialectically for truth; they are reflexively trying to get you to submit and believe, as they have. In this, the facts and for that matter the rules, don’t matter, only the results. Where is there a thoughtful show on the right that is equivalent to Moyers?

    One difference between our two countries is that in Canada religions have not been allowed to evangelize on TV. America now seems to be in the grip of something akin to Christian cultism. The Left’s challenge is to deprogram the populace, to essentially restage the Enlightenment and return science and reasoning to primacy in the public realm.