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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: And…

NEWT GINGRICH: Saul Alinsky […] Saul Alinsky […] Saul Alinsky […] Saul Alinsky […] Saul Alinsky--

BILL MOYERS: Who was the real Saul Alinsky?

SAUL ALINSKY: Our power has always gone into two areas, those who have money and those who have people. We have nothing but people.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. 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 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.

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.

BILL MOYERS: 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.

JONATHAN HAIDT: 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.

JONATHAN HAIDT: 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.

BILL MOYERS: 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: Time, now, for a word about a good American being demonized, despite being long dead. Saul Alinsky is not around to defend himself, but that hasn’t kept Newt Gingrich from using his name to whip up the froth and frenzy of followers whose ignorance of the man is no deterrence to their eagerness, at Gingrich’s behest, to tar and feather him posthumously.

Here’s how you slander someone who can’t answer from the grave:

BILL MOYERS: So clever, so insidious. The same tactic Newt Gingrich invoked with those radioactive words he used in the GOPAC memos to demonize his opponents. The crowd knows nothing about the target except that they are supposed to hate him.

And why not? There’s the strange foreign name. Obviously an alien. One of them. And a socialist at that. What’s a socialist? Don’t know. But Obama’s one, isn't he? Barack-Hussein-Obama-slash-Saul-Alinsky. Bingo! Two peas in a pod -- a sinister, subversive pod at that.

Just who was Alinsky? Born in the ghetto of Chicago’s South Side, he saw the worst of poverty and felt the ethnic prejudices that fester, then blast into violence when people are crowded into tenements and have too little to eat. He came to believe that working people, poor people, people put down and stepped upon, had to organize if they were going to clean up the slums, fight the corruption that exploited them, and get a hand-hold on the first rung of the ladder.

He became a protégé of the labor leader John L. Lewis and took the principles of organizing onto the streets, first in his home town, then across the country. He was one gutsy guy.

SAUL ALINSKY: The first rule of change is controversy. You can’t get away from it for the simple reason: all issues are controversial. Change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, and heat means controversy.

BILL MOYERS: Alinsky, one journalist said, looked like an accountant and talked like a stevedore. He had a flair for the dramatic, once sending a neighborhood to dump its trash on the front step of a local alderman who was allowing the garbage to go uncollected. Or immobilizing City Hall, a department store or a stockholders meeting with a flood of demonstrators demanding justice. Saul Alinsky was a self-professed radical -- just look at the titles of two of his books. But he wasn’t a socialist or communist. He worked with them on behalf of social justice, just as he worked alongside the Catholic Archdiocese in Chicago. It was conscience they had in common, not ideology.

Barack Obama was just a kid in Hawaii when Alinsky died - something you would expect a good historian to know. The two never met, although when Obama arrived on the South Side of Chicago as a community organizer, some of his grassroots work with the poor was with an Alinsky-affiliated organization. But that’s how it goes in the fight for basic human rights, and Alinsky’s influence crops up all across the spectrum, even in the Tea Party. Get this: the one-time Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Dick Armey, whose FreedomWorks organization helps bankroll the Tea Party, gives copies of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to Tea Party leaders. Watch out, brother, you could be next on Newt’s list. Although curiously, in his fight against wealthy Mitt Romney, Gingrich himself has stolen a page from Alinsky's populist playbook.

SAUL ALINSKY: Now power’s always gone into two areas: those who have money and those who have people. We have nothing but people.

NEWT GINGRICH: Now we’re going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months.

BILL MOYERS: Alinsky died suddenly in 1972. At the time he was planning to mount a campaign to organize white middle-class Americans into a national movement for progressive change. Maybe that’s why Newt Gingrich has been slandering Alinsky’s name. Maybe he’s afraid. Afraid the very white folks he’s been rousing to a frenzy will discover who Saul Alinsky really was. A patriot, in a long line of patriots, who scorned the malignant narcisism of duplicitous politicians and taught every day Americans to think for themselves and to fight together for a better life. That's the American way, and any good historian would know it

Coming up on Moyers & Company.

ANNOUNCER 1: Obama gave us radical Obamacare.

ANNOUNCER 2: Romney opposed the Contract with America.

ANNOUNCER 3: Sanctioned for ethics violations, Gingrich resigned from Congress.

BILL MOYERS: Analysis with our master media decoder, Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

And…

HEATHER MCGHEE: It’s been a really grand experiment that has in sort of neo-liberal economics, the trickle down experiment, my generation were the guinea pigs, and that experiment has absolutely failed if the aim was to produce greater prosperity for America.

BILL MOYERS: Meanwhile, go to our website, BillMoyers.com. You can take quizzes created by Jonathan Haidt and his team to see how your moral compass lines up.

That’s at BillMoyers.com. See you there and see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

Full Show: How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?

February 3, 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.”

Also, a Bill Moyers essay on why Newt Gingrich might be afraid of Saul Alinsky.


Test Your Morals

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

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  • Tom Joad

    Bill Moyers rocks! He’s the most articulate voice out there who focuses in on the real problems, not the diversions most people hone in on. Wealth and its accouterments are truly the catalyst in America recently and today, a problem which has changed our nation irreparably. However, if anyone is helping to change the tide, it’s Mr. Moyers. Thank you so much for your wonderful contribution!

  • lb woodgate

    I am excited that Moyers and Company is interviewing Jonathan Haidt.  I recently read a piece on him by Marc Parry  in the “Chronicle of Higher Education” found here - http://chronicle.com/article/Jonathan-Haidt-Decodes-the/130453/

     I found his arguments compelling about the view that conservatives  ”have a more accurate understanding of human nature than do liberals”, but had some questions of my own on this and posted them on my blog here - http://woodgatesview.com/2012/02/02/intuition-versus-reasoning/.

    I hope Bill makes similar inquiries of Dr. Haidt.    It would be nice if his work succeeded in draining “some vitriol from public debate and enable conversations across ideological divides”   that he claims to aspire with his work. 

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm . . .  I’m not sure I learnt anything new about the psychology of right-wingers — probably because it’s not hard to understand because it’s fairly black-and-white.  But I think I did learn something about why the left is so prone to weakness, i.e., it gets itself into contradictions because its nuanced thinking comes into conflict with the need to make a strong argument.

    I kept being reminded of all the work that the linguist George Lakoff has been doing in trying to get the Left to learn something about framing.  He must be exasperated by Obama, who just can’t seem to construct a coherent, overarching narrative — he can’t even seem to come up with a plan to solve a given problem, whether it’s to move the Israelis and Palestinians toward a peace agreement, or how Americans are going to balance out necessary spending and necessary deficit reduction.

    I don’t know why it’s not okay for an American politician to say: Of all the economic systems we’ve tried, Capitalism is best at CREATING wealth.  However, it’s lousy at DISTRIBUTING it — it’s not in the nature of capitalism to distribute.  We should just accept that, and acknowledge that the distribution of wealth is a major function of government.  I think Elizabeth Warren has come close to saying that.  I wish she were running for president, but for all her toughness, she would get eviscerated within a few weeks of declaring her candidacy.

    Since the beginning of the GW Bush era, I have made it a point to read the *American Conservative* on a regular basis.  It’s the place where I discovered that there actually are some sane conservative thinkers — people with integrity.  We used to have conservatives like these in Canada.  We called them “Red Tories” because they built a bridge between the extremists in their party and the Liberals.  But in this era of Stephen Harper, there are no more Red Tories.

  • Drt_home

    Before this socialist began his talk on the differences
    Liberals and Conservatives, he should have read our
    founding documents. The preamble to the Constitution
    clearly states governments responsibility to “we the people”. Bill Moyer is a thought decent man.
      

  • Drt_home

    sorry typo. Bill Moyer is a thoughtful and decent man.

  • Charles Lang

    The self segregation comment really hit home with me. That fact that we don’t live in real communities anymore, we’ve lost our ability to behave with one another.  Powerful discussion…as usual.  Thanks again to Bill Moyers for another great, thoughtful show.

  • R T W

    Unfortunately, I feel Mr. Haidt got lost in his thinking about “conservatives” and “liberals”.   “Conservatives” call for fairness, but this requires a social structure to enforce the fairness.  Otherwise, we all end up as self-appointed judges, and a call for fairness is a call for aggression.  The reason for social contracts and government to allow the structures to overcome the confirmation bias he says is part of human nature.  Yet the “conservatives” who cry for just rewards, are bent on destroying the very institutions that allow for concensus and the application of fair standards.  His description of “liberals” as blinded to the failures of government is false.  The fact is that the tribalism he describes would unchecked would in fact lead to the majority simply take what they want for the wealthy.  The actual function of government is protect the wealthy from mob rule.  Liberals recognize that having the external structure to referee between the tribes is the only way to make common progress for all parts of society.

  • Anonymous

    Outstanding discussion! Welcome back, Bill. A suggested guest for future consideration as a followup on this theme: George Lakoff, prof. of Linguistics at UC-Berkeley. His small book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, is a must read “. . . for understanding how conservatives think, what their moral values really are, and how to articulate the progressive moral vision to reframe – and reclaim – political discourse.” He opened a whole new understanding of the underlying issues and how the are articulated and how their strategies are implemented.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4JHQNL6Q66PQEXWWUOKMQXHTDU Rex

    The Haidt book tries to do too much, and yet it does not do enough, other than confirm the old saw about how democracy is the worst system, except when compared to all the others. The key moment in the interview was when Haidt explained how he, originally a liberal, has come to have a higher regard for conservative arguments. Yes, liberalism has its faults, but popular conservatism cannot see them. The Libertarian argument looks good on paper and sounds good at tea parties. Ruthlessness keeps things simple.
     
    Thank you, Bill, for  raising objections on several issues that Haidt had to agree were valid and not coherent with his book’s message. Just as with the selling of a political candidate, Haidt needs the cover of integrity. He is peddling his book and will not tell us what is wrong with his analysis. That is the measure of integrity for an academic.
     
    Although it was almost an after-thought, you did get around to the so-called Independents. They are not Democrats who vote for a Republican when that is the best candidate, or vice versa. They are those who wait for the mainstream media to tell them who is likely to win, so that they can cast their vote for the winner. Treating political contests like a horserace makes for theatrical drama, at which the MSM excel. Our problem is not that we do not know our political opposites, as Haidt insists. McLuhan told us long ago that whoever owns the media will decide our elections. But only so long as “independent” is tolerated as something other than just another politically lazy excuse for a citizen.

  • JYoung of Cottage Grove, MN

    This show was incredibly insightful & informative.  I appreciated Jonathan Haidt’s direct answers and explanations.  It all made sense – historical context and party weakness/positions.  Though, I must admit, I would prefer to see a true sense of civil discourse in dialogue in our govt representatives, then to see them revert back to tribal groupism.  It is a sad testimony to see that progess will be shortchanged to human nature vs. human mind/spirit.  Our policymakers may need to take Prof Haidt’s class to learn how to be socially constructive in their jobs.

  • Julogue1

    Moyers and Company is a tremendous gift!   Grateful once again for the program.  

    Glad Bill invited Haidt but it might have been illuminating to ask Haidt to explain how we approach the inequities brought by those who begin life with lots and those who begin life with a converse deficit.  Haidt, like, conservatives  begin with the argument that we all come into this world with a level playing field simply because we live in a “free” country.   It appears Haidt does little to research to explain  how these liberal and conservative attitudes are born.  He does describe his present disposition to the conservative point of view.   

     Everyone wants to be successful.  There are many working poor who are totally unable to meet basic social challenges, not because they refuse to follow the work ethic or fail to  hold the work eithic sacred.

    Often, it has been the poor’s very faith in the sacred work ethic and their failure to succed that that has caused them to shame themselves so that they do not demand the same government  resources which the wealthy use to become even more wealthy.  Those basic resources include but are not limited to safe neighborhoods and good schools. 

     Haidt would do well to do a lot more face-to-face research with both the poor and the wealthy.  He could start with the working poor as  Barbara Ehrenreich did in her, “Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America.” 

    Haidt’s description opens an interesting thought process but such a narrow snapshot of views could widen the gulf.    

  • Indian Jones

    “I found his arguments compelling”. Which argument? The one that Bush II made him a liberal or the one that put social cohesion as prime moral goal?

    Both were pretty pitiful. I was a lot more interested in Haidt before this interview.

    The real kicker was the absence of political economy in this evaluation. This is the premier provocation yet Haidt seeks to quell the crisis on by educating moral taste. Haidt must recognize that a failed economy, elite theft, befuddling propaganda, and continual state intimidation and war mongering are the fire under this cauldron … and he calls for liberal respect of conservative argument.

    Something smells very fishy here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Brown/100000089509898 Larry Brown

    Just watched the interview with Haidt. He’s a very intelligent man but I had quite a few disagreements with him. In the end he seemed to be quite the justificationist. He also seemed to be almost completely reliant on inductive reasoning to arrive at his conclusions, drawing absolute findings and using those findings as their own basis. An exercise in circular reasoning. When he began his critique of reason as a means of finding truth, he seemed to drift into the idea of peer review and criticism as viable, but apparently felt that individuals lacked the capacity for deductive reasoning on their own. In other words, putting their own ideas up to their own criticism. We’re all hypocrities (?). No, actually we aren’t Mr. Haidt and I’d ask you to demonstrate what makes that claim true. It’s quite possible for  a rationalist to be characterized as one who is willing to entertain any position and holds all his positions,
     including his most fundamental standards, goals, and decisions, and his basic philosophical position itself, open to criticism; one who never cuts off an argument by
    resorting to faith, or irrational commitment to justify some belief that has been under severe critical fire; one who is committed, attached, addicted, to no position.

    That being the case, he has no position to defend irrationally. Ideas aren’t rational because we can prove them. They are rational because they are open to criticism.

  • Anonymous

    While listening to this week’s conversation with Jonathan Haidt, I couldn’t resist thinking about the books by Thomas Frank outlining the Republican success model (The Wrecking Crew and What’s the Matter with Kansas). In Haidt’s discussion are the propositions of why, as described by Frank, the Republican rhetoric works. Simply stated, we react at the emotional level and the Republicans know best how to touch that nerve.

    Haidt made another point that progressives can learn from. Specifically, the progressives need to realize that how they frame their positions makes all the difference in the world.  As he related to in Aesop’s Ant and the Grasshopper, stating that we need a safety net in place doesn’t work. What works better is that we are all not starting the race to the top from the same line. Those with parents that succeeded have a better chance of succeeding. They are more likely to get into better schools and have better connections. Without bringing this to the forefront of the discussion, progressives allow conservatives to steer the discussion back to the lazy versus the hard working.

    On the Saul Alinsky piece, it is very appropriate to point out just how little Newt Gingrich understands the people he is trying to reach out to. When the Tea Party was reaching its heyday, Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” shot up in the Amazon rankings. They found this a valuable tool for organizing their followers. Gingrich is able to side step this because he knows that if you can frame the issue to your advantage, socialists versus true Americans, you can touch that emotional nerve and attract an audience blindly.

  • Judyking

    Well thought out – of course, I would say that because you validated my POV…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Brown/100000089509898 Larry Brown

    Read your  blog. Excellent.

  • Jenniferlee674

    It really is not as black and white as the social psychologist described moral concepts.  Morality itself has many definitions.  The welfare system is not evil and many people on it were/are deprived privileges not  because they are lazy and trying to get a ride……they could simply have had bad or no breaks—-a single mother raising kids is not in the category of “laziness.”  An elder couple who have worked hard all their lives but have no money for insurance due to illness or cancer are not lazy and should not be “punished” or deprived from getting some assistance.  He makes some good points, but it falls way short of accurate information and/or definitions that make solid arguements.  Good discussion.  Look forward to next week’s program.

  • Judyking

    I thought he was interesting until he started demonizing the poor, especially, when he kept repeating the conservative jingoism of “lazy” and “cheats” and “welfare” to describe those who have been helped by social programs.  How would he describe the wealthy who have benefited from gov’t. “handouts”?  He also generalized positive characteristics to conservatives and negatives to liberals – all the while vilifying those who demonize their opponents.  He also assumes that those who might embrace those ideals associated with liberals don’t accept those associated with conservatives as much and that brands them as being seen as less moral or lacking in values than conservatives, but he refuses to accept the counter as true for conservatives.  If being less attuned to sanctity, authority, and loyalty is the bain of liberals (to having their views accepted), why isn’t a lesser valuing of caring, compassion, and fairness seen as equally damning for conservatives?   He agreed that President Obama came into Office thinking to govern for the “good of the nation” and was open to compromise, then he blames him for not having a negotiation style based on conflict.  While I can agree I like the President’s approach of the last six months better than his beginning view of the negotiation process, I don’t know how Haidt can  be upset with him for trying to do what he was elected to do and not be ruthless in his approach.  I guess I don’t see the people as the ideologues he asserts we are, nor do I agree with his view that conservatives understand human nature better or that Congress should take his class.

  • Thormon

    I would like to see the argument framed as what is best for the nation. Is it best for the nation to maximize the GDP even if  most of the benefits accrue to a relative few? Or is it better for the nation to accept a slightly smaller GDP with a much wider distribution of benefits.

    Also while the grasshopper vs ant argument is apealing on a simplistic level, humans are not insects.

  • Pat Armstrong

    Those that refuse to compromise and reject compromise as a concept are advocating tyranny – as only their point of view will ever be accepted – which is tyranny.

  • The Gubbler

    The reason the democrats can’t develop a credible arguement, is because they are bought and paid for by multinational corporations.

    In the absence of real responsible journalism (and political analysis) which to quote Chomsky, “tell(s) the truth about what is important”,  it seems like there is a lot of talk about demonizing and polarization and such among the two corporate parties these days, particularly from self-described moderates.

    As if we used to have some sort of enlightened democratic society in the days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Niell…

  • lb woodgate

    Thanks Larry.  I see by your Facebook page we share a similar interest – Atticus Finch.  ”To Kill a Mockingbird” made a lasting impression on me nearly 50 years ago.

  • lb woodgate

    They were compelling in the sense that it pushes one to attempt at getting inside the mind of a conservative so we have real dialogue rather than confrontational spats based on the presumption that one is superior  somehow.

    Haidt’s argument didn’t win me over and I explained this in my blog post I left a link to for anyone to read.   http://woodgatesview.com/2012/02/02/intuition-versus-reasoning/  

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Sorry, but Haidt has shown the futility of psychology as a profession that has normalized deception in our life time. They focus too much on “how things are said” and totally miss what has been said and done. The only thing that he added to the conversation is that “we are not good at keeping track of who did what to whom”. That means that we are vulnerable to rewarding deception. Psychology knows that evil personalities exist in the form of the passive aggressive male, sexual compulsive, and borderline personality disorders for example. He needs to read Hacker and Pierson’s book, “The Great Depression of 1990″, and Roosevelt’s 1910 speech about cycles of greed that happen right in front of people like Haidt’s  face without him them properly perceiving it. Note that Roosevelt wrote of “hunting liars out of public office”.  Haidt also misinformed you. Psychology knows that all personalities are not prone to reason. The deceitful and greed ones know how to prey on your weakness and steal public money while they smile at you.  Psychology reported the problems with the passive aggressive personality in 1993 in Wetzler’s book and Hacker and Pierson wrote of “passive aggressive politics”. Because of psychology, the government and Nasa have a serious problem with passive aggression and “it is getting worse” as Wetzler wrote.  Nasa has been sued for causing psychological damage to engineers. Psychology should have focused on helping us see the evil personalities that are in the room and in the government. The “I’m okay and you are okay” profession needs to wake up and see that they have aided truly evil personalities. Haidt missed the point that there are people in government right now that quote the bible while they use public office to enrich themselves and bankrupt the government at the very same time.

  • Indian Jones

    a) That’s not what you said:

    I found his arguments compelling about the view that conservatives “have a more accurate understanding of human nature than do liberals”

    b) That is a statement of superiority.

    But the more important question is, how can Haidt ignore the conservative (cause it sure ain’t liberal) political and economic course which has landed us in this world of deceit and doom? Of course both “sides” are guilty of calumny, but the “conservatives” are the ones pushing hardest.

    Attune your ear to Haidt’s dressing up blame as ‘Karma’. Here’s an atheist commenting on the appeal of ultimate judgment. Does your hypocrisy detector get a little jingle?

    One senses a touch of contempt brewing.

  • http://twitter.com/oParasiteSingle Clint David Samuel

    The Haidt Moral Foundations survey web form does not register my answers at all as an anonymous participant. Moral Foundation results on the 5 point graph are all 0.0 The Criminal Justice survey on the BillMoyers site measured my answers as 3.7/7 Traditional and 5.9/7 Progressive.  The second survey shows I am skewed like most Liberals but I score much higher, approaching the Conservative norm on the Traditional scale. Unfortunately, I have no other ways of interpreting the differences between myself and other Liberals. I tend to think of myself as Very Progressive/Civil Libertarian. I’d like the first survey form fixed.

  • The Gubbler

    Yeah, sure thing…

    It is the tyranny of those uncompromising folks who are destroying the planet and such. We need to have more disscussions along these lines. Maybe if we all take multiple choice moral psychology tests it can help us understand one another so we can all come together, step out of the opinion matrix which these tests supposedly prove we are in, and harmoniously surrender our ideals and our future to the corporate state.

  • Ddav

    Thank you! It certainly made me look at conservatives with some understanding I’ve never had before. I will try to stop “demonizing” them and seek to learn more.

  • Indian Jones

    Conservatives got the benefit of being “centered” or balanced in their moral responses. The obvious and unanticipated rebuttal is that each score is relative and therefore this centering is an artifact.

    Elsewhere, Haidt defines morality as the binding of  groups “to collectively pursue noble ends”. There were explicit anti-authoritarian and pro-individual inoculation campaigns after last century’s bout with fascism. Sanctity/authority/loyalty were denigrated because group competition in the modern technological context were world-threatening. America’s consumerism was even cast as an antidote.

    The noble ends to which these three conservative moral/religious foundations could be put were sometimes horrifying. But this religious morality is also factious, competitive and appeals to ultimate authority. The communist project explicitly attempted to delegitimize if not reform these conservative aspirations.

    Haidt’s compromise decontextualizes this moral and political conflict and naturalizes conservative morality. This is political rhetoric. There are grades of hypocrisy and Haidt acknowledges we can see it in others. The primary problem we have is with our leadership and it’s bipartisan hypocrisy. Lapsing into religious moral foundations is not the coherent (or safe) response to wedge politics. 

    Once again, BM fails to pick up the scent.

  • Indian Jones

    Yes, and they will always need an enemy.

    Another context Haidt neglects is the ancient alliance of the religious and the militaristic.

  • Indian Jones

    The next time I’m present to an academic saying “so” I’m going to bark “WHAT”.

  • The Gubbler

    I feel the “Moral Foundations” test is deliberately designed to get certain results.

    In other words, it is loaded.

    Each question, as far as I can tell, is supposed to address a specific category.

    It asks about fairness in one, and family loyalty in another, patriotism in yet another, but never mentions solidarity.

    Unions or co-workers could be considered a “tribal group” of sorts or whatever. How about fellow students???

    Purity/chastity to what??? More loaded words.

    I dunno.

    It seems like a bunch of baloney to me.

  • maria

    I agree with your assessment totally so there is no reason for me to comment further

  • Suzanne Lander

    My frustration is that we seem to have two (at least) different definitions of the word “compromise”. To many conservatives, to compromise means to be willing to do something you think is morally wrong in order to get something else from someone. It’s not just to give up something you’d like in order to reach a consensus. 

    Finding out things that both sides want and figuring out ways both sides think we can get there is what most liberals would call compromise. But that’s different than, for example, something like decriminalizing drug use (which some people think would be immoral) in order to cut into black markets and hopefully decrease drug related crime. To many conservatives the former would be “finding common ground” while the latter would be compromise and unthinkable.

  • PAT

    I feel that Haidt’s views are extremely black and white and perhaps the right questions were not addressed.  The debate question about the thirty year old who chooses not to have insurance is much different than a thirty year old who loses his job and therefore cannot afford insurance for himself or his family.  My question would be should society let HIM die???

    Also, he talked about the welfare system going astray and why the conservatives do not want any money bailing out the “no gooders”; but he did not turn it around and ask the conservatives why it was ok to bail out the rich banks and corporations.  Whenever conservatives talk about the “woes”of our welfare system, it is about giving  money  to the common people…you know, the poor, lazy ones… but the interviewer never brings up the corporate welfare problem that exists today that are draining our national coffers.

    The fact that there is not a level playing field is rarely addressed.  Part of the problem I have with conservatives is that they do not distinguish between reasons…everyone without money is a “no gooder” and just lazy… never that the corporation through him out into the streets with no means to support or take care of his family and then considers him a “no gooder” when he needs help.

      And I am sorry, but the conservative view IS mostly just mean.  The clapping at the debate when Paul was asked about the thirty year old dying cannot be explained any other way but mean…it reminded me of the Roman days when they clapped and cheered and put their thumbs down for a gladiator to die or cheered as another human being was torn asunder by a lion.  Please do not try to give me any good reasons for this type of behavior.

     

  • Anonymous

    fedup…. Your terrific critique makes me wonder who you are and how you achieved this clarity. Another approach is to look at the origins of psychology as a discipline. It did not pre-exist commercial needs. Academic psychology would have little purpose without it’s analysis of soldiers in war, customers in marketing, patients (often guinea pigs and dupes) in medicine and the manipulation of public opinion. Moyers has made a glaring error in a futile and foolish  effort to reconcile electoral interests groups with one another. Not only does he respect and flatter malevolent mercenary opponents, but he fails to bring his own discredited liberal class cohort to account. The myth that this society consists of two camps is a construction of the Owners. It is shameful that Moyers&Company has faintly replicated such inaccurate dualistic thinking. If Occupy demonstrated anything it is that there are no monolithic interests groups in reality among a freely associated public engaged in voluntary discourse. The common understanding among these dissidents is that the political economy is unworkable in its present form and as a result increasingly corrupt and totalitarian. When I see police acting like garbage men trashing tents I see this as a muzzling of possibilities. By taking Haidt at his word and leaving things bi-polar Moyers has assisted repression. My issue now is whether Moyers is aware of what he has done. This mis-step could easily negate the value of what was mobilized in the first three shows, and it will not protect Moyers’ one year contract from pro-Oligarch attacks. At present we are a small distance from the conception of this show by the public as primarily entertainment (the claim frequently made in defense of hate mobilization by Limbaugh and Beck). This is the problem examined by many films from “Network” to “Bamboozled.” Another show like this one and Moyers & Company will become interchangeable with “Southpark.” Now that electronic mental gruel is endless and can be consumed at any time or place a program requires a special integrity of mission to serve the citizenry. That will be always difficult, especially challenging, from here on out. Has Bill’s candle fizzled out?

  • Anonymous

    Correct Gubbler, imposition of tyranny requires power. Which tyrants possess wealth and power? The lonely crank is merely cantankerous.

  • Anonymous

    It is best to abandon GDP as a measure.
    Aggregate measures serve Oligarch interests and conceal injustices and externalities.
    Together we can establish useful measurements.

  • Anonymous

    There are structural contradictions.
    Capitalism has historically been demonstrated to sort society into 10% or fewer winners and 90% or greater losers. A pervasive violence is engaged to accomplish such a mis-distribution. 

    On blogs the fascist idealogue will prescribe marriage, education and steady work as a recipe for inevitable success, but this is a lie. The subtext message is “Keep your mouth shut and don’t question those in power.” We see millions of people now who have done all the “right things” and still get little opportunity. In these cases the fascist will accuse unfortunates of lacking faith. 

    Life is not a proposition of wishful thinking. We all tend to toil and seek a path to security. When a person enjoying material luck (say Oprah) preaches to a large audience that all one must do is wish and be confident that is a Big Lie a Nazi could admire. Bernie Madoff might advise, “Don’t worry about it.”

  • Anonymous

    Myths pre-exist political rhetoric. They come from a simpler and crueler past. The educational system, media, family tradition and workplace hierarchy have  a gigantic head start on humanitarian storytelling. Personal experience and people’s history are the antidote, not the crude method of myth-making. Story telling can raise doubts but it rarely changes opinion rooted is a mis-perception of interests.

  • Indian Jones

    Aye. Where was the sense of disgust at the question? Deserved a few jeers, didn’t it.

    Can you imagine an intellectual conservative saying death was his Karma?

    Methinks Haidt has been rooting around in prejudices a little too long. Those may be the perfect means of demagogues, but to resort to them, the “left” would be in despair.

    A powerfully appealing and unifying rhetoric of the left exists. But not here. Is that human nature? Is it even American nature?

    Context, Dr. Haidt. Redemption is in your hands.

  • Anonymous

    True, Haidt asks us to be realistic, to assume justice and truth can never triumph, to surrender to nihilists and criminals. But I ask Haidt how it is possible for us to conceive of justice and truth not in our particular interest if these outcomes are not possible. Haidt is a conman who dashes the hopes of the citizenry. He advises us to offer our human rights at a bargain basement price, and then be prepared to accept less.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to hear it in your own words, maria.
    No two people are ever in complete accord and I’m sure your experience and point of view could add something. We are here to swap stories and advice, not ditto.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Haidt’s analysis applies only to solidly middle class people who share the same values and prospects. If so, his picture is obsolete in our current insecure milieu. Maybe his understanding can only be applied theoretically. I never pictured Moyers’ mission as theoretical.

  • RFFisher

    Newt Gingrich is a GREAT ‘Politician’!  Just listen to how he responds
    during those awful debates.  He commands the stage with his witty and
    quick thinking responses that the other Republican Candidates are left
    with their mouths hanging open and stumbling for words.  They can’t
    begin to come close too his performance on the stage.  The man is a true
    ‘Carrier Politician’ and he’s good at it!

    And there lies the problem!!!

    We don’t need a ‘Politician’ that makes us feel all gooey inside when he
    speaks.  We need a politician that will go to Washington and ACTUALLY
    CHANG  the system that has evolved into a one sided battle of the Rich
    (the 1%) against the rest of us.  

    Nothing will change in Washington until we CHANGE the Players and insist on them changing the system from within.

    Can it be done?  Maybe not in my lifetime as it’s taken 30 years to tilt
    the scales this far to the Right, that allows this madness to go on
    right in front of our noses and not be able to do anything about it! 

    Yes, the 1% knows the system is so one-sided now that hey don’t care if
    we see their agenda in total daylight because in their minds, they have
    won the battle for total control of our Government and the outcome in
    America The worst is, they believe  it’s become irreversible!

    Do we have the fortitude,,, or maybe the better question would be,  CAN WE, reverse this???

  • Anonymous

    In a moment the line will jerk taunt and you will feel a hook piercing your lip. People who accept Haidt without critique wind up fishes out of water.

  • Lance Farrell

    And the ants helped the grasshopper survive in Aesop’s fable.  What about that part of the tale?

  • Anonymous

    “Conservatives” (nihilists, crypto-fascists) do understand how to access the darkest parts of human nature (fear, greed, xenophobia, racism-scapegoating). How has Haidt as a researcher failed to discover these ugly actualities. If he sees them as normal and inevitable then his is a hopeless conception. He grants permission for cruelty and exploitation.

    Judyking knows we are a workforce of 200 million playing a musical game with 140 million chairs, with many seats defective and dangerous, most uncomfortable. And this dope comes along saying we need to respect the cheating bullies. These days people have no possibility of self-determination or self-sufficiency. We obtain our food and our education at drive-in windows owned by Oligarchs. We get our information from lighted mystery boxes rented by the minute.
    There are no self-made successes, no rugged individualists. Our fate is tied up with our cooperation and our sense of justice. It is no wonder people are anxious and angry when the tools of our survival are being sabotaged. It would be unnatural if we weren’t. This can’t be smoothed over: It must be changed.
    In a year or two Haidt will be apologizing like Greenspan should have, or he’ll probably be unemployed.

  • Anonymous

    Instuments to evaluate human perception are always rigged by the prevailing cultural frames. It’s no better than a lovetest in a housewives magazine. It proves Haidt is in love with his funding and book sales.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Hedges has written a better book about how our Liberal Class has failed. Maybe Haidt’s thinking was derailed in that catastrophe. He is like the Independent, and now he votes for the projected winner. Maybe Bill has one foot in a lost world.

  • MarcDel

    What a wonderful show with Mr. Haidt. I have one question I wish I could ask. Many polls (excuse me) refer to how many Americans now classify themselves as Independents. This seems contrary to the divisions discussed. Is this merely an effort by Americans worrying about their “reputations”, some innate hypocrisy or truly hope for a willingness to see both sides and a growing new tribe for collective reasoning?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, yes Bill. Please, please, please book George Lakoff whose thinking is the closest I’ve read and heard  to nonpartisan psychopolitical analysis. Did the Carnegie people coerce you to tout Haidt’s tripe.
    I feel sorry for you if they did.

  • MarcDel

    I worked in public welfare for more than 30 years.
    I share your concerns with what I term “opportunity” beginning with birth. I eventually came to the conclusion in my work that what we need to work to agree upon is a mutual understanding that opportunity and responsibility go hand in hand. Neither should exist without the other. If one is given opportunity and fails to be responsible consequences are justified. If on the other hand one has no opportunities one cannot be held responsible. If we as tribes agreed on this premise where there is room for both a safety net, a need to promote opportunity and a value in responsibility we might develop common reasoning to move forward together.

  • Drbeck

    The earliest research on what Professor Haidt describes was done by Professor Clare W. Graves, Union College, New York. He not only tracks the dynamics that produce different world views, but goes much further to map out what to do about the differences. Add in the work of Muzafer Sherif, Institute for Group Relations at Oklahoma — known as the Assimilation/Contrast Effect, and you have a much fuller portrait of what is happening. This is all reflected in http://www.spiraldynamics.net and http://www.humanemergence.org. We used this total package to help design the transformation out of apartheid (see the movie INVICTUS for evidence of our work) and are now working in Palestine-Israel. http://www.buildpalestine.org.

    Don Edward Beck
     

  • Anonymous

    It is unclear what “conservative” indicates anymore.
    It has always been unclear what “liberal” denotes.
    People in general never get around to discovering their own interests these days and so cannot comprehend why they support whatever they support, if they get around to supporting anything.
    Solving these ambiguities requires free association and un-pressured discourse among the populace. But our Owners tell us we can no longer afford these things, that they must mass-manufacture consent for us, so that we may remain uninterrupted in the maintenance of their income stream. Maybe those who see the income stream of Oligarchy as paramount are the true Conservatives. They never allow change unless it intensifies what they value. They employ Liberals to keep the extraction machine running wide open.

  • Anonymous

    …but not infallible.

  • Anonymous

    There is no founding document of the human mind, but human rights are the preamble to the human condition.
    The “truths we hold self-evident” precede any contract or agreement. Participatory governance would require a relativistic documentation.

  • Anonymous

    Most people who consider themselves conservative have gaping contradictions in their black and white morality. deliareuhe is one of the American minority who attempt to follow foreign affairs, who realize values do not terminate at the border.

  • Anonymous

    Their views are more accurate if you are pessimistic and if you do not believe civic education and cooperative enterprise have any value. Instead they teach nihilism, even as they tout strict morality. Religions often teach that morality is its own reward with no economic success guaranteed. In explaining human nature Bill Moyers comes off sounding extremely conservative, even morally punitive; in that he implies our collective failings are rooted in our individual weaknesses. (listen again his short essay on why we are so divided) His mind is hobbled by Protestant training (maybe).

  • Anonymous

    Atticus Finch did not seek a plea deal.
    No unjust peace is ever final.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, even Paul Harvey told the “rest of the story”, after reading the commercial.

  • Anonymous

    If concentrated wealth and power had not put the facts in dispute this would have been settled long ago. Haidt lives in a similar Disneyesque dreamworld to Alzheimer’s victim Ronald Reagan. We  would be mistaken to follow the blind toward the light, and even stupider to believe a discombobulated theorist.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, wait, wait now. How could the “book report” this week have amounted to much more than a diversion? This was the week Bill Moyers paraded his weaknesses, both as a peacemaker (apologizing to hatemongers), and a rabble rouser (picking on tragically flawed Gingrich). (Know what, Saul Alinsky is nearly irrelevant to our worsened situation 35 years later. Why can Bill not mention the Highlander lessons?)

    Tom Joad promised (his Ma) to be wherever people engaged in material struggle for their rights and justice. He never said he’d seek his conscience soothed by pseudo-science. I know ’cause I’m Preacher Casey- One Big Soul.

    Bill does have an Evangelistic style, but this is a forum, not the Praise Line. He will not send you an annointed prayer cloth to heal your warts.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WNECQIRLVB5YT2FT2YJULRNEJA Rita

    So happy that Bill Moyers is back on television with his brand of truthfulness and sound economic statements.

  • MarcDel

    I think he forgot that in general the poor suffer a major consequence. Being poor is the consequence (including a shorter life span). Yeah some are lazy, others have no opportunities. Some are handicapped and can’t succeed. Some are temporarily poor due to circumstances generally beyond their control. It seems to me that group would even get Conservatives to agree that responsibility and consequences are not black and white.
    Can we at least agree to that? 

  • Judyking

    One would like to think it so, but the evidence of how Republicans have acted in the House and the Senate show they won’t even agree to assuage the conditions this group is enduring by passing legislation that would be a start to lessening the impact of those “circumstances beyond their control”.

  • lb woodgate

    did you read my post on my blog yet?

  • Judyking

    I don’t think Professor Haidt has read that version.  If he had, I wonder which value he would ascribe the ants’ treatment of the grasshopper – Care or Loyalty?  Were the ants acting as a  Liberal or Conservative?

  • Eric in Seattle

    If we all agree that the political arena in this country is fractious, polarized, and completely broken, how do we fix it?  Also, what are some real and functional changes we can ALL get behind? 

    My suggestions:1. Restore true democratic control to people by implementing publicly funded elections.2. Amend the Constitution to define corporations as only legal entities and not having the same rights as those of individuals.3. Through electoral reform, institute instant runoff elections, and hopefully eliminate the current political duopoly.Lastly, I think the lobbyists in D.C. not only love the current fractious political climate, but actually encourage it, because it allows them to rake in more money, and helps keeps the spotlight off their corrupting enterprise.

  • Indian Jones

    “He is like the Independent …”. I have this suspicion, myself. Must I read his book to clear him of this self-incrimination?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diane-Roberts/1581214282 Diane Roberts

    I can understand conservatives’ beef with the government “rewarding” laziness, but not all people are poor because they’re lazy, so do they think the working or ignorant poor should be helped in any way? And if the hypothetical young man in the Ron Paul question didn’t have insurance due to a pre-existing condition or financial limitations, would the audience still think he should be allowed to die?  These seem like straw men situations, easy, reliable  targets for disdain which ignore  the more complex aspects of most problems. Liberals may not have come up with effective solutions, but conservatives don’t acknowledge the existence of problems without easy answers.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps I am still trapped in my political matrix and perhaps I’m oversimplifying, but if I understood Dr. Haidt’s interview   I need to

    1. Stop questioning the right’s preoccupation with women’s health and  sexual purity

    2. Ignore the fact that both the left and right political parties have been bought  by powerful corporate interests

    3. Forget about about the current assults on racial equality, environmental protection, voting rights, and on the separation of the church and state because…

    I am morally out of touch with the rest of America? Does this mean we liberals should all just shut our mouths and do what the rest of the tribe tells us?

  • Indian Jones

    I started down this path: Was it only 10% state support at UVA now? And Charlottesville has a septic-tank-full of “National Security”. However, if you go to http://www.yourmorals.org/aboutus.php, you’ll find

    We strive to be non-partisan, even as we acknowledge (and study) the difficulty of escaping bias. We begin with the assumption that partisans of all types are guided by sincere moral convictions, and we try to understand those convictions within the context of people’s larger networks of meanings and values.

    Not necessarily a contradiction, but it does give pause.

    BTW, if you were inclined to dig, the email addresses of the earnest looking students are posted there. T’would be interesting to sample how many of them have experienced a conservative turn after taking on this research. Yes, an interesting study indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Brown/100000089509898 Larry Brown

    I found that annoying as well.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed this conversation with Jonathan Haidt, but I fear that he is guilty of a considerable conservative bias.

    His bar chart claimed to illustrate a liberal bias towards fairness issues,  a maximal concern of liberals by his estimation, against liberal’s minimal concern for order and authority. This suggests that liberals, comparatively speaking, favor disorder and a lack of authority. Nonsense! Order and authority are means to an end, not an end in themselves. Believing this does not automatically turn one into an anarchist or some other conservative bogeyman.

    According to Haidt’s bar chart liberals are considerably more concerned with fairness than with freedom. Nonsense! What he should have compared is freedom and equality. I believe such a comparison would have shown that his “conservative” notion of freedom is a radical individualism that denies our social nature (we humans after all are social beings). Without some sense of social and political equality, freedom is denied.

    According to Haidt conservatives’ concerns are equally distributed through all the various categories. This artful misdirection purports to show just how reasonable conservatives are — when, of course, they are NOT! His idea of a civil discourse appears to be, “Just be reasonable and unquestioningly agree to what I say.”

  • Anonymous

     Just a footnote to your attraction to Haidt’s view that conservatives “have a more accurate understanding of human nature than do liberals”:  this goes right back to the foundations of Western political philosophy and the Social Contract. 

    Thomas Hobbes, the “father” of modern conservatism, thought that human beings were by nature violent and homicidal, and that without a strong Social Contract by which men agreed to turn over their power to a strong and despotic authority (a monarch), life would be “nasty, brutal, and short.” 

    Then, 50 years later, the “father” of modern liberalism, John Locke said, No, man is by nature good and therefore the Social Contract should exist to protect each man’s “life, liberty, and property” from potentially despotic rulers.  In other words, it should be a cooperative agreement among men to respect each other’s liberty, and to adjudicate between men whose individual liberties came into conflict with each other.

    It was John Locke’s view that ended up as the foundation of the political philosophy of the new middle class — namely, classical Liberalism — but Hobbes’s view of human nature continues to characterize conservative thought and from time to time gains ascendency.  The Western world is currently in one of those periodic lurches to the right.  Recessions are never easy to get past when conservatives are in charge because, like Hobbes, they don’t trust human nature — e.g., the social safety net is a bad idea because the poor will take unfair advantage of it and rip off the rich.

  • Indian Jones

    opportunity and responsibility go hand in hand.

    This should be a conservative claim in a honest debate. In an empire from birth, however, shared prosperity cannot make it’s case.

    What progress was made, Liberals always touted as evidence of eventual reforms. On the side of sanctity/authority/purity, they were often just tokens.

    Now the bonanza is over and we must look elsewhere than the parties of deceit (con) and delusion (lib).  The masters have their game rewards and we the necessity of finding a new meaning of life.

  • Indian Jones

    It’s not surprising that myth-makers and myth-keepers claim their occupation deals in the essence of homo fabulare.

    What they often deliver is an abuse of the transcendent.

    Have pity on us, dear Waldo Emerson.

  • jan

    A problem that I had with Mr. Haidt’s description of conservatives thinking they should control where their money went was the fact that he forgets I have no control over where my money goes either.  For example:  do the words endless war and too big to fail ring any bells?

    Another problem.  Conservatives hate federal programs and keep yelling everything should be local.  I don’t know how that would work out in big cities but I can tell you that in small towns and rural areas, it would end in discrimination against the groups they dislike and who the federal government designed programs to help and protect because according to Mr.Haidt, they aren’t hampered by the idea of not harming people.  They’re going to know who fits their model of  acceptability and who doesn’t and they will punish those who do not.  Don’t think they won’t?  Two words.  Human nature.

  • Indian Jones

    Entertainment? More like self-flagellation.

    A degenerate and flickering passion before the casket.

  • Indian Jones

    “do they think the working or ignorant poor should be helped in any way?”

    They’d prefer not to. After we said bye-bye to the America Pie they imbibed this sick mantra-morality. It hides their sins and their masters’. 

  • Indian Jones

    In the thirties (and before) you had an alternative to consorting with the devils.

    We are still here.

  • Sclaflin

    “So…” only the liberals are  “open” to new information or nuanced understanding, therefore the conservatives are to be understood but need not understand. Yet both sides are victims of blind spots due to their “sacredisms” ?

    The political landscape deteriorated because a law was passed to combat racism. Shouldn’t racism have been “moralized” into our culture like public smoking and sexual harassment because of the laws applying to those issues?

    I don’t think so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Larry-Brown/100000089509898 Larry Brown

    I’d have to agree. I took it and the questions pre-supposed
    a number of things. Does your loyalty to a group mean more to you than truth?
    In Haidt’s world of conservatism that is a very highly desirable and valuable attribute.
    Tribal loyalty ranks very highly. And we can see it in almost every example of
    conservative thinking today. It has a communitarian aspect to it that I find
    frightening. I also find Haidt a justificationist for hypocrisy when he says
    we are all hypocrites. Frankly I think that’s crap. I for one, always look for it in my own positions, and I certainly am capable of spotting it in others. If I find it in myself, I’m capable of rooting it out since I find it a detestable trait. I wonder if a conservative can say the same thing. From what I see the simply look for ways to justify their hypocrisy.I think Mr Haidt is what I’d call an Identity Philosopher.
    Identity philosophers,  may say that
    ‘truth’ is meaningful and that it means correspondence to the facts. They may
    even acknowledge the existence of foolproof criteria by which to determine
    whether or not a statement is true. But 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. It seems to me that three things are necessary to any
    rational discussion.1.The principle of fallibility: perhaps I am wrong and
    perhaps you are right. But we could easily both be wrong.2.The principle of rational discussion: we want to try, as
    impersonally as possible, to weigh up our reasons for and against a theory: a
    theory that is definite and criticizable.3.The principle of approximation to the truth: we can nearly
    always come closer to the truth in a discussion which avoids personal attacks.
    It can help us to achieve a better understanding; even in those cases where we
    do not reach an agreement.Try conducting a debate or even a conversation with a conservative using this approach and you’ll likely find resistence to this. The problem of course is that it opens the possibility that they might be wrong about something. Somebody once said that the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is the Conservative knows that he’s right. A Liberal knows that he could be wrong. I’m fallible. I know that I could be wrong about a lot of things. I’m not promoting an ideology here. I ask the conservative to demonstrate to me, what makes HIS views true. If he can’t do that, why should I accept it? How do they defend their ideology? What is it based on? You press them on this and they’ll fall into the delemma of infinite regress vs. their own dogma. Eventually they end up using circular reasoning to justify themselves. ”I’m right… because conservative principles are right.” But based on what?? Then of course they usually call you a name, and claim that you’re a socialist or a traitor.  I think Mr Haidt could have saved a lot of money and time on his research by simply recognizing that loyalty to the group-think of the tribe has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things. Which is more important to you? Your tribal loyalty…or Truth? I would have liked to see that among the questions in the survey-test. I might have helped to sort out the ideologue from those interested in truth. It seems to me that a liberal is more identified by what he isn’t, than by what he claims to be which is the conservative position. It’s a “positive methodology” and those never seem to work. Based on what I saw in that interview, Bill could interview most of the people on this comments column and arrive at a more interesting view of the differences between the ideology of conservatism and the philosophy of liberalism. I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with all the comments here. Bill has a pretty sophisticated audience.

    I think Mr Haidt is what I’d call an Identity Philosopher.
    Identity philosophers,  may say that
    ‘truth’ is meaningful and that it means correspondence to the facts. They may
    even acknowledge the existence of foolproof criteria by which to determine
    whether or not a statement is true. But 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. It seems to me that three things are necessary to any
    rational discussion.1.The principle of fallibility: perhaps I am wrong and
    perhaps you are right. But we could easily both be wrong.2.The principle of rational discussion: we want to try, as
    impersonally as possible, to weigh up our reasons for and against a theory: a
    theory that is definite and criticizable.3.The principle of approximation to the truth: we can nearly
    always come closer to the truth in a discussion which avoids personal attacks.
    It can help us to achieve a better understanding; even in those cases where we
    do not reach an agreement.Try conducting a debate or even a conversation with a conservative using this approach and you’ll likely find resistence to this. The problem of course is that it opens the possibility that they might be wrong about something. Somebody once said that the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is the Conservative knows that he’s right. A Liberal knows that he could be wrong. I’m fallible. I know that I could be wrong about a lot of things. I’m not promoting an ideology here. I ask the conservative to demonstrate to me, what makes HIS views true. If he can’t do that, why should I accept it? How do they defend their ideology? What is it based on? You press them on this and they’ll fall into the delemma of infinite regress vs. their own dogma. Eventually they end up using circular reasoning to justify themselves. ”I’m right… because conservative principles are right.” But based on what?? Then of course they usually call you a name, and claim that you’re a socialist or a traitor.  I think Mr Haidt could have saved a lot of money and time on his research by simply recognizing that loyalty to the group-think of the tribe has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things. Which is more important to you? Your tribal loyalty…or Truth? I would have liked to see that among the questions in the survey-test. I might have helped to sort out the ideologue from those interested in truth. It seems to me that a liberal is more identified by what he isn’t, than by what he claims to be which is the conservative position. It’s a “positive methodology” and those never seem to work. Based on what I saw in that interview, Bill could interview most of the people on this comments column and arrive at a more interesting view of the differences between the ideology of conservatism and the philosophy of liberalism. I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with all the comments here. Bill has a pretty sophisticated audience.

    I’d have to agree. I took it and the questions pre-supposed
    a number of things. Does your loyalty to a group mean more to you than truth?
    In Haidt’s world of conservatism that is a very highly desirable and valuable attribute.
    Tribal loyalty ranks very highly. And we can see it in almost every example of
    conservative thinking today. It has a communitarian aspect to it that I find
    frightening. I also find Haidt a justificationist for hypocrisy when he says
    we are all hypocrites. Frankly I think that’s crap. I for one, always look for it in my own positions, and I certainly am capable of spotting it in others. If I find it in myself, I’m capable of rooting it out since I find it a detestable trait. I wonder if a conservative can say the same thing. From what I see the simply look for ways to justify their hypocrisy.I think Mr Haidt is what I’d call an Identity Philosopher.
    Identity philosophers,  may say that
    ‘truth’ is meaningful and that it means correspondence to the facts. They may
    even acknowledge the existence of foolproof criteria by which to determine
    whether or not a statement is true. But 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. It seems to me that three things are necessary to any
    rational discussion.1.The principle of fallibility: perhaps I am wrong and
    perhaps you are right. But we could easily both be wrong.2.The principle of rational discussion: we want to try, as
    impersonally as possible, to weigh up our reasons for and against a theory: a
    theory that is definite and criticizable.3.The principle of approximation to the truth: we can nearly
    always come closer to the truth in a discussion which avoids personal attacks.
    It can help us to achieve a better understanding; even in those cases where we
    do not reach an agreement.Try conducting a debate or even a conversation with a conservative using this approach and you’ll likely find resistence to this. The problem of course is that it opens the possibility that they might be wrong about something. Somebody once said that the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is the Conservative knows that he’s right. A Liberal knows that he could be wrong. I’m fallible. I know that I could be wrong about a lot of things. I’m not promoting an ideology here. I ask the conservative to demonstrate to me, what makes HIS views true. If he can’t do that, why should I accept it? How do they defend their ideology? What is it based on? You press them on this and they’ll fall into the delemma of infinite regress vs. their own dogma. Eventually they end up using circular reasoning to justify themselves. ”I’m right… because conservative principles are right.” But based on what?? Then of course they usually call you a name, and claim that you’re a socialist or a traitor.  I think Mr Haidt could have saved a lot of money and time on his research by simply recognizing that loyalty to the group-think of the tribe has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things. Which is more important to you? Your tribal loyalty…or Truth? I would have liked to see that among the questions in the survey-test. I might have helped to sort out the ideologue from those interested in truth. It seems to me that a liberal is more identified by what he isn’t, than by what he claims to be which is the conservative position. It’s a “positive methodology” and those never seem to work. Based on what I saw in that interview, Bill could interview most of the people on this comments column and arrive at a more interesting view of the differences between the ideology of conservatism and the philosophy of liberalism. I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with all the comments here. Bill has a pretty sophisticated audience.

    I think Mr Haidt is what I’d call an Identity Philosopher.
    Identity philosophers,  may say that
    ‘truth’ is meaningful and that it means correspondence to the facts. They may
    even acknowledge the existence of foolproof criteria by which to determine
    whether or not a statement is true. But 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. 
    It seems to me that three things are necessary to any
    rational discussion.
    1.The principle of fallibility: perhaps I am wrong and
    perhaps you are right. But we could easily both be wrong.
    2.The principle of rational discussion: we want to try, as
    impersonally as possible, to weigh up our reasons for and against a theory: a
    theory that is definite and criticizable.
    3.The principle of approximation to the truth: we can nearly
    always come closer to the truth in a discussion which avoids personal attacks.
    It can help us to achieve a better understanding; even in those cases where we
    do not reach an agreement.
    Try conducting a debate or even a conversation with a conservative using this approach and you’ll likely find resistence to this. The problem of course is that it opens the possibility that they might be wrong about something. Somebody once said that the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal is the Conservative knows that he’s right. A Liberal knows that he could be wrong. I’m fallible. I know that I could be wrong about a lot of things. I’m not promoting an ideology here. I ask the conservative to demonstrate to me, what makes HIS views true. If he can’t do that, why should I accept it? How do they defend their ideology? What is it based on? You press them on this and they’ll fall into the delemma of infinite regress vs. their own dogma. Eventually they end up using circular reasoning to justify themselves. ”I’m right… because conservative principles are right.” But based on what?? Then of course they usually call you a name, and claim that you’re a socialist or a traitor.
      I think Mr Haidt could have saved a lot of money and time on his research by simply recognizing that loyalty to the group-think of the tribe has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things. Which is more important to you? Your tribal loyalty…or Truth? I would have liked to see that among the questions in the survey-test. I might have helped to sort out the ideologue from those interested in truth. It seems to me that a liberal is more identified by what he isn’t, than by what he claims to be which is the conservative position. It’s a “positive methodology” and those never seem to work.
    Based on what I saw in that interview, Bill could interview most of the people on this comments column and arrive at a more interesting view of the differences between the ideology of conservatism and the philosophy of liberalism. I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with all the comments here. Bill has a pretty sophisticated audience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Fernandez/1229182815 Joshua Fernandez

    I can’t thank Bill Moyers enough for coming back. I truly appreciate the great work he does.

    Just my quick thoughts on the most recent episode. I think Haidt made some great points, but I do think some of his analysis are pretty narrow and as some people have said, “black and white.” He comes with a conservative’s premise that liberals believe because you are poor you deserve help. But as you can see with many of the people who have commented on this blog, it’s not that liberals believe because you are poor or weak you deserve help, but becuase we do not all start from the same place, the poor should have “opportunity.” We may differ on what polocies may help do that, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that someone who is not born in poverty has much more opportunity to succeed than someone who is. I think the latest report of the lack of upward mobility proves that point.
     
    This was my biggest beef with Haidt. Another point is that I think his view points have been heavily influence by conservative intellectuals, but today’s conservatives are not influence by intellectuals, they are influence by tv and radio personalities like Glen Beck or Rush.

    All in all, Mr. Haidt made some great points and really made me think. I wish I can have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with him. I would love to pick his brain.

    I wanted to give a shout out to the bloggers on Bill Moyer’s website. I love coming on here after an episode and reading your comments. You guys are some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I’ve ever seen. I really envy you guys and wish I had the intellect that you guys demonstrate.

  • Anonymous

    Same here. I’m really taken with your blog. I mean it when I say it’s excellent. I look forward to reading a lot more.  I just came on here and I guess my comments now are listed under my Discus name as Murphy 831. Haidt is going to be on Bills show tonight and I’m recording it. He seems like a nice enough person but he also seems to have been seduced by the “dark side”.  He seems to have abandoned reason in favor of some kind of tribalism.

  • Indian Jones

     First, I concur on that scurrilous chart of BM’s.
     Consider: these latent variables are assigned a weight, implying that those equally weighted would be freely traded. According to BM, “conservatives” consider fairness and sanctity interchangeable. Does that jive with your estimation of the conservative-religious? Not with mine.

    More to the point, does the predictive power of Haidt’s model hold in more complex trades? But there is also the consideration that these are hypothetical evaluations — once the proposition is experienced, the subject must reevaluate – remember that atheist Morgan Spurlock sent to live with fundies? The fundies remained mystified after their exposure but less judgmental.

    Furthermore, the moral instincts are plied by political peddlers — they construct moral justifications — in order to serve authority. And conservatives are so distrustful of authority they create an imaginary and all powerful substitute. Theirs is truly a conflicted and degenerate form of moral judgment.

    Though the libertarian loonies are desperate to sell this crap, Haidt can’t be pinned with it:

    his “conservative” notion of freedom is a radical individualism

    However, I have noticed a theme in certain “post-liberal” thinkers which blames the crumbling of society on liberal excess. Their arguments are usually slim and pale in the evidence of elite machination.

    I’ll have to go investigate Haidt’s responses to Occupy. I suspect some biases will be revealed.

  • Indian Jones

    Shame, guilt, and fear feeds the conservative paranoia, but they shall not be the Liberals’ scapegoats. And they should not.

    Liberalism cannot survive in a depression and it was insanity to predict their end of history. Fools.

  • Bill

    I loved the initial image of the two types of people viewing the statue of David. However, I did not find that the rest of the colloquy lived up to the introduction. Your guest was obsessed with Karma. He did not seem to understand the importance of blind luck in determining a person’s financial success. As it says in Ecclesiastes 9, the race is not to the swift, because time and chance rule the result for everyone. Ron Paul’s “let them die” approach fails to accept the notion of risk sharing embraced by the bankruptcy laws, for example, which provide second chances to entrepreneurs. No one should be utterly destroyed and abandoned by society because of making a decision that only appears ridiculous in hindsight. Those lucky enough to become rich can afford to share their luck, at least to a small extent. 

  • Indian Jones

    No. Redneck culture.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bystander.again bystander.again bystander

    Interesting.  I especially appreciated the supplemental links from the Dig Deeper sidebar on the left of this page.  This additional material helps me to see Dr. Haidt as more conservative than reactionary.  This, I believe, is essential to grasping the possibilities of his message.  I am intrigued by the way he imports, and weaves, Eastern traditions of thought into the DumbF***istan (from his TED talk) – East Coast liberal divide.  But, we are products of a Western tradition, are we not?  And, although there could be similarities between an Eastern moral tradition and Western conservatism morality, I’m not sure the transition is as seamless as Dr. Haidt seems to suggest.  Specifically, I would find a conversation between Dr. Haidt and Corey Robin (author of The Reactionary Mind) useful in teasing out some of the differences.  So, how about it, Mr. Moyer?  Corey Robin for a follow-up discussion to The Righteous Mind?

  • Indian Jones

    Racism is a tool, comrade.

  • Hinmahtooyah

    Unfortunately it has come down to Us vs Them here in the United States. It’s the healthy, mindful, intelligent and spiritual peoples struggling against cancervatives. They have become an infectious rot eating away at the marrow of this nation that will be fatal if we can not defeat their malignency in time.

  • Sclaflin

    Something that has contributed to my understanding of the conservative mindset is the concept of “right wing authoritarian” personality type.
    Here is a link to a textbook (not dry at all) on the subject:
     http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/

    It provides a framework for understanding how so many people can be pushed to advocate against their own interests and how that can be exploited.

  • http://my.opera.com/oldephartte/blog/ opit

     Might I question the proposition that capitalism is interested in distributing wealth. Rather it is designed to aggregate it.
    Interest both rewards investment and serves as a goad to make it- yet shows that the basic commodity is a devalued fraud. The changing numbers also serve as a false valuation automatically creating a net ‘gain’ even from actual stasis – which is taxable.

  • Ann Smith

    I am so glad that Bill is back on TV again! I have missed  his analysis on what is influencing our politicians and the powers controlling what used to be our democracy.

  • Anonymous

     I’d be interested to know who made that proposition.

  • Drory

    Haidt claims conservatives are higher on sanctity, yet I think he fails to see the “sanctity” of reason for liberals.

    He has two strong desired outcomes -  that both conservatives and liberals:
    1. Stop “demonizing”; and
    2. get the  money out of political campaigns.

  • Indian Jones

    It certainly seemed he deemed everyone equally hypocritical. Unless the measurement is coarse (yeah or nay) this is clearly an opinion (contemptuously?) paraded as certainty.  But the theory can’t be self-tested and might be insidious.

    The obvious question arises: do cultures promote or inhibit hypocrisy to varying degrees? There, now you are on the right path.

    It’s not the “communitarian aspect” which concerns me. It’s the desperate drive for supremacy.

    A commerce in truth, I would say, requires three of his moral fundamentals: care, fairness, and purity. Loyalty and respect are orthogonal as they can be antagonistic to truth. (No doubt, conservatives, that they are best fed with truth, but we all know those two have voracious appetites.) Moreover, those two (and maybe purity as well) go to Truth’s head.

    So Truth should not be in opposition to solidarity. In addition to untruthful solidarities, one must wonder about the society which sets them in opposition. 

    My incomplete criteria: fallibility, equanimity, mutual respect, empathy, compromise. You ask, “How can Truth then survive the hysteria of delusion?” Because Truth is a stealthy seductress, comrade. Those who force Truth upon us are not possessed by She.

    So (wink)

    loyalty to the group-think of the tribe has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things

    is not accurate. Loyalty probably owes a great deal to this desire (truth is power, after all) but that desire is frequently betrayed.

    Have some sympathy for the deluded zombies.

  • Khatti

    Ummm….I’m really sorry folks but I haven’t read anything here that couldn’t be used as evidence to support Haidt’s thesis.

  • Indian Jones

    Capitalism claims it’s in its self-interest to trickle down … until tested.

    It’s capital Hypocrisy, comrade.

  • Indian Jones

    Pffft. Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Fernandez/1229182815 Joshua Fernandez

    Really? I think a lot of people made some good critiques of Haidt’s interview.

    I mean if critiquing his comments is proving his point, then what’s the use of even having a discussion. The man is not infallible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Fernandez/1229182815 Joshua Fernandez

    Let me correct that, there are some people who are proving his point, lol. The people who are straight demonizing the other side. But overall most people in this blog have been thoughtful. Unfortunately in the internet, you will inevitably get a few people who poison the  discussion like Hinmahtooyah did below.

  • Rhatch68

    I always find it interesting when guests such as Haidt  are quick to note, early-on, that they “used to be liberal”.  I thought Haidt’s analysis was simplistic, pat and very typical of the wealthy conservative’s views.  Overall, a very disappointing show, but I love Bill Moyers and am very glad he’s back.  

  • V.

    Death of the Liberal Class is an excellent book. I would also like to suggest “Why America Failed” by Morris Berman. I would also like to suggest watching the Zeitgeist Film series.

    The whole debate about bipolar politics is quite old. It is a marketing ploy to keep the citizenry focused on trivial and divisive matters while their representatives are pocketed by corporate dollars.

    Really can’t we move on to the real issues facing our failed American experiment to transition to a more humane system of existence?

    Grady, good to read your posts. Would you agree that this program is not quite the BMJ or NOW?

    V.

  • Anonymous

     I am terribly disappointed that Haidt talked about the civil rights movement and women’s movement in the context of “victims.”  The context is democracy, not victimhood . 
    I am disappointed in you Bill that you did not push back against Haidts assertion about conservatives and fairness.  Where is the karma for Wall Street financiers whose actions have been fraudulent, immoral and an uncontested “entitlement” by the right?  Haidt cites the policies that FDR instituted on behalf of the poor, but conveniently overlooks the policies of Hoover on behalf of the rich.  Please spare me a lecture on fairness and  sanctity which conservatives purportedly display.  And PS.  Folks on the right like those government entitlements too, but it only when it applies to them.

  • Anonymous

    This segment was actually pretty balanced until the last two minutes when Haidt dropped his “objective” posturing and stated flatly that Moyers was correct about the “social contract”.  The left wing version of the “social contract” is completely wrong.  The REAL social contract is that no one has a moral right to agress against others or steal their property…and we all have a moral responsibility to use PRIVATE charity to help others. 
    It was also interesting that Moyers dropped everything he had learned in this segment when, in the very next segment, he started going after Gingrich with all the ignorant left wing stereotypes and attack methods he has accumulated during his life.

  • Anonymous

    So you think conservatives are not reasonable…which explains why I think the left is ignorant and evil.

  • Anonymous

    >”The obvious question arises: do cultures promote
    or inhibit hypocrisy to varying degrees?”“It’s not the “communitarian aspect”
    which concerns me. It’s the desperate drive for supremacy.”
    “Loyalty and respect are orthogonal as they can be
    antagonistic to truth.”"So Truth should not be in opposition to
    solidarity.”"You ask, “How can Truth then survive the
    hysteria of delusion?”"”So (wink)loyalty to the group-think of the tribe
    has nothing to do with a desire to find the truth of things, is not accurate.
    Loyalty probably owes a great deal to this desire (truth is power, after all)
    but that desire is frequently betrayed.”<

    I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with that. In fact I think
    it's probably as accurate as it gets. I don't require confirmation of a group
    in the pursuit of truth. I’m not alone here. Socrates didn’t.  I’m sure we can find other examples throughout
    history. So the one isn't dependent on the other in any way. In fact, I'd go as
    far as saying that delusion is far more desirable for those seeking power than
    truth. We can go back to the Republic by Plato to find that. Plato’s view of
    society was pinned by the belief that philosophers are capable of knowing the absolute
    truth about how to rule society and thus are justified in wielding absolute
    power. Such a view is in striking contrast to that of his principal teacher,
    Socrates (469-399 BC), who was always conscious of how much he did not know,
    and claimed superiority to unthinking men only in that he was aware of his own
    ignorance where they were not.

  • informationforager

    I have studied the work of Jon Haidt and feel that it can’t be absorbed properly from just one program.  Moral Theory is a very large topic to really understand.  For those who are really interested in how he came to find an explanation of Liberal and Conservative thought they should actually do some leg work and read his paper “When morality opposes justice”.  This can be accessed from his website “Moral Foundations”.  For me it was a real eye opener to the way the other side thinks.   What side is that?  Whatever side you don’t understand.  I like what  Mr. Haidt said over and over again, “We shouldn’t demonize because it polarizes everything”.

  • Khatti

    So how many conservatives are you personally willing to kill in order to remove the malignancy from the world?

  • charles

    I agree with all the comments made. Progressives need to develop a moral well articulated argument. Too bad Bill Moyers is himself so damaged by his past to embrace it. 

  • Khatti

    At some point freedom and equality are incompatible. Freedom at some point becomes the law of the jungle. If the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement should have taught us anything it’s that, at some point, equality must be imposed at gunpoint.

    As for favoring disorder and lack of authority I would say that you are missing the point. Because something is a low priority to does not neccesarily mean you are not concerned with it at all. 

  • Gadfly

    Thanks for having Prof. Haidt on your program.  He provided quite a number of valuable ideas.  But, I believe, his model is incomplete and at times inaccurate.  If so, then it is seriously misleading in its description of the political landscape.

    A few examples:

    – His paradigm presents cooperation and competition as a yin yang.  I suggest that a far more accurate representation is two concentric circles, the outer one being cooperation, the inner competition.  Without the cooperative context, there is no competition, just everyone against everyone without rules, where life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

    – The discussion of a person choosing not to buy health insurance and becoming very ill–hence in desperate need–assumes an atomistic world.  The reality, at least in a democratic society, is that we have BOTH personal AND social responsibility.  Exercising our social responsibility, we can structure matters so that the kind of life and death choice implied in the discussion never arises.

    – The probabilities of who succeeds and who fails are also subject to the structures we create cooperatively.  For instance, an economy that only recognizes private and government property, not common property (e.g., knowledge and the atmosphere) permits appropriation of that which belongs to us all equally by a few, providing them with an unearned advantage.

    – Where is the consideration of WHY the Right has been better able to articulate its story about America than the Left?  Prof. Haidt’s focus on social psychology underplays the role of economics:  the Right’s story serves to support the current structure of wealth and power.  Therefore, “the 1%” has poured money into a two-party political system that depends on private funding of public campaigns.  Moreover, the concentration of media ownership, the founding of pseudo-think tanks, the fielding of a lobbyist army, etc. further shapes who the office-holders of either party are and the decisions they make.

    Again, I found Prof. Haidt’s presentation well worth listening to.  But his model needs a lot more work, as I hope the preceding quickly written comments demonstrate.

  • Khatti

    If there anyone reading these posts who can appreciate the difference between describing a situation and advocating it?

  • Judyking

    Bill should have you on his show next week.  Thank you for articulating so clearly those  ideas that were nagging so many of us, but that we couldn’t bring to the surface that made us question Professor Haidt’s conclusions. 

  • Sclaflin

     Exactly.

    Conservatives are more prone to “truths” than facts. Thus they are exploited by the unscrupulous.

  • Khatti

    Sigh. All right I’ve noticed that many of you seem to have
    trouble with Dr. Haidt’s supposed politics. I say supposed because so many
    people here seem to hear advocacy where I hear merely description. Many of you
    seem to feel that an explanation of how either side feels is, in fact, advocacy
    for that side. If we applied this rational to medicine any doctor who describes
    the nature of an appendicitis attack to a patient is in fact advocating for
    appendicitis. This is not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard but it’s near the
    top of the list. Understanding how the other side feels is crucial to
    understanding the problem. I’ve yet to hear of a problem that could be fixed
    without understanding it.

    I’m your generic, Left-of-Center, type. Still I seem to
    understand something that seems to elude most of my brethren: unless we are
    willing to jail, institutionalize, or kill every member of the opposition, we
    are going to have to figure out a way to get along with them. Seeing that
    genuine head-banging is something we feel is beneath us, figuring out that strategy
    becomes even more imperative.

    Can anyone out there see an alternative to this proposal?   

  • Artemis Eneldo

    I can buy Haidt’s assertion that he is not now a liberal and his implication that propaganda works. 

  • Niall

    Well said, Murphy831.
    Great points made by everybody here.
    Although I agree that Haidt over simplifies his assessment, it does
    point out that in order for us to get along, we must see value in
    each other. I have been guilty of demonizing conservatives in the
    past (and unfortunately may resort to that lowly tactic when emotions
    get boiling this coming year) but I do see points that they make that
    have value and would freely acknowledge that to them. Something, in
    my opinion, is a little easier for a liberal to do. The biggest
    problem, is the word Boehner couldn’t say, that some of my
    conservative acquaintances are completely unable to do…compromise.
    Without it, we keep digging our trenches — deeper and deeper and
    deeper…

  • Stephanie Remington

    Haidt misrepresented one of the main messages from OWS.  There are
    divergent views among the group, but the over-arching theme is not that people
    who have a lot should be forced to give up their hard-earned gains simply
    because people exist who have less.  It’s that a very small number of
    people have hoarded the vast majority of wealth in the nation by cheating – at
    the expense of everyone else.

     

    And the next part of that message is that cheaters – who would have
    completely failed without government “rewards” for bad choices and criminal
    behavior – should face consequences for their actions (a message Haidt
    attributes only to the “right”).  The
    re-distribution demanded is to put the money where it should be on a more level
    playing field.

     

    That message wasn’t widely heard because the corporate media refused to
    interview the many articulate members of the movement and insisted, instead, on
    filming those who looked and sounded odd.

  • Rgfwindpig

    Excellent show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bwprager123

    Jonathan Haidt’s argument  elides the material basis of the  lives  he is trying to explain, and from which his conservative  view of social psychology emerges. What happened to social relationships that make our economy and civil society work (or work against us), and which we are all tied to? Eternal human nature, borne in moral hypocrisy he says, produces a morality that makes us do things we know are wrong; a view that is not only upside down, but that leaves us with no agency to alter it (which is exactly what we DO potentially possess socially,  if not individually.) By his lights, a 12th century person’s morality and thought must be as unchanged to today as a cat’s or  mouse’s, and we can easily observe that this isn’t true.  He also states earlier on that “in the social world, our minds are not designed to figure out who did what to whom.” Again, not unless we include the economy and its organization in the analysis. But that might lead us “dangerously” beyond the exclusively Democrat/ Republican partisan dichotomy.

  • Indian Jones

    First of all, you lean more center than left and you are more reactionary than discursive. Second, you ignore the content of the objection while opposing the objection. Not too good, so far.

    In reading through Haidt’s paper recommended above, “Why Morality Opposes Justice …” you will note that Haidt repeatedly implies Liberals have neglected conservative morals. This is a misrepresentation. Liberals have rejected these morals because of their harm. There you will also find a prejudice against Liberalism for supposed excesses of the 60′s, such as the New Left and the drug culture, etc. First, that’s ridiculous. Second, it’s an unsupported claim. Third, it’s suspicious. Fourth, there is no account for those excesses as reactions to a racist, violent, militaristic, mindless, authoritarian, reactionary, oppressive and conservative culture.

    IOW, it appears at times that Haidt is full of shite. Now this is not unique to Haidt; there appears to be a little “centrist” program going to launder conservatism by denigrating liberalism and the left. So far, I have not seen Haidt’s cultural analysis of this period (and I don’t expect he has published one) but it’s a complex history. A slave-holding, Jim Crow, immigrant, imperial power finally achieves world domination; a fed-up population cries uncle; the security state cracks down on them;  etc… In other words, a lot more crap than is summed up in Jonathan Haidt’s flippant thesis.

    There is more than meets the eye here and we are not getting full disclosure.

    False compromise is our only alternative to repression and murder? First of all, comrade, we are not in charge. Second, the American people have been extorted and deceived. Conservatives have abetted (that includes you clean cut, intellectual pale-conservatives) the outrageous counterinsurgency executed on the American population (and the continued invasion of the rest of the world) in defense of a economic system  rotting on the hoof.

    I’d say we need truth and reconciliation. Now you go over to those conservatives you’re going to spare and ask them if they’re ready for that. Don’t come back till you’re successful, ya hear?

    p.s. One dog-whistle of the Haidt-style centro-conservative is reference to the Jacobins or the genocidaire French revolutionaries. But the Jacobins started out as bourgeois moderates advocating “republicanism, widespread education, universal suffrage, separation of church and state” and embarked on the reign of terror after their conservative faction abandoned them and the country was “menaced by civil war within and by a coalition of hostile powers without” (imagine that!).  So, when the centro-conservative starts to yelp about an excess of rationality and radicalism, inform him that he’s only revealing the convenient history and that irrationality is no better.

  • Indian Jones

    Truth is not simply a logic; non-contradiction is insufficient. It is negotiated, both individually and collectively. Given this, I think something else is required to survive the hysteria of delusion.

    Re the last, you go from “group-think has nothing to do with a desire to find truth” to “I don’t require confirmation of a group” to “so one isn’t dependent on the other in any way.” You have justified neither the first claim nor the last. 

    And this is hyperbolic modesty: “Socrates claimed claimed superiority to unthinking men only in that he was aware of his own ignorance”. Socrates had a lot more than that going for him.

    But you still evade the point, truth is now a collective project.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    I had to listen to this again to see if I heard it right, “Republicans are good at binding the nation together to pursue good”. Haidt has completely missed what Republicans have been doing since 1980. They have been using the voice of altruism to gain what they wanted by using deception. All that he needs to look at is the graph found at http://zfacts.com/p/318.html to see that 6 of 8 administrations were Republican and have driven this country into bankruptcy. Only 2 administrations under Clinton actually reduced spending as a % of GDP since 1980. There are other than “good people” involved here. Psychology knows that the passive aggressive personality is childish, deceitful, irrational, irresponsible, pathological, petty, and selfish to its very core.   Republicans have been employing their passive aggressive “starve the beast” strategy since Reagan’s administration. When deceit becomes normalized, as it has, truth becomes an extreme position which is ignored as it has been. Those that do not judge deceit for what it is enable it and encourage it.

  • Will Watman

    I kept waiting for Bill to improve Professor Haidt’s definition of “welfare”. Without question, the image of the welfare recipient, so loathed by the right, is the lazy poor person of color. This narrow and hateful concept neglects the reality of hundreds of examples of middle class government aid that collectively add up to billions more than any benefit acquired by the poor. As soon as I name one, home owner mortgage tax exemption, we all concur and heads bob knowingly. Yet the myths persist. For one so aware of the manipulative use of language, it is amazing that Haidt yields to these misnomers.
    It is even more disturbing, that in an attempt to maintain his pose of neutrality, Haidt cannot make the moral distinction between genocide, enslavement, or exploitation at the point of a sword, and peace activism. If he has no moral compass, if the world as he measures it is without any “positivist” measure of right and wrong, then his reasoned balance of perspectives can be measured. But we do maintain definitions of good and evil They are embedded in our legal code, our standards of decency, and our religious traditions. To suggest that one point of view, victims of slavery are born with an equal chance of success and thus their failures are of their own making, is commensurate with a believe that they should be compensated for their condition, is a measure of dispassion that only statistical researchers can maintain.

  • Anonymous

    Get your fact right.  First…congress, not the president, controls taxes and spending.  Second…the progressive philosophy, not democrats or republicans, is responsible for the mess we are in.  There are progressives in both parties who believe in collectivism and statism.

  • Anonymous

    Obama will be voted out despite the fact that he is amassing a billion dollar war chest of “corporate money”.  His big government policies (after 8 years of Bush big government) have run us into the ground.

  • Anonymous

    Ron Paul does NOT have a “let them die” approach.  He has stated on many occasions how the poor were taken care of before Medicare.  As a physician, he has helped the poor more than the “99 percent” at the OWS.

  • Anonymous

    No, my friend, you miss the point. It is the bar chart, not I, that suggests that liberals have minimal concern for order and authority. I don’t think anything of the sort.

  • Anonymous

    And might this be an example of the demonizing that oh-so-reasonable conservatives don’t do?

  • Anonymous

    These are Jonathan Haidt’s charts, not Bill Moyers’s charts.

  • Anonymous
  • Indian Jones

    If you will view the chart on page 11 in “When Morality Opposes Justice” you will notice that the difference between Liberals and Conservatives is not so dramatic as the chart BM’s crew exhibited.

    Furthermore, Haidt has a taste for exaggeration. On page 12, he claims that fairness/reciprocity accounts for “half of morality” for liberals. I did not find his calculation for that claim and it is not supported by the graph he supplies. In addition, these assessments are pseudo-quantitative, as Haidt’s caveat admits:

    Justice/fairness may even be the most important concept for understanding every day judgments of conservatives. Our claim is simply that justice-related concerns occupy a smaller part of the conceptual and experiential domain of morality for conservatives than they do for liberals.

    So from Haidt’s exaggeration to BM’s to yours, we now have “liberals have minimal concern fo order and authority”. Perhaps Prof. Haidt is achieving the opposite of what he claims to seek.

  • Anonymous

    I take issue with the “values” that Haidt uses in his bar graph. How were these words defined? Words have a dual nature and if not defined can be manipulated to skew data.

    I live in a very conservative county in my state. I deal with this
    conservative mindset everyday. Every business/hospital has Fox News on
    the TV. Every radio plays talk radio. These people watch and listen to
    nothing else but this. Their minds are closed to anything else. They do
    not watch any other news, do not read any other newspapers. They are
    oblivious to anything happening elsewhere. Their conversation is loaded
    with “facts” from the paid speech of Rush and his ilk. They refuse to listen to anything that does not fit their worldview.

    In my personal observations and conversations, this is what I hear from the mouths of people:

    Care: conservative = care for me and mine
    liberal = care for others

    Liberty: conserv. = freedom for me and mine and those who think like me
    lib. = freedom for all

    Loyality: conserv. = blind–gives us dictators–not open to change
    lib. = given after careful consideration, may change if object of loyalty sways from considered values

    Fairness: conserv. = only until me or mine are affected
    lib. = subject to a case-by-case basis and in consideration of the facts

    Authority: conserv: = good if it applies to others, bad if it applies to me and mine
    lib. = good to uphold order and the structure of society (contrary to what Haidt says), bad if it restricts liberty, fairness, and care

    Sanctity (to make holy): conserv. = most likely not sure what is meant, but likely to think it has to do with religion
    lib. = most likely not sure what is meant, but likely not to do with religion

    Conservatives (wealthy of the original country club party) did use brilliantly/deviously psyhcology to dupe religious masses to their side. They pretend to espouse those morals: to be for school prayer and against abortion and gay marriage, etc.,. They preyed on that blind loyalty, on that closed mind-set, on the differences in the words used to sway voters to keep themselves in power.

    All Haidt did was further the conservative agenda that seeks to enslave a population to the rule of the wealthy, by proving that the conservative mindset is subject to blind ideology and loyalty and believing blindly all the bull given to them.

    The tribalism Haidt seems to worship and attributes to conservatism is why the Middle East will always be a problem. Surely we have progressed past that outdated form of sociology.

  • Indian Jones

    Progressive Republicans responsible for the mess? Bullshite. Give the data.

    Your purity is running her mouth too much.

    Collectivism and statism, hmm? Pffft.

  • Anonymous

     ”I’m your generic, Left-of-Center, type. Still I seem to understand something that seems to elude most of my brethren: unless we are willing to jail,  institutionalize, or kill every member of the opposition, we are going to have to figure out a way to get along with them. ”
    Well I am left of center too, but that list above is exactly what the Conservabots propose on their hate radio and other outlets to be our fate.   There is no common ground.  I shun them and I shun those who shill for them and those who compromise with them.  They have no conscience and eat their own.  Seems to be working…but then, there really is a Righteous God in charge.  The wisdom of Psalm 37 is an appropriate antidote to Haidt’s nonsense.

  • Khatti

    That’s right–we’re not in charge. Not only are we not in charge, we’re a political minority. I’m curious to know how you think we’ll get in charge without persuading some of these people to our point of view. I was a bouncer for many years and, trust me, telling people in loving detail what douches they are does not engender their cooperation.

  • Indian Jones

    For one so aware of the manipulative use of language, it is amazing that Haidt yields to these misnomers.

    Absences reveal what hypocrisy neglects to mask.

    In response to criticism from Patricia Churchland about the universality of disgust, Haidt emphasizes that “my theory is designed to address—that norms and practices vary around the world, yet there is enough similarity in practices that there must be something in human nature at work.”

    Yet here he is exhorting liberals on the basis of exaggerated “moral” differences. Hmm.

  • RFFisher

     Newt Gingrich is a GREAT ‘Politician’! 
    Just listen to how he responds during those awful debates.  He commands the stage with his witty and quick thinking responses that the other Republican Candidates are left
    with their mouths hanging open and stumbling for words.  They can’t begin to come close too his performance on the stage.  The man is a true ‘Carrier Politician’ and he’s good at it!

    And there lies the problem!!!

    We don’t need a ‘Politician’ that makes us feel all gooey inside when he speaks.  We need a politician that will go to Washington and ACTUALLY CHANG  the system that has evolved into a one sided battle of the Rich (the 1%) against the rest of us.  
    Nothing will change in Washington until we CHANGE the Players and insist on them changing the system from within.

    Can it be done?  Maybe not in my lifetime as it’s taken 30 years to tilt the scales this far to the Right, that allows this madness to go on right in front of our noses and not be able to do anything about it! 

    Yes, the 1% knows the system is so one-sided now that hey don’t care if we see their agenda in total daylight because in their minds, they have won the battle for total control of our Government and the outcome in America.  The worst is, they believe  it’s become irreversible!

    Do we have the fortitude,,, or maybe the better question would be,  CAN WE, reverse this???

  • Indian Jones

    From “When Justice Opposes Morality”:

    The first two foundations (harm/care and fairness/reciprocity) underlie and motivate the moral concerns of the ethic of autonomy. The second two (ingroup/loyalty and authority/respect) are the psychological foundations of the ethic of community.

    Fairness and care not a foundation of community? Rather, the trade exhibited here is the preference of liberals for fairness and care over loyalty and authority, i.e. they have found that loyalty and authority are in opposition to fairness and care! I find no exculpatory reasons delivered by Haidt to conclude anything otherwise. Our situation today is hard confirmation of the liberal assessment.

    One might expect explanations of the !@*#$^ conservative point of view would be useful for reminding liberals of how they’ve come to this disjuncture. One would expect criticism of liberal errors of judgment. But advocacy of exclusion from a converso? No. Too much hypocrisy there.

  • Karl Hoff

    Compromise as I see it:  It is born out of a near equal but apposing views on how to solve a problem.  One half is 100% happy with their way to solve the problem  and 100% unhappy with the other’s way to solve the problem.  The other side is 100% happy with their way to solve the problem and 100% unhappy with the other side’s way of solving the problem.  So as is generally done is to compromise by each side giving up half or so to make everyone happy………now you have 100% of the people 50% unhappy……What has changed?

  • Indian Jones

    Tell them the boss has already made enough money off of them.

    And now they’re sh*tfaced.

  • Indian Jones

    Comrade. There comes a point at which one must fight.

  • Chloe

    FYI-Under the TV Schedule page, for Indianapolis, it lists the show to air on 7:00 on Saturdays and only on Brighthouse cable services.

    I have Brighthouse in Indinapolis and it is The Laurence Welk Show.

    It’s very, very conservative here.  We really need this show here.

    Conservatives manage to look fair minded and air the show by listing they air the show but also get to enjoy the benefits of undue control and don’t air it.

    This is what is wrong with conservatism today.  They are too chicken to even have Bill on the Air yet cry foul that all the media and public media in particular are against them.
     

  • Indian Jones

    Humans have innate reciprocity and fairness. Psychopaths profit from division.

    Cooperation is better for the common wealth, comrade.

  • Sclaflin

    Lots of thoughtful comments and people here. I will offer up again, in hopes of a critique (and, of course personal validation), the notion of the  “right wing authoritarian” personality . I’m finding it a compelling (thus frightening) model for conservative behavior as well as providing a rationale as to why liberal tactics to counteract the behavior not only fail but reinforce it.

    Again, here is the link to a book:
    http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

  • Indian Jones

    Conservatives are the thug teenagers and liberals the absent-minded parents.

    And the capitalists are repossessing their house.

  • Anonymous

    Circumstances remain irreversible as long as we seek normalcy.

  • Anonymous

    Chomsky argues that  progressives are a repressed majority. His thesis suggests we live in fear and anxiety so that we cannot show our true colors and yet live a normal existence. If pseudo-democracy is a major aspect of our repression then Sheldon Wolin (Democracy Incorporated) is correct that we live under inverted totalitarianism.
    Social psychology is a poor venue for political discussion because it posits categorical human natures and proceeds to blame the victims of such labeling. It’s reasoning is sui generis.

  • Anonymous

    Bill leaves it to us to do the pushing.
    Remember when Obama suggested we needed to push him. Well, he was joking but Bill is sincere.

  • Anonymous

    “When I began this work I was a Liberal. But in the course of doing this work I read alot of conservative literature…” and I was convinced I better get more conservative if I was ever to secure a big research grant and a book contract.

  • Anonymous

    In what particular ways?
    14 Playboy erections, but it remains pornography.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for doing this analysis for us.
    I have spot checked it and find it correct and helpful.

  • Anonymous

    How will abstract study correct our failing culture and economy?

  • Anonymous

    Really careful which posts you read?

  • Anonymous

    Reinforcing the assumption that property rights remain sacred for Oligarchs will not get money out of politics. Only getting the wealth out of Oligarchs can do that.

  • Tmkara

    I agree with the previous comment – Moyers was very light on Haidt who was allowed to use  situations about “karma” (hard work= rewards, “slackers” = poverty) without real challenge to this  simplistic and inaccurate portrayal of reality.  Many of the hardest working people (everywhere, not merely in this country) are living in dire or near-poverty.  They aren’t rewarded for their hard work and without minimum wages and social security would be in even worse shape.   On the other hand, our current social/economic system handsomely rewards those who are either born into comfort, and/or are able to chose careers which offer vastly disproportionate compensation (think lawyers, stock brokers, CEOs) for the kind of intellectual work they do.   Are system is designed not merely to overcompensate for certain types of work, but also overcompensates once wealth is accrued, sometimes exponentially.  Unfortunately, the Horatio Alger karma myth is alive and well, and while there are many people who have the innate ability and good fortune to rise out of poverty,  some people (like OWS) realize that we have a corrupt  system stacked against them, in which  hard work often will not be rewarded no matter how hard they try.  I think Haidt is correct though, in his critique that the left has  come up short in creating the narrative required to energize popular dissatisfaction, but note that Obama and other neo liberals are hampered in this by the fact that they have  never embraced real leftist views, and are themselves responsible for the current economic situation (eg Larry Summers et al). 

  • Anonymous

    Bill is only  as good as his last show. 
    What did Ann think of the Feb. 3rd show?

  • Indian Jones

    From Wikipedia:

    Philip Tetlock found that right wing beliefs are associated with less integrative complexity than left wing beliefs. People with moderate liberal attitudes had the highest integrative complexity in their cognitions.

    [Translation] The complexification under capitalism has produced a foreseeable reaction which is then exploited.

    There have been a number of other attempts to identify “left-wing authoritarians” in the United States and Canada. These would be people who submit to leftist authorities, are highly conventional to liberal viewpoints, and are aggressive to people who oppose left-wing ideology. These attempts have failed because measures of authoritarianism always correlate at least slightly with the right. There are certainly extremists across the political spectrum, but most psychologists now believe that authoritarianism is a predominantly right-wing phenomenon.

    However,

    during the Cold War, authoritarians in the United States were usually anti-communist, whereas in the Soviet Union, authoritarians generally supported the Communist Party and were opposed to capitalism.

    In other words, the authoritarians projected authoritarianism on their evil empire in order to scramble awareness of their own abuses.
    Contra Haidt’s justification of his conversion:

    According to research by Altemeyer, right-wing authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold contradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking.

    Haidt fails to mention these authoritarians, either in apology or in exclusion. Would that be part of “a more accurate understanding of human nature”?

    I rest, except for this tidbit:

    A recent refinement to this body of research was presented in Karen Stenner’s 2005 book, The Authoritarian Dynamic. Stenner argues that RWA is best understood as expressing a dynamic response to external threat, not a static disposition based only on the traits of submission, aggression, and conventionalism. Stenner is critical of Altemeyer’s social learning interpretation and argues that it cannot account for how levels of authoritarianism fluctuate with social conditions. She argues that the RWA Scale can be viewed as a measure of expressed authoritarianism, but that other measures are needed to assess authoritarian predispositions which interact with threatening circumstances to produce the authoritarian response.

    So, who is goading our conservative comrades to insanity, comrades?

  • Anonymous

    Erich Fromm developed many of these models in relation to the twin tragedies of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.(authoritarian minds, commercial mindsets) They were moderated by Oscar Lewis to provide the basis for “Culture of Poverty” (victim blaming) in the 1960s. Yes, a maladaptive totalitarian regime can remold the population to support it, but this is quickly dissolved under economic stress, and revealed corruption. Simplistic models, like those by Fromm and Haidt, can be the basis of authoritarian thinking themselves when transposed to a new setting. We are going to have to think on our feet and not impose ill-fitting theoretical models (simply because they sound right or look good on paper).
    Sloganeering and hard framing can kill and deprive unjustly.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s try arm wrestling first.
    Hold your fire, bouncer.

  • Anonymous

    It need not even be a broadcast, but I think the thinkers on this blog deserve such a podcast. I love Internet exclusives.

  • Rschenck

    The show with Jonathan Haidt was very good.  However, like most others with good and very logical reasons for the mess we are currently in, he falls short with the fix to solve our impossible political condition.  I have a one page idea to solve if anyone cares to get started.  

  • Anonymous

    Congressman Paul does not advocate a purely “let them die” approach. Yes, that is true. But he has not provided more help to the ill and injured than ten thousand OWS protesters. Get real and gain respect. 

  • Indian Jones

    Ok, commit.

  • Anonymous

    Great observation about the intellectual/media mix in opinion formation.
    That is mostly true of our entire population, and increasingly so.

  • Anonymous

    It depends; was Clarence Thomas smoking while he sexually harassed Anita Hill? Now, because of bleeding hearts, we have to go outside in the cold to an employer-designated spot to tell ethnic jokes. Is there such a thing as second-hand sexual harassment? How many Black Republicans does it take to screw in a curly lightbulb?

  • Indian Jones

    I think Haidt is correct though, in his critique that the left has come up short in creating the narrative required to energize popular dissatisfaction …

    So we should follow his lead and become conversos.

    The left has been infiltrated, subverted, repressed, undercut and censored. Their audience has been deceived, defrauded, de-skilled, and dumbed-down.

    It’s obvious where the problem lies.

    Socialism or Barbarism, comrades. 

  • Indian Jones

    Go.

  • Anonymous

    jan (first paragraph)My solution is the ability of every taxpayer to designate categories for the use of their levy.I would give 100% for SNAP the first year. I want everyone fed so they can think clearly.The United Way, though I critique its classism, lets people choose the recipients of their contributions. With digitization this becomes affordable and possible  for the IRS or replacement agency.

    (second paragraph) Local=sexist, racist, classist, cliquish distribution and access practices

  • Gvdegruy

    I was walking through the room, and looking for the remote when Haidt grabbed me and pulled me in. I , like Haidt, used to be a liberal, and still am what many would call a classic liberal. I only wish Bill had really digested what Jonathan said before he went off on the Alinsky piece. We know well who Alinsky was, and deceit was a tool in his bag of tricks. I have his book in my desk drawer, along with Marx, and have for years. Of course anyone who knows “The true Alinsky” ,as Moyers said, knows he dedicated his book to Lucifer.

  • Sclaflin

     Sociopaths? Good Intentions? Bad genes?

    Altemeyer claims that “right” is not an indication of
    conservatism but is indicative of doing what is correct (not wrong) as
    in what one has been told to or expected to do. So RWA could
    theoretically apply to leftist (or any other) views.

    At Christmas, I noted my niece continually drilling her 3 year old daughter as to all of things God and/or Jesus had given the world and reinforcing the correct answers with great praise.

    I’m also reminded of the story of the little boy  going for a walk with his beloved grampa down to the pond to see the ducks that grampa got him all excited about seeing. However, when they arrived at the pond the ducks were not there. When they arrived back at the house and gramma asked where where they had been and the little boy shouted “we went to the pond and saw the ducks!”

     

  • Anonymous

    Haidt’s categories amount to profiling.

    It is the same type of unconcern shown by Mitt Romney when he says 95% of Americans are doing fine and that the poor enjoy a safety net.
    A frequent and forceful false assertion by the Elite soon manufactures the Big Lie dejected minds crave.
    Subsequently those who beg to differ are victimized.
    Power is intimidating.

  • Indian Jones

    “it posits categorical human natures and proceeds to blame the victims”.

    In other words, it’s a deception. Let’s rather say, it’s a home for deceivers.

    They’ve many methods, but I’m particularly impressed by those that fein self-deception. Um. Juicy.

    The best scientIST one I’ve seen is, we’ve not the data. What’s blatant to the human perceiver requires post-facto confirmation, exhaustion, and thus futility.

  • Glen Conyers

    Must  agree that Republicans always have an answer from their side,  sadly my Democrats are too slow to respond with a message and to keep saying it over and over with key phrases that convey our message.

  • Anonymous

    Substitute the term women, or the term children, or the term hillbillies for conservatives and see how it reads.

  • Jgarensberg

    Love the show but am fascinated by the paintings used on the set. Can you share the name of the artist? I would love to see more of her/his work.

  • Anonymous

    Many times, in the face of urgency, people co-operate without agreeing.
    Haidt forgot that proof.

  • Indian Jones

    You’re not fooling me.

  • Indian Jones

    Here’s how I see it:
    Individualist strategy in an overly competitive environment requires the inculcation of children.

    Brains self-pleasure; rather they seek reduction of dissonance within their constraints.

    The result? Absurd mantras with the convictions of righteousness.

    People abuse.

    Environments affect hypocrisy and excessive righteousness. Now what is your prediction of the amount of Haidt’s book which covers societal impact on individuals? I give it 5%.

    Brains->Society->Brains.

    Conservatism in a scientist is suspect.

  • Sean

    Had to sit on this interview a couple of days to understand why it irritated me so much. Haidt’s conclusion that conservatives were more tolerant of different viewpoints  based on his research was at odds with my everyday life. The conservatives I see everyday and those on the MSM are the least tolerant people I know. I’m not sure how he came to his conclusion, but I’ll believe my lying ears and eyes.

  • memckie

    Yet another instance in which I’m flipping through and see Bill Moyers and stop instantly. His interview of Haidt is quietly brilliant and so are the two of them. We all must do so much more to break the impasse that exists in our lives, and, by certain extention, political environment.

    What they say about me blows me away.  Thank you for the insights … I am humbled and grateful.
    mm.

  • Marco

    Surveys about sex are always flawed, why wouldn’t one about morals? Why would one claim to be a whore or a bigot?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if Mr. Haidt realizes what kind of people he may be dealing with.  I would say that the vast majority are deeply religious Christians who think that either you believe that Jesus is divine, died for your sins, and rose from dead or you don’t.  And if you don’t, you are cast into outer darkness.
     
    They are completely right and everyone else is wrong. 
     
    We have a much deeper cultural divide than Mr Haidt comprehends.  In a lot of those southern states, you had better keep your mouth shut if you are not a Christian.  It is very risky if you do state your opinion that is contrary to what they deem traditional Christian morality. 

    As I have said, America is at a crossroads that Europeans came to a while back.  I would say that they deem Christianity a myth and they have gone past it to construct a more just and tolerable society. 

    We should do the same.

  • Indian Jones

    See, you are hypocritical!

    Haidt’s is some clever bullshite.

  • Anonymous

    Tmkara has said exactly what I was going to say.  Some of the hardest working people I know are having difficult times.  And then there are the whiz kids trading chits making gazillions of dollars and not working very hard.  It’s a myth to conclude that hard work will give you success.

  • Indian Jones

    Haidt’s in a liberal bastion of a conservative state. Just down the road is The City of Seven Hills, once capital of the Moral Majority, nexus of Evangelical sheisterdom, renaissance of Scholastic sinecure and welfare, and home of Israel’s favorite Christians.

    Haidt couldn’t miss’em.

    Yes, some mysterious absences in Professor Haidt’s exhortations.

  • Bill H.

    Aesop’s fable is lacking in vital Christian principles.
    Christ’s commandment of love would find us feeding the cricket.

  • http://billmoyers.com BillMoyers.com

     Hi Chloe,

    I recommend you contact your public TV station directly, and ask them what’s up. In the meantime, know all the shows are viewable every Friday night right here on BillMoyers.com. You can also just view the segment(s) that interests you.

    Looking here:

    http://www.wfyi.org/tvschedules.asp

    I see Mr. Welk on WFYI 1 and Moyers & Company on WFYI 3 (HD)

    I don’t know if that helps, but I’m hopeful.

  • Indian Jones

    It’s.a.con.

    Comrade.

  • Nancymcmahon5

    Yep! Tmkara “took the words right out of my mouth” and probably said it better! I will expand by saying that according to the “Karma” philosophy, we should just leave the handicapped-physically and mentally- or the hard working poor to fend for themselves, soon to die off-right? So akin to Hitler’s Darwinism….. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s the same as pro-lifers, who encourage everyone to have that baby, restrict abortions and yet want to cut the very social programs that help keep alot of these babies alive? Don’t kill them in the womb, wait til they come out and let them die slowly, in part,by societal neglect? Yet these represent the policies  that those of the right would enact, many calling themselves Christians?? Well, Mr. Haidt was sure right about one thing, we’re all hypocrits! I guess that was the point!?

  • JoNohio

    I am shocked to see that my comments here have been scrubbed!

  • B Brick

    I dunno.  There is something about the way that Jon Haidt presents himself in this interview that seems somewhat manipulative to me.  The way he almost whispers when he speaks as if letting people in on a little secret.  Something just doesn’t square right with me at all.

    I did a little digging and  found where he was granted money from the Templeton Foundation according to this article by Nathan Schneider from “The Nation” dated 6-3-2010 and says, in part:

    “Nonreligious scientists who accept Templeton grants—like biologist David
    Sloan Wilson and psychologist Jonathan Haidt—insist that the money
    comes without strings attached. “No coercion, no corruption,” Haidt
    says. But Nobel Prize–winning chemist Harry Kroto won’t accept that.
    “They are involved in an exercise that endangers the fundamental
    credibility of the scientific community,” he contends. Kroto has taken
    to organized resistance; in 2007, when the Royal Society of London
    considered accepting Templeton money for one of its programs,…”
    Link: http://www.thenation.com/article/god-science-and-philanthropy?page=full

    Also, A 3-star review for his new book on amazon states in part:
     ”One of the main difficulties is that the author is not straightforward
    with his premises. By the subtitle we know this book is going to be
    about “why good people are divided by politics and religion”. But the
    author does not tell us his hypothesis until we’re nearly finished with
    the book. Indeed, he admits on page 274 that he hasn’t even established a
    definition of `morality’ by that point. “You’re nearly done reading a
    book on morality, and I have not yet given you a definition of
    morality.” As a matter of fact,
     he never really does define morality (he
    offers a definition of `moral systems’, not `morality’), and so it is
    impossible to make a reasonable assessment of this argument, supposedly
    on morality.

    His rationale for doing this gives the show away:
    “The definition I’m about to give you would have made little sense back
    in chapter 1. It would not have meshed with your intuitions about
    morality, so I thought it best to wait.” In other words, he needed to
    prepare the reader by giving preliminary arguments, the assumption being
    that only after those preliminaries were done, the real argument could
    be understood.

    But this is to conceal the point being made until
    after it has been made, and so no one can properly assess that point in
    the process. This amounts to a rhetorical trick to get people to accept
    the argument’s foundation and thus have a harder time denying the
    argument when it is finally presented. In the meantime, the objective
    reader will be left confused and a little frustrated–What point is he
    trying to make? Why is he being so elusive? Why doesn’t he come out and
    say what he means?”

    Link: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2PF1L77SGLND5/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R2PF1L77SGLND5

    Maybe this might help explain my feelings that there seems to be (in my estimation) something somewhat manipulative and not entirely straightforward going on, in my opinion.

  • Indian Jones

    Watch what Professor Haidt does, not what he says.

  • Kennav1430

    Tmkara spoke exactly what I was thinking: “I agree with the previous comment – Moyers was very light on Haidt who was allowed to use situations about “karma” (hard work= rewards, “slackers” = poverty) without real challenge to this simplistic and inaccurate portrayal of reality. Many of the hardest working people (everywhere, not merely in this country) are living in dire or near-poverty.” While I agree that the Democrats have not communicated very well the issues of the day in contrast to the Republicans, the reality of the present cannot be denied. Prof. Haidt should perhaps experience the quality of life of those that the Republicans & Tea Party so despise and then his conclusions may differ! Millions of Americans who are unemployed and face/have experience foreclosure, loss of health care as a result of the greatest financial crime in U.S. history are somehow “slackers“ is academic nonsense! None the less, I am going to read Haidt’s book!

  • Kennav1430

    Thanks for your research that Haidt received a grant from the Templeton Foundation!  That says it all!  I will not bother reading his book! 

  • Rschenck

    Talk and information is good, same with occupy wallstreet but it does not fix anything, change anything or get us where we need to go.  How about a plan and action to really get there.  You cannot fix what is wrong with this countries political system without specific Amendments to our Constitution that will do precisely that.  I get tired of fabulous books and experts with everything but the solution.   Congress is the problem and you cannot fix that with books or putting up tents and talking. 
                    
    If the people have not totally given up and they still want to have a say in America – a couple of very specific Amendments to the Constitution must be installed. 
       
    Let’s get to the point……Randy

  • Anonymous

    The glib Mr Haidt regrettably didn’t leave a whole lot of room for Bill to more fully discuss gems like ” In the 60s government began doing  things to support people who were slackers and freeloaders”  and  “…..whoever has the reins of power channels money and programs to benefit those groups who support them” …………  e.g.  the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act when the Dems were nominally in control and the infamous tax cuts most recently in 2001 and 2003. One wonders if Haidt would have found fairness and moral equivalence in the comparison.   In any case, let us hope that Bill can find a convert from the radical right to the extreme center to balance this episode.   By the way, both quotes from the last 10 minutes or so.  

  • B Brick
  • http://twitter.com/WR_ Wes Rackley

    Thanks for the book recommendation: “The Gardens of Democracy” if I could have magically manifested a book last week that said precisely what I wanted it to say, I would have ended up with this book.

  • Lkrantz

    I was impressed with the first two editions of this new Moyers production.   Then I watched this show’s conversation.     It was not a turn I’d expected.    There were too many unchallenged assumptions and unclarified pronouncements originating from Mr. Haidt.    It was Moyers Light.  I am relieved to see that the online discussion has taken a turn in this direction.   Much of what I’ve read here speaks to concerns that I had regarding the co-option of the show by  stealth conservative manipulation.   The fact that Mr. Moyers many times had the the reporter’s option to request specific clarifications of Mr. Haidt’s suppositions and conclusions tells me that it will be important to watch future editions of this show closely.

  • Indian Jones

    Some more reading reminded me of your “identity philosopher” characterization.

    Haidt defends against Paul Krugman’s criticism that underepresentation of conservatives does not demonstrate discrimination (I leave out PK’s nuttier caveat) by arguing that alternate perspectives are healthier for science.

    He then states:

    You do not have that problem in economics where the majority is liberal but there is a substantial and vocal minority of libertarians and conservatives. Your field is healthy, mine is not.

    THE DUDE IS WHACKED.

    One not consumed by this liberal/conservative obsession would be wise to class/professional biases influencing the disaster which is economics. IOW, he is not attuned to identity politics, but to his identity.

    Course, he could just be brown nosing.

  • FranG

     Yes, progressives should learn to match the right’s well-articulated attacks full of pots calling the kettle black and manufacturing “facts” from whole cloth and parroting the daily talking points from the RNC. The Left is losing ground because people are brainwashed with the big lie that small government is better than good government.

  • Indian Jones

    S’called projection. Dangerous stuff for dangerous people.

    Catch me if you can!

  • Indian Jones

    It would be best to test this theory. If the arguments are reviewed with the now established definition in mind, are there contradictions?

  • tew

     Although I’d agree that his model will evolve (“needs work”), let’s remember that no model is universal / complete.  Instead we should be comfortable exercising multiple models when faced with complex matters.  I think Haidt’s model is useful, constructive, and well-founded.  It does not explain everything and it does not tell the whole story, but no model does.

  • Indian Jones

    The knowledge of corruption is burdened by the duty to combat it, not to construct a theory normalizing it.

    See Public Choice Theory, for example.

  • FranG

    Well, I was a conservative long ago when I was young–an Ayn Rand objectivist reactionary, who was unfortunately woefully lacking in political history. The benefit is that I am able to see Ron Paul & Son as being long on talk and short on solutions, even when Ron talks straight on war. One day I brought home a No Nukes bumper sticker from a gathering of my new dirty-leftwing-hippy pals (they were occupying the Tocks Island properties along the Delaware River then and are probably Occupying still). Anyway, the sticker didn’t seem to go with the Vote-For-Reagan sticker that already occupied the bumper of my old VW, and I realized I had a conflict. My gut told me that inconsistency is not a value, and I’ve been a liberal ever since. Hippies/Yippies aren’t dirty, by the way, no matter how they’ve been vilified by the Right. They’re just conserving resources, like water, and digging in the dirt to grow food that hasn’t been genetically engineered by Monsanto and doing other good deeds to try and save America. I think they see the truth as clearly as this Haidt fella does.

  • tew

    This is a side comment about the Ron Paul video.  Take two minutes to watch the video instead of the one minute misleading one that is presented in the Bill Moyers episode.  It provides a much different perspective when we actually hear Paul respond.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMHY21VA8WE

    Two things are worth understanding about this exchange:
    1) An unbiased observer will notice that only a very small minority of the large audience cheer when Paul is asked “are you saying that society should just let him die?”  (begins at 1:00 in the video)  Listen to the audience cheers about other questions and responses and it is much, much louder and broad-based.
    2) Paul then discusses his own work as a doctor and says “we never turned anyone away from the hospital”  He goes on to describe his view that communities should directly help those in need of care rather than using a centralized federal system.  He also states that “alternative” medicine should not be prohibited by the government / licensing. 

    You can disagree with Paul, but it’s clear neither he nor the majority of his audience are cheering for the death of an uninsured.

    What is clear is that the widely circulated truncated version of this exchange is solely intended to, in Haidt’s terminology, “demonize”.   The reason for truncating just after the moment a couple of audience members cheer is to give the impression that Paul agrees with their implied perspective, which intentionally misleads the viewer.

  • tew

     How are you able to assert “most”?  Do you mean most conservatives you’ve met or are you relying on studies or gut instinct?

    Secondly, it’s interesting that you note “gaping contradictions”, which is pretty darned close to “hypocrisy”, which Haidt describes as a central feature of human behavior.   Yet you point the finger only at “conservatives”

  • tew

    It’s beautifully ironic to see some of the comments which assert that Haidt is obviously either misled, corrupted, or just plain wrong about everything in the 45 minute segment *except* when he describes the left’s difficulty framing and communicating.  Confirmation bias anyone?!?!?  This is exactly what Haidt is talking about:  partisan people simply reject criticism of their orthodoxy and only allow in conforming thoughts that either affirm their beliefs (including beliefs about the evil of the others) or suggest that difficulties are due only to the inability of non-believers to grasp the truth.

  • Yvonnebullock

    I am an eighty year old individual and have seen a lot of political history in my life time.  I do not close my mind to today’s politics and I agree with Tmkara’s comments.  
    America has changed drastically since I was young…too many people proclaiming their narrow opinions or should I say individual narrow intellectual opinions.  Get real.  I made it through life rearing children, teaching them love of country, etc.  Life is real and many have extreme hardships at this time.  I listen and hear bigotry that is cleverly concealed by many people.  The nation has still much to learn in tolerance.  
    Yes, I see a great division in our nation, much like before the American Civil War…even among my own relatives.  Mr. Haidt my be a very educated young man but has yet much to learn.

  • The Other Katherine Harris

    So much for the microscopic view of minutiae, an apologia for how some dance on pins and regard themselves as angels. Thankfully, Mr. Moyers usually keeps that lens turned around. trained on the far larger forces at play.  “Follow the money” will always be more illustrative a direction than “follow the sanctimony” — the latter being only one means of manipulating the masses.

  • K B

    Apparently not ;)

  • Rosielaf

    I don’t agree with Haidt on cooperation.  In the new thoughts about survival it is often found that cooperation is what rules.In human development, it’s only in the last 3,000 or so that competition and survival of the fittest have been our mantra.  Even Darwin expressed revision in his thinking on his theory…  and after all it is a theory.

  • Rosielaf

    and the other thing about competition and survival of the fittest being justification for always championing capitalism,  what happens when there is a catastrophe, like upcoming water shortages or energy issues causing vast disruptions or killing pollution issues?  Cooperation would serve humanity and the survival of all species in our one Earth.

  • Indian Jones

    You don’t understand Haidt’s story. Haidt says thst without challenge, hypocites will go on being so.

    You turn that around and claim that all criticism is rejected.

    Valid criticism of criticism is fair play. Nonsense from D*******istan is not

  • Indian Jones

    it’s clear neither he nor the majority of his audience are cheering for the death of an uninsured.

    Was it your impression that people were confused on this point?

    Paul is a deception, like O’Bummer.

    Sure, there’s anti-Paul propaganda out there which confirms my suspicions. However, if Ron Paul said what’s really wrong with this country, he’d be a dead letter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Pfeiffer/689898589 Daniel Pfeiffer

    I had the same thought – isn’t it possible that the ant might have invited the grasshopper in, gave him some food then, after a few drinks, busted his chops for being wrong, therefore helping the grasshopper to know better next time?  This is how it works in my circle.

  • K B

    Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for the opportunity to challenge myself on why I think what I do.  Also for a way that both sides may be able to find common ground AND compromise.  I know my coworker isn’t evil even though her political views are very opposite from mine.  If we are both willing to see how the other thinks, we can work together to remove the corruption from the system that serves neither of us and have a government that satisfies both of us.

  • Mike Q.

    Bill Moyers is one of my favorite interviewers, and I like the way he ended the interview with Haidt : “thanks for sharing your ideas with us”.  Very neutral, very Tao. 

    I remember his riveted interest in his interviews with Joseph Campbell in the late 80′s. 

    Let us be clear.  Not everyone who is without insurance is wanting free care.  Sometimes in life, we have to make choices.  We don’t all have the same opportunities.  Haidt tries to make a virtue of greed.  His words are a deafening reminder that, as a society, we lack humanitarian responsibility. 

    Jesus would not have performed his miracles with such an attitude, would he?  Think of the 5000 with no food : does he not create enough food for them all?  Why have all the sages cared for the lowly?  Was it not because of compassion, which I alluded to as “humanitarian responsibility”? 

    The word “karma” is a Sanskrit word that means “action”.  This action can be wise and keep one in a state of balance (of ying-yang).  This action can be ignorant and take one into an experience of awakening.  People who let other people physically die (when there are other options) are not thinking of the evolution of the soul.  I dare say they are thinking about how helping might dent their wallet, how it might affect their attachments.

    As I recall, the rich man had no problem reciting the commandments; he had a problem living them.  He could not sell all he had (because of his attachments), and was unwilling to follow the mystical path of Life (Jesus).

    I might add that Jesus also does not say, “if someone slaps you on the right cheek, slap them back because they had it coming”.  Does he not say, “turn to him the other cheek”.

    Many hear, few understand. 

  • Indian Jones

    Thank you, Rosie.

  • B Brick

    Hmmm.  Excellent point!  I would be really interested in learning these results!

    On a related note,  the amazon reviewer noted at the very end: “In the meantime, the objective reader will be left confused
    and a little frustrated–What point is he trying to make?  Why is he being so elusive?  Why doesn’t he come out and say what he means?”
    I think that speaks to what another poster here said about the reaction of Mr. Moyers, and it could also be that as a fellow objective observer perhaps Mr. Moyers may have been equally puzzled…

    Also, this from a blog entry from Magistra et Mater entitled “Backwards Thinking” in referencing articles by Haidt’s (1993) & (2001) he concludes that:
    “Does it matter if you start from a
    conclusion and work backwards from
    it, rather than working forward from premises and/or data? In a lot of
    situations, it may be fine. I’ve already suggested some kinds of
    fiction writing as very suitable for such a backwards approach (or a mix
    of forward and backwards approaches). The idea of teaching outcomes is
    entirely based on this prior consideration of where you need to get to
    before you start designing a course or a session or an exercise. And
    advocacy, starting from the presumption of a position or a person’s
    rightness and then justifying it, has an important role in society,
    whether it’s in legal or political contexts.

    The problem with such an approach, however, is that it’s potentially
    manipulative. If the conclusion has already been decided, then the
    reader, or the person hearing an argument, or the student in a lesson
    doesn’t get listened to if they say ‘but what about X’, if X is
    something that doesn’t fit with the plan. And in particular, starting
    from the end doesn’t fit with the idea of discovering something new,
    unexpected, whether it’s in a novel or a moral argument. If you’re
    doing research and you start from your conclusions, it’s bad research.
    And part of getting educated, learning, whether it’s in a classroom or
    in a conversation, is the possibility of changing your mind, of seeing
    things differently. Backwards thinking is essentially closed,
    convergent. It’s useful in some situations, but thinking forwards,
    openly, can sometimes produce far more interesting results.

    http://magistraetmater.blog.co.uk/2011/01/06/backwards-thinking-10316742/

    I  have an inkling to respectfully speculate that this particularly confusing manner of presenting material almost borders on what I would dub: “Pulling an Alan Greenspan” in some respects…if you catch my drift ~

  • Indian Jones

    Corey Robinson, great idea.

    similarities between an Eastern moral tradition and Western conservatism morality

    Not.

    The similarity’s between the relations. Western conservatism (classical, paleo-, neo-, bonehead,  whatever) and Eastern morals are incommensurate. 

    D*******istan was a joke; I’d really be freaked out if Haidt wanted them for our Yang.

  • Joliver

    Haidt is just one big bag of GOP talking points. Liberals think that the ants should feed the grasshopper? Oh HELL NO we don’t! Trying to make that parallel between Aesop and the decision  not to buy costly health insurance with 10k deductibles which may or may not pay for ANY of one’s healthcare needs is a weak straw man argument at best. I’m a liberal and I’ve never thought that lazy people should be given handouts, but I do think that we should help the disabled and those who have suffered setbacks through no fault of their own. Haidt paints all poor, handicapped, sick, etc. as “slackers” who deserve the “bad karma” that they’ve brought upon themselves-the same kind of cold, callous, willfully blind thinking that we see in the entire republican party. And NO, women and minorities are not “victims”, they simply want the same legal rights that are given to straight white Christian males at birth. Haidt was once a liberal himself? I sincerely doubt it. In fact, I doubt that he has ever really listened to anything a liberal said, but instead projects his own assumptions about liberals on to all of us and then has the audacity to call US “hypocritical”.

  • DocLyn

    Mr. Haidt seems to present the struggle between the right and the left as compassion versus fairness.
    He presents the dichotomy between slackers and lazy people versus  the successful  as ” the left ” having compassion for the poor and “the right”  defending the right to success.  The real argument is that the left is questioning the right of people to “success”  based on  thievery, exploitation,
    gimics, loopholes, evasion of fairness, war-profiteering, fixed deals etc.  Let’s look at the health insurance business.  Most developed countries believe that making profits off of someone’s malady
    is immoral from the get go.   Is it fair to make money by denying coverage which has been their
    prime objective.  They also use pre-existing conditions so the very people who need the coverage are
    eliminated.  This may make sense from a brass tacks “business model” but is this really fair.   Or what about Halliburton Inc. who has made a fortune on government contracts made by a government whose main proponent for war was a former Halliburton executive who is still collecting dividends.  Of Bain
    Capital who uses a  relatively small amount of equity to buy a company, borrowing massively on the companies assets making it unfeasible to continue while charging huge fees for the entire fiasco.Romney even says he is unemployed yet he makes $55K a day – where is the hard work?  A more mundane example is the show “undercover boss” where you see self made millionaires who when attempting to  perform even one of the jobs of the people who work for him – are completely incapable.   Yet the relative remuneration which was previously a ratio of  1/30 in the 70′s is now 1/127.  in the 90′s.  Have the CEO’s been working that much harder or smarter? I think the left is very concerned with fairness because the transfer of trillions of dollars in wealth are not going to welfare recipients but to the top 1%.  This is not about distributing the wealth of the successful but about recouping the stolen funds.  When Jonathan says that the divide occurred with the civil rights legislation – isn’t race the basis for this divide.  Also exactly what was the evil committed by Roosevelt during the 30′s.  Saving capitalism?  Glass Steagall to prevent banks from using their regular “honest” customers funds to engage in speculation and gambling.  Creating a WORK program so people could earn a decent living building our infrastructure?
    He also mentions the slackers as poor people but he never uses the example of rich plantation owners who acquired their power and wealth by buying human beings, working them to an early death, raping their daughters and mothers etc etc.  The white community in general benefitted from this exploition
    and then generations later while black people have suffered from PTSD, psychological warfare and exclusion are resented when there are attempts to create an even playing field.  We see with all the 
    successful black doctors, lawyers, scientists etc. that when given a chance are as hard working and deserving as anyone else.  Everything about our tax code favors the rich.  Also it is the right with 
    the Axis of Evil which first postulated good versus evil.  They have been the group which has seen
    the world in black and white – patriotic versus traitor, Christian versus Heathen etc.  The left tends to
    base their condemnation based of behavior and sees shades of gray.  We didn’t hate Bush but we knew Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction, conducted an illegal preemptive war, caused the unnecessary loss of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s.  But the right hates Obama because he is a secret Muslim, hates white people, believes in socialism and is setting up FEMA concentration camps etc.  Is there any factual basis for their resentment.  
    He also states the the right are more loyal – yet a recent study showed that conservatives divorce more and have more teen pregnancy.   Are they more loyal to their marriage partners? marriage oath, christian ideals?  Is loyalty blind submission to a group – or is real loyalty to ability to criticize your friend.  Is agreement real loyalty.  How does he explain Ron Paul’s anti-war stance.  He did raise
    his hand against the group – is he an aberration? 
    The one point he made which I agree with is that the left fails to honor the sacred.  We are too crass,
    foul mouthed and insensitive.  We need to recognize the power of the symbols such as the flag because we lose any people who are potentially are friends.  

  • informationforager

    Thanks for the info. I’m reviewing the sites.  

    Although I don’t think that Jon Haidt had a chance to say it completely, he has outlined  an idea confirmed by research that some people find hard to understand.   People usually discuss and argue things as advocates and they should be trying to look at things like a scientist. He started to say this and the discussion went elsewhere.  Anyway, Thanks. 

  • tew

     Haidt does not say that the left “fails to honor the sacred”.  He says that partisans, left and right, have their own tribal sacrosanct objects of worship.  So feigning honor for out of tribe sacred objects is not the idea.

  • Lefty LeRouge

    Haidt is a conciliatory academic who seems a
    little too comfortable in his ivory tower. 
    I suppose the Nazis were just misunderstood values voters, demonized by
    left-wing radicals, and whose genocidal policies were an institutional pursuit
    of Aryan “fairness.”  And his take on
    Aesop?  Our industry pays the great
    karmic debt?  Tell, me, how does a
    Staples employee making $9 per hour manage a monthly health care premium, pay
    the rent and still afford to stow away a reserve of acorns?  Politics is conflict and Haidt is philosophy’s
    Neville Chamberlain.

  • Cynthia from Brooklyn

    Don’t conservatives who believe in “karma” understand that stepping over the bodies of the “grasshoppers” who didn’t make it for whatever reason will lead to a lower quality of life for everyone.
    Politicians who have never traveled (like George W Bush) can’t envision the real world consequences of their policies.

  • tew

     Are you suggesting that the concept of “survival of the fittest” is a human “mantra”?  This is a central concept in the theory of evolution and applies to all species.  (Also, it’s best understood as “survival of the most adaptable”, because evolution happens in a dynamic, not static, world.  The “fitness” is for adaptation.)

  • Anonymous

    This program just aired here.    I found Haidt a bit short on evidence to back up his ideas.  I thought it was rather curious when attempting to explain the Republican reaction to Blitzers question abut health care that he would use Aesop to justify it.  Since Republicans pretend to be such Christians, would it not have been more appropriate to use the Prodigal Son in the Bible to determine an appropriate response?  Of course, the father of the prodigal son accepted his son and took him back- that wouldn’t suit the right.

    In another part of his explanations, he spoke about the Republican response to welfare- arguing that it offended their sense of fairness.  Funny he didn’t mention the fact that when corporations and wealthy people receive welfare, they are not offended by that. 

    It seemed like Haidt sees himself as a great social thinker and was not going to let the whole truth disturb his theory.  I was unimpressed.

  • tew

     ”Follow the money” is tactical; it is not a framework.

  • K B

    I have to agree with tew, I see a lot of comments continuing to insist the other side is evil and listing reasons Haidt is wrong.  Where is the  discussion of how being blind drives us further apart and how both sides could agree and moralize that our government being bought by the wealthiest is corrupt and wrong and must change?
    The vast unpolitical middle of our society needs to become aware of the concentration of wealth and political power with the few and this can’t happen if we remain in a liberal vs conservative mindset.     

  • Anonymous

    So rather than negotiate change even if it means accepting incremental change, you would suggest?????

  • Anonymous

    Your co worker is probably not evil but Haidt spoke primarily in terms of political leaders.  He conveniently ignored the first rule of politics:  Follow the money.  Boehner’s motives might be beyond reproach if every policy he promotes did not favor those with the most power and money in this country.

  • Martin Edmunds

    Dear Mr. Haidt:
     
           I find it impossible to disagree with anything you said
    today on Bill Moyers’ show. And I’m glad you said it, be-
    cause it’s something people of all “stripes” really need to
    hear. It’s just a pity that the people who need to hear it the
    most don’t usually watch Bill Moyers.
           Though I’m from what’s usually called the “liberal left”,
    and will no doubt die there, at age 55 I have long given up
    blaming others for practically anything. It was just nicely
    reassuring to hear a smart, educated guy like you give val-
    idity to what I thought might be a failing due to “advanc-
    ing years”. You can be sure I’ll buy your book. I only hope
    that some way, some day, you’ll sign it.
           The reason I’m cluttering up your web page is to bring
    your attention to something you no doubt already know
    but (who knows?) might not.
           It’s a psychological phenomenon akin to the thing you
    said about individual moral judgement being unreliable
    and needing group consensus. But rather than it being a
    moral judgement, it’s a strictly “physical” one. It’s the
    “guess how many jellybeans there are in this big glass jar”
    thing.
          ( I read about this particular phenomenon years ago, and just came across it again in a TVO (our provincial
    version of PBS) show about the history of mathematics.)
          There was something like 3050 jellybeans in the jar,
    but the guesses people made in the contest were wildly all
    over the place, from 500 all the way up to 35000. No sin-
    gle guess was even very close. But when they averaged out all the guesses, the number they came up with was
    within four jellybeans of the right amount.
           So I suppose the lesson from all this (besides how to win a jellybean estimating contest) is that group consen-
    sus is the best way to go in most areas of human endeav-
    our.
           Keep up the good work.

                                                      Sincerely,

                                                                 Martin Edmunds.
          
           

  • K B

    But we can’t fix it until we understand how we think and why we are so divided.
    I think we all have more we agree on than we realize because the other side is so vilified.  Once we see that we can work together to fix it. 

  • Anonymous

    ROFL!!!!!   Do name one progressive in the Republican party.  If you want to make such outlandish claims as the one you made about progressive policies being responsible for the problems, at least present SOME evidence.  You are laughable.

  • D. Lowe

    WOW!  This program is so helpful.  I have several “wonderings” on this program.
    1)  When these 2 groups lock horns, it seems that arguments, like advertisements, do have a “tid bit” of truth but never the whole truth.  For example, “tough love” tactics may work for individuals to learn lessons in life but bailouts may be necessary for the whole world economy to continue.    Is their confusion with language?  The banking system was prevented from collapsing world economy.  That doesn’t mean that “tough love” isn’t necessary in the case of  bonuses or the unethical practices of “market-making” by lies and omissions, or irresponsible risk-taking  does it?   Here I am thinking of 2 semi-truths: a) always learn the lesson in a mistake and b) “there is nothing you can learn in a mistake.”  Is the  truth some combination of these 2 ideas?  If one doesn’t examine a result how can one possibly change an outcome.  On the other hand if one is stuck in a poor result nothing new happens either.   Do these 2 truths need each other to move on?   Depending on the point from which one views, taking the risk of admitting a failure to oneself may bring a new result and  taking the risk of trying again may allow for something better to happen but do both have to happen in order for the new to emerge?

    2)  Mr. Haidt does not address the effect of advertising and media that amplifies and supports the differences between these 2 groups intentionally and unintentionally as being, perhaps,  a  huge part of the “net” about which he spoke.  If it is true that marketing creates it’s market and in 2009 Americans (on average) saw close to 5,000 ads a day (while in the 1970′s it was only 1,000)  AND “EVERYTHING is marketing today”,  isn’t it  probable that “market making” has engulfed us in  competitiveness and we have no better filter (YET) with which to separate ourselves from this clamor; that, perhaps, the small, half-truth that we respond to and is continually reinforced  becomes our filter and so eventually blocks all else different from itself?  In the the recent PBS airing of “Athens” the moderator explains that idiote (or idiot) comes from a Greek word referring to those who do not participate in democratic debate.  Does our immersion in media in all it’s forms keep us immersed in the external world while the advertising programs and organizes our internal world thus making the ease of manipulation today beyond comprehension.  To take a truth on the other side, is an idiot one who remains in this media oriented world but is not created by it – is not of it – grown a filter?????  Does one need to grow a “gatekeeper” to keep marketers at bay?   Wondering.

    3)  In debate there is a tactic called “going between the horns”????  In order for something new to be created do these 2 sides need to be so “squished” together that they can walk “through the eye of a needle” together and in doing so come out on the other side looking unlike anything that existed before????  Surely staying where we are, stuck between two incomplete ideas, isn’t working???
    Personally, I heard the President address many of the concerns voiced  today.  Is it possible that we have all filtered out – been unable to recognize or even hear – something new already?  If something is truly new – how would one recognize it?   Can an old filter see anything new?  I do  wonder about my own unseen filters.

    Wondering on with gratitude to anyone brave enough to wonder this far with me.  D. Lowe Boise ID

  • MarcDel

    I have viewed the interview twice and read all the comments, many multiple times. There are weaknesses in all. I have come to view the concepts positively to the extent that it is always in the best interests of the collective good for the collective to try to work together. Analyze the why’s and how’s all we wish but in the end we are fighting each other to our detriment. I will continue to seek to understand before I see to be understood. In that small way maybe I can contribute and not detract.

  • Anonymous

    Jscottu- I get it.  You are simply demonstrating the model that Haidt employed- only you don’t have the intellectual dept and are too lazy to actually present evidence that might give even a modicum of respectability to your comment.  Big government?  Really?  Is that why government jobs have fallen consistently since Obama took office.  Big  government?  Is that why Obama got rid of DADT?  Big government?  Is that why Obama has refused to defend the DOMA? 

    You just hope that the facts fit the theory you’ve already embraced.

  • Indian Jones

    Wrong again, Charley. Not gonna watch this crap again but in his papers Haidt says Liberals are low in the “ethic of divinity”.

    I am impressed with your conclusion, though. Feigning honor is exactly the wrong way to go. Liberals have their own drive to transcendance. The failure of US leadership to find a locus of harmony between those drives is a feature, not a bug.

    The US trashed the faith of many Americans when it chose empire. I love those people. They still have the dream.

  • Mike McClintock

    To add to the negative reactions to Haidt:  There have been Democratic (or at least liberal/progressive) arguments against the plutocratic class warfare of the past 40-50 years.  Maybe Haidt hasn’t read them, although Moyers interviewed the authors of one, Winner-Take-All Politics, just a couple of weeks ago.  Thomas Frank’s Pity the Billionaire, of course, is just out.  And, day in, day out, there’s Paul Krugman’s blog and column.   Haidt says he began as a liberal; maybe he did, but in his engagement with conservative case-making, he seems to have begun really thinking conservative thoughts, and some thoughts, once you really think them, will rot your mind.  Haidt seems unable now to see that the field of left-right disputation is no longer level, that money (mostly) and the intensity of data-free simplemindedness (toward which–let’s be fair here–he does recognize that some of his own data do point) advantage the one per cent–or the one tenth or one hundredth of one per cent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/irFrank29 Frank Russell

    I appreciate what you are trying to do but your last guest Mr. Haidt is a better representative for the G.O.P. He told us that the G.O.P.is right and us liberals are full of our selves. He was a waste of your time and energy. He gave little to no relevance to the fact that the G.O.P. has been stacking the deck n their favor ever since the S.O.B. Regan came into being. The greedy and wealthy along with all of the old “Bircher’s” saw they had an effective “Billy Rays” for their perverted organization. Mr. Haidt, was very supportive of the G.O.P. He remarked that he was a liberal, obviously a Regan liberal.
    Please, open the Pandora’s box about “vulture” capitalism. The only reason the right is successful is because it has been stealing from us on Wall Street.

  • Filmguy2058

    …..you fit what he said…..thanks for your confirmation…..

  • Indian Jones

    Bless your heart, Doc.

    One correction. Haidt does not say the right prefers compassion. He says they prefer authority, loyalty, and sanctity. I call it the morality of sectarianism. Haidt prefers this too.

    Apparently it’s been advantageous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Pfeiffer/689898589 Daniel Pfeiffer

    Wow.  Lots to digest, both in the program and in the posts here.  Perhaps I will watch this episode again, as my initial reaction (after Mr. Haidt laid the groundwork for his theories) was one of rejection to many of his conclusions about how we human beings operate.  Case in point: If I was the ant in his grasshopper/ant scenario, my reaction would have been to invite the grasshopper in, share what I had gathered with him  then, after a few drinks, bust his chops about how wrong he was, allowing for us to come together, and for him to survive, learn and grow.  But there was no room for this type of thinking in much of Mr. Haidt’s discussion.

    I commend Mr. Moyers for wanting to address the deepen divide in our nation, and allowing Mr. Haidt to present his case, but even he (to this viewer) looked a little confounded by the conversation.  Perhaps this was due to Mr. Haidt’s stretching so far into his theory as to ignore how it has been manipulated so brazenly in our current political environment.

    To me, Obama made a grave mistake in not prosecuting the illegality that occurred under the previous administration (so brilliantly detailed in the 3 episodes preceding this one).  This, I believe, left ALL Americans with a great sense of injustice, one that the GOP have exploited extremely well – all they had to do was fan the flames of the very real, righteous anger that exists today and demonize the president as the ‘other’ who failed to address our problems to regain political footing.

    Of course, we are still without confident, agreeable, just responses to our nation’s problems, and tonight’s guest only fostered the continuation of our ideological paralysis.

  • Indian Jones

    Or maybe Duke of Windsor?

  • Anonymous

    This was an excellent program.  Thank you, Mr. Moyers.  I just wonder why it was not shown on KVIE, channel 6, Sacramento, where Mr. Moyers’ previous two new programs were shown on a Sunday at 5 p.m.  What replaced it on my TV was an old program I’d already seen.  Should I now throw my TV out the window and just watch everything on line?

  • Indian Jones

    A lower quality of life for everyone? Please, Cynthia, don’t throw your punches.

  • Lindaleewhite15

    Thank you for explaining who Saul Alinsky was. I have heard Newt Gingrich’s comments and could never remember Saul’s name to look him up in detail. Thank you, now I know that I’m a Saul Alinsky supporter and why.

  • K B

    Haidt isn’t professing one side’s view over the other’s!

    Haidt repeatedly says liberals see it this way, conservatives see it this way.  He says what each side does better. 

    As to what Haidt’s political view is, he says,” 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.”

    It may be helpful for some people to go watch “Haidt’s Mind Opening Journey” in the Dig Deeper section. I don’t think he is saying he isn’t liberal anymore, I think he is willing to see what others value in their beliefs, even if they are different from his own views.

  • http://mlfassmd.com/ Margot Fass

    A revised version of The Ant and the Grasshopper story I have appropriated:  The ant opens the door to the hungry grasshopper and invites him in.  The grasshopper plays music for ant the whole winter long in return for food, and the ant, instead of having Seasonal Affective Disorder, and being bored out of his mind, learns to dance.  

  • K B

    You get it!
    Love the result of the jelly bean thing.

  • Martin Fass

    Watching this superb program via the valuable option of downloading it and then connecting the computer to our tv set, because programming in light of the Super Bowl moved the regular broadcast tonight from 6PM to 11PM.

    Thank you for offering us so many options, even before the actual broadcast!  And thank you for such a rare, fine conversation as the one tonight with Jonathan Haidt.  

    It is encouraging and inspiring to be in the audience for people who are thinking and reasoning, rather than trying to sell, push, cajole, seduce…while also shouting, threatening…I will not continue this long sentence because it is clear how NOT to be encouraged and inspired.

    Thank you so much.

  • Toddfboyle

    Haidt says, liberals need to lose that moralism, and work on our Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity.   Hey dude.   The government of this country killed millions in Korea who never attacked America, millions more in Vietnam, and at least a million in the Persian Gulf.   I am NOT LOYAL to this government, I spit on so-called “authorities”, and you sir, are an immoral hack. 

  • a viewer, once again

    Yesterday I posted my opinion about Bill Moyers interview with Jonathan Haidt, which was swiftly taken down, I assume by the censors who work at Moyers & Company.  I was shocked, as the only reason for doing so would be a vast stretch to the personal attack provision of the Comment Policy.  While my comments were acrid in nature, I felt that Mr. Haidt fully deserved them.  They in no way were threatening, profane or off-topic.  They were a tongue-in-cheek parody of this man’s diatribe, which I found obnoxious and offensive.  He continually misused the term “Karma”, and I took notice that I was not the only viewer to take note of this error.  He talked down to his audience, which again I’m reasonably sure, others besides myself found offensive, hence I talked down to him. I called  him a pretender of wisdom.  Certainly I am not the only viewer who saw through his pompous remarks and pretentious manner.  

    My point,—-It’s alright for Mr. Haidt to attack our intelligence in the most obnoxious manner I can imagine, yet a sincere objection to his opinion and most offensive manner of speech, rebuffed by an obvious parody is worthy of censorship? Is this what Bill Moyers really wants? If I am taken down again, I will assume the answer is Yes,and will forever wonder what happened to the Bill Moyers I thought I knew.

  • Indian Jones

    To be unambiguous, by pulling a Greenspan, meaning to dissemble with purpose.

    And the prior example, in my terms, is to teach without knowledge of the blind allies (or the miraculous ones).

    Yes, opportunities have been pruned. 

  • Upwalker

    Mr. Haldt’s a smart guy but he does not hit the nail on the head with one hundredth of the accuracy and clarity of George Lakoff in his MORAL POLITICS: HOW LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES THINK.  Lakoff frames the difference between liberals and conservatives in terms of the family: “nurturant parent” family model for liberals and “strict father” family model for conservatives. This frame actually explains every single aspect of both sides, and Lakoff is a master of illumination. Unfortunately, the upshot is that liberals consistently fail to articulate a morality nearly as well as the conservatives, who are masterful and have co-opted the necessary vocabulary, even the very word ‘morality.’ 

  • K B

    I don’t need to talk to Boehner, I need to talk to other voters.  And we need to understand each other rather than vilify each other.

  • Toddfboyle

    I do not accept Haidt’s analysis.   The moderators apparently took down my earlier comment so, I’ll say no more here. 

  • Indian Jones

    You mean being blind to our common ills drives us apart?

    Then why is Haidt championing what we don’t agree with?

    Wake up.

  • Maggie

    I am not religious or a far lefty but did not Jesus say “Do unto these least of these and you do unto me.” What is it about this statement that those on the religious right do not understand in terms of medical care and help for those who are not “successful” in this country? Maggie

  • Bob

    Very good show

  • Indian Jones

    No. She’s informing you of one fact and one theory.  Social animals cooperate (not to say that others don’t). Human society has, in the past 3000 years (her term), amplified competition.

    Darwin laundered  Malthus’ capitalist excuse for wage slavery (scarcity). He put it in all nature to explain the phylogenetic tree and Spencer pulled it out of the wash and sold it to the robber barons.

    God lurv da Brits.

  • http://twitter.com/stillonline sharon stillson

    At first I was really impresses by the presentation.  Then like Chinese food ..the logic fell apart.  I watched a second time – as the seemingly ernest soft spoken man leaned in to talk to Moyers.  He anticipated Moyers every question and assured him like he was an aging grandfather.  I haven’t heard rationalizations like that since I lived with a cheating speed freak boyfriend. First problem – his false equivalency puts humanitarian instincts on par with greed.  This ain’t the jungle.

  • Indian Jones

    How so?

  • Angela

    I heart Bill Moyers… and I thought the interview was fascinating. I’m a liberal that is guilty of not understanding, fearing and laughing at conservatives but while wishing we could see our similarities instead of our differences. Haidt was right when he said that demonizing the other group serves one group within society but harms the larger society as a whole.

  • Maryannpreston

    To Judyking,I couldn’t have put it better!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Talvacchia/1493526983 Shawn Talvacchia

    Haidt paints both sides as neutral in their moralizing of politics. He explains that the type of rhetoric that divides us further into our tribes is harmful for the nation, but then describes Conservative actions that do just that as “good” “brilliant” etc. And brushes Newt being a hypocrite off as, ‘well we are all hypocritical’. But, are we all at the same level? Isn’t this a key point, finding which moral matrix has the larger propensity to be hypocritical?

    The 6 value points were also unconvincing. Seemed like an example of conformation bias for Haidt himself. Not only should it matter what those particular points mean within each moral matrix, but also whether they are more than just talking points. Of course each side is susceptible to talking points, but I don’t believe it is even. Fairness? Conservatives certainly abuse this talking point and paint the poor as lazy welfare freeloaders. But these aren’t partying grasshoppers that get cold when winter comes, these are communities who are kicked down and forgotten by a system which doesn’t work for them. Isn’t this another key point, which side has a propensity to use talking points over more critical analysis? Certainly it’s working for both sides. Certainly it is part of the cause for us being divided.

    Curing this problem will take an emphasis on self-criticism and there are ways to escape just being the helpless hypocrite Haidt seems to suggest we are doomed to be. But it also takes critical analysis of both sides and that demands an emphasis on objective thinking, and objectivity is not neutrality.

  • CharlesUtwaterII

    Haidt is a snake oil salesman. His last comment, that Congress is corrupt but oh, my we mustn’t demonize them was  a classic tell. He’d rather be civil than truthful.

    Similarly, talking about the left’s “sacralized victim classes” was a tell about his real feelings toward those in the dawn/twilight/shadows of life, as Humphrey put it. He sees caring for people who cannot care for themselves as a kind of idol worship.

    His analysis was full of strawmen (the ant feeding the grasshopper, for example). I’d have had no trouble answering the question Ron Paul fumbled about the guy who could have bought insurance, but didn’t and then got sick: “Charge him full freight.” But the question that should have been asked and wasn’t would be, “What about the person who cannot pay for insurance and gets sick? Should that person just die?” 

    I was disappointed by this segment. If one is going to invite a snake oil salesman, one ought to be prepared with sharper questions.   

  • Marco

     It’s not unlike, “I have many Jewish friends, but…..

  • Courtleigh Cannick

    I would have liked to have seen an expansion of the topic of karma as related to the example of the Aesop’s Ant & Grasshopper fable and a topic like welfare.  If Haidt’s assessment is correct then some nuance is needed to explain why when the financial institutions or the car companies “fiddled” away their prosperity by making poor decisions and taxpayers bailed them out the conservative establishment didn’t find that an unacceptable karmic violation.  

    When the grasshopper made his decision, no one was involved but the grasshopper.  But what if the grasshopper’s failure was directly tied to the ants’ success, i.e., he employed a lot of ants.  Wouldn’t the ants have had additional motivation to put karma aside?  Would we feel the same way? Apparently not considering our history with the auto and financial industries.

  • Mike Q.

    Cynthia’s right. 

    Everything is interconnected.  When we act wisely, we help the whole world.  When we act ignorantly, we affect the whole world. 

    The most current example of this is global warming.  The choices we make today will affect generations to come. 

    Regarding our national situation : the choices we made in the past are the reason we are where we are.  Our choices today will determine our future (that is, the future of EVERY SINGLE citizen in our country).

  • Anonymous

    Frederic Bastiat said it all in The Law (1850). 

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it
    springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a
    result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by
    government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at
    all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we
    are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the
    socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a
    state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And
    so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not
    wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

  • Anonymous

    Ron Paul’s LIFE has already answered your point.  When he was a practicing doctor BEFORE Medicare, he and most doctors, treated EVERYONE.

  • Rose

    Some very good points and given the proof which lies in everyday news, I think he has hit the mark.  I would like to hear more about how he sees the future unfold given the extreme polarization.  I’d also love to hear more from a panel including representatives from both sides.

  • Indian Jones

    What you mean we, White Man?

  • Indian Jones

    Reference, please.

  • Indian Jones

    I wasn’t being sarcastic.

  • Indian Jones

    Sorry to be glib, but, negotiate smart and negotiate big.

    But first, Occupy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwbzxemJZIc&feature=related

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS

    Hi a viewer, once again,
    I do not see the post to which you are referring, can you tell me if you posted under another moniker perhaps?

    Thanks,

    AnneLBS

  • Upwalker

    Maggie, i think the religious right see the “not successful” as people who didn’t follow the rules, didn’t work hard enough, weren’t obedient, and didn’t have the rights values. Therefore they don’t DESERVE to be helped. 

    Of course it doesn’t make sense that many of the “unsuccessful” themselves hold conservative values.  I did read that a mighty high percentage of people way down the ladder believe they will make it to the top… if they just do the right thing.  Kinda like keep eating donuts believing you will become slim if you just eat enough of ‘em.

  • Indian Jones

    The early Haidt was clarifying. However, I already knew that conservatives valued authority and theo-sanctity more. Calling those morality adds no value. The problem is not misunderstanding. The problem is a conflicting set of values.

    Lefty’s are largely where they are due to abuses of all three conservative “moral fundamentals”. Conservatives hang on to them because it’s their in-game. No new insights.

    The only thing this reinforces is that the elite are playing hardball.  These divisions should not be in politics; they would not be if the elite had alternatives.

    Haidt’s added nada but diversion.

    Plus, I don’t want a conservative yang.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS

    Hi Toddfboyle,

    Your comment post was not removed. Try sorting by a different filter; the filter’s default setting is “most popular now”, not most recent.

    Thanks,
    AnneLBS

  • a viewer, once again

    Hi Anne, it was right here, you can’t see it because they censored, really. Hopefully they have realized their error, we’ll see

  • a viewer, once again

     Ann, posted under a viewer, I usually don’t get this upset, but what was done was really wrong—-thanks

  • Indian Jones

    He’s professed! Haidt “emerged as a centrist who believes that “conservatives have a more accurate understanding of human nature than do liberals.”" 

    He’s neither out of nor above, he’s in the middle of the game! Even that’s dubious. Haidt doesn’t have the gravitas, the statesmanship to play the role he aspires to.

    He hasn’t got the judgment.

  • Tag

    My daughter retold the story with another ant that has all he’s collected all summer stolen or destroyed. Now what will the first ant do?

  • Nealcamp

    The comments are just about what Haidt predicted they would be.

  • Davidthomaswebb

    Mr. Haidt said something I have thought for years, American politics has become a Religon. Republicans have embraced laissez faire capitalism and “traditiional” religious values when it comes to women, minorities and gays. Add guns to that and you have a potent communion. Democrats have become afraid to embrace their legacy of civil rights, women’s rights, homosexual rights etc. The latter are more challenging but represent the surge of history. The total failure of Trickle Down Economics can only be ignored except that it is a religious dogma of the “right”. Moral clarity is wonderful. Too bad that it is so easy to acquire. All you need to do is to stop thinking.

  • Anonymous

    I can relate to Haidt’s movement from liberal to conservative but in the reverse direction.  The reason for my shift is that the conservative spokesmen seem to have lost touch with reality and have pushed ideological purity to the extreme as was stated in the interview.  There is no room for moderates in the Republican Party, but the Democrats accept all comers under a bigger tent.  Hence party registration for Republicans is declining and Democrats are increasing in most states.  Others are going Independent because neither party speaks for them anymore.

    I agree with his goal of getting people to work together to solve this country’s problems.  In looking at specific issues we should be looking for the parts of the problem where agreement is possible.  What is the root of the differences over welfare and long term unemployment coverage?  I speculate that a sizable majority would agree that some fraction of the population is incapable of gaining employment due to life circumstances some of which are temporary and some which are permanent.  A majority would also likely agree that some fraction is capable of working and has chosen not to work for whatever reason.  We have already decided as a society to provide for people unable to take care of themselves, so the question becomes how do we help people overcome their life circumstances and how do we minimize the number of freeriders.  When should we choose the tough love approach with limits and consequences?  When should we choose pure compassion and for whom?   It seems like the 1990s welfare reform tried to do this but was overcome by the Great Recession.

    Thanks to Moyer and Company for providing a forum for ideas.

  • Indian Jones

    Haidt is an atheist who wants to referee a religious conflict. In a depression. In a collapsing ecosystem.

    See the humor?.

  • Indian Jones

    These differences are irrelevant because they are based on outdated expectations. The elite are lying and plundering because change must come. First truth, then reconciliation.

  • Indian Jones

    Let’s hear it from him, skiddles.

  • tz

    Mr. Moyers, you just got conned by Haidt.  Please feature more worthy guests in the future.  Love your new show.  Thanks, tz

  • Anonymous

    The only constant thing is change. Conservatives are against change. Ergo, conservatives are fighting a losing battle. Name ONE significant social advance of the last two hndred years that conservatives did NOT oppose. Can’t do it, can you? PEACE.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS

    I see a post of yours on the “segment” page of this conversation between Moyers and Haidt:  

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/jonathan-haidt-explains-our-contentious-culture/

    Is it possible this is the post you’re referring to?Each week, we publish the full show as well as each segment separately. I hope this didn’t cause confusion.

  • JAM

    I don’t subscribe to the Neville Chamberlain approach to modern politics today.

    i.e. Sometimes lines DO need to be drawn – and the reality of the lies being propagated – organized propagated lies need to be uncovered – before it is too late for a society.

    Chamberlain fell into this trap with Hitler – this trap that one can negotiate or finda way through – once a certain pitch of extremism takes hold in the upper echelons of power –

    I believe we have this problem now in the United States and other parts of the world.  We have reached a dangerous level of extremism – that is destroying our world environment, and creating a social structure that benefits a relatively few at the expense of the majority.

    This is the truth.  It is neither right or left.  There is a reality to decide and a side to choose.  I think this is where Haidt gets it wrong – though he presents his psychological case well.  Yet – just as I don’t think there can ever be equivocation in the results of Hitler’s power and the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930s – and the disastrous results his ideology and extremism led to – WE MUST AND HAVE to recognize the same extremism is now present in our society today – and will lead to just as disastrous results if we do not soon fight against it – WITHOUT COMPROMISE.

  • B Brick

    Sorry.  I don’t follow you. (shrug)  I’ll admit it – sometimes I am really dense and need things spelled out for me.

    What’s your point – like – in plain english?

    I just don’t get the whole *pruned* reference.  Sorry.

  • a viewer, once again

    Ann, I don’t think so, I did a post on this”segment” section that you mention, yes it is a bit confusing, however that was about an hour ago.  perhaps I am wrong, but I think what at least some of us are upset about is the very presence of this man on Mr. Moyers show. I keep copies of everthing I write, you have my eMail if you want a copy of it. I am an older man, retired, but taught philosophy and Oriental Religions on a part time basis,– not that I am comparinng myself to Joseph Campbell, he had a unique gift for teaching. However I do feel qualified to comment on this young mans lack of competance in certain aspects of life that he, himself brings into the conversation. His demeanor I feel sure many of us find obnoxious and condescending and at least from my point of view has no place on a quality show such as yours.

  • http://unrulymob.blogspot.com SadButTrue

    If Mr. Haidt really wants to discuss ‘fairness’ in terms of economics he should perhaps start with the Labor Theory of Value, best expressed by Abraham Lincoln.

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.
    Capital is only the fruit of labor,
    and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.
    Labor is the superior of capital,
    and deserves much the higher consideration.”
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    By this theory, it isn’t the lowly peasant who has been laid off or is working for less than a living wage who is parasitic on society. It’s the lazy capitalist who exploits the work of others for profit. There is NOTHING moral about that. In fact it tends towards the morality of the feudal baron of old Europe.

    You seldom see such a hypocrite as Jonathan Haidt who is not a card-carrying member of the Republican party.

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

    Perhaps Haidt can not tell the difference between Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism – a doctrine which causes limitless death, and apologia for death, all while an elite cabal of warmongering puppet masters fatten their wallets with soaring profits from each new military appropriations cycle.
    This is not the kind of “leadership” which Americans are told they are voting for, but it does explain completely the downward slide in our quality of education, economic empowerment, and emotional stability.

  • Leslye

    I tested my Moral Foundation and came out green.  Not a surprise, but Haidt seemed to have overlooked where we Greenies fit into the great divide.  Could it be that not everyone fits into his neat analysys?

  • http://markmc03.livejournal.com/ MarkMc

    I’m trying to decide whether or not my reluctance to accept Jonathon Haidt’s assessment of conservative attributes is an affirmation of his premise that one side demonizes the other. Whenever I thought about the George W. Bush administration, I had a visceral gut reaction to its members, that Republicans, and in particular the neo-cons, were evil. There was an unwholesomeness attached to their policies like the stink on a corpse.

    No matter which way you dress it up, Republican values seem grounded in fear of and contempt for others, ‘others’ being those who do not fit their mold.

    I disagree with your guest on one other point, that the Republican view of success and failure is tied to a belief in a very simplistic form of ‘Karma’, that action results in some immediate reaction – sowing good reaps good, while sowing evil reaps evil in return. The crude belief that hard work results in rewards while failure is the result of an unwillingness to work hard is such a twisted belief, it leaves no room for compassion, for considering the possibility that hard work does not always result in reward and that failure may simply be the inevitable outcome given a certain set of circumstances.

    Haidt seemed to be saying there was no qualitative difference between taking the high road or taking the low road. I beg to differ.

    There is nothing ennobling about greed and selfishness. Showing concern for the less fortunate, treating others with respect and dignity, those are qualities I see in progressive thinkers. Does that make me guilty of demonizing Republicans?

  • Capkelly

    I am glad to see this kind of comment.  I listened to Haidt, and tried to learn from him, and he made some good points.

    But when he said Republicans believe in karma, that was hard to take.  If they believe in that, how can they not care about the poor?  Why is corporate welfare okay and regular welfare not?

    I *DO* agree with him that Dems made a mess out of welfare… far too generous (at the time), and should have been a big NO to illegal imigration.  The Dems went too far.

    However, the Republicans seem, as mentioned by this poster, to want to go back to a feudal society where they hold all the power.  Where is that karma?

    I don’t know… Haidt sounded reasonable but left a sour taste in my mouth that I could not quite figure out.  Am enjoying these comments!

  • Capkelly

    Yes, he did not address the non-belief in science in the face of total urgency.  How nothing has been done although 99% of scientists agree on global warming, is staggering.  We see the results of this already.  Records set everywhere.  And at such a time, people need to pull together but seem unable to.  Haidt would say it is because we demonize the other side.  But one side will not read science.  One side is totally ignorant in this and is bound to primative religious beliefs (“I am right, you are wrong”).  I do not see that you can ever reason with these people.

  • Capkelly

    The problem is dems to not make their case, as Haidt said.  If they pointed out the economic nonsense that there is, if they would stand up for human rights, right to American Dream, that would all be good.  But also there needs to be something said about not being the world’s police, about not spending ourselves silly, and the hardest is that while one person may be for gay rights… I think it’s fine, but it is really not a big issue for me.  I think gays this last generation are just going to be accepted.  I don’t care if they can marry or not, for example.

    OTOH, Dems want to embrace hispanics.  That is fine, but what about huge numbers of illegals?  A lot of Democrats have been outraged for 30 years about illegals.  Taking in Mexico’s (or whomever’s) underclass of course weakens the social safety net for citizens, causes hospitals to close, causes schools in LA to have gone from first in the nation to last.

    So Dems do have to rethink some things.  But yes, at least they do think while Repubs have been so extreme they’ve pretty much gone off a cliff.

  • Capkelly

    Yes, but in those days, before insurance companies set outrageous fees, your average Joe could afford drs. fees.  I am old enough to remember that, and I am way younger than Ron Paul.

    Obviously, today’s doctors are NOT treating everyone.  They can’t.  Even if you are paying you are lucky to get 10 or 15 minutes under the HMO model (which is true in non HMOs as well) that has, unfortunately, evolved.

  • Capkelly

    Yes, I agree demonizing serves nobody.  However, I don’t think it was mentioned that haters of the right wing, think Lindbaugh, get the free use of airwaves for propaganda.  Why is that?  That is all about $$ not about truth or information, obviously.

    I think the propoganda machine is scary and revs up the would-be fascist types.  And that is one reason why the Republicans have gone reactionary.

  • Jonton

    I get the sense that Haidt may be catastrophically wrong and here’s why. As human beings there are just certain characteristics and beliefs that are good for human survival, cooperation and prosperity. If we had a society of people with the all for yourself mentality it would not be a pretty world to live in, obviously. I think a lot of what republicans believe could be construed as anti-social. Now obviously they have an in group of people that accept their ideas, but I feel like more and more, that group of people is shrinking. This is evident in gay rights, music, movies, tv etc. People are not buying into quintessential republican/conservative social values. I think this is so because as I mentioned above they are mostly anti-social. So at what point do you stop commending negative behavior altogether instead of providing caveats such as: well they are”loyal” (which is presented in a such a simplistic and base way by haidt) and start getting people to see the fallacy of certain ideas? At what point in time do you start to say, you know what guys, it’s 2012, maybe we should really think about religious beliefs and how our beliefs negatively affects others and how we treat them? I feel like most of haidts points were predicated on strawmen when the reality is that in order to make a better society, liberals are rejecting anti-social conservative view points instead of having some misunderstanding or some intrinsic psychological x-factor that makes them liberal. It seems like haidt wants to vacillate and apologize for indefensible positions and mentalities that will not build a cohesive society. Or maybe I have it all wrong?

  • Capkelly

    What about the bankers who blew up the economic system, just about?  They were unsuccessful by ANY definition.  They totally failed.  Yet they got bonuses, kept their jobs, their banks are larger.

    So why do some unsuccessfuls get away with this and are not held to, uh, ANY standard?

  • Anonymous

    “The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”  -Bertrand Russell
    And I would say the essence of the authoritarian mind is that it has already decided that any new ideas and information must conform to what has already been accepted as fact by the authoritarian tribal leaders.
    The common ground between the two minds can only be found by the liberal who would look for it.  The authoritarian already has decided that he is right and everyone else is wrong.

  • Indian Jones

    I used to believe that Dems should speak the truth.

    Now I believe they can’t.

    And thus Haidt’s nonsense is just a deep massage.

  • Indian Jones

    Staggering, yes. So much sets the mind reeling today.

    How did those war machines mobilize for WWII? That is staggering as well.

    Today, it’s the failures, the deceit, the spiritual corruption.

    Your religious views might stunt your understanding of this phenomenon. If you were an atheist, though, what would your explanation be?

    Methinks we are witnessing some subsidized action research which isn’t going too well.

  • Anonymous

    This guy Haidt is a very subtle “snake oil” salesman whose theories need to be challenged. Arguing that the Republicans have a “right” to behave like it’s alright to be selfish because it is within their moral right (?) is so preposterous on its face as to be laughable.

    “Conservatism in the lump, is a euphemism for selfishness.”  –Grant Allen, quoted in the Westminster Gazette (1894)

  • Indian Jones

    Haidt seemed to be saying there was no qualitative difference between taking the high road or taking the low road.

    Surely Haidt does not say this. Perhaps, as some above insist,  he is saying that the Republicans say this. Does that wash? Not really. Some are vindictive and ruthless, but for a religious people that can’t be maintained.

    Let’s go a click sideways. Haidt, an atheist, goes from disgust to admiration on seeing the dignity of a probably deprived people who’ve really got religion in India.

    Let’s say his disgust for those Americans who’ve only partly got religion moderates. He now sees they’ve got only part of the solution to a puzzle.

    Let’s go another click sideways. Haidt studies the underbelly of human morality; he knows well people’s limitations in moral judgment. Not only do people have moral intuitions, they are morally dumbfounded, i.e. they don’t have explanations for their preference and thus they aren’t fully conscious of their choice-making. Yet. people are happy in this mode.

    Another click sideways. Haidt argues against hyper-rationalism and the excesses of Enlightenment revolutionaries. First, conscious self-realization can be harmful to oneself and others. Second, it can be harmful to others.

    Again, Haidt is an atheist academic. He believes in conscious self-realization. Let’s consider this paradox in the context of The Templeton Foundation, who have given Haidt funding and serve “as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.” You should have a clear idea of the objective of this organization.

    Let me put it simply. This is how you prepare for a new dark age.

    Haidt does not agree with conservatives. Haidt does not agree with liberals. Furthermore, it’s not a problem of understanding, their value systems are incompatible and irreconcilable. Instead, he is talking past the both of them.

    The scientific regime demands reconciliation via truth (brusquely put). The Enlightenment tradition isolates irreconcilables from the political process. Let us say that it is difficult to apply either of these methods. In comes yinyang.

    Yinyang posits opposing forces, polarization, in synergy. Three questions arise:

    What is the synergy of the conservative-liberal dance?

    Who benefits from that synergy?

    How would the traditional Western dominance battles, say between Science and Religion, be pacified?

    Yes, interesting speculations, but are they believable (double entendre, intended)? My main doubt is that there is any commitment to fairness in this design. That the presentation is not forthright signifies that there isn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Hello
    I saw your talk with Bill Moyers yesterday and I was struck by your discussion of the “moral foundations” and the comparative values of liberals and conservatives.

    Recognizing the subjective nature of the six foundations (formerly five?), and the subjective nature of the questions and literature review that formed the basis of your conclusions, I was disturbed by your use of the audio mixer model as a presentation tool.

    I recognize that all teaching uses stories and metaphors. These moral foundations are a centerpiece of your work. You have a limited time in a classroom setting or on a national television show to share your insights. 

    The impression that the audio mixer model gave me was that each of the moral foundations was of equal importance and that each viewpoint (liberal and conservative) was being measured in equivalent units. 

    I believe the model you chose demonstrated a false equivalence. It may be useful to support your thesis, but it is like shooting at a wall and then drawing the target around the bullet hole. It characterizes the two groups in partisan terms: conservatives being more balanced, liberals being out of balance.

    By establishing an equivalence between these six foundations, you posit that the subjective value that one attributes to each of the foundations is a measurement of one’s morality.  I can only imagine how such a tool could be used.

    Thanks

    Ernest Smith

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Talvacchia/1493526983 Shawn Talvacchia

    AnneLBS, I saw you comment on someone else who mentioned their post being deleted. Can you comment on why mine might have been. I don’t see how it broke any rule in the Comment Policy. I have the comment saved, as someone had recommended me this video on facebook and I posted the same comment on both threads.

  • CharlesUtwaterII

    jscottu, you also don’t seem to remember the circumstances of the question. The circumstances involved a man in a coma in a hospital in intensive care for six months, with fees presumably in the hundreds of thousands or millions.

    One doctor can’t decide to be nice. The whole system–we the people– have to decide that we value human life.

    The audience cheered to let the man die. 

  • Anonymous

    Why, isn’t old Newt a progressive???

  • Lefty LeRouge

    “One side is totally ignorant in this and is bound to primative (sic) religious beliefs”

    It’s worse than that.  More like a small, informed group is promoting ignorance in an effort to obfuscate the same scientific truth it begrudgingly accepts, in order to extend its own window of profitability.  Read “Merchants of Doubt”  by Naomi Oreskes and you’ll see what I mean.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattcadenelli Matt Cadenelli

    I happened to be reading Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals as your recent program aired…synchronistically, there is a great section on compromise… He says, “Compromise is another word that carries shades of weakness, vacillation, betrayal of ideals, surrender of moral priciples. In the old culture, when virginity was a virtue, one referred to a woman’s being “compromised.” The word is generally regarded as ethically unsavory and ugly. But to the organizer, compromise is a key and beautiful word. It is always present in the pragmatics of operation. It is making the deal, getting that vital breather, usually the victory. If you start with nothing, demand 100 %, then compromise for 30%, you’re 30% ahead. A free and open society is an on-going conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises-which then become the start for the continuation of conflict, compromise, and ad infinitum. Control of power is based on compromise in our Congress and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. A society devoid of compromise is totalitarian. If I had to define a free and open society in one word, the word would be “compromise.”
    It would not surprise me in the least bit that John Boehner is so disgusted by the concept of compromise partly by it’s inclusion in Alinsky’s book. The fact that Gingrich is blasting Alinsky and his Republican party’s ongoing use of word warring is just another tactic in their relentless battle against free thinking in the political sphere.

  • Boomie

    Never mind that we citizens gave the major corporations Billions to keep them from collapsing, while our 401k’s collapsed and they gave themselves bonuses. Will they let me in from the cold?

  • JAM

    Compromise is possible when you do not have extremism to deal with.

    But right now – with the very successful effort to both ignore global warming with propaganda by the right – which is literally putting our human civilizations at risk – and the deliberate fabrication of “trickle down economics” and the ignoring of the enormous wealth inequality in this country – is a kind of extremism we have not seen since our robber baron gilded era.

    You cannot compromise with extemists.  Neville Chamberlain learned this lesson in the 30s.

    Sorry – but compromise is not the best way to approach certain problems in society.  Sometimes you really do have to fight and fight hard for what you believe in – which in this case – is our American democracy versus a corporate plutocracy and third world nation they want to turn us into.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS

    Hi Shawn Talvacchia,

    I found the most recent comment you made ( 13 hours ago) about the Haidt interview…is this the one you believe has been deleted? There are no other comments that you published on our site as “Shawn Talvacchia” that have been deleted. Please let me know so I can help!

    Thanks,
    AnneLBS

  • JAM

    Yah.  And whatever you do – don’t demonize the major corporations.  Because – as Haidt seems to argue – meritocracy is alive and well in this society – and those who are unemployed – or are not working – are victims of their own choices and are responsible for their economic hardships – and the CEOs who bankrupt their companies but still walk aways with millions – deserve that wealth (along with the billionaire Wallstreet hucksters)Perhaps if we weren’t in the midst of radical forces in our country right now – and corporations and banks and the absurdly wealthy who control them – weren’t undermining the very foundations of our American democracy – what Haidt argues in his academic ivory tower – might make some sense.But this is not the case.  The extremism that is set in motion in this country requires a radical opposition – which I believe is beginning to form in the OWS – We are the 99% movement.  Since it is becoming fairly clear that the current power structures have been corrupted. 

    I think this is clear to most Americans who haven’t been hoodwinked by the right-wing propaganda.  For example our Supreme Court coming out with the Citizen’s United decision.  Or Wallstreet being bailed out to the tune of 16 trillion – while ordinary working Americans are left to fend for themselves …

  • Christanne Schey

    I agree with what you said about the stance of liberals as opposed to the way JH paints them.  Still, I do think we tend to get all offended and name calling and huffy way too easily.  We see what we believe as not just our opinion but the absolute truth, right?  This is probably what he meant by demonizing.  I think he’s right about that.  We all do it.  Even you and I and all though we agree with.  This week i attended the funeral of my brother in a virtual hotbed of conservatism (including most of the family) but no one was offended.  The goodness of my brother connected with the goodness of all present and we could all agree on that.  So I suspect we probably haven’t yet found the right playing field…

  • Suzy_que

    I agree. However, toward the end of the interview, Haidt stated that conservatives are more moral than liberals (because, per Haidt, of their higher sense of loyalty, I think).
    It appeared that Moyers was blindsided by this fake moderate, as Moyers seemed somewhat mortified at his lack of understanding of how our democracy has been decimated by the right.
    Back to morality, what about the conservatives’ abuse and exploitation of our planet and wildlife, and non-elite human life for immediate greed.
    He talked about how religion is politics on both sides and that conservatives are more moral regarding their religion. I was disappointed that Moyers did not challenge him on how neo/primitive Christian extremism is opposing everything our basic sense of morals are about. And what about separation of church/state?
    While I realize that Moyers needed to allow him to speak his mind for a reason, I kept expecting and wish Moyers would have verbally stated what his facial expressions subtly implied.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-W-Hardy/705252599 David W. Hardy

    I’m more than happy you are back and I love the new show!  However, I note with some hesitation, the
    responses of several of your guests over the last several weeks.  Mr. Reed appears genuinely remorseful when he
    talks about his past.  There is something
    lost in translation here. During his smooth delivery (the lingua franca of Wall Street and the well- heeled) he does appear
    to pause and be a bit flummoxed when confronted with the realities of the true
    devastation that he helped create is presented to him.  He deflects with abstractions about how
    markets work, how political decisions are made, and about the inability of his supposedly
    “well meaning” former colleagues to seriously reassess their business ethics
    and deal making.

    In some ways,
    Professor Haidt is scarier if only because he gives the patina of academic legitimacy
    to misplaced assumptions, denial of facts, and outright omissions.  His comments about the Left’s efforts having
    generally succeeded (with the achievement of ‘victories’ for women and gays) is
    simply laughable.  In the worst economic
    crisis since the Great Depression a Democratic Congress and a Democratic
    President could not pass an ENDA bill to end workplace discrimination that has
    been languishing in Congress since 1976.

    Our current situation is not well served by a model about
    whether liberals “score well” on preconceived academic metrics where the norms
    are loaded in favor of conservative values. 
    In 1970 1 in 8 college grads had to take a job for which only a high
    school diploma was needed.  Today 45 % of
    college grads take those jobs. It’s basically a coin flip.  Even if all majors and degrees were in high-tech
    fields, the overflow ratio of grads-to-jobs would be enormous.  The “paths out” of poverty and the “ways up”
    aren’t being closed.  They’re gone.  The only thing left is the enormous debt for
    dreams gone bad or gone forever.

    Now we are hearing the last great siren call to avoid the
    same historical path of other democratic experiments whose golden ages
    evaporate in ways eerily similar to our current trajectory.  35+ years of a new Gilded Age has left
    several lost generations in its wake. 
    The kids who lived in Reagan-era cars and tents in our national parks
    have now been dispossessed of their homes and jobs with the stark memories of a
    number of “burst bubbles”, financial “meltdowns,” and economic “bumps in the
    road” in between the recurring nightmares.

    Forget Aesop’s grasshopper. There are now knocking on the
    door (and banging at the Occupy gates) hordes of well educated, once hard
    working ants who’ve spent many, many winters in the cold and are getting
    hungrier still. They’ve seen no Karma for two generations.  Professor Haidt’s social/moral psychology is,
    like all science, a critical intellectual arrow in the quiver of those seeking
    to solve the worst of our social and economic ills.  However, science alone has never saved us. I’m
    surprised that his research on the ‘animal’ parts of our brain has not revealed
    the historical truths on the limits of science itself (much like the ethical
    limits and truths of ethicists stealing library books).  I’m surprised he was not reminded of the
    ill-fated omissions of the Weimar professoriate whose selfish ambitions
    rationalized what was going on around them without understanding the realities
    on the street and what was coming around the corner.

    This goes well beyond the professor’s notion of demonizing
    our opponents.  What is called for is the
    necessity of a clear vision: opening our eyes to the REAL demons that threaten
    our existence.  His ‘competition within
    the group’ is fast becoming Lincoln’s ‘house divided.’  I disagree that our family members and others
    with opposing views deflate our internal matrix of constrained awareness and
    delusions of sacrosanct values.  Class
    warfare as waged by the far Right is not an internal psychological matrix. Manichean ethics and philosophy can
    only begin to attempt an explanation of the external political and socio-economic realities of what is now an
    ongoing kleptocracy.  Those realities are
    far more powerful than an academic discussion based on abstractions.  The real threat is whether or not elections
    matter to those who desperately need them to matter.  One is reminded of the old double negative
    jest thrown at undergraduates, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re
    not out to get you.”  At several points
    in the discussion the professor admits as much. I have a simple question for
    the professor. Is it the Democrats fault that you cannot see Anacostia from
    Charlottesville?

    A note to Newt: the choice is NOT between Alinsky and the
    Declaration of 1776.  2012 is also not
    1933 or 1965. Senator Dorgan was almost speechless when talking about a way
    forward. We’re not even close to restoring Glass-Steagall or having the vision
    for truly comprehensive health care.  The
    issue in 2012 is the massive difference in relative wealth in this country.  Any political historian can tell you what
    happens to any government, but particularly democracies, that try to sustain
    such stark inequalities. The America of 2012 is more like the France of the
    1790’s, Europe in 1848, or Russia in 1917-18.  Unfortunately we’re stuck with a centrist
    Democrat and a GOP that has shown from its debates and primaries that is chock-full
    of ‘lost’ czars and a Rasputin or two.

     
     

  • http://twitter.com/GreenGoddessVV Brietbart’s Domme

    I found some of Haidt’s points quite salient. But like “all” conservatives it seems to come to the point of moralizing.  Irony that while he said we are all judgemental and hypocrites he went down the road of simplifying the belief that boomers are somehow responsible for the divisiveness in politics (somewhat true however it came from the Republican side via Newt Gingrich and the rise of the College Republicans) and the fact that an Aesop fable or some other idiom is  a valid explanation for all the reasons behind the current situation.
     
    I look forward to reading the book as it does appear to validate those put forward in the great book “Bowling Alone” and does explain why in the Republican party the overwhelming lock step mentality that dominates their group – which is as diverse as Democrats – yet they somehow manage to transcend that for the good of  the party.  Sadly we have seen that mentality before in the rise of Fascism and Communism.  The irony being that its Republicans who frequently accuse Democrats of being.
     
    Haidt is a Conservative and a Moralist. And that clearly overwhelms his thought process to the point of where he seems oblivious to the fable’s deeper point. The Ants were a “collective” a socialist dream that works together to benefit the whole while the Grasshopper was a sole being who once realized the error of his ways may have had to ask for help and that he was also not refused.  So the ants were not only great Socialists but Christian as well.
     
    The divide between the right and the left cannot be simply portrayed as one is superior morally and ethically – in fact that is the problem. Its much more a picture of a society at large isolated, living in a bubble that despite all the technology and advances in communication has made it easier to do so.  Until that is resolved expect more of the same.

  • gparrel

    Bill Moyers:  Thank you for your attempt to highlight a subject that needs further illumination.  Obviously, the worldviews of “conservatives” and “liberals” are different and seen differently from the perspectives of the other.  I thought the reason you had Haidt on was to show how the different worldviews limit us from even having a conversation.  I thought you were very patient with the guest (some think too patient).  At the same time, it was very illuminating to hear how someone who does not share my worldview sees the world through his research. 

    From my perspective, if we are ever going to open up any dialogue among people who so vehemently disagree, we have to start with the differences but we need not end there.  Surely, despite our differences, we probably have an overarching goal of survival and from there perhaps we can start to build on some commonalities.   

    Might you have any interest in a project that is attempting to bring  national media to focus on areas where we can find some agreement as a prelude to addressing the enormous problems we face?  The approach doesn’t mean abandoning facts or values but it does mean attempting to use a communication process (mediation) in a search for common ground. 

  • nycjz

     Considering it is not a Peer reviewed article in a scientific journal, I think Haidt’s analysis is spot on.  I think the sacred cow issues of both right and left make political compromise close to impossible.  Spiritual Sanctity is something that is given by a Higher Power not by an individual’s well meaning intentions.   If both sides could shake off their need to be right and listen to the other’s  desires maybe the ability to compromise would be restored?

  • Anonymous

    Free thinking is a scapegoat, a pseudo threat. Yes, it is suppressed, but could/would we have theocrats in power? It seems very remote and very unstable. This is not a desperate battle against communism as it was in Germany, post-WWI. This gumming up of the political sphere is well paid for, on both sides.

    You are being treated to a spectacle in the death-throes of capitalism.

    Politics becomes theater as the real contest between contending business interests has been excised from it.

    So where would this leave Professor Haidt and his mission for moralistic duelism? Perhaps as atheist  proselytizer for a new religion?

  • Christanne Schey

    Yeah!  Heaven knows the poor thing didn’t have any fun all summer!

  • Anonymous

    What of the powers that pay for these stooges, why are they not convinced? By this I also mean, why are they not targeted for education?

    The right says it’s a hoax. The left says it’s the right’s fault.

    Stupid answer.

    No. There are extremists behind these extremists. GW is a direct threat to capitalism, a capitalism which was already dying.

    This is not the Allies v. the Axis, comrade.

  • Bennett

    I can see the main point re: demonetization and gridlock in civic discourse has fallen on deaf ears by many commenters here.  “Rally to restore sanity” anyone?  Maybe we can tone it down a bit. 

  • Anonymous

    That is all very well- in theory.  In case you have been asleep for the last three years, Republicans are not interested in talk except if that talk involves capitulation on the part of Democrats.  Obama has given away the store so many times in an attempt to get something done but appears to finally realize that Republicans have no desire to work together.  Without both parties being willing to work together, nothing can get done.

  • Anonymous

    It’s been said that politics is always personal, but in Haidt’s view politics is personality.

    My crapometer started to creep up the dial early in this interview. Haidt appears to be deriving some of his conclusions from a version of the political compass test. While such methods are not without value, they are hardly dispositive, and, as in the case of Scientology’s infamous and thoroughly debunked personality test, are often little more than tools of propaganda. Take the example of the personality trait of loyalty. Sounds all fuzzy and warm, right? But loyalty to a leader has an evil twin called blind obeisance, loyalty to an idea rarely leaves home without its BFF self righteousness, and loyalty to a tribe finds its ultimate expression in hatred and violence. Not so fuzzy after all.

    One should be skeptical of any profile of the conservative personality that does not separate conservative rank and file from conservative elites. Haidt’s ideas may provide insight to the former, but he overlooks the latter — a group whose prime directive is preserving entrenched privilege/power and whose political philosophy is increasingly in lockstep with the deeply contemptuous and ethically arid ideas of Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss.

    But my crapometer finally tipped to the red with Haidt’s rejection of reason as the highest order of comprehending the world. This is an embarrassing position for a scientist. With this, Haidt falls in with the likes of Intelligent Design apologists, who fail to distinguish between and sound reasoning and faulty reasoning – or what the science community would call being wrong (sarcasm irresistible and richly deserved). 

    As Michael Shermer’s The Believing Brain makes clear, it is reason in the service of predetermined positions that leads to bad thinking. In Haidt’s terms, it is sacredness and not reason, that is the problem here. It is the refusal to expose your sacred ideas to contradictory evidence. 

    The fact that reason can so easily slide into rationalizing does not justify the demonization of reason. If we cannot trust sound reasoning, we cannot trust the notion of mind at all. Besides, Haidt’s contention that reason is the problem is itself a post hoc argument. And Haidt’s appeal to consensus as an alternative to reason doesn’t stand the light of day. While the science community has rigorous systems of peer review, in general society, our peers usually only succeed in amplifying our prejudices. 

  • Anonymous

    You have been blinded that that false equivalency argument.  The desire on the left to protect social security and other social programs is no way equivalent to those on the right who refuse to allow the government to raise the taxes on the most wealthy.  At the end of the day, it is a class war, started by the rich, 30 years ago.  And in case you were not aware of it, they have been winning.

  • Michael G. Giuseffi

     I have, on occasion,  screamed at the TV during a news report or program, but never during a Moyers report. 

    Until last night…

  • informationforager

    Very Good reply wrylyfox,  I’ve copied the quote and offer another that is not altogether related but good nonetheless. 

    “There are no unnatural or supernatural phenomena, only very large gaps in our knowledge of what is natural.”  
    Edgar Mitchell
    Apollo 14 Astronaut

    Edgar Mitchell

    Apollo 14 Astronaut

  • Anonymous

    Thank you.

    First of all, Prof. Haidt is in a very compromised and difficult position. He is promoting, as an intellectual and atheist, a religious moral system. His perspective is non-reflexive and opaque, which is cause enough for doubt. On top of that, he is a former liberal and, as an atheist, would have very few compatriots in the conservative camp (they do exist – I’ve met a number of them).

    The difficulty of his position is that there would be interest in his studies in the context of our political spectacle, but he cannot address the conflict comprehensively.

    So what you witnessed on this program is a rather painfully awkward performance dictated by what cannot be said.

    Regarding the architected wealth inequality which none explain, I suspect there is no historical parallel. That is why the remonstrances and warnings go unheeded. The brewing calamity is a failure of  the modern state and there is no precedent.

  • mollymorph

    Like to hear more, Rose? Me too … so I’m going to watch the TED talk he gave, go to the website YourMorals.org, and see what’s behind the points put forth by Haidt. I read his foreword to his book before coming to read these comments. I even checked out when I can buy the book at my local bookstore next month. This seems to me to be an excellent launch for a line of discussion refreshingly new to me.
    I didn’t have the knee-jerk reactions that so many have had here. Seems like many got hung up on a certain point and shot down the whole theory, thereby proving several of his points. This was just a 40 minute scripted interview, a summary of his book … and that is all … hardly the venue for searing challenge and presentation of supportive “facts” … that’s what additional reading provided by Moyers & Company is supposed to do, right?
    While studying for my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I never came across discussions on morality … even if I don’t end up agreeing with Haidt all the way down the line when I’m done, at least I will have exposed myself to new arguments and ideas. He said something in the interview about how it is difficult for an individual to reason. Seems like there might be some truth to this, so I’m going to check it out. Something the snarky commentors above most likely will not take the time to do.

  • http://unrulymob.blogspot.com SadButTrue

     If by theoretical you mean utterly detached from reality, I have to agree. Conservative philosophy posits a level playing field that doesn’t exist and never has. And it never will so long as conservatives hold power. They do everything they can to tilt the field ever more steeply in their favor, then ‘blame the victim’ for not being able to compete with their privileged status.

    “In theory, theory and practice are much alike.  In practice they are quite different.”
    ~ author unknown

  • Anonymous

    Haidt advocates a cryptic and ambiguous frame. The liberal habit sees it as a call to compromise for the common good. What would the conservative see in it? A demand for loyalty and submission to divinity and authority, for the common good. It’s pretty much one way, with a  patina of yinyang.

    A healthy polarization this is not. It is a capitalist, western polarization. In order to cure such a degenerative condition, the profiteers must be reformed as well.

    Haidt cannot address that. In fact, Haidt denied it was a problem.

    Haidt is not sincere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/odin.oftedal Odin Oftedal

    Sorry, Mr.Haidt, but I will have to point out that your use
    of the word karma and interpretation
    thereof, is flawed. The word stands on three legs: a) Propensities (seeded
    potentiality), b) Imposition condition (environmental aggregates), and c)
    acquired potency (reactive potencies). The Hindus are well aware of these three
    aggregates of life and that “our existing expression” (life form) is basically
    set and condition by fate, which would mean (a) has the dominant causal
    attributes on who we are and what we are doing. With this realization springs
    compassion and a drive to alleviate human suffering. Let me mention briefly
    that these three legs are standing on other conditional factors…

                 Jonathan Haidt talked a long story and offered
    no real understanding (compassion) or solution. He came across as a good
    libertarian and sentimentally right leaning in his expression. 

    As with karma, it all has to do
    with sentiments (driving aggregates) and all sentiments are not equal or righteous.  Existentially (as life has it), they are all
    driven by self-promotion, and Mr. Haidt is right here. However, living
    experiences at times expanse relativity allowing “others(ness)” a greater
    effectual importance.  Sentiments may
    expand to include animals, plans and the entire universe as well, which
    eventually leads to the erosion conceit on the behalf of a larger embodiment…

    Anyway, I believe there is “an
    actual right and wrong” based upon real human values and “reasoning” that eventually,
    allows the mind expand its outlook/realm to include “all life.” That means, all
    sentiments are not equal or for the good of the overall welfare of our
    society.  There is a difference and no
    shame in pointing out the obvious.

                Furthermore,
    Mr. Haidt seems to say, “’hard’ work is [beneficially] rewarding. Karma does not work like that, just asks
    my mother…  “Clever work” is beneficially
    rewarding, which basically means getting others to do the “hard work” for you, while
    you deriving the main benefits.  The myth
    of hard work and rewarding in the same sentence is an absolute misnomer. It
    always has to do with cleverness in the service of desires….. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/odin.oftedal Odin Oftedal

    Sorry, Mr.Haidt, but I will have to point out that your use
    of the word karma and interpretation
    thereof, is flawed. The word stands on three legs: a) Propensities (seeded
    potentiality), b) Imposition condition (environmental aggregates), and c)
    acquired potency (reactive potencies). The Hindus are well aware of these three
    aggregates of life and that “our existing expression” (life form) is basically
    set and condition by fate, which would mean (a) has the dominant causal
    attributes on who we are and what we are doing. With this realization springs
    compassion and a drive to alleviate human suffering. Let me mention briefly
    that these three legs are standing on other conditional factors…

                 Jonathan Haidt talked a long story and offered
    no real understanding (compassion) or solution. He came across as a good
    libertarian and sentimentally right leaning in his expression. 

    As with karma, it all has to do
    with sentiments (driving aggregates) and all sentiments are not equal or righteous.  Existentially (as life has it), they are all
    driven by self-promotion, and Mr. Haidt is right here. However, living
    experiences at times expanse relativity allowing “others(ness)” a greater
    effectual importance.  Sentiments may
    expand to include animals, plans and the entire universe as well, which
    eventually leads to the erosion conceit on the behalf of a larger embodiment…

    Anyway, I believe there is “an
    actual right and wrong” based upon real human values and “reasoning” that eventually,
    allows the mind expand its outlook/realm to include “all life.” That means, all
    sentiments are not equal or for the good of the overall welfare of our
    society.  There is a difference and no
    shame in pointing out the obvious.

                Furthermore,
    Mr. Haidt seems to say, “’hard’ work is [beneficially] rewarding. Karma does not work like that, just asks
    my mother…  “Clever work” is beneficially
    rewarding, which basically means getting others to do the “hard work” for you, while
    you deriving the main benefits.  The myth
    of hard work and rewarding in the same sentence is an absolute misnomer. It
    always has to do with cleverness in the service of desires….. 

  • Anonymous

    Haidt does what most social acedemics seamlessly accomplish these days: To take contemporary issues and there attendant dynamics, reduce them to their base polemic demoninator, throw in some reductive media driven charicatures (i.e. ubiquitious, simplistic, anti-critical assumtions that lead to circular reasoning)  and drill forward until they his something hard and singular, i.e close ended and monolithic.   

    I love Bill Moyers but he let this hack off the hook. Had he had to respond to the insight, depth, and I suspect the well lived ( and earned) integrated experince of some ( in not the majority) of the people in this forum, he would have ditched the ivory tower facade, and that smarmy self satisfied bit.

         

  • Anonymous

    Main point? Haidt is not the best exponent of that point; no, it appears you have missed what is going on here.

  • Anonymous

    Haidt is selectively rejecting reason because the great bourgeois experiment is dead.

    He observed some denizens of the caste system in India and claims this brought a revelation – that people could be happy and serene amidst their oppression.

    Why didn’t Haidt’s crapo-meter tinkle? Or did it, and he’s just not letting us know?

    This is the replacement for a dead Enlightenment project. Happiness economics, Atheist approved religions, yinyanging hypocrisies, …

    Your philosophy is being violated, because the elite consensus is it’s hopeless.

    On the other hand, you bought the last fantasy, so what can you say?

  • Anonymous

    The “absolute misnomer” is hypocrisy at work. He warned you!

    Thanks for the enlightenment.

  • Kathy

    We may all be moralistic hippocrites, but to what degree?  True, I may be prone to demonize the dogmatic
    religious right (or conservative asian misogynists) for what I view as their
    close-minded ways that deny others their humanity, thus allowing themselves and
    others like-minded to brand the “other” side as evil.  What I see as the difference between my
    discourse and the less-than-open-minded ones is that I will still respect their
    right to disagree with me; on the other hand, the more close-mined folks are more
    likely to see me as an inferior being, thus opening a gateway for (what they
    see as justifiable) verbal abuse, and far worse in other cases of
    dehumanization (mass killings like Darfur or Nazis where the
    “righteous” believe they must “cleanse” the world of
    evil)  

  • zebra

    I didn’t understand the question about the guy could have bought insurance…  If he is a citizen, and therefore Billable, he will receive a bill, even if he has to pay it for years.

  • Toddfboyle

    On some questions, it’s OK to see two sides of the story.  However, I am stuck on the issue of my country’s aggressive wars.  War is murder when it’s not self defense. By definition, modern war is indiscriminate as well as unjustified by any moral or legal principle.

    None of the wars since at least WW2 have been self defense. The U.S. has killed millions of innocent people in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq. Those people never attacked the U.S. So why did we kill them?

    Most of the victims were noncombatants -horrific deaths– burned to death, buried under buildings, shot with automatic weapons, artillery, blasted by explosives, often dying lingering deaths from infection or disease, or starvation.

    There is no shade of gray here.  The war people in the U.S.  must be curbed.  It is our moral duty to stop them.  The time for discussion is past.

  • Imlmurry

    After listening to Haidt’s conversation for the second time I must say that there are some very important areas of his conversation to think about.

    I am certainly guilty of demonizing; 62 years as a black man in America allows me to do it with ease. I am however fairly open minded being the liberal that I am, so I believe the thing to so is ask why.

    For instance, Haidt mentioned that the country split over the Civil Rights Bill and the gain made by Black Americans. Some of those gains were real, but most were perceive to be gains. 

    Many people over the years have used affirmative action to demonized civil rights, and that same many have to clue as to what is in it. For example, balance hiring of minorities only applied if their was a government contract and more than 50 employees; how many knew that?

    And lately there is the efforts to restrict voting rights; a matter supposedly settle in 1966. Why is there no uproar from the conservative side over this? To say what I think would be demonizing so, in the future I will ask and let the conservative answer for themselves.

    Finally, someone mentioned Haidt was using karma incorrectly; it does seems he lacks true understanding of karma.

  • Anonymous

     I did a search for Moyers over the air (antenna) in Indianapolis and find that it is on late Fridays, PBS stations in Muncie and Bloomington.
    http://www.tvguide.com/Listings/

  • Roger Lavigne

    Roger L
    Jonathat Haidt  sounds like a psychologist spin Doc. of the scariest kind mixing Government with religion and sacredness that’s a great way to divide 

  • Anonymous

    >”Truth is not simply a logic;””non-contradiction is insufficient.””It is
    negotiated, both individually and collectively.”

    Negotiated? So truth is arbitrary? Is it worked out in a law
    office? So, then what makes it true? Is truth determined by a poll? Does the
    fact that in the United States, most people are Christians and believe in the
    Bible, make that belief actually true? Based on what, a popularity vote? Isn’t
    it possible they could be wrong? Why would anybody believe in a logical
    fallacy?

    >” Given this, I think something else is required to
    survive the hysteria of delusion.””Re the last, you go from “group-think has nothing
    to do with a desire to find truth” to “I don’t require confirmation
    of a group” to “so one isn’t dependent on the other in any way.”
    You have justified neither the first claim nor the last.”” Socrates had a lot more than that going for him.””But you still evade the point, truth is now a
    collective project. “<

    Not evading the point. I reject the premise as true. The “truth”
    is that I don’t see how you can demonstrate that statement as true.  If truth is a “collective project”, then it’s
    clearly a relativistic position. Infallibilists believe that they already know
    the truth and have nothing to learn from others. But it is important to understand
    that relativists cannot really respect the views of others, since they do not
    even believe in truth, and hence cannot believe that their own beliefs may be
    false, or that the beliefs of others may be closer to the truth than their own.

    A relativist may or may not like diversity. But he cannot
    think that he can learn the truth from others, because there is really no truth
    in his universe to learn.

    This is why relativists can talk about diverse forms of
    life, paradigms, and linguistic frameworks while simultaneously denying the
    possibility of understanding them—let alone of comparing them critically in an
    effort to discover which of them is true.  

    Many
    people today say that truth is
    relative, but most of them do not really believe what they say. When you
    question them, you typically find that it is not really truth that they think is relative, but our knowledge or beliefs
    about what is true. Indeed, if you question them long enough you may even find
    that what they really want to say is that our knowledge and beliefs are
    inherently fallible and subject to error.
    Many
    people today say that truth is
    relative, but most of them do not really believe what they say. When you
    question them, you typically find that it is not really truth that they think is relative, but our knowledge or beliefs
    about what is true. Indeed, if you question them long enough you may even find
    that what they really want to say is that our knowledge and beliefs are
    inherently fallible and subject to error.

  • D Naftzger

    Great enlighening program as always

  • Anonymous

    >”Haidt defends against Paul Krugman’s criticism that
    underepresentation of conservatives does not demonstrate discrimination (I
    leave out PK’s nuttier caveat) by arguing that alternate perspectives are
    healthier for science. “”You do not have that problem in economics where the
    majority is liberal but there is a substantial and vocal minority of
    libertarians and conservatives. Your field is healthy, mine is not.”<

    It seems to me that what prevails today is the Economic
    reductionism of Hayek which is the home of libertarian and conservative
    economic thinking.  I’m not a fan of
    that.

     

     

  • Ellemarz

    Truth is apparently overrated and rational thinking suspect. Image is the only thing that matters, (she says snarkily).

  • Robert

    I have to say this Jonathan Haidt is truly insulting and about as arrogant at the presumption that he is right about his claims and “observations” of the left and right. I’m surprised, Bill, that you did not question his declamations based on his own set of rules he made up. Who does he think he is? Moses?

  • Lefwyn

    Just finished watching — thank you for this episode.  Fascinating and useful discussion with Jonathan Haidt! Evocative thoughts, amazing work, excellent interview.

  • informationforager

    Rose and MollyPorph, I think you can see what he’s saying.  Check out his paper “When Morality opposes Justice”. It can be downloaded from the “MoralFoundations.org” website I think.   I have read about 9 research papers is his and find them very good.   It seems that many of the people responding do have knee jerk responces.   I haven’t altogether “listened to experts” but lately I am willing to admit that some people  know ”their job” and that they must know more than I what they are talking about.  Moral Theory is his job. All day. Every day.   Thanks.

  • informationforager

    Yes, He does make sense.  It’s worthwhile to read his papers and research from his site MoralFoundations.org.   Since reading his research I too have modified my postions so as to understand the other side and to see more.   You can download his paper “When Moriality opposes Justice”.   It makes a lot of sense.Thanks

  • Anonymous

    Where did you dig up this guy?  He seems more like someone you’d see on Fox News.  I asked my sister what possible agenda he could have since his arguments will never persuade progressive liberals like myself.  She said he is put in place to keep moderates from straying to the side of the Occupy movement.
    At the risk of being labeled as “demonizing” I would say that Haidt intentionally skirted any real facts.  For instance we heard quite a bit about those lazy grasshopper welfare types (!) but nothing about corporate welfare.  
    Sorry Haidt, no matter how you’d like to cut it the Conservatives are just not that squeaky clean.  In this regard here’s a cold, hard fact for you just in:

    “…a larger initiative by moneyed conservatives
    to rig the electoral system against their opponents. How else to explain
    conservative legislation
    in state after state to obstruct access to the ballot by lower-income
    voters — particularly members of minority groups — through voter identification
    laws, shortened voting periods and restrictions on voter registration
    campaigns? Conservatives are strengthening the hand of the rich at one end of
    the system and weakening the voting power of the poor at the other.” The
    Citizens United catastrophe E.J.
    Dionne Jr.PostOpinions, The Washington Post, February 5, 2012

  • cleo

    His thesis was about the ethics of eating your dog. As a a member of  sacrilized majority, I  think that this guy is  a gaseous prig. I really must sign the ” Thou shall not demonize pledge” . By the way, all people do not cheat!

  • Anonymous

    The one thing I wanted you to ask Mr. Haidt was where are children in his matrix world?  You brought up the elderly (briefly), but you didn’t bring up children.  Children do not have a political voice, so what happens to them while the grown-ups play moral one-ups-manship?

  • abv

    I think many of these posts are misunderstanding Haidt.  Haidt is talking about psychology and the difference in the way that conservatives and liberals think.  He is not defending conservative policies.  He explains the thinking and the psychology behind both conservative and liberal policies and ideologies.  He is not guilty of moral equivalency regarding policies.  He takes a neutral approach in evaluating the thinking behind both right and left ideologies.  I think many conservative policies are wrong-headed.  But they are not evil and neither are the people who believe in them.  It helps to understand where others are coming from even if you do not agree with them.

  • Oblio

    I received the poll that this guy sent out about cheating on tests.  I was one of the rare people who truthfully answered NO, I have never cheated on a test.

    Truthfully.  I have made a lifetime habit of keeping my own house clean and not visiting the houses of others, which are theirs to clean (houses being the vessel of the soul).

    I disagree with this guy’s conclusions mostly.  I don’t think he ads to the pursuit of understanding one another at all.  He rather gives an excuse once again for some people to behave badly.

    Truth is that not everyone is bad.  There are those who strive to be good.  I know.  I am not unusual and I am one of these.

  • Robert

    Is Haidt implying that after the civil rights act of 1964, it was not racism that changed the southern states to a Republican
    stronghold?

  • Lspheres

    Welcome back, Bill!

    I found Haidt’s comments confusing because he assumes that every one believes in the good/evil paradigm.  I found it difficult to follow his Newtonian reasoning.  What about the 20% that don’t believe in religion in the US?   What about the spiritual people who believe in the Quantum Field of All Creation? Remember:  That which you resist, persists.  

    All religions teach a version of the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  There seems to be no way to even have a dialog about the best ways to solve collective problems these days, nationally or globally, until the fear-based righteousness of all sides is off the table.  

    My hope is on the generation born in 1980 and later.  They are blind to all the prejudices of older, righteous people including gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, etc.  They understand that we are all one and we are all unique.  And they are the ones that will have to collectively deal with how to live on this planet of limited resources with over 7 billion people and growing, as the righteous die off.  

    The Tao Te Ching verse 79 has an interesting perspective on this.

    Difficulties remain, even after solving a problem.
    How then can we consider that good?

    Therefore the Master
    does what she knows is right,
    and makes no demands of others.
    A virtuous person will do the right thing,
    and persons with no virtue will take advantage of others.

    The Tao does not choose sides,
    the good person receives from the Tao
    because she is on its side.

  • Anonymous

    I like what I think Jonathan Haidt is trying to convey.

     It is an important truth that every time someone draws a line in the sand, people become polarized.  A friend of mine used to use the word “Sheep-ple”
    for people acting like sheep.  People herd together; a line in the sand is all it takes. […and yes, Jonathan’s ideas do apply to what happened in Nazi Germany] Are we on the road to riot?  We sure are! It is going to be a BIG riot, but just how big? Where were the ethics in Nazi Germany?  “Good” people supported those
    ethics.

    It was before Hitler, another German named Fredric Nietzsche used “Rational Thought” to prove that Ethics or ideas of “right and wrong” were
    irrational.  Fred concluded that pleasure was the rational goal of life.  Now I like many Germans, it just happens that two of them epitomize these ideas. More
    than one-hundred years later, Fred’s ideas have been reduced to the social subconscious of the Right.

    It has been my contention that an alternative understanding of Fred’s “proof” was that he may have proved that rational logic is not up to the task of evaluating ethics. Now, segments of society lack a real basis for ethics.  In that void the Right has wrongly substituted profit motives.  This then translates to a [subconscious] notion that ANYTHING that increases profits is not only morally right, but morally necessitated.

    The Left is running on intuition to negotiate the quagmire of ethical decision making. My understanding of any intuitive process is that it is also
    subconscious.  I think it is right to use intuition but it is usually a matter of confabulation to convert any
    justifications to rational logic. So it is that the Occupy Wall Street efforts have little to offer in the way of rational explanation.  Well, if I am right, it is CLEAR that the ethics of Wall Street are morally bankrupt.  The Right can rationalize their course using the Profit motive for all of the actions and feel good about explaining everything rationally.

    After all, only CRAZY people want to act irrationally.  By crazy people, I mean people who NEED to be
    marginalized, locked up, or destroyed. This is one of the moral imperatives of the Right.

    Rational logic is the basis of LAW.  The USA
    is a country of LAW.  Most of us know all
    too well that the LAW in this land is severely flawed.  And yet, I do NOT suggest we abandon all hope.  I suggest that the Justice System has the obligation to INTERPRET the LAW for our good [ethically] even it that means that such interpretations are completely opposite to the original intentions of lawmakers.  Pot smokers may be outside our accepted norms, but Bernard Lawrence “Bernie” Madoff did far more harm to our society. His family does not deserve to live off of his ill-gotten gains.  As I understand the LAW, NO contract is valid if it is in anyway a part of a criminal
    act.  So, all of his transactions could be reversed.

    It is not ethical that the Madoff family eat cake while many lost their retirements.  It is not ethical that pension funds be undermined. It is not morally right that professional hatchet men destroy a viable company in the name of profit for shareholders
    while sacrificing the business infrastructure of the nation.  It is not right that Enron executives profit
    while investors loose everything.

    The right must be TOLD that “profit” needs to be thought of as a bigger item.  Society’s profits DO
    come before personal profits.

  • Stephen

    “Our country is more politically polarized than ever.”  Are we kidding ourselves?!? Why are we so selfish to think this is so – more than ever??? – this is high comedy. The 1960′s and 70′s were that i.e. race/civil rights, generational, vietnam, the so called oil crisis’, soviet nuclear global threat, recession then depression – I could go on. Now a days?? laughable.

  • Annsplay

    Richard Nixon for one. Just the counter-part to Woodrow Wilson. Two progressives of different parties. Please dig a little deeper in a real history book, or claim to be old enough to have lived it.

  • CommonGround

    I assume then you are pro life since you value human life…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Talvacchia/1493526983 Shawn Talvacchia

    I’m very sorry. I didn’t realize the default view had it sorted by likes and thought it was by most recent. Thanks for your help!

  • Anonymous

     Conservative policies…not evil? What is good about denying a cancer patient, or a heart transplant patient, the necessary insurance coverage that would be needed to sustain their lives? Paul Ryan, a “leading” Right Wing conservative in Congress believes that it is fundamentally alright to do just that. I found Haidt and his muddled, middle-of-the-road fuzzy logic, to be, quite frankly, insulting. And by the quizzical look on Mr. Moyer’s face, he did too. Beware of “stealth” public policy frauds trying to stake out a logical case to promote greed and unfairness as an acceptable human virtue!

  • Rblastem

    Demonizing forwards an ajenda without having to know any facts or even the topic of discussion. It evidently accomplishes quite a bit, as our present status verifyies. It is standard procedure with most major news media. Immediately following the presentation by Mr. Haight, demonizing of Mr. Gingrich was promptly revived.
    If one is familiar with, understands, and respects the unique foundation of this country, which is summed up in “We the People of the United States….. secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”, they probably recognize and abhore what the federal government has done to repeal liberty and replace it with servitude, and, they abhore the major news media who espouse such activity while ignoring or demonizing, liberty.

  • DLowe

    Still enjoying “digesting” this program and wondering:

    Regarding the “political stereotypes”,  how is it that those who may be more “open to experience” appear to gravitate toward social safety nets and financial restraint which implies less risk-taking while those who, by definition, prefer the known want the riskier situation without nets and restraints.  In fact, that latter even promotes risk-taking.  The group who want most to be identified as “individualistic” is, by their actions” are actually tightly herd oriented.  Does that mean they only feel safe in a group?  How does marketing and advertising use this information to sell any idea, product,  or service in such a way that that media consumers buy into and identify with these stereotypes while the defined reality appears to be the exact opposite???????????

    Wondering more and more….

  • BookstoreWillie

    Too much to say, too little time. Let’s just leave it that it was great to see someone able to step outside humans, being, and see us for what we are. Clearly one of the most important TV shows I’ve ever viewed in my 65 years on the planet! I’ve already preordered the book…

  • Anonymous

    Haidt is one of these glib fans of false equivalency: each side in a debate surely MUST have a defensible argument. The problem is that the far right – the only kind of conservative position left in America – has arguments based in racism and social Darwinism in the service of corporations, the wealthy and greed. Their arguments are indefensible, so of course they’re demonized by anyone with a conscience. To behave as if they have a valid point is to legitimize them when they don’t deserve it. That Haidt says his studies made him move to the “center” is sadly telling – given that the “center” in today’s America is not fence-sitting, which is bad enough, but fully on the right, if not far right – and in my mind that alone invalidates his work. I thought Moyers could have done a much better job of taking him down, but maybe he’s just too polite. Some people don’t deserve politeness if it gets in the way of needed confrontation.

  • Daniel

    Thank you to Bill Moyers and Company for helping to introduce more Americans to Mr.Haidt’s work and message. Haidt’s research and message is extremely important for our country. If more Americans could understand how trapped they are in their ‘moral matrix’ and how to step out of it, it would go a long way to help our nation climb out of the pit it is digging for itself. Unfortunately, as many of the comments here demonstrate, it’s very hard for people to step step outside of their ‘righteous minds’ and see that no matter how big or small they may think they perspective on the world and ‘truth may be, no one person or group can see the whole truth. As Alan Watts put it: ” No one has a big enough mouth to speak the whole truth.” Once we learn this, we gain the humility to try to understand the perspectives and values of other peoples, groups, and dare I say it in an election year, political parties, instead of demonizing them. 

  • DLowe

    Wondering:

    Regarding “political stereotypes”, how is it that those who may be more “open to experience” appear to gravitate toward social safety nets and financial restraint which implies less risk-taking while those who, by definition, prefer the known want the riskier situation without nets and restraint?  In fact, the latter actions even promote risk-taking.  How is that “safe and dependable”?  The group who want most to be identified as “individualistic” is by their action really more herd oriented.  There is more here that we haven’t heard.  It appears to me that we all want the same thing and are saying the same things in different ways so what is the wall that prevents us from seeing each other and who benefits from the wall most?

    How does marketing and advertising use this information to sell ANY idea, product, or service in such a way that media consumers buy into and identify with these stereotypes while the defined reality appears to be the exact opposite????

  • ModerationMan

    I never comment on things like this. BUT I pray that the next special or another special has LAWRENCE LESSIG. LAWRENCE LESSIG is the legal and economic next step to the social principles presented by Haidt. Republic, Lost is the next step of Winner Take All and the conflict that is Haidts incredibly precise analysis of pervasive corruption and the distraction of demonizing and generalizing.

  • LeonZitzer

    One major point about the appeal of conservatives was left out. Conservatives tend to speak to people’s fears. Whatever you are afraid of — homosexuals, immigrants, poor people, professional women, and a lot more — vote for us and we will protect you from your fears. Conservatives realize that fear is an extremely effective way to get votes and hold onto power. Liberals have a hard time competing against this. Appealing to hopes for a better society does not work as well on human beings. Conservatives are laughing all the way to the voting booth.

  • Anonymous

    What I’ve seen from negotiations for “incremental change” is just more regression into a corporate oligarchy. Everyone in the middle class on down has lost and is continuing to lose economic and educational opportunity and, worse, political power. Much of their “wealth” – basically their savings and home equity – has been handed over to the people who run this country, own the government, control the media, write the laws, and send the cops to control any unrest. Incremental change has all been in one direction – toward disenfranchisement of anyone who isn’t part of the increasingly rich ruling class. IndianJones is totally right in his assessment, and saying so doesn’t confirm anything Haidt said because treating the right’s positions as valid is granting them substance and legitimacy they don’t deserve. The left has indeed been co-opted and subverted, its elected politicians have left the left behind in their pursuit of wealth and bribes disguised as campaign contributions and post-Congress careers in corporations. There is no one left to “negotiate smart and negotiate big” – this was my hope for Obama, and what a cruel betrayal he turned out to be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daybrown Day Brown

    The Right is in denial that psychopathology determines more than free will, and the Left is in denial that that psychopathology is largely driven by DNA, so that the way it is manifest depends on the ethnic community.

  • Anonymous

    Regarding “political stereotypes”, how is it that those who may be more “open to experience” appear to gravitate toward social safety nets and financial restraint which implies less risk-taking while those who, by definition prefer the known, want the riskier situation without nets and restraint?  In fact, the latter preference  promotes greater life risk-taking doesn’t it?  How is that “safe and dependable”?  The group who want most to be identified as “individualistic” is by defined by their action as really more herd oriented for safety then???  There is more here that we haven’t heard.    It appears to me that we all want the same thing and are saying the same things in different ways so what is the wall that prevents us from seeing each other and who benefits from the wall most?

    How does marketing and advertising use this information to sell ANY idea, product, or service in such a way that media consumers buy into and identify with these stereotypes while the defined reality appears to be creating the exact opposite experience???

  • kathrynr

    One of the solutions Haidt proposes is that we get away from “the demonization” of the other side (plenty of this coming from both sides on this thread).  The ability to recognize propagandistic speech, as used in the past by extremists on the left and right (Communist and Fascist/Nazi), can help us find our way out of this mutual degradation. See video at http://www.stoppolarizingtalk.org

  • Daniel

    Politics is conflict, but it is also compromise. Without the both of these our system and nation can not prosper, as the current political situation clear shows. Haidt’s research is not just a philosophy, but is scientific research. I’ve read his work, and he’s not saying that we should agree with everything that conservatives say, what he’s saying 
    (and what many of the posts clearly show) is that when we demonize other peoples values  our minds shut down to the fact that their might be some truth to those values
    (some values, of course, like those of the Nazis, are clearly beyond the pale of acceptance. That’s something I’m sure Haidt and any sane person would agree with) . Haidt is trying to explain conservative values like the emphasis of ‘karma’ (that one should reap the fruit of their labors), but he’s not necessarily  agreeing with conservative politics. As Haidt’s research shows, these values are universal whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, but we understand it in different ways. I think most liberals and conservatives would agree, to a certain extent, that working people, like the Staples employee example you use, who work hard to earn a living and contribute to society, should prosper. 

  • Roberta Mabuse

    Incredibly lazy and incurious interview of Haidt, Bill.  Do you even know what most of the gobbledy-gook he was spouting means? Karma, indeed.  God help us all if his proto-fascist knuckleheadness is what passes for scholarship.

  • kathrynr

    I do research and writing on polarizing language and listen to lots of political talk radio, which is 90% conservative. And I see that the ugliest, most demonizing language comes mostly from the right. But even in the most well-deserved,  vehement criticism of mega-corporate influence in our politics, it is important we not use the language of demonization: stereotyping, scapegoating, dehumanization. Before you are so quick to advocate demonization, I hope you will listen to my public talk (on video), even if it is only Part 5 of 6 (on dehumanization), at http://www.stoppolarizingtalk.org

  • Diver

    Lakoff and others have pointed out that wealthy conservatives have been funding think tanks for decades (since the Goldwater defeat), helping shape a more sharply-crafted message and effective communication network than progressives.  He also submits that progressives reflect an Elightenment view that simply presenting a rational arguement is sufficient to yield effective policy decsions. On the other hand,conservatives understand the emotional drivers underlying policy and decision-making.

    It is very telling that Lakoff’s Rockridge Institute closed due in great part to lack of support from progressive campaign strategists. I’ve spoken with someone who worked at Rockridge who said he found most Democratic campaign strategists didn’t believe they even had a problem with effective messaging.   Haidt is spot on about Democrats needing to develop a clear message about the need for and benefits of an effectively-regulated free market system and social contract  if they want to gain a reasonble footing in challenging conservatives. Sadly, Democratic Party strategy appears largely to ential waiting for Republicans to overplay their hand. The feckless response to early challenges to healthcare reform allowed the Tea Party to gain traction when it should have been an opportunity to promote progressive values.

  • http://whilewestillhavetime.blogspot.com/ John Hamilton

    This was an interesting conversation, but doesn’t go anywhere, has no depth, and reinforces conventional wisdom.  One piece of conventional wisdom is that we live in a two-factor world – “liberals” and “conservatives.”  Bill Moyers didn’t challenge the guest on this because he also lives in the two-factor world.  

    I suspect that whatever journal publishes this researcher’s work will receive heaps of criticism.  When one sets up a study one always runs the risk of the unconscious bias of the observer will influence the outcome – that the way the questions are worded, or the way the answers are interpreted make for a “dirty” result.  It would not be a new phenomenon in history for a researcher to retrofit the data to fit the conclusion.  I worked for a research facility that did exactly that, with the professor who ran the operation continuing on even after being caught.

    I found the guest’s contention that he converted from being a “liberal” to a “conservative” unconvincing.  It was too pat, too clichéd, somehow supposed to lend an air of unbiased observation. I suspect that a survey of his colleagues would tell a different story.

    Still, this was a worthwhile interview. It starts a needed conversation. We can begin to ask ourselves if we are so small, so limited in our intellectual and social capacity that we can’t move beyond the hackneyed model of reality known as the “left” to “right” “specturm.” If we value our presence on this planet, we had best try.

  • Anonymous

    I like what I think Jonathan Haidt is trying to convey.

    It is an important truth that every time someone draws a
    line in the sand, people become polarized. A friend of mine used to use the
    word “Sheep-ple” for people acting like sheep. 
    People herd together; a line in the sand is all it takes Where were the
    ethics in Nazi Germany? “Good” people supported those ethics, even if dissenters
    were marginalized, locked up, or destroyed.

    Before Hitler; another German named Friedrich
    Wilhelm Nietzsche used an exhaustive dialectic to prove that Ethics, or
    ideas of right and wrong, were irrational. Fred concluded that pleasure was the
    rational goal of life. I like many Germans, it just happens that two of them
    epitomize some bad ideas. More than one-hundred years later, Fred’s ideas have
    been reduced to the social subconscious of the Right.

    I contend that Fred proved that rational logic is not
    up to the task of evaluating ethics.

    In our time, segments of society lack a real basis for
    ethics. That lack has allowed the Right to wrongly substitute profit
    motives.  This then translates to a
    [subconscious] notion that ANYTHING that increases profits is not only morally
    right, but often morally necessitated.

    The Left may use intuition to negotiate the quagmire of daily
    ethical decision making. The intuitive process is also subconscious.  I think it is right to use intuition but it is
    usually a matter of confabulation to convert justifications to rational logic. So
    it is that the Occupy Wall Street efforts have little to offer in the way of
    rational explanation. It is CLEAR that the ethics of Wall Street are morally
    bankrupt. The Right can rationalize their course using the profit motive for
    all of the horrific actions and feel good about explaining everything
    rationally.

    After all, only CRAZY people want to act irrationally. By
    crazy people, I mean people who NEED to be marginalized, locked up, or
    destroyed.

    Rational logic is the basis of LAW. This is a country of
    LAW. Most of us know all too well that the LAW in this land is severely flawed.
    And yet, I do NOT suggest we abandon all hope. I suggest that the Justice
    System has the obligation to INTERPRET the LAW for the greater good [ethically]
    even if that means that such interpretations are completely opposite to the
    original intentions of lawmakers. Pot smokers may be outside accepted norms,
    but Bernard Lawrence “Bernie” Madoff did far more harm to our
    society. His family does not deserve to live off of his ill-gotten gains. NO
    contract is valid if it is in any way a part of a criminal act. So, all of his
    transactions could be reversed.

    It is not ethical that the Madoff family eat cake while many
    good people lost their retirements and are forced to live out their lives on
    welfare. It is not ethical that pension funds be undermined. It is not morally
    right that professional hatchet men destroy a viable company in the name of
    profit for shareholders while sacrificing the business and labor infrastructure
    of the society. It is not right that Enron executives profit while investors
    loose everything. VPs and above are morally and legally responsible for the
    misdeeds of any company they manage.

    The right must be TOLD that profit is a bigger idea. Society’s
    profits DO come before personal profits. The left needs to make a clear case
    for an ethical future that is not solely based upon the personal profit motive.

    Too big to fail is too big. Government handouts [including
    tax incentives and loans] to big enterprise are worse ethical mistakes than the
    depravity of treating personal misfortunes with welfare.

    Wretched executives need to pay a PERSONAL price for
    causing world wide social ills in the name of greed.

  • Vmarton

    I enjoyed this segment very much and found myself challenged
    to dig deeper into how I communicate. 
    What I’m not hearing in this series as well as in other discussions on
    these topics is a candid dialog on the role (and influence) that commercial
    television plays in this evolution into polarity.  Our
    “news” is coming to us in sound bites while political pundits have hour
    long discussions.  It does not appear to
    me that many can differentiate between “views” and
    “news”.  So my question(s) are:  How much of a role is commercial television
    playing in this polarization? And what is commercial television achieving (both politically and economically) in this high stakes game?

  • Anonymous

    You make good points (haven’t watched your video) – my wife is a sociolinguist and often speaks your language (no slight intended) – her dissertation focused in part on such talk within families. It’s not that I advocate demonization, really – it’s that I think it’s a natural response, if emotional. And if the only alternative were to “negotiate rationally,” which Haidt and too many liberals seem to think is possible and worthwhile, then demonization seems preferable – at least it drives home a point, which is that the target’s position is truly morally indefensible and that it actually harms real people, sometimes to the point of death (seriously). Negotiating with the right these days is akin to negotiating with a schizophrenic in full psychosis – it can’t be done. As Obama has proven. And if a certain position is held by the vast majority of a political group (pick one – the right has so many), is it really stereotyping to call them on it in a class-action way? The right doesn’t debate actual ideas – it merely tosses around its stereotypes, demonizations, scapegoats, and dehumanizations (on which they wrote the book) – so how does one debate somebody who refuses to debate?

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, Democratic Party strategy appears largely to ential waiting for Republicans to overplay their hand.

    This is not a Dem Party failure. This is a  failure of bourgeois society. Burdens are ignored until the “reasoning power” of the societal managers can be distracted away from their self-aggrandizement.

    The Dem Party cannot change this.

  • Anonymous

    To step out of your “moral matrix” you must either step into a new one or none at all. Leaving aside the fact that much of morality is ingrained, this is an absurd exhortation to emigrate or die.

    To much condescension for our good, comrade.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a little too hot to handle, comrade.

  • http://www.quora.com/Why-is-there-no-bipartisanship-in-American-politics#comment742684 Quora

    Why is there no bipartisanship in American politics?…

    No, it didn’t, but it is now. The reason there is so little compromise is that compromise sounds like “sell out” to the side. People can compromise, find common ground on peripheral issues, but not core principles. The contest now is at the level of…

  • Anonymous

    Ann-  If you bother to read my post you would have noticed the little word “in”  which refers to the present.  I am not referring to dead people.  If I were, I never would have made the statement.

    As for your advice about digging a bit deeper into real history, you need to follow that advice yourself- starting by reading more about Woodrow Wilson.  Although Wilsons personality (at least according to James David Barbers analysis) was similar to Nixons-(they were both active-negative Presidents)- the similarity ends there.  Wilson was not driven from office for corruption and did not subvert the Constitution to suit his own ends.  Wilson was far from perfect:  He was racist and almost paranoid with reguard to Henry Cabot Lodge; he allowed his campaign for the League of Nations to overwhelm his presidency but he did not lie about escalating wars and did not get the FBI to do his dirty work for him. I could go on and on but I believe the point is made. 

    By the way, Nixon never called himself a progressive and even though some of the legislation he signed as president could be described as Progressive, his congressional career was a different story. 

    If you would like some recommendations for reading 20th Century history that would enlighten your opinions, I would be happy to provide one.

  • Anonymous

    I share your frustration with the slow rate of change.  But the fact is, most change in this country since the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia has been incremental and always a result of negotiation.  You may not wish to acknowledge that there has been change (for the better) under Obama, but your belief doesn’t change the fact.  Think about the state of the country if McCain had been elected and then reconsider. 

    If you read accounts about the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the eventual decisions, you realize that EVERYTHING was a compromise.  There was consensus on nothing- only agreement after hours and sometimes days of argument.  There were people who refused to sign the document because they felt it was a sell out.  (George Mason is but one example). 

    The last 30 years have seen the erosion of our civil rights, the destruction of the middle class and the astounding rise in the wealth of those already at the top.  Undoing this damage will take a while- not nearly fast enough in my opinion- but opposing the person who is bringing slow change will not advance the goals of the majority of the people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ferdinand-Gajewski/527737671 Ferdinand Gajewski

    After listening to this discussion I was left wondering about the “empathy deficit” of the conservative psyche.  Might not this be explained, even to a good extent, by recourse to psychiatry? Take a look at the work on psychopathy by Andrew Lobaczewski and scholars.

  • guest

    In response to the ant and the grasshopper…
    There was an ant who hired a grasshopper to work for him.  The ant paid the grasshopper barely enough to get by.  When the grasshopper complained that he could not afford to live on the wages, the ant told him to get another job working the night shift somewhere else.  The ant complained that the poor grasshoppers kids were bad, but the grasshopper had to work two jobs to get by and did not have time to raise his /her kids the way the ant said they should be raised.  Because the grasshopper made poverty wages he did not have to pay taxes. The ant complained about him not paying his fare share.  It did not matter anyway, the ant packed up his company and moved to a foriegn country where he/she could get even cheaper labor.  And then complained that the poor grasshopper was a socialist because he needed help from the government. 

  • rojak4

    Mr. Haidt did not sound lke a centrist to me; he is at least “anti-liberal”. There is much to argue with him about, but I was most flabbergasted by his assertion that success is “punished” when the rich are taxed. Not all of their success is captured in taxes. They are only asked to SHARE a minority of it.

  • Anonymous

    At first I thought he might make sense, but then I
    decided his polls and graphs were flawed. 
    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” wrote Sinclair Lewis in 1935.”

    I resent his conclusion that right-wing
    conservatives and Republicans are “more moral
    and loyaland more observant of sacred thing”.  First, they only thing thay are good at
    is posing and speakbing about how the have these qualities that other do not.  As a Christian myself,
    I say that that many Christians have mixed their
    politics and religion.  The flag is a symbol of the
    qualities that make this country great.  It is itself
    pieces of cloth cut and sewn together to represent
    these freedoms.  The flag never attains divinity in
    the proportions some people assign to it.  It becomes
    an idol.  I feel that my first loyalty is to God, my family comes next, then neighbors (as the Bible proscribes) and patriotism and loyalty to my country is next.  
    If a Christian or anyone else has to tell me how well they do these things I become suspicious of that need to do so.  It is the way you live your life that counts in the end.  It is not what you say or how you answer
    questions in a poll.

    Also he talks of compromise , which I have seen none of it in the Republicns and plenty of by the Democrats.
    Their idea of compromise is we will make the rules and
    you hve to say “yes”.
     
    Democrats are every bit as loyal and patriotic as
    any Republican, no matter their stripe.  I guess
    I have seen more of each of these people than
    Johnathon Haidt has.

    I say he does not have the experience to
    conduct such a study without being influenced
    by passionate people, albeit they are wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Have you actually tried to  “discuss”
    anything with one of these extreme
    right-wingers.  There can be no
    discussion, If you trys to make a point,
    they immediately go into the FOX, RUSH
    et all talking points.  They have them
    memorized and they totally believe them.
    Then you are called all sorts of names they
    have picked up and the discussion on a bad
    note with a person who is a friend or
    relative.  I just end the conversation and never talk politics with them again.  They all need
    an intervention of some sort on how to discuss
    something and then maybe we can talk.

  • Anonymous

    To tell you the truth, I doubt that Mr Moyers
    reads all of the replies, someone else does,
    and that person may have had a bad day.
    I wish they had left it up, though

  • Chuckmcglocklin

    William LeGro is a perfect example of several of my liberal friends and why Jonathan Haidt’s views resonate with me. My liberal friends mostly think I am a liberal democrat because I always make an effort to find common ground and agree with them on a need for a good “socialist” safety net; the need to be good “stewards” of our planet and our body’s; (pet peeve: not recycling) and our dislike of “crony” capitalism.  But they don’t listen to my subtleties and won’t listen to my core ideas.  
     I describe myself as a libertarian/socialist.   I’ve rarely voted for a democrat, but will when they are the best choice.   I think small gov. is better yet know controls and limits are needed because humans are greedy – all of us.  I believe that families, churches/groups/communities, and, if unnecessary, the gov. (in that order) should provide a safety net.

  • Anonymous

    Classical Liberals prefer the dynamism, adaptability, realism, and profit of contest. Not all contest is yinyang. Some species of  contest are degenerative, unstable, or explosive. The best strategy is to avoid these species rather than to put the burden of restoration on the participants. The latter is the bourgeois strategy.

    Poets and philosophers sometimes gift us a moral guide-star. Moral combat doesn’t qualify. Does moral contest? I am inclined to say it is rather immoral; it is often an excuse for anticipation denied.

    Professor Haidt hints that his morality is this contest of moralities; it seems the Liberal’s market installed in the moral domain. We are now painfully aware that this Liberal fetish, upon splitting open, reveals a yawning anarchy inside.

    Science has long graduated from the school of curiosity. In biology (and sociology), one must be very wary of the threshold between description and prescription. Theories of nature can be unnaturally applied. The Liberal fetish strives to apply Darwin’s “struggle for existence” wherever it can and seek it’s profit. As we now well observe, however, this is a parasitic theory.  But is it natural? Are there not struggles for existence which end in slaughter? Is it natural that a last survivor prospers?

    Our morality has something to say about this. I say the moral market is unnatural and immoral.

    One’s non-reflexive morality, in which one practices self-exclusion, is detected as hypocritical. To preempt that moral criteria, to exclude it, by normalizing all hypocrisy would be hypocritical itself, in that the preemptor will not forgo his own detection of hypocrisy. In fact, Haidt’s theory depends on this detection.

    But the Classical Liberal’s morality is selectively non-reflexive. It applies to it’s preachers because they have power. It does not reflexively apply to most under-empowered. The preaching of this morality may rightly be seen as a lie and not moral at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bradford-Nelson-Bray/1229997270 Bradford Nelson Bray

    Haidt is full of it.

  • Anonymous

    You are a libertarian first and a socialist second, no?

    What are your subtleties?

  • Anonymous

    There is more here that we haven’t heard.

    Your hypothesis is correct. Your research agenda, however, is biased.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think that was Fred’s conclusion (I make ze pun), but he was on to something. And the goal was truer to life than profit (and preferable).

    I think it is right to use intuition but it is usually a matter of confabulation to convert justifications to rational logic.

    Um, rational logic must support intuition, unless it has a damn good reason not to. Occupy Wall Street’s got both good intuition and good reason.

    Rationality,  Ethics, Law vs Craziness, Greed, Corruption. It’s a good, well-worn story. Where were you three decades ago? The left made many good cases for commonwealth. The court hasn’t listened.

    Wretched executives need to pay a PERSONAL price for causing world wide social ills

    I suspect even Fred would agree.

    Tadum.

    But, if “the right must be TOLD” that [social] profit is a bigger idea”, does that fit within a Classical Liberal’s framework? Does it fit in any viable political framework?

    Liberalism is a worn-out story, comrade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karenvanhoek Karen van Hoek

    I respectfully suggest that you may be oversimplifying. Stepping out of your moral matrix could mean just considering that the people on the “other side” have sincere reasons for their positions and at least *considering* the reasons, as much as you can understand them. I’ve been learning a lot by considering conservative perspectives on things, even though I’m primarily a liberal.

  • Anonymous

    The terms must be changed. The profiteers’ terms are designed for civil war.

  • Mark Goodkin

    Hi, I plan to watch your videos and will comment once finished. I like the message of your website and how you look at linguistics and polarizing language. I have a website called Conversational Shift, which I started over a year ago. I have many of the same concerns that you have about polarized language and demonizing.  I would appreciate it if you and other readers visit my website and let me know your thoughts and ideas. The website http://www.conversationalshift.com

  • janet culbertson

    Mr. Haidt skims over the fact that people are not equally gifted, intelligent and educated.  Everyone cannot lift themselves by their bootstraps. I for one am pleased that liberals are more compassionate  and caring about those without advantages.  

  • Ahmad Kamal Siddiqui

    12-28-2011:-

     

    1.     Corporate Profits are ROBUST. American
    Corporations have 1 Trillion Dollars CASH.

     

    Lot of this money is public money who bought shares of Corporations and
    or invested direct into The Corporations.

     

    They are not creating jobs? Why?

     

    There are no investment opportunities.

     

    Read below.

     

    2.     American Banks have 1 Trillion Dollars of
    CASH.

     

    Most of this is DEPOSITOR’S MONEY.

     

    They are looking for more depositor’s. Why? Read Below.

     

    Many Individuals, Businesses and Corporations have taken LOAN from
    banks their jobs are gone or businesses are going down and collapsing. They are
    filing BANKRUPTCIES and can not and and are not paying back. Banks are losing
    money.

     

    They have to pay interest or dividends on money to depositors or
    investers, pay salaries to employees and meet daily expenses of business,
    buildings etc.

     

    That is why Banks are desperately looking for more deposits to
    compensate for their losses and meet their Day to day expenses. They do not
    care what will happen in near or far future.  

     

    Offcourse they can make little more mioney by putting Depositor’s money
    somewhere in low percentage of interest or whatever. Banks need extra cash
    desperately to comp

     

    To meet their expenses they have to lend money to people to do business
    so that they can pay back with interest. There are no business. There are very
    less business opportunities therefore borrowing and lenduing is down. Therefore
    they need more depositor to get money and meet their expenses and other
    liabilities. That money is not their money. They are simply trying to delay the
    crisis. Later on what will happen will happen they don’t care. They don’t have
    choice. They have not to lose anything. It is depositors money which will be
    lost.

     

    Most of that money might be public deposit money not Bank’s Money?

     

    In fact Banks are in very bad shape.

     

    They are not creating jobs? Why? Read below.

     

    3.     European Banks have HUGE CASH.   

     

    They are parking their MONEY in European Central Bank on Low Interest.

     

    They are looking for more depositor’s. Why? Read Below.

     

    Many Individuals, Businesses and Corporations have taken LOAN from
    banks their jobs are gone or businesses are going down and collapsing. They are
    filing BANKRUPTCIES and can not and and are not paying back. Banks are losing
    money.

     

    They have to pay interest or dividends on money to depositors or
    investers, pay salaries to employees and meet daily expenses of business,
    buildings etc.

     

    That is why Banks are desperately looking for more deposits to
    compensate for their losses and meet their Day to day expenses. They do not
    care what will happen in near or far future. 

     

    Offcourse they can make little more mioney by putting Depositor’s money
    somewhere in low percentage of interest or whatever. Banks need extra cash
    desperately to comp

     

    To meet their expenses they have to lend money to people to do business
    so that they can pay back with interest. There are no business. There are very
    less business opportunities therefore borrowing and lenduing is down. Therefore
    they need more depositor to get money and meet their expenses and other
    liabilities. That money is not their money. They are simply trying to delay the
    crisis. Later on what will happen will happen they don’t care. They don’t have
    choice. They have not to lose anything. It is depositors money which will be
    lost.

     

    Most of that money might be public deposit money not Bank’s Money?

     

    In fact Banks are in very bad shape.

     

    They are not creating jobs? Why? Read below.

     

    Most of that money might be public deposit money not Bank’s Money?

     

    In fact Banks are in very bad shape.

     

    They are not creating jobs. Why? Read below.

     

    4.     Some Businessmen have MONEY.

     

    They are not creating jobs? Why? Read below.

     

    THERE ARE NO
    INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES???

     

    There are no markets
    to sell the product then why to produce products?

     

    There are too many
    SELLERS in WORLD MARKET than BUYERS.

     

    Why?

     

    Because there are no
    investment opportunities which can bring back money with profit.

     

    A STATE OF
    STAGNATION HAS DEVELOPED.

     

    They can not employ 5
    million men to dig holes in the ground in the morning and cover up the hole in
    after noon and keep doing it till their principal money is gone.

     

    Therefor savings
    can not be put to investment.

     

    —————————————-

     

    NOW LET US SEE
    WHAT ECONOMISTS SAID 50, 100, 150…YEARS BACKk.

     

    —————————————-

     

    JOHN MAYNARD
    KEYNES, LORD KEYNES:-

     

    1. Economy in
    depression might well stay there; there was nothing inherent in the

        situation to pull it out.

      

    1.   The
    prosperity depended on investment; for if savings were not put to use, the dread
    spiral of contraction begin.

     

    3. Investment was
    an undependable drive wheel for the economy; through no fault

        of businessman it was constantly
    threatened with satiety, and satiety spelled

        economic shrinkage.

     

        IN A WORD ECONOMY LIVES IN SHADOW OF
    COLLAPSE.

       

        He was talking of a permanent economic
    depression.

     

                           
    i.     Western
    Economic system has a tendency to destroy itself as top economists said.

     

    It is a SELF DESTRUCTIVE
    PROCESS.

     

                         
    ii.     At
    the same time Buiness Leaders do corruption and fraud to earn money like
    in economic collapse of 2008 which is a natural tendency of human beings.
    They use their wealth and power to protect themselves which they do in most of
    cases except in very few cases they are caught and punished. 

    THIS WAY ECONOMY IS FACING A
    DOUBLE EDGED SWORD.

    ECONOMY IS LIVING ON BORROWED
    MONEY AND BORROWED TIME FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS. NOW NOT MUCH TIME LEFT.

    Also 1930 Economic Depression was
    created by Few Powerful Rich Millionnaires (That time there were not even
    few  billionnares) so that by collapsing
    economy they can collapse smaller businesses and take them over and take over
    businesses system and become Billionnaires and they did. Private Banking System
    “Federal Reserve” was involved, Secret Societies were involved whose members
    are Richest and Most Powerful people on earth. At the same time economy itself was
    in trouble due to personal debt people have taken and many other factors.

    THE COMBINED EFFECT IS GREAT
    DEPRESSION.        

     

    John Maynard Keynes
    gave solution to help economy. He also said that his

    solutions may not
    always work.

                                                           
    JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES

                                                           
    LORD KEYNES

                                                           
    LORD WAS HIS TITLE

                                                          
     A DEMOCRAT ECONOMIST

     

    As said in Item No. 2
    savings can not be put to use. A dreadful spiral CONTRACTION HAS ALREADY BEGAN
    long back.

     

    Keynes was Most
    Influential Economist of 20th century.

     

    —————————————-

     

    JOSEPH SCHUMPETER:-

     

    BEYOND ECONOMIC
    REVOLUTION –

                                                         VOICE BELONGS TO
    JOSEPH SCHUMPETER.

     

    “But right or wrong
    Schumpeter’s ideas are interesting to us for another reason.”

     

    “Due to falling rate
    of profit and vanishing investment opportunities A state of 

      stagnation will develop.”

     

     “For here is the first of the Great Economists
    who carried his economic analysis of Capitalism to its final optimistic
    conclusion, and then disregarding the outcome of the economic thinking,
    pronounced doom on the system for a non-economic reason.”

     

    “Capitalism will be
    destroyed by its success.”

     

    “Capitalism is self
    destructive process.”

     

    “Capitalism will fade
    away with resigned schrug of the shoulder.”

     

    “In the end
    Capitalism will not be a meaningful word.”

                                                                                           JOSEPH
    SCHUMPETER

                                                                                          
    A DEMOCRAT ECONOMIST

     

    A state of
    stagnation of STAGNATION HAS ALREADY DEVELOPED LONG BACK.

     

    —————————————-

     

    JOGN STUART MILL:-

     

    “It was philosophy of
    resignation-and hope. Mill was a supreme believer in the ability of man to
    control his fate through reason. He believed that the working class would come
    to see the Malthusian Specter and that they would there-upon gladly and
    voluntarily regulate their numbers. And if this hurdle was passed then the rest
    would be easy. For Mill’s recognition THAT DISTRIBUTION OBEYED NO LAW but
    humans ones allowed him to see the world as capable of progress.” 

     

    “EVENTUALLY THE
    WORLD WOULD REACH A STATIONARY LEVEL:

      PROFITS WOULD HAVE DISAPPEARED  AND THERE WOULD BE NO

      MORE GROWTH. But within the existing
    framework of society, improvements

      could still be made. The state would prevent
    the landlord from reaping an

      unearned benefit and would tax away
    inheritance; men would turn from the

      struggle for gain to the pursuit of art and
    life itself.”

     

    John Stuart Mill was
    born on 5-20-1806 in London.                                                       
             Died 0n 5-8-1873 in
    Avignon, France.

     

                                                                   
    JOHN STUART MILL

                                                                   
    A DEMOCRAT ECONOMIST

                                                                    AUTHOR:

                                                                   
    PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY

     

    World has already
    reached STATIONARY LEVEL FURTHER GROWTH IS NOT TAKING PLACE.

     

    —————————————-

     

    THORSTEIN VEBLEN:-

     

     “The days of business leaders were numbered.
    Eventually a corps of Engineers would be recruited from society to take over
    chaos of the Business System.”

                                                                         
    THORSTEIN VEBLEN

                                                                          A
    DEMOCRAT ECONOMIST

                                                                         
    AUTHOR:

                                                                         
    THEORY OF LEISURE CLASS

                                                                         
    THEORY OF BUSINESS ENTERPRISE

     

    Business System is
    already in CHAOS MOMENTARILY HOLDING DUE TO BUDGET DEFICIT AND DEBT.

     

    —————————————-

     

    ROSA LUXEMBERG:

    CALAMITY JANE
    (CALAM) OF GERMANY

     

    “Capitalism must
    collapse because the conditions of equilibrium can not be

       satisfied in capitalist system. In a
    closed capitalist system, accumulation is

       impossible. The fact that capitalism has
    lived and grown can be explained only by

       the sale of goods unsalable within the
    capitalist economy to buyers outside the

       closed and glutted market. Capitalism can
    survive as long as there are such buyers

       either in the home country or abroad; the
    system must expand or die, yet in

       expanding it destroys itself because the
    pre-capitalist markets are now absorbed

       into the orbit of capitalism. When this
    happens, the whole system comes to an

       end.”

                                                            
    ROSA LUXEMBURG

                                                            
    CALAMITY JANE (CALAM) OF GERMANY

                                                            
    A RADICAL ECONOMIST       

                                                            
    RADICAL SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

     

    There are no
    buyers therefore there are no investment opportunities.

     

    Therefore goods
    can not be sold and can not be produced.

     

    System can nor
    expand.

     

    Therfore it will
    die.

     

    That is why Rosa
    Luxemberg is considered as one of the ablest economist Marxist School of
    Economics has ever produced.

     

    ROSA LUXEMBERG WAS
    THE FIERCEST ECONOMIST MARXIST SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS HAS EVER PRODUCED.

     

    —————————————-

     

    MANY MANY MORE
    ECONOMISTS SAID THE SAME.

     

    READ CHAPTER “TOP
    ECONOMISTS” BELOW FROM PAGE 801 TO 915 OF 1248.

     

    DEMOCRAT AND
    RADICAL BOTH ECONOMISTS SAID THE SAME.

     

    DEMOCRAT ECONOMISTS ARE

     

    PROFESSOR ALVIN
    HANSES, DAVID RICARDO, PARSON MALTHUS, BENJAMIN FRIEDMAN, PAUL
    SAMUELSON, Dr. RAVI BATRA, JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, JAMES KENNETH GALBRAITH,
    ROBERT L. HEILBRONER, RODBERTUS, JOHN ATKINSON HOBSON, JAMES DALE DAVIDSON,
    LORD WILLIAM REES-MOGG,

     

    RADICAL ECONOMISTS ARE

     

    KARL MARX, V.I.
    LENIN, ROSA LUXEMBERG, RUDOLPH HILFERDING, PAUL SWEEZY, PAUL BARON,
    MICHAEL HARRINGTON.

     

     

    ETC ETC, YOU KEEP
    COUNTING.

     

    THEIR ECONOMIC
    THEORIES ARE SUMMARIZED IN PAGES                             801 TO 915 OF
    1248.

     

    WE HAD BEEN LIVING
    ON BUDGET DEFICIT AND DEBT AND MANY OTHER FACTOR INCLUDING RESCUING
    SAVINGS AND LOAN INSDUTRY IN 1989 BY FIAT / FAKE MONEY OF BUDGET DEFICIT
    AND DEBT, OPENING THE MARKETS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA BY AMERICAN BUSINESSMEN
    IN 1990’S, ZERO PERCENT FINANCING ON CARS, LOW INTEREST RATE ON HOUSING,
    INVITING MONEY FROM OVERSEAS INTO AMERICA FOR INVESTMENT ETC ETC DISCUSSED
    IN THIS LETTER.

     

    TODAY AMERICA HAS
    15 TRILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT AND MANY EUROPEAN COUTRIES WHOSE ECONOMY IS
    VERY SMALL AS COMPARED TO AMERICA HAVE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS DOLLARS OF
    DEBT. THROUGHOUT THE WORLD COUNTRIES ARE IN HUGE DEBT.

     

    WE DELAYED THE
    ECONOMIC DEPRESSION FROM 1985-1990 TILL TODAY BY BUDGWET DEFICIT AND
    DEBT AND MANY OTHER FACTORS DISCUSSED IN THIS LETTER.

     

    WE ARE LIVING ON
    BORROWED MONEY AND BORROWED TIME AND MANY OTHER FACTORS DISCUSSED IN
    THIS LETTER.

     

    EVEN IF WE PAY
    DEBT BY SURPLUS MONEY BANKS AND CORPORATION IN AMERICA HAVE RIGHT NOW,
    EVEN THEN 11 TRILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT WILL BE LEFT TO PAY.

     

    EUROPE IS IN SAME
    BOAT.

     

    NOW WE ARE RUNNING
    OUT OF TIME.

     

    WE ALREADY RAN OUT
    OF MONEY 30 YEARS BACK WHEN WE STARTED DOING HUGE BUDGET DEFICIT IN 1980.

     

    RECTIFICATION WAS
    NOT DONE IN THE SYATEM IN TIME.

     

    NOW IT WILL BE
    SUPER DUPER PERMANENT DIP GREATEST ECONOMIC DEPRESSION.

     

    I HOPE I AM WRONG.

     

    NOT MUSH TIME LEFT.

     

    IF AMERICAN
    ECONOMY JUMPS IN DEPRESSION WORLD ECONOMY WILL BE DEAD.

     

    EVEN ENEMIES OF
    AMERICAS MUST REALIZE THIS. THEIR ECONOMY WILL BE DEAD TOO.

     

    THEREFORE AMERICAN
    ECONOMY MUST BE KEPT ALIVE AND SAFE IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT???

     

    MAY GOD BLESS
    AMERICA.

     

    TIME TO TIME THERE
    IS DISCUSSION ON TELEVISION SHOWS THAT PRIVATE CORPORATIONS AND PRIVATE BANKS
    HAVE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS SURPLUS MONEY WHY THEY ARE NOT CREATING JOBS.

     

    AS DISCUSSED ABOVE
    THERE ARE NO INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES. LOT OF COUNTRIES ARE PRODUCING GOODS TO
    SELL IN WORLD MARKETS. A STATE OF STAGNATION HAS DEVELOPED. TILL NOW WE HAVE
    FOOLED THE ECONOMY AND DELAYED COMING SUPER DUPER PERMANENT DIP
    GREATEST ECONOMIC DEPRESSION BY BUDGET DEFICIT AND DEBT AND MANY OTHER
    FACTORS DISCUSSED IN THIS LETER. NOW ECONOMY IS GOING TO FEEL IT AND HIT
    BACK WITH MUCH GREATER FORCE THAN WHAT IT WOULD BE WITHOUT INTERFERENCE
    IN NATURAL ECONOMIC PROCESS.

     

    NOT MUCH TIME LEFT.

     

    Top Richest 1% of
    America own 60% wealth of America.

     

    Top Richest 15% of
    America own 80% wealth of America.

     

    Top Richest 20% of
    America own 84% wealth of America.

     

    Top Richest 1% of the
    World own 80% wealth of the World.

     

    Well Planned, Well
    Organized, Legalized Theftb and Robbery.

     

    Power of Money plays
    important role to make Law Makers, Coeporations, Politicins, Powerful Men to
    talk in favour of Rich and Powerful. 

     

    If some body talks
    and criticizes this then these Powerful, Rich give following ARGUEMETS AND
    following TERMINALOGY using Power of their Private Wealth through their
    Powerful, Privately Owned News Media and Other Private Resources TO CRITICIZE
    THEM AND PUT THEM AND THEIR ARGUMENT DOWN:-

     

    1.    
    Abuse of
    Power

    2.    
    Betray

    3.    
    Bozarre

    4.    
    Corupt

    5.    
    Criminal
    Rights

    6.    
    Cheat

    7.    
    Devour

    8.    
    Disgrace

    9.    
    Greed

    10. 
    Steal

    11. 
    Sick

    12. 
    Traitors

    13. 
    Radical

    14. 
    Red Tape

    15. 
    Unionized

    16. 
    Waste

    17. 
    Welfare

    18.  Communists

    19.  Socialists

    20.  Crazy

    21. 
    Etc Etc

     

    CONSERVATIVES and
    REPUBLICANS use these PHRASES to put down DEMOCRATS and LIBERALS.

     

    Democrats follow
    their own tricks to please RICH and POWERFUL to get their favour and give
    tricky / sneaky statements to make people happy to get their votes.

     

    IN FACT WE HAVE ONE PARTY SYSTEM

     

    WITH

     

                                                   
                2 BRANCHES

     

                                                              
    1. DEMOCRAT

     

                                                              
    2. REPUBLICAN

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ————————————————————————————————————

  • Mark Goodkin

    I thought that Jonathan Haidt’s message is a breath of fresh air. I have been conservative for many years. Recently, I’ve changed my perspective and believe that both sides have valid concerns, which should be acknowledged and dealt with. I am more happy if both sides can work together constructively and reach constructive solutions which address the concerns of both sides. I feel each side can learn valuable things from the other side and benefit. Doesn’t mean they have to agree on everything.

    Furthermore, it would be dangerous for one side to monopolize power for two reasons: First, to do so would disenfranchise half the population, who would retaliate and try to regain power, and in effect create a perpetual tug of war. Secondly, Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even with the best intentions, people are human and fallible. Our founders were aware of this and created a system which allowed people with different views to debate issues, and reach compromises.

    I have created a website which addresses these points and more, which I invite people to visit.
    http://www.conversationalshift.com

  • Anonymous

    Once you return from observation is this foreign land and begin to apply your (new?) morality, you have a new moral matrix.

    Since you are not really visiting a foreign matrix – the matrix your are in evolved from or co-evolved with theirs, it is quite likely you might develop an actual new-found appreciation for yours.

    Stepping out of your moral matrix will not bring you the all seeing eye – you will just be in another matrix.

    In other words, the blind exhortation gives no criteria for improvement; it doesn’t even acknowledge that one may already be in a matrix preferable. It rather advocates change for change’s sake.

    Have you revised your matrix? If so, I hope it’s transformative and contagious. But a love child of liberal and conservative morality is not what Haidt is purveying. He is selling a morality which appreciates a productive contest of moralities. But if that became the common morality, what is that really? It’s a morality divided unto itself which values the product of the division.

    That morality will favor the product of other people’s confusion. It’s immoral.

  • William Legro

    My point is that Obama is helping to continue the downward slide of this nation – toward the loss of the middle class, loss of opportunity, loss of freedoms (he is, after all, The Assassinator, who can and does kill American citizens at will, sends drones to kill anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time, and prosecutes whistleblowers), loss of democracy. Jeez, the ACLU is suing Mr. Transparency over his secrecy policies. If he’s slowed the process down some, I can’t detect it. In many important ways, he’s accelerated Bush’s agenda, and we are still devolving into an oligarchy if we’re not there already. Sure, McCain probably would have been worse, but that bar is so low as to be laughable. After all, Obama raked in far more from Wall Street than McCain did. That alone should tell you something about Obama’s true politics: in many ways, somewhat to the right of Richard Nixon, persona aside. These are serious, serious defects in this president, and he deserves no one’s vote. Yeah, I know – political reality. Henry Kissinger was a true believer in real politik.

  • SapphireMind

    One issue I have with Haidt’s supposition about karma and how the conservatives wish to continue to enforce that – but karma doesn’t really exist.  Good things happen to bad people.  Bad things happen to good people.  We have to get rid of this stupid concept!

  • Harold

    I didn’t hear Haidt espouse his beliefs but rather heard him speak what he thought the conservative’s and liberal’s beliefs were. He wasn’t taking sides, saying who was right and who was wrong, but rather trying to explain how they formed their views and why each demonized the other group. I will watch again with a more critical eye and ear.

    I often find myself thinking how it could possible to think any other way because my way of thinking is so obviously correct.

  • Anonymous

    We’ve not had a closed capitalist system. We have a fiat money system with productivity gains driven by technology and fossil fuels. Then there is growing aggregate accumulation but not well distributed. Now we have weak and poorly distributed growth with no mechanism to spread that growth. Modern technological capitalism was fantastically portrayed when it should have been architected for secure satisfaction of needs and adaptation.

    There are limits to technology and resources and the profiteers have long known that. Many businessmen don’t honor politics and the political-economy is an enormously cynical fraud.

    The proletarians didn’t stop capitalism, Mother Earth did.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t and likely won’t read the book; my commentary is speculation on yours. Pruned the tree of exploration to ensure arrival at the predetermined conclusion. 

  • Harold

    Haidt did state up front that liberals are open to new ideas and new experiences and conservatives want to maintain what they currently know. That in itself says a whole lot about the divide.

    If liberals are expansive in their thinking it means their thinking can change and improve, get more refined. Conservatives not so much.

  • DoUDare2dream

    Johnathan Haidt used Aesop’s fable of the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper to explain the conservative argument against “socialized medicine”. If a man chooses to spend $300 dollars on health care or spend it on something else, he should be responsible for his decision. Karma must come into play here, he argues.
     
    I’m inclined to agree with this argument if the situation were only that simple. If the man can afford $300 for heath care and chooses not to buy it, he should get his consequences.
     
    But this is a very poor example of the situation in America today. The problem is that too many Americans are stuck with the dilemma of having to spend $300 on heath care or feeding their children or providing a roof over their heads. People placed in an unfair dilemma with no good choice should not be stuck suffering these consequences.
     
    Human needs are human rights. Good health care is a very vital need.

  • Robert

    In my opinion, Bill Moyers was playing the
    ‘devil’s advocate”, drawing Jonathan Haidt
    to show all his conservative philosophical cards,
    to show them as feeble or worse, as so many of Moyer’s bloggers have adeptly disclosed, subtly winking to us, 
    while whispering,  as Haidt  reveals his hand, ”he’s got nothing”.

  • Harold

    I heard him say just the opposite. I will listen again to be certain.

  • Chuckmcglocklin

    No.  I am each equally.  I do not think capitalism can solve social problems nor socialism create wealth.  You understand Libertarian (I will vote for Ron Paul to hopefully add some common sense to the Rep. platform).  One big difference: I would like all taxes eliminated (including corp.) except for a progressive income tax that encourages investment and charitable giving, those being the only things that are deductible.  
    But I envision a completely different system to be a safety net with no holes for the disadvantaged and non competitive.1 Draft every individual at 16 for 8,000 hours of work for our nation in exchange for free public education and free medical for the rest of their life.  They would replace janitors, secretaries, nurse aids and train for higher skilled jobs in ALL gov and non profit org.  We could have 500,000 or more in a construction battalion building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, all gov building, etc.  And why?  Cheep labor…that’s how socialism works just as we did in the 30′s.
    2Health care is provided for all free.  One size fits all.  If you don’t like it, you are free to join the capitalists and either buy insurance or pay for service.  And if you don’t like the education your being given (aptitude and placement in vocational/ professional tracks by 6th grade) you can pay your own way in private schools that receive NO gov. aid.
    3OSHA, CDC, EPA and all other regulatory agencies become partners in business and NOT adversarial.  
    Many more ideas for later.

  • Jonton

    The problem with Haidts argument, but more importantly, the problem with generalizing what traits go with which political party, is two-fold: first, the political labels are almost meaningless; when we hear liberal or conservative we really just picture a caricature of a person that is described in such a way. I.e. A stereotype. Second, how on Gods green earth (saying that as an atheist :) ) does a political party have a monopoly on personality traits and human behaviors? I see conservatives/republicans, mostly, always declaring that they are the party of individual responsibility and hard work but where did that notion come from? Who up and decided the essence of conservatism was that and all other groups can’t/don’t have that? It’s a ridiculous proposition to believe in the first place. When Haidt buys into and perpetuates the myth of the republican party owning responsibility, hardwork and loyalty–as if these traits are intellectual property ready to be trademarked and sold as campaign slogans– it makes his argument seem weak. I mean Haidt is in some small way toying with this idea that somehow republican/conservative people are more responsible and this responsibility is a hallmark of that party, or, at least, more common to that party/those people than other people. So when he says we should all listen more who is we and why? I reject the premise that conservatives work harder and are more responsible so what am I supposed to be listening to?

  • Jonton

    I read this first and was like huh? Then I re-read it a minute later and this is kind brilliant. Haidt seems to be advocating for just this!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZTETWOMGUEDA3XUKNIOGQ434Q AmitB

    I am a long-time listener/viewer of Bill Moyers and I have never witnessed such a weak response by Bill to an insidious presentation as this one. Fortunately, other viewers have pointed out the errors that Bill himself should have noted. Haidt is no Joseph Campbell or Maya Angelou. He is a dangerous man. He and his colleagues have put together a matrix an adherence to which would have victims of corporate overrule  rooting for the success of their victimizers. Every food chain has its predators and humans are no different. The divide between the Left and Right is not one of morality but of genetics. Conservatives have a predatory genetic profile and capitalism is tje ideological weapon system used in the same way that barbarian hordes once did to subjugate other peoples. Haidt comment that capitalism has enriched us all flies in the face of reality as did his other philosophical opinions. How can we all be enriched when billionaires control more wealth than 150  million of our citizens? It is not by hard work that such wealth has been accumulated, but theft. Theft of pension funds, theft of taxes, theft of The Commons, theft of labor, and theft of government.

  • Juliania

    The division which we  find in our polity isn’t the one discussed by your guest so avidly.  There is no ‘left’ and no ‘right’ in our country these days – most of us are a mixture of the issues politicians use to tweak our buttons, and they do it deftly.  The true division, as you pointed out in your excellent first shows, lies between the super rich and the rest of us – nor are we hypocrites by nature or when we are less fortunate, errant grasshoppers.  And more folk are coming to this realization, along with the fact that we are being manipulated by oligarchs who float a phony good cop bad cop set of arguments to distract us.

    Very poor ‘conversation’ in my sense of our very needful current yearning for a discussion of real issues.  I now understand why psychologists were so necessary to the shameful conduct of interrogations at Guantanamo and other places, and why those interrogations went so terribly off course.  Please, please do less of these kinds of conversations and more to help the real mess we are currently in.

  • Juliania

    Christanne, you bring up a point which is clearly at odds with  the guest’s claim that we associate only with those who have the same views as we do.  That may well be so online, though I’ve often had to think twice about things even there in conversations, but most definitely in our daily lives (unless we are hermits) we rub shoulders with all different ideologically inclined folk, and without pursuing our differences most of us see what we have in common and build on that.

    What does really separate folk is economical in nature – the rich have their gated communities and estates.  But the rest of us rub shoulders with one another from new age to old age without any problem whatsoever.

  • Pkruiz3

    Funny, I see horrible, racist and polarizing language coming out of the Left. The Left is constantly saying that Conservatives hate the poor, children and the elderly just because we disagree with the programs the Left wants to implement, namely because they don’t work.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism forces you to play or suffer. As capitalism dies, anyone trapped in it’s matrix will endure tremendous pressure to play rather than die themselves. Our major “capitalists” have actually removed themselves from capitalism and are extracting profit from the desperate struggle of the domestic comprador and proletarian alike.

    A sacred morality, a religious morality, relieves the pain of this collapsing iron cage. It cannot be presumed that genetics is determinative here; Christian morality has tremendous influence. Authoritarian followers are culturally programmed.

    The Classical Liberal’s philosophy is intertwined with Darwin’s theory. It seeks to validate a hierarchy of life within human society. In, fact, it is a perversion of the natural in the human. Not only does it justify predation (and sacrifice), it denies our gifts.

    Haidt’s conversion is a just-so story. Capitalist decadence makes conversion strategic. Consider this contradiction: Haidt admires those suffering in the Indian caste system for their palliative convictions. Yes, he says, that would be fit in a mode of oppression. However, he’s not taking up like faith.

    Capitalism is not just the weapon of a predatory genetic profile; it is a martial evangelizer. It is the devil’s faith.

    There are many desperate to be de-converted. Americans have long had an anti-intellectual bent for good reason, despite the complaints of many intellectuals. Intellectuals who fail to call out intellectual calumny have no reason to complain. The intellectual who respects human nature is what we crave.

    It appears that Haidt’s study of morality has rather produced contempt.

  • Jeanne LaPorta Clark

    Freud?  Or Fred Flintstone?

  • Anonymous

    Our science is a tool of profit. In this case, I would say the bias was not well-hidden.

  • Jonetta Kurtz

    But what about the GOP penchant for lying?  Where does that fall in the whole scheme of things?

  • Anonymous

    Have you considered that your “wealth” is a cause of “social problems”?

    What is the advantage to society of concentrated wealth versus socially controlled wealth? Concentrated wealth sells itself as the mind of society when, ironically, our minds are a most incredible communism of neurons.
    They certainly can’t be dismissed as uninventive.

    I would prefer to bail out here since your premise is too narrow. These are mostly experience-biased hunches arising out of a legacy of conquest incompatible with social welfare.

    But, I will take a few precise volleys.

    “a progressive income tax that encourages investment” persuades capitalists that all their consumption is investment. This is one very good reason that corporations must be taxed. But this ignores the present state of capitalism – investment is often predatory, so heedless reward will lead to more social damage as things are.

     I am very dubious that “8,000 hours of work” at minimum wage would pay for a lifetime of medical care as currently structured. It certainly won’t pay for the education necessary for a decent job. In addition, the conscript would be employed in combat in preference to construction.

    You’ve tellingly avoided unions.

    OSHA and EPA and FDA are in regulatory capture, now.

    Opt-out education and health care leads to two-tier service.

    Your partnership of socialism and wealth looks shaky and sometimes biased.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1809253133 Rebecca Glenn

    I finally got a chance to sit down and watch this episode on DVR last night. I was so thrilled to see Moyers on TV again and Bill Moyers and Co did not disappoint. As for the interview with Jonathan Haidt, well… I was thrilled to see so many relevant issues brought to the surface and I agree with some of them. However, there is one point in particular I differ on. The premise that what Mr Haidt calls groupiness is central to our collective discord. While I concur that groupiness is both beneficial and destructive, the reasons why such a mindset becomes counter productive is where Haidt and I diverge in opinion. He maintains that groupiness evolved ultimately for war and at some point a switch flips and the ‘other’ is no longer a friendly competitor but, evil. I question Haidt’s reasons why we need an ‘evil other’ to begin with. I maintain that the flip is a reaction to an internal condition (fear) than an external one (war) – we do not need war. We only believe we do because we are conditioned to. When one feels threatened in some way, such as a perceived attack on one’s vulnerability or feelings of inadequacy, they react in a destructive way. This is why race baiting works for politicians that are grappling with their own fears. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it. Therefore, it isn’t a leap to assume that the majority of individual members of the conservative tribe do, in fact, have deep seated personal issues that pertain to race. They aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ but they are fearful, and therefore dangerous if only because of their vulnerability to others’ agenda of control.  

    I believe groupiness evolved for a more productive reason than war. Cooperation and togetherness, as nurtured by groupiness, is central to the survival and advancement of tribes, families, and communities. Where we Americans have devolved is within the underlying message: less for you means more for me, which is false and triggers fears of lack, or rather, fear of poverty (despite the fact that many of them are already poor). Once tribe members are collectively aligned by their fears, they are easy to control. Those that benefit from war/conflict (typically the elites in a community) easily manipulate tribal sensibilities in order to reach their individual agendas. Why wouldn’t they? They then suddenly have the money as well as the people. Those that the progressives call “evil” (the 1%) are very few in number and should not characterize all conservatives. 

    This is not to say that conflict is always a bad thing. Healthy conflict, as seen in the sports example, brings people together. It also can encourage advancement and excellence. It is our egos and fears that are destructive, that drive us apart and render conflict a destructive presence. 

    Ultimately, the country’s problems are largely internal to the individual, and therefore, a spiritual problem. Repeatedly, we aim to fix an internal problem using external means which is why, I believe, we have made less progress than we are capable of. It appears to me that Haidt has overlooked the internal presence of fear and it’s overall affect on groupiness, and therefore politics. 

  • Anonymous

    FF had the perfect suburban life. Freud whittled the superman down so his nephew could make play.

  • Jdrumi

    Greed and a disturbed mind set will hurt everyone in the long term( in a nutshell) 

  • Kathnow

    I have read many of the comments and appreciate the many negative ones.  For myself, I don’t understand or accept that we are all hypocrites.  I wish he had expanded on that more.  Of course many of us take strong stands on many issues, i.e., womens and people of color rights, income equity, health care access, justice in our everyday living and so on, but I hope they aren’t what makes us hypocrites. 
      I have been having a polarizing commentary with distant relatives about people not paying their inflated and much increased mortgage payments. The relatives keep saying that the people shouldn’t have gotten into the situation in the first place if they couldn’t afford increases with the adjustable percentage rates. 
       My responses have been mostly about the deceit and illeagal practices of the banks and mortgage companies.
       So Jonathan Haidt helped me understand that we are talking about two different things.  It was easy to dismiss my comments, because it looked like I was dismissing their ideas of personal responsibility.  Yet, I feel the same way about personal responsibility as they do. 
       Now I’m going to seperate the issues and see if they can agree that these institutions have responsibilities to all of us and how far will we go to get that accountability.
       Aside from that I don’t think it is a problem that someone else has a big ego.  Most people responding show that they also have healthy egos because they have opinions. 
        I do see that the criticism of some of the conclusions of Haidt’s are questionable, and I value this discussion,
     

  • Lisa Carlson

    I’ve often wondered what a conservative George Lakoff might offer up as an explanation for the “way people think” about politics.  I now know.  I don’t find Haidt’s ideas to be all that remarkable and so generalized as to render them useless in evaluating much of the current political, economic, social arena (OWS, mortgage crises, banking bailout, increased poverty, unemployment, taxation vs. austerity, etc.).  He mixes apples and oranges by only focusing on the fact that both are fruit (“fair” is “fair”, right?), which allows him to ignore the varieties flavor (nuance and interpretation–it’s not “fair” to expect a “handout” for not working, okay–but what about the banks?  And what’s “fair” for people with homes going into foreclosure through no fault of their own?  Are they asking for “handouts” too?).  His language suggests that he either always has been, or has adopted the conservative perspective and he dismisses any interpretations or definitions other than his own as somehow evidence of the correctness of his position.  That’s a big red flag for me–watch out because to not agree with his view is to relegate yourself to the “other side”.  It’s the same “win-lose” argument style I have experienced repeatedly in discussions I’ve had with my very conservative family.

    I did appreciate Haidt’s concerns about demonization of our political opponents, however, I would argue that both “sides” do not demonize equally.  Considering how much of the media is controlled by more conservative-leaning corporations, and has been for decades, and that it has been proven that the media does focus predominantly on the right perspectives nearly 4 times more than that of the left, it goes without saying that much of the demonization comes from the right toward the left.  You don’t have to watch Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly to hear/see it either.  Even NPR has been know to slip in commentary now and again using word choices that elicit a negative affect.  One only has to see a few clips of the current GOP debates to hear the vitriol.   I have yet to hear a liberal accuse a head of state that he is not a true citizen of his country, or encourage constituents to “lock and load” in preparation to “take down” the liberal enemy.  Of course, the left does have its way of demonizing the right–using descriptors such as “wacko,” “wingnut,” or language that indicates insanity, stupidity or rigidity–and neither “side” can claim moral high ground on this.  Yet, the language used by each and how that language affects the audiences who hear it is just as important to consider as the act of demonization itself.  I can’t help but think that this admonition is directed more at liberals (e.g. Moyer’s audience) than to both sides in general since it does seem to sound a lot like the cries of victimhood and persecution the right employs whenever they feel criticized, exposed or cornered.

    This did give me something to think about, however, and for that reason I did appreciate this interview.  I would, suggest, however, that Bill consider interviewing Corey Robin whose book “The Reactionary Mind” has already (in only a few pages) helped me understand quite a bit more about why those in power (and those who want power–predominantly conservative) respond to “us” (the 99%) the way they do.

  • John Kessler

     I’m not so sure Haidt is trying to defend the conservative view as much as to get us to understand it. As such there is no need to hit a home run in his analogy. Looked at that way, the Aesop’s fable – which I took exactly as Haidt described when I read it as a child – was a good analogy.

  • Anonymous

    This show is part of a media campaign to freight the population with the fraud and mismanagement the 1% have engaged in. These psychologists are diagnosing victims of torture not yet terrorists.

    See Jordan Peterson on Visceral Politics for the Canadian version.

    The torturers are the root cause.

  • charltonoregon2009

    At the end of each Moyers show, I always have to conclude that campaign finance reform and any other methods for curbing the influence of money over members of Congress are a fundamental necessity to correcting our political system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Kinnard/100000044001976 Andy Kinnard

    Yes, they don’t work when under-funded and obstructed at every turn.

  • janet culbertson

    Bill Moyers is wonderful……. even handed, refreshing and so damned intelligent !!   Why can’t our polititians be  this smart and ETHICAL???

  • Clifford Terry

    Haidt makes a few good points but doesn’t really offer any way out of this conundrum and doesn’t really understand the meaning of karma, which he oversimplifies to unsuccessfully make his point.

  • Christopher

    I read all the posted comments several days ago.  (There are more now than there were then.)  I think perhaps the two messages liberals can take from Haidt’s presentation were lost on most participants.  First, stick to reasoned debate; don’t demonize opponents.  (Yes, I know, conservatives aren’t very good at this.)  Second, liberals are doing a less than adequate job of presenting their reasoned counterpoints to conservative diatribes.  I suggest we try to learn from Dr. Haidt rather than trying to score with counter arguments.

  • Kaytaylormath

    Boy, did Julogue1 hit the nail on the head.  Indoctrinated as a libertarian and faithful believer of the hard work ethic I cleaned 13 houses a week for 20 years to support my 2 children.  I worked like a dog and never used any govt assistance because I thought it was immoral.  In those 20 years I learned a lot about many of the wealthy I worked for.  The more conservative were by far the least honest and had little scruples.I went back to college to make sense of my observations and am an absolute liberal and will be for the rest of my life.There has never been a level playing field in this country (or any other).  If you don’t begin with that understanding, you won’t find truth.

  • Megdlan

    While I greatly agree with the fact that demonizing each
    other gets us nowhere, I feel that the empathetic delivery of the Right’s
    belief in ‘just desserts,’ or a desire for karmic universe free of ‘free-loaders’
    was moving – and troubling. Did I miss the part about how this is built on the belief
    that life is fair; that we all shoot out of the starting gate with equal
    proportions and some of us just squander our share? I agree completely that we
    need to oppose divisive tactics, we are all in this together and I think we all
    ultimately will benefit more from a stable society, than one in crisis. But why
    can’t we just call things what they are. Selfishness and greed for fear and
    fear.  And while I’m at it, I have as yet
    to figure out what purpose it serves to demoralize us all by implying we all
    are liars, cheats, and out to impress each other with whatever is available? I
    just beg to differ.

  • Megdlan

    While I greatly agree with the fact that demonizing each
    other gets us nowhere, I feel that the empathetic delivery of the Right’s
    belief in ‘just desserts,’ or a desire for karmic universe free of
    ‘free-loaders’ was moving – and troubling. Did I miss the part about how this
    is built on the belief that life is fair; that we all shoot out of the starting
    gate with equal proportions and some of us just squander our share? I agree
    completely that we need to oppose divisive tactics, we are all in this together
    and I think we all ultimately will benefit more from a stable society, than one
    in crisis. But why can’t we just call things what they are. Selfishness and
    greed for fear and fear.  And while I’m
    at it, I have as yet to figure out what purpose it serves to demoralize us all
    by implying we all are liars, cheats, and out to impress each other with
    whatever is available? I just beg to differ.

  • Anonymous

    I have as yet to figure out what purpose it serves to demoralize us all by implying we all are liars, cheats, and out to impress each other with whatever is available?

    It’s very clear. It’s a group strategy in times of pillage. Civil war.

    The tissue of lies that held the country together are dissolving. Something’s got to be renounced.

  • Lavigner

    now their is someone who makes since thank you

  • Eugene_joe

    Oh you are so wrong about him being a glib fan of false equivalence. Nature does not give a damn about humans coming and going nor if we start a massive destruction and take every species on the planet with us nor if we generate a wonderful peaceful existence. WE HAVE TO GIVE A DAMN, this is the existential question/answer. If I hit my finger with a hammer it hurts, if I fall in love and loose it hurts, my ability to see this in myself and to know how others likely feel when i see it in others does form an understanding that removes much of the glib equivalence you refer to. As an atheist there are certain things I learned from my religion, things I know now to be wider then any religion – Love they neighbor as they self – Do unto others as you would do unto yourself – different from another version an eye for an eye…..which can be expanded to an eye for an eye and we are both blind.

    William you seem to be the one hung up on false equivalency.  If you study nature and the creatures within it you will come to understand that the world IS a complex adaptive system far from equilibrium and that change is what happens all the time and that we can influence but not force that change. I want my kids and those of others to grow up in a world with as much pleasrue and as little stress as possible but to do this requires we know and understand the world and how it works. Far from being a glib fan of false equivalence Haidt is offering a way to understand how nature has used conflict and groups and wars to generate us as humans ans possible learn enough so as to honor that which we have evolved from and yet make new ways to keep us from polarizingly taking ourselves and the other creatures off the earth in the sixth extinction – NOW IN PROGRESS!

  • Sieben Stern

    Thank you – i agree 100%.  

    Some of his examples were disturbing to me – such as not demonizing people for working / speaking for corporations, when a better example would be right wing demonization of gays, blacks, and women.  

    In the end he felt like a conservative apologist, squirming around to try and excuse the right’s ideology.

  • Sieben Stern

    I had some misgivings about Haidt’s views while watching the interview and after reading the comments here, am glad I’m not alone.  I recommend Haidt watch the Harvard Justice series before perpetuating the hard work = success myth and trying to justify it.

    He felt more like a conservative apologist to me.  

  • Sieben Stern

    there’s even another greek reply to that fable where the ant is a human first, and never has enough from his own day and night work and then starts stealing from his neighbors.  the gods get angry and change the man into an ant.  

  • Sieben Stern

    “Liberals think that the ants should feed the grasshopper? Oh HELL NO we don’t! ”
    Which technically puts the right wing in conflict with the jesus in their bible.  

    but then again, we’re all born hypocrites, so it’s ok /sarcasm.

  • Eugene_joe

    Its sad that so many here seem to have taken Haidt as some sort of moral relativist or apologist for the right or to accuse him  a false equivalence. If one reads enough world history one can see over and over the same sort of happenings. Humans have been repeating over and over the same patterns  that rhyme. Haidt is not picking sides in his talk/interview/work, he is trying to understand why we humans are doing what we are doing.  The world is a complex system made up of many creatures each made up of individuals. If you pick a particular ism to veiw things through you will miss what is really going one. If we do want to build a better world that can survive as we proceed down the path of this Sixth Extinction now in progress we MUST take a real view of humanity so we can build a better world. Or else we will once again repeat what nature has endowed us with, the desire and need to form groups and tribes and nations and divisions so that genetics can work its magic that has brought humans SO CLOSE to finishing the Sixth Extinction – this is not about Haidt being a Moral Relativist because he is not. This was about trying to see how and why humans do this same behavior pattern over and over, each time convinced this time they have it the only real correct way……

  • Robert

    While I was watching Bill Moyer’s last show,
    I was imagining I was a basketball scout and I was given the assignmnet of evaluating the new  Dr. H.    Pen in hand, I’d wrote, seems to have the ability drive left or right,  dribbles excellently with either hand, although tending to dribble too much, always going round and round in circles, always
    resisting the urge to score ,with the crowd going crazy(465 comments),  yelling for him to put up with some points on the board, he decides to quit and decides to become an all-star referee. 

  • Eugene_joe

    Groupiness is a stable patter in nature. You can see this in the way a family dog protects the house or members of its pack. You see this in many many other animals that have a pack or troop or pride or….  many of these are predators. In herd animals you find different behaviors and these are much less territorial in reality. There are also some loaner animals where the female takes care of the young until they leave. Males in these groups are much more loaners in their territory and the females usually wander about often between territories.  Each type and variation has much to do with the sizes of the sexes on average, the length of time to maturity of the young, the ratios of females to males, the temperament in general each particular animal has that matches the type of community/territory/tribe/pack/herd……. They must agree even though they separately evolves for the critter to continue in the world.

    For inheritance there must be a small enough group that variations get tried and can either survive or die out and yet large enough that inbreeding will not kill the group. Then to keep a species continuing on the path together there has to be sufficient breeding between groups.  There are patterns that are stable and they continue…or the critters line dies out.

    Dogs and Humans share enough similarity to be able to live together in great harmony but it did take evolutionary changes by dogs to evolve to this and maybe even some changes in humans. We humans are pack/troop critters.

    Humans have added language to the mix and as such new ways to form groups/packs/tribes/troops based not just in the birth group but also by self-identifying with others. It is this facility of language and the ability to have a history – past and future and present – that enables us humans to be central to the Sixth Extinction now in progress and to be a driving factor, maybe THEY driving factor.

    If we dont wake up and understand our relationship in the world to the other critters and to each other we will continue our groupiness until  we finish the Sixth Extinction and then it will be gone to nature or a few of us might wake up.

    Groupiness helps produce the warfare that keeps the breeding separated. Notice that rape is parcticed by many if not all armies and that those raped are often cast out by their group.  Why do you think this is so common? Is it just a particular ISM or group? why has it happened over and over?

    If you look at places where many many groups are pushed together by the geography you will see very high amounts of warfare unless they begion to share culture as made possible by hollywood and TV and books ect.  If we are to be able to go to the world level before we start another WW – maybe that might be the last one – then we need to understand what Haidt is talking about.

    Groupiness of the Kung while they were hunter gatherers in a place with lots of space is much different from New Guinea – the warfare was much different.  When the Kung moved into more permentant settlements they began to act differently, very differently, even within one generation but then the social structure became matched to the conditions…..

  • Eugene_joe

    If your going to coach a team to victory it helps to understand how the different forms of offense and defense work and be able to adapt and maneuver knowing what each can do, what their strengths are and what the weaknesses are.

    I see Haidt in this light rather then a referee, but then a good coach could be a good ref if he was not attached to any of the teams in someway that would influence what he sees.

  • Eugene_joe
  • Eugene_joe

    maybe they dont think they are lying…..having know a few they are convinced they have the facts totally correct

    btw i have sen liberals do the same thing and while i trust liberals more then conservatives as they exist today, you should go read some of their blogs. Yes I know hard to take and there are times i have wanted to destroy my monitor or computer but they are entertaining.  

  • jane adams

    David Stockman, budget director for Reagan, worked also with Clinton and benefitted, as much as anyone, from the new regulations or lack thereof.  He lives in an 11 mil.plus mansion in Greenwich, Ct. (not that far incidentaly from sandy Weil).  No wonder he can speak about that time with
    such clarity!

  • Anonymous

    Eugene Joe McCarthy? Are you mad?

    Quote the transcript where Haidt is taking a “real view” to build a better world.

    Haidt’s close enough to a moral relativist, but that’s not the worst charge.

    And how does a scientist get to the wrong ideas about yinyang and Karma?

    Look up, Professor Haidt, there’s a lot of dirty business overhead.

  • Anonymous

    Clarity and Command.

  • Anonymous

    Ho ho. A good coach isn’t paid by the other team.

    Who’s coach would he be, hmmm?

  • Anonymous

    “It is this facility of language and the ability to have a history” that supersedes genetics. It becomes an end in itself, even. And technology, even more so.

    But liberals are much less “groupy” than conservatives (or whatever you call them). Are you trying to argue they should be more “groupy”? You’re on the wrong path.

    Competition for power when you’re already too powerful is the problem. And Haidt fails to call anyone out on that.

  • Anonymous

    What???

  • jacob t. chachkes, m.d.

    there is a reality that was not addressed when the conversation came to ‘you made a choice, live with the consequences’ vs. ‘let government take care of you’. What of the person that worked, had health insurance etc, job goes away, he or family gets seriously hurt.  He did NOT make a choice. He did not choose to be out of work. Is he fated to live with choices OTHERS made for his life?  If a motorcyclist does not wear a helmet, has an accident that makes her a ‘vegetable’, who should fund the care, if at all?
    Would like to know the liberal and conservative and moderate solutions to the conundrum.

  • jacob t. chachkes, m.d.

    there is a reality that was not addressed when the conversation came to ‘you made a choice, live with the consequences’ vs. ‘let government take care of you’. What of the person that worked, had health insurance etc, job goes away, he or family gets seriously hurt.  He did NOT make a choice. He did not choose to be out of work. Is he fated to live with choices OTHERS made for his life?  If a motorcyclist does not wear a helmet, has an accident that makes her a ‘vegetable’, who should fund the care, if at all?
    Would like to know the liberal and conservative and moderate solutions to the conundrum.

  • Anonymous

    COM: Jobs do not go away. Is the motorcyclist a capitalist?

    LIB: Taxes on the wealthy and corporations pays for both (Full helmet laws have reduced the latter problem, only 30 more to go …)

    Moderate: What’s that?

    CON: TOUGH TOENAILS

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3CFYAHSTJJB363SXPAY5QDH4JM MichaelT

    I have watched Bill Moyers for over twenty years.  I have changed, I have grown in my own way.  Moyers, as well as most liberals, live a life of irony and absorbed in their own beauty as far as I am concerned.  I am not a conservative — I am a person that makes a choice to “demonize” liberals.  Just read these posts.  Bunch of self-aggrandized geniuses  with one perspective – their own.  And still they  don’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    I think his point is that liberals (and I am one) put evil intentions onto conservatives even when they are not there because we fail to interpret their statements accurately.

  • Anonymous

    Get what? Sorry, was there a clue in there somewhere?

  • Anonymous

    The problem is if you do not have a defensible argument, then you are going to have a hard time getting people to listen to you. I agree with his point that liberals are more apt than conservatives to be emotional about points in a way that is not persuasive to anyone who does not already agree.

  • Robert

    Thanks IndianJones
    Sorry, Eugene
    checkmate

  • Anonymous

    Can you show me truth that is only logic?

    Yes, non-contradiction is necessary, but not sufficient.

    Yes, negotiated. Natively as infant, often autonomously after much programming, socially, collegially, professionally, blah blah. That an individual should only be convinced to his own satisfaction does not negate the interaction necessary to arrive there.

    Evidence and critical consensus.

    “I’m not required to justify a negative position.” Yes you are, so there.

    What was Socrates’ superiority to thinking men, hmm?

    “If truth is a “collective project”, then it’s clearly a relativistic position.” Wrong again. “relativists cannot really respect the views of others, since they do not even believe in truth”: non sequitur. “since they do not even believe in truth, and hence cannot believe that their own beliefs may be false”: You mean to tell me that relativists don’t believe in the truth of a brick through the window? C’mon. “or that the beliefs of others may be closer to the truth than their own”: So, he just changes his mind because he likes the shape of their koobles?

    “When you question them, you typically find that it is not really truth that they think is relative, but our knowledge or beliefs about what is true.” Bleah. What is the magical condition in “our” heads (not knowledge or belief) that saves this sentence from self-contradiction? Truth is outside all heads? Fail! “If you question them long enough you may even find that what they really want to say is that our knowledge and beliefs are inherently fallible and subject to error.” No, if I question them long enough they will want to say that we are truth seekers.

  • Anonymous

    And conservatives more “logical”? Now where have we heard that stereotype before, hmm?

    Maybe there’s an emotologicial no-person’s land in your philosophy?

    And emotion’s not defensible? I think the Professor would not agree with you on that.

  • Setahst

    George Lakoff has been talking about some of this for years. Yet Haidt has a point: the left has not positioned itself to frame its arguments the same way the right has.

  • Sieben Stern

    I understand that as his general idea, but I think his examples fell flat – such as the list of words from gingrich – what’s to misinterpret there? 

  • Anonymous

    Might I suggest the right doesn’t frame it’s arguments the way that would be attractive to the left?

    In other words, neither frame their arguments to tell the truth.

    So. What’s your point again?

  • Eugene_joe

    I have looked and read a bunch of his work. Since you likely dont have much of an idea about what complexity is let me try a different way of explaining what you can not see because you lack the me tal tools. Im not being disrespectful please.

    If ond wa ts to make a movie one needs a bunch of things. First there is a place to do the filming, then there is the equipment lime camreas and lighting and of course the film. You need a screen play or plan of some sort for the story, the actors, and extras, the camera man, the director, the rest of the stage crew and finally your ready to shoot. The director and actors then work together to tell a story while the film captures the images and audio. Later the film gets developed and the edited and possible sub titles added or a foreign language track added. Finally it gets played and those watching see through their own empathy/filers. Different members of an audience might well see the whole thing at the same time and disagree withwhat happened and what was behind the screen writers and the directors ideas and what they presented. This is a multilevel system and kind of fractal at various levels from the physical to the mental thoughts from moving images at the back of the eye on the retena. We clould of course go on and look at all the steps to form a story in the mind of the watcher which is far more complicated.

    Facts are the observer is almost totally ignorant to the whole process and what it takes to make the show, experiencing ONLY the precieved through their own brain a story line.

    Haidt is talkig about the whole thing from a point of veiw that sees a larger picture of whats involved in amking the thing and how the different parts of the process can effect how the movie is interpreted because of those things. You seem to only want to talk and argue about the story line as you see it as particular
    Member of the watchers.

    Likewise in the field of language, many have given up trying to invent a language that is free from ambigouity and is exact. Yet the different ways individuals and the groups they are apart of seem to feel they know exactly what the story line is.

  • William LeGro

     If you think listening to today’s conservatives and talking politely with them creates a positive outcome, then you haven’t been following the news. Conservatives take your politeness and club you over the head with it. Ask Obama. They engage in what is called dishonest discourse: they pretend to negotiate, then, when you agree to meet their demands, they reverse themselves and demand more, or they walk out. You simply cannot negotiate with such people because negotiation is the last thing they want to do. What they want is for you to shut up and go away. And they will lie and mislead and dissemble until they get their way or until government comes to a screeching halt. And it works!

  • Eugene_joe

    My own experience, being one of the liberal/progressive crowd and an active member of my Occupy group, is that liberals are just as groupy as conservative but usually different type groups. Conservatives seem to me to be more into sports, i did not even look at the superbowl but those who lile groups and competition and authority like sports better then those whomlike diversity and fairness and doing as little harm as possible. Certainly there are those liberal and progressive that lime to watch sports but they dont seem to be as interested in fighting over the values or status of particular teams compaired to othe teams.

    Haidt in other stuff he has done talks about looking at five axis and how these relate to different political viewsand how the different weighting of the different axis makes big differences in the way complex events are interpreted.

    Of interest, he does not get into this, is that what we call consciousness that we do our logic through is actually a half second behind what we actually do in the world or the stories we make up. Libitz did a bunch of work one this. Different parts of our sensory system take different processing times and the same goes with muscle movements. As someone who spent years working on closed loopservo systems i can tell you the feeling of simultinaity is bogus and made up in the brain. What we seem to do unconsciosuly(real consciousness i add) is to make a model of the world in to tbe future and then match up what our sense tell us happened (after the fact) and then update the model. In processing we call this edge detection and feed forward control. Or morality is what is used to help sort things in the world and its what religions and language allow us to compare our own internal states to others. If we agree and share the same group values it works well or as a pragmatist would sAy is the truth. If it doesnt then it makes.conversing with others difficult. There is a reality underneath this all and that is that at the subconscious level and at the physical level things make big differences. At what you call the conscious level is what gets argued about and polarization happens over and those all are STORIES that are made up to try to explain whats happening in the real world.

    Haidt is tryin to look and work at the le el of reality a d you are playing aroundd in storyland. If it works for you your story must be true right? And the otherside must be nuts.

  • William LeGro

     I think I get what you’re saying, and I agree (I think). I think what you’re saying boils down to this: empathy is a survival trait. Well, yes, it absolutely is. Yet (here goes the demonization!) conservatives prove themselves over and over again to lack empathy – thus they demonize everyone who isn’t like them, white and well-to-do. Over the decades they have cut funding for public schools, public colleges, public medical care, public infrastructure, and anything else they can get their hands on that would maybe some day take their power away. They own our government, they have most of the money, and they send the cops to thrash anyone who dares to protest. They are creating a permanent, uneducated, unhealthy, underemployed, poor underclass, and they are doing it right in front of your nose. Is it demonization to point out facts? Can you talk to people whose goal is to keep you stupid and sick? Can you negotiate with people who don’t want to negotiate, who negotiate in bad faith, and whose goal is to make you a one-term president? These people tell you to your face what their plans are – which is to concentrate power and wealth in their own hands – and you’re supposed to try to see where they’re coming from? Hey! They just TOLD you where they’re coming from! And it’s a very bad place! What more do you need to understand about a guy with a club raised over your head?

  • William LeGro

     Exactly. The right’s argument against social programs – “they don’t work” – is a perfect example their dishonest discourse. Their argument is incomplete without “because they’re underfunded and obstructed at every turn.” And that, of course, shows what a lie their argument is. Exactly how far does anyone expect to get respectfully listening to and negotiating with a liar? This is the enormous hole at the center of Haidt’s argument against “demonization.” It is not demonizing to say someone is lying when they actually are lying. Hello! This is common sense.

  • Anonymous

    >”Can you show me truth that is only logic?”"Yes, negotiated. Natively as infant, often autonomously after much programming, socially, collegially, professionally, blah blah. That an individual should only be convinced to his own satisfaction does not negate the interaction necessary to arrive there.

    Then demonstrate why that is true. What are you basing this on?

    >”Evidence and critical consensus.”"”I’m not required to justify a negative position.” Yes you are, so there.”"What was Socrates’ superiority to thinking men, hmm?”"If truth is a “collective project”, then it’s clearly a relativistic position.” Wrong again.”"relativists cannot really respect the views of others, since they do not even believe in truth”: non sequitur.”"You mean to tell me that relativists don’t believe in the truth of a brick through the window?”"C’mon. “or that the beliefs of others may be closer to the truth than their own”:”"What is the magical condition in “our” heads (not knowledge or belief) that saves this sentence from self-contradiction?”"Truth is outside all heads? Fail!”"No, if I question them long enough they will want to say that we are truth seekers.”<

    I'm sure. But I doubt that you'll have questioned them long enough. Go deeper. They may want to say that but you'll find its a superficial claim. While they may claim to be "truth seekers" do they ever bother to tell you how they go about finding what they seek? Oh..yeah..by committee right? What is their criteria? Merely claiming a standard or a criteria or a basis does not help one to demonstrate the truth of values. Instead, it creates a certain amount of hypocrisy. If we claim a basis gives us truth, we then are making the implicit claim that truth requires bases. But then it is plainly obvious our own basis lacks a basis, as it cannot be its own basis.

  • Eugene_joe

    I just realized IndianJones your one of those Flat Earth people. If you dont like science then you go with your gut/brain and say that science must be wrong cause your gut tells you otherwise and that is a flat earther!

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding? You just blew your objectivity and your cool.

    Quote the transcript, or get off your high horse.

  • Anonymous

    Look, the world is full of bamboozlers, scientific ones too. We all don’t know something, but the bamboozler usually can’t make the story convincing enough when he’s asked the right questions.

    Scientists avoid talking like bamboozlers. You can complexify and appeal to superior knowledge but that’s not how a scientist talks.

    Quote the transcript.

    By the way, have you noticed there are no Haidt groupies here telling us specifically how to correct our yinyang? Or to be less sarcastic, how to interpret Haidt’s botched presentation. Don’t you think they’d be watching? What do you think their reticence might be?

    Ah, you say, they don’t have time for us.

    Oh, really?

  • Anonymous

    As someone who spent years working on closed loopservo systems i can tell you the feeling of simultinaity is bogus and made up in the brain.

    You don’t intend to conflate  consciousness and feelings. 

    What we seem to do unconsciosuly(real consciousness i add) is to make a model of the world in to tbe future and then match up what our sense tell us happened (after the fact) and then update the model. In processing we call this edge detection and feed forward control.

    Yes, but it’s not exclusively feed forward; you’ve described the feedback, but the “control” itself is reactive.

    Yes, these stories are based on unconscious “conclusions” and conscious ones. Let’s hope one’s morality is a codified, adaptive strategy. If we share the same values the codification may still not work well.

    I think I’ve just explained why the conservative depiction of morality is a fraud. It represents a strategy of conquest; for it, Conquest == Truth.

    Haidt, in dealing “reality”, must demonstrate where his stories about his study override my stories (and others) about experience and study.

    Instead of going authoritarian on me, quote Haidt.

    The “other side” is nuts AND dangerous, comrade. Try not to belittle me so casually, Eugene Joe _.

  • Anonymous

    We all know that slow is not appropriate at this time. But you’ve omitted something very important — by the negotiation and compromise of the past, we are in the very desperate situation we are in. To put it bluntly, they’ve been deceitful and misguided.

    And in fact, we are going fast — down the toilet. So your assessment is ridiculously dogmatic. O’Bummer’s not telling the truth, you’re not getting the truth, and we’re all hearing mostly untruth.

    The Liberal argument for slow progress has no credibility in this time of crisis. If you were talking in 1932, should you be saying, “Look, we’re going to get out of this, it will take another World War, but we’re going to be in the American Golden Age.” No. Those people wanted to know how the hell they got there and how the hell to fix it. The war was a 1% solution.

    Furthermore, there were people more clued in than you are now. They would have told you that such a golden age would come to an ignoble end. If you want to take the long view, you’ve got to acknowledge the repetitive mistakes.

    Until you do that and acknowledge that the game now being played is even more desperate, your exhortations betray your error.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I hardly think that there is discrimination involved
    in the advancement or rejection of economic theory.

    Think again.

  • Eric Whitney

    Note to Jonathan Haidt:

     

    Both sides don’t do it.  Conservative politics is based on lies.  Conservative/Republican/Reactionary (however
    you  decide to call them) politicians and
    proponents lie constantly about everything: “Palestinians are an invented people.”  “The Civil War was about States’
    Rights.” “Lower

    taxes create jobs.”
    “Government is the Problem!” Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

     

    Conservatives use their lies to
    oppress other people, as opposed to what Liberals generally espouse, which is justice
    and the extension of liberties generally.

     

    Conservative politics is defined by
    hatred of the Other.   They hate Women,
    Gays, Indigenous Americans, Latinos, Blacks, Unions, Liberals, White poor
    people, Muslims, Atheists, Mexicans, Asians.  And they hate science and the truth whenever
    science and the truth do not agree with their world view.

     

    I am not a Liberal.  I am much further to the left than merely
    liberal, and I am not excusing the mistakes made by Liberal persons, but
    insofar as how I see the way things to be, I do not see Liberals hating like I
    see Conservatives do, and I don’t see Liberals lying like I see Conservatives
    do, either.

     

    You say you have moved closer to the
    conservative viewpoint. Don’t get too close, Jonathan, for your own moral good,
    unless you want to be associated with hatred and hateful policies toward Women,
    Gays, Indigenous Americans, Latinos, Blacks, Unions, Liberals, White poor
    people, Muslims, Atheists, Mexicans, Asians and other groups.  Lay down with dogs, Jonathan, and you get up
    with fleas.

     

    Here is a quote for you from a book
    about Conservatives by Corey Robin:

     

        
    “Conservatism is the theoretical voice of … animus against the
    agency of the subordinate classes. It provides the most consistent and profound
    argument as to why the lower orders should not be allowed to exercise their
    independent will, why they should not be allowed to govern themselves or the
    polity. Submission is their first duty, agency, the prerogative of the elite.

        
    Though it is often claimed that the left stands for equality while the
    right stands for freedom, this notion misstates the actual disagreement between
    right and left. Historically, the conservative has favored liberty for the
    higher orders and constraint for the lower orders. What the conservative sees
    and dislikes in equality, in other words, is not a threat to freedom but its
    extension. For in that extension, he sees a loss of his own freedom.”

     

    Both sides DON’T do it.  Liberals do not lie like Conservatives
    do.  Conservatives are for oppression of
    the hated and feared Other.  Liberals
    want to extend liberty and justice.

     

    Now, don’t get the idea I am panning
    you in every way.  You did say a few
    things I found to be useful and true.  But
    you are fundamentally wrong on points that are so basic, that I believe Moyers
    should have laughed you out of the studio.

  • Eric Whitney

    Sorry ’bout the formatting on my post, below.  I hit the “Enter” key faster than I should have.  I’ll do better in the future, I promise.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, there is a continuity between conservative thinking and Haidt’s — but it isn’t flattering.

    Liberals cannot exist without the middle ground; they already are mediators to both worlds. The absence of that recognition, the disappearance of the left, as it were, is a major deceit in Haidt’s framing.

    Papa wants to say, “Kids, you play nice OR ELSE.” Papa’s got issues.

  • Anonymous

    Haidt offers no way. What you say Haidt offers, we most already know. Even the unscientific know polarization is a problem.

    Haidt has no additive value; but it’s worse, he has subtractive value.

    The problems we are encountering are rooted in the conservative mindset. They know that. We know that. They pretend they don’t know it because it’s their strategy. You pretend that Haidt doesn’t know that.

    That’s messed up, comrade.

  • Anonymous

    Use the dang edit mode.

  • Anonymous

    This is a reply to Murphy831′s comment 435161660
     
    I take it we agree that truth is more than logic.”Then demonstrate why that is true.” I did.Gallileo arrived at a superior explanation, by critical consensus. Is the originator superior to the consenters? He is more valued and if that encourages more originators, who could object? But truth cannot be established without consent.You missed my ironic double negativity in “So there.” You dismiss my observation, I dismiss your rejection. You can go your own way, my friend. I don’t think we’re here for “prove it” play strategy. I’m not.”If [Socrates] held a superior position to anyone it was only a result of an admission of what  he didn’t know.” Bullocks. Was that Galileo’s only superiority as well?The “collective project” does not solely operate by “majority view”. Does that dispatch your straw man?Even if relativists don’t believe in your truth (and believe in others) they certainly do respectthe views of others, enough to consider them, and sometimes enough to change their own. You don’t have the absolute truth and you will not get it all alone. You operate by methods nearly identical to the relativists but you seek to deny their judgment of ambiguity. You insist their conviction that some absolute conclusion cannot be found is an abondonment of Truth. Well, their conviction is more scientific than your conclusion.AH! An agreement expressed in the negative.Relativists don’t claim the Truth is there’s no truth. They claim there is no evidence for your theoretical truth.O, but there is a self-contradiction. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to explain it further. “When you question them, you typically find that it is not really truth that they think is relative, but our knowledge or beliefs about what is true.” IOW, you claim that they think “really truth” is not relative but think “our knowledge or beliefs” are. Their thinking is, a knowledge or belief.  Either you must allow they don’t think all our knowledge and belief is relative, or you must allowthey don’t think {“really truth” is not relative}.We agree again! Truth is not outside all heads. And again on this: “knowledge and belief is fallible”. I agreed, clarifying, “No, [...] truth seekers”  meaning that they wouldn’t say “truth is absolute”, they would say “absolute truth is a fiction of our minds”.

  • Anonymous

    Did I say that?? Wow, must have been pretty late at night. There’s probably more discrimination in the advancement or rejection of economic theory than almost any other sphere. Thinking again, I can’t actually think of an economic theory that doesn’t embody some form of discrimination.

  • Eugene_Joe

    Hardly Neville as he was working towards supporting the industrializing and didn’t want to disturb the money invested by the wealthy in helping Hitler to power. The fear of the communists progress in Germany really scared them and the when they had invested all the money…the investors wanted to believe no war would happen. This is about as opposite to Haidt as you can get.

  • Eugene_Joe

    You really have miss understood what he is saying. He should talk more in general first about his ideas or moral axis because there is such politically correctness in all the ISMs that they fail to communicate even here. That different individuals collect into groups and then work out what is politically correct to talk about revolves around valuing one axis over another as the axis are often felt in opposition. How those issues are handled in the group in a politically correct manner seems to decide how reality filters work and what is absolutely true or false.

  • Eugene_Joe

    Actually it is the group one restricts ones empathy to that makes large differences nwho do you restrict your empathy to? Conservatives have a great deal of empathy INSIDE their groups as liberals do inside their group and it is the size and who belongs to your group that determines. Liberal groups are usually larger and include many more, conservatives not so many. As you can see from all them comments liberals have a particular view of conservatives and seem to know how conservatives feel about them and…..they will self reenforce each others views in many ways.

  • Anonymous

    No, Hitler, one would believe, is more opposite on the dimension of wanting war. On the dimension of believing war was possible, Chamberlain wasn’t a fool. On the dimension of preventing it, Haidt is doing about as good a job: Lip service.

    I want to unpack this:

    The fear of the communists progress in Germany really scared them and the when they had invested all the money…the investors wanted to believe no war would happen.

    The situation is always the same with capitalism: Chamberlain and the investors gave their credit to the NAZI’s because they did not carry full risk. They helped build the war machine up and then they blamed it on Hitler when he went illegit. You mistakenly allow their “hope” to override their sense. That’s not what capitalist’s do, comrade, the evidence being right before you, right today. That’s what petit-capitalists do and are encouraged to do.

    Capitalists know they can shift the costs onto the people so they take what you ignorantly think of as foolish risks. They want you to think they were foolish risks.

    Look at O’Bummer’s mortgage deal. It’s in your face, today, comrade.

    The NAZI economic machine was a monstrosity and the bleeping capitalist’s were desperate to get out of the depression, enough to risk war whose costs would be mostly paid by others.

    Bourgeois society has a gaping anarchy at it’s heart – “progress” with no responsibilities. Again, it’s in your face.

    Haidt may not be a moron, but I’m not going to be treated like one. !@#$% apologist.

  • Anonymous

    You know, this “working out” should be amenable to sociological analysis. So has Haidt documented this?

    As Grady Lee noted a while back, it seems there are greater moral dimensions than are captured in Professor Haidt’s theory. 

  • Anonymous

    As has been pointed out here, the theory of hypocrisy and exclusion reinforces the theorists’ own conclusions.

    Heal thyself, preacher.

  • Anonymous

    Left out of the discussion, among many factors is that England was still recovering from its losses of MANPOWER and funds when Punish occurred.  There was minimal moral imperative as segments of the ROYAL Family, as well as the Brits, sympathized with the ‘judenfried’ policy. Moyers and this discussion are ultra simplistic.

  • Anonymous

    Arrogant posturing aside, your comments (they do not qualify as argument) do not stand up.  Moreover, calling  Obama names only makes you look small and petty.

    Since you obviously missed the day in school when they taught 2oth Century history, I will explain just a bit of it to you.  Your reference to World War II betrays an astounding ignorance.  I am not going to engage you in your conspiracy theory nonsense about why we fought the war.  But the fact is, the economy had recovered substantially by that time.

    Your comments about misguided policies might have some credence if you actually knew what you were talking about.  George Mason refused to sign the constitution because he felt it didn’t go far enough; people condemned Lincoln because they didn’t feel like he was moving quickly enough on emancipation; people condemned FDR because they didn’t think he was moving quickly enough.  The point is, the pace of change is never fast enough but in a democracy, that is how it goes. 

    Now you run along to your Ron Paul  meeting and you can discuss more conspiracy theories and listen to more proposals that come from the past and have been miserable failures.   

  • Anonymous

    In reply to this comment of yours:

    If you are “not going to engage you in your conspiracy theory nonsense about why we fought the war”, why do you subsequently introduce a fact which has no bearing on either it or anything else I said. This rather demonstrates that the weight of your argument rests on using the word “conspiracy” which is an ignorant and shallow prejudice of liberal and centrist apologists.

    Of course there have been many who advocated earlier change. There would have been no change otherwise. That does not compromise a single thing I said.

    Your failure seem to be that you cannot see the terrible rot that accompanies “progress”. And you know, this is the very 1% posture.

    Good luck compromising with the 

  • Anonymous

    It certainly does have bearing.  Your comment about the 1% solution gives it bearing.  I could recite the history of the 20th century to you and how Hitler declared war on us while attempting world domination but frankly, as I read your varied comments, I will not waste my time.  I could type volumes but you have no interest in facts or knowledge.  You are a bomb thrower only interested in stirring things up.   My time is precious and I will not waste anymore of it one someone who’s only talent seems to be calling names and concocting nonsensical theories about the world. 

  • walawala

    uh, they did work, most have been laid off by Republican CEO’s moving jobs offshore, OR these CEO’s haven’t been hiring having adjusted their workforce to fewer workers working longer hours and for less wages, as a rule.  The “they don’t work”  attack, doesn’t hold water Pkruiz3 given there is Little Opportunity…and remember, it could be you or yours oneday…we all walk a fine line

  • walawala

    right, and if they are lucky enough to find a job how do they support their family or themselves on the pittence that’s offered and How do they pay for Healthcare?   Obamacare didn’t go FAR ENOUGH and the Conservatives who thought it was ok to let the hypothetical guy in the republican debate die because he chose not to have healthcare, the other reality and scernario should have been a 3 year old whose parents had been laid off after 25 years, exhaust their savings, home goes into foreclosure, and the child needs life-saving surgery….wondering how the conservative audience would have reacted to that example. 

  • Anonymous

    You are a bomb thrower … [your] only talent seems
    to be calling names.My time is precious.I could recite the history of the 20th century to you … but … I will not waste my time.No. You want to deny the complicity of your 1% in war crimes present and past.

    Your ignorance is only surpassed by your hubris.

  • jawbone

    Haidt struck me as a more sophisticated version of David Brooks — a person working to sound sincere and rational while pushing rightwing and conservative thinking.

  • TJ

    What the heck do you mean by “soothed by pseudo-science”? In fact, what the heck are you saying at all? Moyers isn’t preaching as he did in the good ol’ days; he’s providing information, information, information! He’s helping the “material struggle” for “rights and justice.” What are you saying?

  • Vic

    Awesome show. Please keep up the muc needed work.

  • Allan

    Two points to raise.  (1) Many of those on welfare are children  or disabled; conservatives and especially libertarians seem just as indifferent to their plight as to the adults they think deserved their fate.  (2) A great deal of science, especially the most successful sciences (math, physics, chemistry), is the result of the use of reason by individuals working alone.  Yes, they pay careful attention to other people’s work, but it’s to stand on the shoulders of giants (and colleagues) more often than to hash out squabbles in a debate.  There is a key aspect Haidt ignores: an important part of the scientific reasoning process is to think through counter-arguments to your own theories, to reason out what kind of evidence would disprove your theories and then look for it.   Many scientists do this routinely as individuals – they don’t need an adversary

  • Anonymous

    Good point 1. On point 2, I think you misunderstand Haidt’s argument. Haidt argues that polarization of effort can be jointly rewarding. Take specialization. Scientists specialize so they have more opportunity to be “giants”, to continue your scenario.  They also specialize relative to non-scientists. The individual intellectual rewards generally enable rewards for many others not in their specialty.

    In fact, intellectual work of this sort is probably a very good model for what Haidt is driving at. The problem is applying this dynamic in moral theory. In the scientific world, the intellectual rewards are transformed into the non-intellectual reward by business and government. Who mediates between special morals, then, to produce their rewards?

    Haidts’ is a marketization of the moral; I think this is immoral.  It is true that the universality of moral claims leads to tremendous conflict and their compartmentalization, tolerance.  The South was colonized for the moral violation of slavery; abortion justifies political attacks.  But we expect a limit to compartmentalization of moral claims; some our government must honor. 
     
    My problem is that these moral conflicts are exacerbated for profit. Haidt mentions nothing of that. The US is exercising egregious illegalities and immoralities while distracting everyone with moral arguments and misrepresentations. This disingenuity is the root problem, especially under present crises. Instead of arguing we should compartmentalize our moralities, we must recognize the violations of jointly held morals.

  • Del

    Fascinating and important discussion…on the program and here in the comments. (So glad Bill Moyers is back!) 

    I would be very interested in a follow-up show in which Mr.  Haidt is asked to address some of the excellent points made here. This conversation is worth continuing…

    What would be EVEN MORE INTRIGUING is if philosophers from liberal and conservative viewpoints joined in the discussion. (Perhaps Thom Hartmann and Michael Medved?)
    That would be must-see TV. I hope you will consider the idea!

  • Eugene_joe

    (me) looks around and see’s who seems to have posted most and – Heal Thyself Preacher IndianaJones

  • Anonymous

    So, you admit to your mind-game of charging dissenters with hypocrisy.

    Maybe you weren’t aware of it?

    Besides, Haidt couldn’t have backed you up on that one.

    Try a new tack, comrade. You’re going to need it.

  • Bruce Kline

    The only way to break through this good evil thing is to re-instate the “Fairness Doctrine” so that people will differing points of view are exposed to people of the other opinion in front of everyone else in the country.

  • Bruce Kline

    It seems to be reading between the lines Jonathan Haidt is a very clever Conservative, or leaning towards Conservatism.  He is ignoring the whole basis of the need idea from the left … oops, well he just started in on the garden analogy, but that is not a good nor clear argument … and the right shouts down the left every time they try to make this point.

  • Brux

    The system design idea is great, and when you define a system you articulate the inputs and outputs … and the Right seems to be about what is undeniably virtual genocide on people outside the system or critics.  They simply seem to not care and think it is right that anyone outside their group should be shut out, dehumanized and even killed.  

    The main idea here seems to be that Republicans are more blase about accepting that everyone cheats to the point that they make snap judgements because they think they do not have to care … thus they rationalize pollution, discrimination, because they talk alot about sacredness, but they don’t seem to understand anything but the superficial aspects of sacredness, ie. they are more superficial and shallow – and this whole situation is much more complex than we want to believe … as in trying to analyze yourself.

  • Brux

    The more I think about this the slimier Haidt becomes the typical professional Republican spokesperson, pretending to be anything but Republican, or playing for their team, giving a few nods to Liberals, and yet framing the whole Republican  propaganda system with Goebbels-like precision.

    He frames the Republicans as believing in self-sufficiency, pure garbage, when it is really the warmed over ugliness and selfishness of “I’ve got mine, there is something wrong with you if you can’t get yours so you deserve whatever happens to you and don’t bother me with it while I enjoy being part of the predatory pack”.

    Then so he does not have to worry too much about it, he says everyone cheats and there is no morality, and his classification, ethicists, HE EVEN SAYS IT, are among the least moral in terms of returning library books about his pet subject.

    It makes me wonder why Moyers says nothing about this, and allows it to go by without a challenge or even deep probing, he just lets this guy blather on.  This is an awful interview, and I wonder is Moyers senile or this was just the price he had to pay the new Conservative managers of PBS to get back on the air.

  • Anonymous

    Republicans have absorbed a matrix of authoritarian propaganda. Their tolerance, nay advocacy, of cheating, of war-mongering, of labor-abuse, of distortion, etc. is an anti-morality. This is a consequence of the authoritarian propaganda. Discerning their innate moral influence on this matrix which favors virtual genocide is a scam and especially so when speaking of misunderstood conservative virtues.

    Those very virtues have been manipulated to raise the authoritarian pressure on the population. Now how would the placidity of the Indian underclass outweigh the significance of that deceit?

    It seems the whole philosophy is riven with deception.

  • Eugene_joe

    My you are as hateful as those you want to condemn.  This is what Haidt is saying and you demonstrate this behavior as well as anyone from fox news, you just do it from a supposed anti-right position. I lived as an Atheist in the bible belt for 13 plus years and if listen to HOW you are talking find you would fit in well with the religious right. Of course the WHAT your are saying is different and you would not get along, im talking about the HOW….hence my the Preacher comment in another post.

  • Eugene_joe

    Sorry i dont see Haidt talking any position at all but rather talking about the methods and ways both left and right make arguments. Of course you will see him as conservative because there are only three sides for you, left,right,or withdrawl into some sort of compromise. The position left and right are both wrong and right is not tenable for someone of the enemy of my enemy is my friend thought process. You remind me of the ford/chev arguers ready to condemn the other side as idiots. The only position you can accept is one in the middle ground who like both or neither – The position that takes the car apart and looks at the components to see how and why the cars are put together seems to be of no use a all to those arguing over ford/chev and who have NO IDEA HOW CARS ACTUALLY WORK. 

  • Eugene_joe

    the world is full of lots of different type of people. Had a friend in college who talk a bit about his father and how they fought and were so very different. When several of us meet his father it was amazing to see how much they were alike in temperment. Sure they had opposite politics cause this was the late 60′s, but they were the spit and image of each other in how they argued and so many other body language qualities. Was very eyeopening experience. They could kill each other over politics yet were so identical.  If one reads more of Haidts other work why this is so makes sense. With so many different religions and so many different political positions and different cultures and ways,  only someone needing to defend a particular way can miss the larger picture and begin to see how much of this i about making up stories your particular group then takes as the facts.

    From many of the comments seen here, Haidts’s ideas are pretty well confirmed and demonstrated, particularlly by those on the right that feel threatened by him and so become defensive.  dogmatisim seems like reality to those inside the dog box.
     

  • Anonymous

    From flat-earther to hater. You’re into name-calling,  you’re fond of  broad, imprecise, and inaccurate personal accusations,  you don’t answer questions, and you don’t get the point. Your new comparison on the basis of, passion I suppose, is not convincing.

    Have you abandoned the flat-earther charge for this new one?

    Anyway, didn’t you say you’re an occupier? I’d love to hear what your main beef with liberals is. I’d be surprised if you aren’t as far off the mark as you continue to be in dealing with me.

  • Eugene_joe

    You obviously no next to nothing about research in to brains nor any research into animal behavior in the wild nor much about development nor other advances in science. You really are a Preacher Indian, not much different then the Right Wing ones you seem to hate so much. I suggest a book called “The User Illusion” might be a good one for you to read. What you call consciousness has been shown toe be the story a particular brain makes up to describe to itself what it has already done and said. So yes I am saying the decisions you and others make and the words you pick here to use and the patterns you put them together in and your particular ISM are mostly run by feelings and emotions and then you construct the story to match your particular ISM, filtering out what necessary and including in intentional brain rivisions so when you conscious mind begins to pisec its story together its the other side/group thats wrong…which is exactly what the otherside does……you are really very much what you hate run through different filters.
     

  • http://www.anklejive.com/ Anklejive

    I don’t completely agree with Haidt that both sides are equally myopic. I
    tend to think that liberals are less likely to be “tribal” (to use his
    word) than conservatives and less likely to surround themselves in the
    bubble he was talking about. The very observation in his TED speech that liberals have more obvious “openness to experience” proves his later statement wrong.

    Where his argument breaks down for me is where he intimates pretty much everyone on welfare is a failure
    or their lack of motivation was the reason why they’re at the bottom.
    While I’m sure there are welfare cheats and people gaming the system, I
    believe most people on welfare, food stamps and other forms of public
    assistance really need help, and that effort on the part of those of us
    who are better off in the system can help those people break out of despair and
    poverty.

    I can’t believe my hero, Bill Moyers, didn’t even call this guy on that!!!

    One thing I do agree with is that conservatives/Republicans are much
    more adept at framing their argument than liberals/Democrats. But the
    reason may be that it’s easier to tear something down with the
    Gingrich/Frank Luntz code words, than build a good, but complicated,
    case for progress and compassion.

    Also, an interesting piece on Saul Alinsky at the end.

  • Anonymous

    “The position left and right are both wrong and right is not tenable [for you]” but “The only position you can accept is one in the middle ground who like both …”

    You grow incoherent, comrade.

  • Eugene_joe

    To give some real context to the interview with Haidt and this comment is especially  for IndianaJones and several others.

    There is a book by then name and i will include two reviews of  it after the first link to a wiki to help define the term:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_illusion

    an excellent book review here:  http://www.nehrlich.com/book/userillusion.html

    Another book review by NYtimes -  http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/03/reviews/980503.03johnst.html

    You might go look up Libets work and there are many other

  • Anonymous

    “From many of the comments seen here, [...] particularlly by those on the right that feel threatened by
    him”

    Where were those?

  • Anonymous

    From your review:

    A half-second before the decision is made to flex the muscle, an electrical signal is detected in the brain. Astonishingly, the ”decision” seems to be made by unconscious neurons before the self becomes aware of its desire to act.

    I hope the book didn’t make him incoherent as well.

  • Eugene_joe

    Do you assume I am a conservative? I side with oh so many of the liberal points and once I did consider myself a liberal – and even today if need to answer fast to someone say I and Progressive or liberal  – yet i know enough about how brains work and how complex systems act and have seen enough divergent views and religions and ISM’s that I realize there are many maybe most on my side who are not much different in the way they construct their arguments from those they dislike so much on the right.  I can conceive of different realities in different times where conservative arguments might be more valid.

    I find particularly arguments made by unclear thinking Marxists and Libertarians to be funny. They are fun to watch because each side is so convinced there is only one way to see the world the arguments just look so very finny and idiotic.

    I do like to listen to and think about what Clear Thinkers say such as David Harvey, a Marxist. There are some on the other side I like if keep to history and one is Niall Ferguson whose is pretty conservative and yet has done exceptional books like Empire and The Ascent of Money……it has to do with what i have come to call clear thinking.

  • Eugene_joe

    sorry – dyslexic words problem - 

    particularlly by those on the right that feel threatened by him and so

    Should be LEFT not Right that feel threatened. not many righties seem to post here do they :)

  • Eugene_joe

    Seems you really have no idea how brains work…….do you.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Maybe a Freudian slip?

  • Anonymous

    You miss the point again.

  • Eugene_joe

    Do you know about the split brain research?  you might check out some on this guy by doing a google search. there are likely some good youtubes on him and his work or others work in this area.    psychology gazzaniga split brain

  • Anonymous

    Of course not. I think you have been promoting your worldly perspective from near the start. But Niall Ferguson? Really, comrade, that propagandist is not much better than Tony Blair.

    How can you possibly fit Harvey and Ferguson in that head of yours?

  • Anonymous

    Sure. What’s your point?

  • Eugene_joe

    Ferguson talking about today is not so good but you can read his work/books and he is a clear thinker, meaning you can take his work apart in a fashion that is not hypocritical – the only term i can think of to describe now……and please i would rather not be referred to as Comrade, Im not your comrade to begin with and for me it smacks of Stalin or a Marxist that is in ISM land. David Harvey is a Marxist and does not use the Comrade term of endearment.
     

  • Eugene_joe

    Hardly Indiana, Im am saying your comments have missed the point(s) i have been trying to make most likely because you DO NOT HAVE A CLUE  to how brains work and refuse to even concider that what Haidt was talking about was brains working and not the particular politics…..But this form of looking at the tools used and the limits of the tools is unimportant to you as you dont care if you are trying to use pliers to take a screw out, you go on using them anyway convinced yours is the only correct tool.

  • Anonymous

    So how can a “clear thinker” end up supporting idiocy? I think maybe your “clear thinking” detector is off, pal, buddy, friend … nah, I like comrade the best.

  • Anonymous

    It has been well established by now that you suffer the same dogmatism you are accusing others of, comrade. You have made many accusations with insufficient basis and no basis in reality.

    So, you have achieved my low estimate on your credibility, and by now, many others.

    Are you sure you want to be working on Haidt’s side?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and as to the name, look again.

  • Eugene_joe

    One experiment with a split brain individual went something like this. They told the right side of the brain to stand up by flashing the command to the left visual field. He stood up. Then they asked him why he had stood up (oral command that goes to the left side) and he confabulated a story that he had decided he wanted a coke and was going to get one…..

    Other expereiments by putting oneside of the brain asleep (the two halves have different blood systems and so one side can be anetshisized and the other remain alert) have demonstrated that memories of accidents – particularly bad ones – are expereinced totally different by the tow sides, the left side has no capability of emotions while the right side can not put sequences together in time but is where all the emotions of the event are stored and can be recalled.

    The frontal lobes are less connected (proportionally in Humans compared to Chimps) and this possibly allows part of that area to be free to construct what we call consciousness., the slow few bits a second side that makes up the stories that help individuals sort the sensory world into boxes and pigeon holes and all the stuff we take  as reality.   Al the parts except a few like the ones that do blind sight and some of the smell stuff get to use the mirrio neuron/empathy modeller part of the brain, each of its own purpose and the feeling that something is right is the decider. In science there is this feeling called ellegence and in so many other fields this  feeling of correctness as the decider.

  • Anonymous

    Check out the Brain Science Podcast, specially the episode with Patricia Churchland.

    She’s critical of Haidt.

    Could you retransmit those last two sentences ’cause they got garbled.

    But really, what is your point? We’re not perfect, but were still pretty impressive, despite what Haidt might think.

  • Anonymous

    This Canadian version of this discussion is far superior: Temperament and Ideology

  • Eugene_joe

    Sorry indiana, buy firefox has indented so much the comment windows does not open.  its late and i have much to do tomorrow……and i your comments about ferguson and what he might say on an interview do not color the way I have found at least several of his books to be. Where i disagree with him i can find from notes and references and the way he has structured his arguments the specific places and then go one and read more – either agreeing or disagreeing but able to form a reasonable argument without dropping to what I see often used as blanaket statements about this or that. Dont know if that is clear but its late and i am going ta bed via a relaxing bath so i can catch 8 hours……..

  • Anonymous

    Enjoy.

    The name’s Indian.

  • Eugene_joe

    oic – dont you want to live in indiana? guess i was picturing you as that great movie star…..lol

  • Anonymous

    Oh. I’m more handsome and smarter too.

    Of course.

  • Eugene_joe

    Will have to do this tomorrow. i went and googled her and can see where she is being critical of Haidt directly. Have not listened to any yet but will. Tell me which particular episode number to listen to where you heard her say this. I did find a review that talks about a particulr book by Haidt being slayne by her IN THE REVIEWERS ran out of windows space it seems – need to start this again or you might tell me what you use to post and comment here
    MIND and would love to her if she said this directly.
    wheraand 

  • Anonymous

    Disqus generic email templateTest.
    —– Original Message —–
    From: Disqus
    To: lburgindianjones@gmail.com
    Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2012 3:04 AM
    Subject: [moyersandcompany] Re: Full Show: How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?

    Eugene_joe (unregistered) wrote, in response to IndianJones:

    Will have to do this tomorrow. i went and googled her and can see where she is being critical of Haidt directly. Have not listened to any yet but will. Tell me which particular episode number to listen to where you heard her say this. I did find a review that talks about a particulr book by Haidt being slayne by he

  • Anonymous

    To Eugene’s comment  436647771

    Tomorrow. I’ve only listened to the most recent of her interviews on BSP. I think she mentions her contention with Haidt there and concentrates on his lack of biology (neuroscience) training and evolutionary context.

    If not, it’s in some interviews on the web.

    Disqus is painful; am testing if you can reply in the email; otherwise you have to start over. 

  • Eugene_joe

    IndianJones made a comment about  Patricia Churchland being critical of Haidt in one episode on this website with this link to the interview. Here is the link to the Transcript of the interview which I will tomorrow in depth but a scan and a search for the word Haidt should not a hit.  I have asked IndianJones for the particular episode number to site so I can see how and where his charges come from – This IndianJones is what clear thinking is about and what you did not do. May you be able to show you really can think clear and support your charge, i would like to be wrong on this.     http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/storage/transcripts/year-6/81-brainscience-Churchland.pdf

  • Anonymous

    If you check my comment again, comrade, I did not affirm she is critical in this interview. She is critical, as you will find.

    I directed you to the interview not for this purpose, but to demonstrate that I am familiar with this fascination of yours and so that you might find the podcast interesting.

    You’re welcome. Comrade.

  • Eugene_joe

    I downloaded the interview BSP81 for which the transcript was available and i linked. I can see that Haidt lacks the biological neuro training but yet what he describes fits well with some of the new models that have to do with empathy and how it works. I have my own ideas on the mechanisms. Haidts ideas do fit with other pieces of information also. What I think matters is that the mechanisms described at one level can be mathced up at other levels. I do think one can look at the morality religions say comes from their god(s) and then look at ways the biological mechanism might describe processes that could be described this way by someone who did not know the mechanisms but was trying to invent a story for their religion.  This is sort of like the three blind men and the Elephant story,  each blind man only having a limited view and lacking eyes to get a larger picture.   Memories of the real and imagined and  retrieved kind seem to suffer some problems in the suggestions and evnvironment they are retrieved in and they can resaved differently from the recalled state last time. There is also the problem shown by the effect suggestions before an incident and before recall can have on tests/expereiments run on the fake enterance and disturbance in a classroom.  its amazing how incorrect firsthand witnesses can be. There are several good expereiments on this.    The brain is amazing in how much info comes in and how well it generates a model of the world that works rather well but certainly is fallable in many any ways, as is what is called consciousness which is the after though and not the thought.

  • Eugene_joe

    thanks – night – today after sunrise is another day - 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, well, that “afterthought” is what enables your fascination.

    Haidt is dabbling in politics for which he is ill trained for pronouncement.  He’s playing … good for a scientist … but not ethical to carelessly hypothesize in this domain.

  • Marie Isenburg

    Let’s leave the accusation “demonize” out of the conversation altogether. That’s all it is, a new accusation.

  • Cindy0922

    I listened with
    great interest to Mr. Haidt because I’ve always prided myself as someone who
    wants to hear and understand the other side of a question.  However, after pondering the show afterwards,
    I realized that in the Republican/Democratic debate it was impossible to comprehend
    a point of view that is constantly changing. 
    For example, Conservatives were for cap and trade and now are vehemently
    against it.  They were for the individual
    mandate and now question its Constitutionality.

    Also, their
    tenant of less government doesn’t conform to their calls for government
    prevention of abortion and birth control. 
    How can I understand and sympathize with this 2012 Republican Party?

  • Dakota Boy

    The lack of conciliation in some of these comments actually proves Haidt’s these.

  • Dakota Boy

     Typo problem. “These” should be “thesis”.

  • Anonymous

    No, a problem with prejudgment.

  • Eugene_joe

    IndianJones, finished listening to the podcast with Churchland and find you are really confused about much of this. She does jump on Sam Harris’s stuff about morality and I agree with her AND she is the expert more then I. She has an extremely interesting career at a university that has done some of the best research into brains, behavior, development, and evolution of these fields.

    For the most part her work fully supports what Haidt is saying, like this or not. She refers to the use of other fields in human behavior and social behavior as neccesary to further the work on how the brain, and therefore the mind,  do what they do and have done for hundreds of thousands of years, and the commonality with the other mammals.

    She talks a bunch about group behavior and expands out from small groups both ways talking much about the foundations of what Haidt talks about in the large groups and talks about how groups come from the necessity of taking care of the young by all mammals, i must do some research on other stuff she has done. Often its good to find both the professional papers and the stuff written for the public, seeing how these are related tells much about how clear a thinker she is but she seems up there with the best.

    Hope you re-listen to her again and there is a pdf transcipt of the show you can use to read outside of the audio, it sometimes give some interesting different perspectives to see, listen, and read as body language and voice all carry meanings and seeing hoe these relates often provides more then the sum of them individually.

  • Eugene_joe

    For those wanting or interested in a more hardware version of what Haidt is say check this out.  The webpage has links to both the MP3 and the pdf of the transcript, i recommend both.    http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/patricia-churchland-on-neuroscience-and-morality-bsp-81.html 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I had forgotten she talked about Harris, but you will find her criticism of Haidt online:

    Another target in Churchland’s book is Jonathan Haidt, the University of Virginia psychologist who thinks he has identified several universal “foundations” of moral thought: protection of society’s vulnerable; fairness; loyalty to the in-group; respect for authority; and the importance of purity (a sanitary concern that evolves into the cultural ideal of sanctity). That strikes her as a nice list, but no more—a random collection of moral qualities that isn’t at all rooted in biology. During her museum talk, she described Haidt’s theory as a classic just-so story. “Maybe in the 70s, when evolutionary psychology was just becoming a thing, you could get away with saying”—here she adopted a flighty, sing-song voice—’It could have been, out there on the veldt, in Africa, 250,000 years ago that these were traits that were selected,’” she said. “But today you need evidence, actually.” The audience tittered. (Universality is not a sign that something is genetically based, she writes in Braintrust, adding that a “background hunch about evolution of the human brain” doesn’t strengthen Haidt’s intellectual case: “If you cannot paddle a canoe with one banana,” she concludes, aggressively but mystifyingly, “would using two improve matters materially?”)

    Her audience laughed harder when she rebutted Haidt’s idea that there is anything universal about the reaction of disgust by mentioning that her childhood farm had a “two holer”—a two-seat outhouse. What New Yorkers might have found gross was, in western Canada, 50 years ago, “a social occasion.”

    Haidt’s disgust motivation is highly variable and potentially exacerbated by, say, religion, or Southern culture, for example. This criticism of conservative culture he smothered. Can you say, “bias”?

    And Churchland is refreshingly Liberal;

    There are occasions when people think that the way their group does it—their particular social practice—is the only right way of doing things. Once you have a slightly broader view, you can see that you may still disagree,
    and you may come to a different conclusion about something (like abortion, or contraception, or what have you), but that there is another point of view of which you may want to be tolerant, so that you can do what successful groups do; and 
    that is negotiate an amicable solution—that fighting over things like ideological
    religious beliefs is usually unrewarding, and that it’s better to find a way of negotiating, peacefully and amicably, a solution which may not be perfect from the point of view of either side, but may be workable; may be serviceable.

    So, I think that this particular perspective may actually—if people come to appreciate it—may have the effect of making us more tolerant.

    No yinyang solutions there. You are once again demonstrating your fondness for prejudicial assessment, Eugene Joe, but we are compensating for it already.

    Glad you liked the show.

  • Eugene_Joe

    In brains we trust, or do we?

    Image via Wikipedia
    Much has been written about the seductive allure of fMRI brain images accompanying research papers and giving them more credence than is deserved; similarly much has been written about the whole enterprise of fMRI based research that tries to find the neural correlates of X,Y,and Z, as if X/Y or Z being human/animal faculties could have a substrate other than neural.

     

    In both of the above cases, while the neuro babble seemingly provides more authority to the underlying argument, it is not clear what value , if any , one gets by just identifying a brain area responsible for X/Y or Z.

     

    Patricia Churchland‘s quest for roots of human/animal morality is similarly besieged by the allure of all things neural- it is to her credit that despite being a philosopher she gets the neuroscience part not just so-so right, but precise and accurate with all caveats included;  but what one is left at the end of reading ” Braintrust : what neuroscience tells us about morality” is the feeling that she could have spent more time bolstering her main point that morality arises from sociality rather than talking about oxytoctin or mirror neurons.

     

    While she does treat mirror neuron hyped research with the contempt and dressing that it deserves by trying to explain more than is warranted; her own enthusiasm for Oxytocin as the magical trust molecule or the epitome of moral foundations, deserves similar treatment. Again it is to her credit that she does not shy away form discussing latest studies that have shown oxytocin in not so moral light as in when it is involved in out-group prejudice; but still the discussion of neurotransmitter or vasoprassin or mirror neurons detracts rather than amplifies her thesis that morality evolved from social living.

    I am much sympathetic to her main argument that morality may have arrived as the care system became enlarged to cover self, kids, kith and kin, partners and finally strangers. That caring and sharing might be the roots of all goodness in the world was apparent even to miss universe like Sushmita Sen back in 1994, not an unremarkable achievement considering the latest miss America contestants views on evolution. But I digress. The thing is that Patricia should have spent more time on this and bridging the leap from social behavior to moral behavior by maybe using philosophical devices/arguments rather than just peppering her statements with neuroscientific jargon and assuming that that will settle the point.

    Along the way she casually dismisses the important work that may support her position like that of Jonathon Haidt- she claims that morality is innate but seems reluctant to grant that it could also have a universal structure.

    If you want to know the latest neuro research around sociality – go read this book; you will read all the proper studies with all caveats and without misrepresentations. However, if you were yearning for any philosophical insight into the nature of morality, how ‘is’ and ought’ are not necessarily the same and from where to derive the ‘oughts’ in life you might be in for a disappointment. At least I was.

     

    ps: Disclosure of interest. : I received a free copy of Braintrust for review from Princeton university press.

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    Posted by sandygautam on July 17, 2011.

    Tags: Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Mirror neuron, Morality, Neuroscience, Patricia Churchland, Philosophy

    Categories: moral sense

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  • Eugene_Joe

    I like them both and don’t think they are as far apart now as they were years ago. And no matter they are moving in what I see as the correct direction because of how complex systems far from equilibrium are. She does support things that might not be identical as Haidt yet in the same direction and for themmost part she would object to many of thnegative comments toward Haidt I have seen here. In somethings she is pretty close to what Haidt is saying. And classic liberals are often the same as the right in the patterns of what political correctness leads to.

  • Sgt.Friday

    Seems to me that whatever you might think of the opinions of each political stripe, Liberals generally make an effort to base their conclusions on verifiable fact, while conservatives feel it’s fine to claim anything believable sounding as evidence, true or false. 

    For instance, early in Moyers’ interview of Bruce Bartlett, Bartlett said that unlike formerly, currently most of gov’t money goes to Soc. Sec., Medicare, and (grudging mumble) interest on the debt.  Since so far Soc. Sec. has more than paid for itself, that is an outright falsehood from a self-proclaimed economic analyst, no matter how plausible sounding.   He also conveniently forgot the $13 trillion that went (mostly funneled through the Fed Reserver) to the megabanks, and the huge spending on our military actions in the Mideast, and the military in general.

    Now, while a colleague at work can spout all sorts of nonsense, I’ve yet to see a liberal expert in the MSM claim similar falsehoods to support their opinions, but I see it more often than not from conservatives.  They seem to feel that if opinion and fact clash, it’s fine to change the facts to fit.

  • Sgt.Friday

    My PC’s IP seems to have been permanently banned for attempting to post the following remark on the Bruce Bartlett interview page, “”Early in the interview this self-proclaimed economic analyst said that after Reagan, the character of gov’t spending has changed, and that now most of the money goes to Soc. Security, Medicare & (grudging mumble) interest on the debt. Where was he from 9/07 through 2009… when $13 trillion were given to the megabanks, and doesn’t he know that so far Soc. Sec. has more than paid for itself costing the gov’t $zero? I’m surprised that Mr. Moyers let this disinformation go by unchallenged.”

    I guess the merest hint that Mr. Moyers is an imperfect mortal gets one banned here.

  • SRN100

    Dear Mr. Moyers.
     
    Your interviews with Bruce Bartlett and Jonathan Haidt were exceptionally instructive. As usual your questions allowed the guests to present their ideas and conclusions with clarity and distinction. In particular, the interview with Jonathan Haidt was extraordinary and was so for several reasons. His ideas were truly formative as well as formidable. Given this I’d like to ask what effect his conclusions have on the ideological preferences that guide and inform the production of your show.
     
    Clearly your rhetorical bias remains strongly in favor of a progressive liberalism. The Bruce Bartlett interview was steeped in massive critique of your opponents without any counter from another perspective. As well, your interview with Jonathan Haidt was peppered with video critiques of several Republican leaders. And at the conclusion of the Haidt interview we were given a short expose on Saul Alinsky. The irony couldn’t have been missed.  Just two minutes after Haidt challenged your viewers to address the issues “moralizing demonization” and called us to stop the practice you delivered a high optic demonization of Newt Gingrich, referring to him as one who falls in line with narcistic politicians and ignorant historians.
     
    This juxtaposition of Haidt’s admonition and your seeming disregard left me asking if Haidt’s words had any impact. Or, to apply Haidt’s phraseology: do you see how the “sacralization of reason” allowed you to justify the attack and make Gingrich appear as a self-serving Republican politician. There is much written on the views of Alinsky and his influence on people like the President yet your approach made it appear as though Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama had almost nothing in common.   
     
    Your focus on Gingrich’s strategy to use language to persuade potential proponents is curious. Clearly you thought such strategic language is manipulative and wrong. Yet in your piece on Alinsky you failed to remind us that his Rules for Radicals forthrightly spell out similar strategies or tactics. Alinsky says “Tactics are those conscious deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.” p.126 

Always remember the first rule of power tactics (pps.127-134):
     
    1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”
    2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat…. [and] the collapse of communication.”
    3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
    4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
    6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
    7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time….”
    8. “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”
    9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
    10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.”
    11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.”
    12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…
     
    Strategic language use is encouraged on both sides of the debate. You however impressed upon your audience that Gingrich was unique in this initiative. 
    To be clear, I am no Gingrich supporter in the least bit. My point rather comes back to the wisdom of Jonathan Haidt’s work. I favor his approach in guiding our public judgments and condemnations of others and I’d like to see this inform the editorial agendas on public television.
     
    You may differ but if you applied the wisdom of Jonathan Haidt to your journalistic perspective I believe you’d realize your rhetoric reveals an overt dependence on prescriptive moralizing. But in the Bartlett interview you gave the impression your thoughts and rhetoric were immune from moral mantras and faith/belief structures. In deed both come replete with them. Your critique of Conservatives, Tea Party types, and the One Percenters persistently assert how wrong and uninformed they are. Taking Haidt’s thoughts into account might suggest these factions see the world in means with which you disagree and therefore are not wrong, evil or misinformed. But to the contrary your critique was subject to judgmental binary categories, namely Conservatives are deceived, misguided and wrong.
     
    Haidt’s and so many others provide strong counter evidence to your biases. In reality those you critique simply disagree with your definitions or means to a caring ends. But your language presumes an objective reality about Conservatives. And with this, your language falls prey to another of Dr. Haidt’s conclusions: political liberalism as much as any other faction is as much religion as anything else is. Consider the basis of your morality. It might be made sense by employing the six levels of Haidt’s moral structures. However the assumptions of faith you rely on to affirm your value structure or the basis on which you call your values good show the complex faith your assumption rest upon.  
     
    If you really care about the two sides working together, I believe you’d take Jonathan’s Haidt’s recommendations to heart and reconsider your own style of rhetoric. If not, I believe your value-laden arguments fall to incoherence and hypocrisy, both of which can be detected in the following line of questions. To which source of morality are you referring? Why is that source better than your opponent’s source? And: On what objective grounds make your moral prescription imperative? Answers to these questions will reveal how truly subjective your moral claims really are. The fact that the answers will indeed be philosophical, this simply proves that we all appeal to something more than an empirical absolute. And of course this reveals how readily Liberal prejudices and hypocrisies determine the rhetoric of so many so-called Progressives.  
     
    Lastly, I believe Jonathan’s Haidt is correct in saying that people on the right are much better at understanding the left than the left is for its opponents. Because of this the left misses the effects of so many serious problems. And sadly such lines of reasoning continue to place blame and demonize the wrong causes.
     
    Thank you for having Jonathan Haidt on your show and helping at least me come to terms with many of these issues. I congratulate you on such a fine interview.
     
         
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/cherylbray.cedroshomes Cheryl Bray

    I really appreciate the civilized manner in your comment response.  We certainly need more civil discourse today. 
    Your concern for an alternative viewpoint to be heard within the current format of Bill Moyer’s show would reduce the quality and content we would receive in each show.  There are very few shows on television worth viewing.  This is one of them.   The counter arguments and debates, you desire to see and hear are presented on virtually every other news outlet every day.    I really appreciate the present format of this show.  There is no other show offering the indepth information you find on this show.  The U.S. public needs this more measured, non combative approach to today’s problems. The current “0 sum game” approach to politics and the news, are more about “winning” the ratings wars or an election, rather than educating or imparting important information. We need this show on TV where most people still get there news and information. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your kind response. To clarify I’m not looking for counter arguments or debates on the Moyers Show. Rather I was wondering about Bill Moyer’s thoughts on Jonathan Haidt’s conclusions. They seemed refreshingly constructive and to my ears were a gentle challenge to all of us. This of course includes Bill Moyers and his subtle yet combative approach, his own style of demonizing his opponents, and maybe how unaware he is of his own “religious” or faith-laden political ideology.
    Haidt’s words bring penetrating insight into the world of our intentions and how they factor so heavily into our rhetoric. His words seem to be so wise yet given Bill Moyers current interview with Bruce Bartlett and expose on Saul Alinksy, Jonathan Haidt’s thoughts seemed to have little if no affect on Mr. Moyers approach.
    In other words he seemed to fall prey to Haidt’s critique and left me wondering if or how I’ve missed something in this rhetorical dynamic.
    Thanks again.  

  • Anonymous

    As in most things Bill Moyers discusses I walk away

    wishing I was a part of the discussion.  I would have posed to Haidt that the conservatives and liberals are SO utterly different AND that one is indeed severely (a now Romneyian word) immoral. 
    Conservatives, as you can see by the whiteness of the crowd behind
    the Republican candidates, (not a coincidence) is SIGNIFICANTLY racist.  When one side adopts an anti Linconian philosophical base and the two parties actually switch moral convictions in the late sixties than I think I
    have the right to call conservatives a moral evil.  These are people under the phony guise of “states rights” and the tenth amendment would have loved the guy who owns the lunch counter in Mississippi to be able BY LAW to serve a whites only crowd.  This is what we are
    talking about.  This is WHY the Obama era has taken this split to the
    heights of Everest and why in my opinion the republic stands at the precipice of
    oblivion especially IF the Republican obstructionists — like their Civil
    War
    Confederate compatriots — this time through economic chaos even voting against
    their own people — refuse to raise something like the debt ceiling
    again.  It could plunge the world into utter chaos . Greece is already
    nearly there but immoral Norquist would force them to sign his idiotic pledge anyway!  Shame on them AND him!

  • Curt Stratmeyer

    Every comment here is from cerebral people who represent a tiny fraction of the population.  Sixty percent of our population cannot name the three branches of our government. Until that problem is solved, none of the discussion here will have any impact.

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing and like in the video that is wrong and what separates the country.  Please don’t do that. 

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing and like in the video that is wrong and what separates the country.  Please don’t do that.

  • Lochaber

    Right but it is an accurate one.  Just because someone believes in conservative values, doesn’t make them a Racist, and just because someone that holds liberal values is not a Socialist.  But when either person uses the belief of the other to put make the other seem smaller.  Then that is the act of Demonizing.  The offending party is making the other either feel smaller because they aren’t what both halves of Society have made synonyms. Or it feeds fuel to the Fire for the same reason.  So yes just like using a slur this too should become an issue for all Americans.  That way we can live with each other in the coming years.

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing please stop.

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing please stop.

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing Please stop.

  • Lochaber

    You are Demonizing Please Stop

  • Anonymous

    Um, OK, Aunt Nellie.

  • Anonymous

    Importantly, [

    the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science ]shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn. Conservative ideology is the “critical pathway” from low intelligence to racism. Those with low cognitive abilities are attracted to “rightwing ideologies that promote coherence and order” and “emphasise the maintenance of the status quo”.

    Settle down, you libbies, you’re making too much ruckus! Obey, obey, obey the ideology police!

    Listen to what two former Republican ideologues, David Frum and Mike Lofgren, have been saying. Frum warns that “conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics”. The result is a “shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology” which has “ominous real-world consequences for American society”.Lofgren complains that “the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital centre today”. The Republican party, with its “prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science” is appealing to what he calls the “low-information voter”, or the “misinformation voter”. While most office holders probably don’t believe the “reactionary and paranoid claptrap” they peddle, “they cynically feed the worst instincts of their fearful and angry low-information political base”

    Time for some former wingnuts, BM.

    Confronted with mass discontent, the once-progressive major parties [...] hesitate and prevaricate, muzzled by what [Thomas Frank] calls “terminal niceness”. They fail to produce a coherent analysis of what has gone wrong and why, or to make an uncluttered case for social justice, redistribution and regulation. The conceptual stupidities of conservatism are matched by the strategic stupidities of liberalism.

    Used to be it was those commies that were the problem. A la Bonhoeffer, now they’re coming for you, libbies.  Tough toenails you’ve sacrificed your backbone.Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    “Since so far Soc. Sec. has more than paid for itself…”  

    A ponzi scheme that is also billions in debt is not exactly paying for itself.

  • Anonymous

    “I can’t believe my hero, Bill Moyers, didn’t even call this guy on that!!!”

    He didn’t call him because that little parable of the industrious ant and the live-for-moment grasshopper made too much sense.  Even the staunchest New Deal, Robin Hood democrat has to acknowledge moral hazard.  Haidt is right when he admits that Conservatives are more cautious when it comes to allowing a third party to steal food from the industrious ants to give to some grasshopper “they” (the third party) think is deserving. 

  • Cindy0922

    If you have a receivable from someone you are not in debt.  Contributions to SS have been invested in Treasuries.  The US government owes this money to the SS fund.

  • Anonymous

    C’mon. You can admit it, comrade. It’s the  government that bothers you,  not the ponzi scheme.

    Is this the level of intelligence we can expect when we engage the morality of conservatives?

    Thanks for another reason Haidt should reconsider the understanding and morality of conservatives.

  • Kay Stewart

     Haidt concluded by suggesting divisiveness in American
    politics will end when progressives accept right-morals as the
    one-true-natural-morality. I think he is very wrong.  Teaching more people the right-moral framework
    would not lessen problems in the world, in my opinion. Instead I hope that right-moralists
    learn more about progressive morality, because it holds much more promise to
    reduce suffering, increase human happiness, and ensure our survival.

  • Bob PDX

    This program really got me thinking and made me examine my own place in the matrix.  There is value in what he says. However……………..there are facts, immutable truths that stand alone regardless of one’ s perspective.  This was brought home to me today after a protected discussion with some very far right John Birch (Tea Party)  types.  I still have a hard time giving any respect to the many patently false narratives that they put forth.  Perspective is fine but at the end of the day there are those who truly believe some utter and total nonsense.  It is hard to have a meaningful conversation about math when one side insists that 2+2=5 and all there calcualtions are based on that belief.  Ihave always recognized that I do not have all the answers or a perfect understanding.  My opinions can and do change as I learn new things.  But………..can most of those on the far right honestly say the same thing?  I will listen and try to understand but at the end of the day 2+2 does equal 4.

  • Kay Stewart

    Haidt described a form of morality that believes in punishment and reward (by God). Haidt then explained that a person is right (and righteous) to feel moral by being wealthy, because having enough to care for one’s family is due to approval (by God). The flip side of this belief is that people who are not wealthy, or suffer other misery, are being punished  (by God). Haidt even extrapolated this right-morality by saying that taxing the wealthy to help those without wealth is immoral, presumably because it is interfering with decisions about how much to reward or punish (decisions made by God).

    Haidt’s reference to Hinduism’s comfort with rich and poor apparently was his effort to imply that the right-moralists’ attachment to wealth and reward is universal. However the Hindu moral framework would not suit American right-moralists on many questions, despite both accepting great wealth and great poverty in society, so what is going on here?

    The differences exist because both are learned creeds. They are not innate human nature, despite Haidt’s stating that right-morality is evolutionarily based. His idea, that the beliefs of American right-moralists are “natural”, is dis-proven by the existence of many alternate moral frameworks that people have learned and lived by, such as Buddhists, many Christian denominations, Sufi Muslims, and including religious and non-religious modern American progressives.

    Haidt didn’t acknowledge that anthropologists agree that cooperation and sharing or resources with others outside the  tribe was essential for the evolution of human beings. When a commitment to cooperate and share resources breaks down, suffering ensues. It is clear that sharing, tolerance, and coexistence are highly adaptive behaviors, with evolutionary implications.

    Haidt basically seems to not understand that the morality that progressives have learned and practice differs deeply from the type the right-moralists learned. American right-moral values are found in Old Testament and other ancient creeds that believe in sin, guilt, punishment, and rewards by devils and deities. The progressive morality is based in humility, tolerance, and commitment to love and treat others as they would be treated, and to avoid accumulating wealth for its own sake. These values are from more recent human history, via Jesus and Buddha. They arose – fortunately – as the earth became densely populated and we needed more moral tools so we could cooperate to benefit each of us, and cumulatively, all of us.

    Haidt concluded by suggesting divisivewness in American politics will end when progressives accept right-morals as the one-true-natural-morality. I think he is very wrong. Teaching more people the right-moral framework would not lessen problems in the world, in my opinion.l Instead I hope that right-moralists learn more about progressive morality, because it holds much more promise to reduce suffering, increase huma happiness, and ensure our survival.

  • Deborah

    If you haven’t looked at Spiral Dynamics and Integral Politics before, you may want to in the context of this discussion (and possibly others).

  • Anonymous

    Haidt erroneously injects “consensual hallucination” into The Matrix metaphor. In the movie, machines exploited humans  through the matrix. In our reality, our segregated conceptions are not consensual.

    A “consensual hallucination” is really the conservative parody of a left-dream; The Matrix a parody of an 
    authoritarian one. But Haidt cannot claim our perceptions of reality are divergent hallucinations. It is  clear that we are closer to The Matrix than some hippy free-love utopia.

    Haidt claims that conservatives have a more accurate understanding of liberals. However, if they understand that liberals see a Matrix, and Liberals expect conservatives to see that same Matrix, in what sense is 
    conservatives’ understanding more accurate? It is rather the hippy utopia that conservatives claim they see more clearly than liberals see the conservative one. But that is not of concern to liberals because the see the conservative dystopia clearly and that is what we are closest to. In sum, “consensual hallucination” is a canard, a means to blame a “liberal” fantasy for the world that is.  That is not only inaccurate, but deceitful.

    A detachment from reality is a recipe for conflict and a lack of commitment to reality is immoral. For one, the false charge of liberals’ responsibility for the false cause of our decline is like an accusation of thought crime. Worse is Haidt’s neglect of realism which allows him to scapegoat the 99%’s “hallucination”. Haidt is a conservative not for truth but for power.

    The parable of the tribes requires a strongest tribe to maintain stability. Suppose one were to view America as liberator and fortress in a dangerous world. The imperative for strength would override a desire for a confederation of nations. In the conservative view, freedom must be confined to the market. Tribalism is then controlled by the strong and mitigated by the market. This, the conservative believes, is the best means of dealing with human nature. This, I believe, is the reason for Haidt’s conversion to conservatism.

    But the insistence that tribes are essential, that tribalism cannot be sufficiently mitigated by design or friendship, betrays a preference for dominance. Perhaps Professor Haidt has not converted because of a unique experience in India but for a similar reason that most neocons have converted from from the left.

  • dula

    The Oligarchs in this nation have been trying to destroy our experiment in Democracy for over one hundred years now. They seek to undermine the stability of this nation for their own gain. That is not only evil, it is treasonous. The Neocon electorate may not be evil themselves, but they are willfully ignorant, fearful, resistant to change, lacking intellectual curiosity, etc… They have allowed themselves to be so manipulated by Right Wing media they actually think that providing decent healthcare to all Americans is somehow evil. Haidt seems to be making a case for false equivalence-”both sides are doing it.” No, if you seek to hoard the resources of this nation knowing others will suffer as a result, you are engaging in sociopathic/evil behavior…that is the realm of the Right.

  • Anonymous

    Somehow the positives of conservatives and negatives of liberals add up sufficiently for Haidt to claim he’s a conservative. The reasons he gives aren’t convincing.

    I don’t think he’s using the classic “both sides are doing it” wingnut defense. There’s something he’s hiding.

  • Rjcrice@aol.com

    I am stuck by the thought that many of the comments here are thoughtful and reasoned but at the same time attempt to defend the liberal or conservative point of view. It seems to me that Mr. Haidt is primarily attempting to understand why we have different views rather than judging or placing a value on any one. By gaining an understanding of the social psychology of those we disagree with we can better understand and achieve our own goals. Casting the other side (whichever side it is) as uninformed and evil just forces us all into a win-lose model in which both sides continue to escalate into more radical and violent actions in which we all end up losing. Mr. Haidt challenges us to be self reflective in order to solve our problems.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Haidt is primarily attempting to understand why we have different views
    rather than judging or placing a value on any one.

    Professor Haidt does not take a neutral position. He does evaluate both, but he advocates a conservative position.

  • dula

    By not acknowledging that humanity is one organism he gives cover to those who seek to punish rather than lift everybody up. If somebody doesn’t choose to buy health insurance (or likely wants to but can’t afford it even though they are ambitiously working 2 jobs, which Haidt doesn’t address) and he/she gets TB for example, EVERYBODY in the community can get TB if this one person isn’t treated. The “let them die” douchebags on the Right, once they acquired TB, would then experience what is known as Karma. If you don’t feed a starving person, no matter how they ended up suffering from starvation, you have great flaws in your consciousness…some would call that evil.

  • Anonymous

    I am leery of moral constraints dressed up as arguments from enlightened self-interest. What if a just-so argument which favored execution for the good of all took hold (think of O’Bummer’s NDAA). Very few people analyze the argument, the powers to whom it most matters aren’t sincere, and they don’t generally listen to counter arguments. Morality must severely constrain power because of it’s predilection for abuse.

    Those callous wingnuts think they are in a coliseum, baying with the emperor’s approval. It’s shameless aggression on national TV, a spectacle produced for collective degradation. If this kid were one of their duller relatives, would they have let him get to such a situation? And if they couldn’t get him to act responsibly, would they have cast him out?

    Before I get to Haidt’s response, consider that before the “miracle” of modern medicine, those who died for lack of therapy were grieved. But with that technology, some are so callous in apportioning it that they are willing to display an accountant’s discipline in signing the execution warrant.

    Now, here’s 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.

    Haidt’s depiction is explicitly biased. Notice when he explains the liberal justification, he says “they think” but for conservatives he says, repeatedly, “It is”. He also condones their spectacular response with a fable. Now, one, and I am here pointing to the audience, should be hesitant to use a fable rashly and more so when one is aware he is in public.

    Haidt does not issue a caveat here, either on the setup of the question, on the debate spectacle, on the ambiguity of judgment, or on the appropriateness of Aesop’s fable in the context of withholding a miraculous cure for profit. Haidt’s reasoning takes a fabulous course itself.

    It’s clear that Haidt is taking a side here. It’s very disturbing that he moralizes on this spectacular scenario, justifying popular aggression and adjudicating the delivery of profit-based medical care.

    I doubt the show’s format forced this harshness. A few caveats would be worth one less question. No, we are seeing the arid condescension and judgmentalism of Jonathan Haidt, au naturel.

  • Anonymous

    I had a very interesting thought, thanks to your provocation. Before television and radio, speech was intimate. Etiquette required respect and when a speaker was abusive, you probably had a good idea why. Mass communication tends to be abusive and more so in a profit-driven society. Yet we become accustomed to the abuse and we lose the judgment we once had.

    Occupy the TV, comrades!

  • dula

     So, You think the Neocon agenda to dismantle the rule of law and transition this nation from a Representative Democracy to Corporate Fascism/Oligarchy is really just about having differing but equally valid views?

  • Anonymous

    Whether or not Haidt’s use of “they think” and  ”it is” was his personal opinion coming out, or just a way to hypothetically take a side to help liberals understand conservatives isn’t entirely clear.  I think Haidt is taking the side of conservatives in this instance because he knows he is speaking to a largely liberal audience, so he needs to emphasize the less-expressed side to help liberals understand where conservatives are coming from.  What Haidt doesn’t do is emphasize that the conservative POV only works in instances when people are lazy.  What about in instances when people genuinely work hard and have a stroke of bad luck despite all their attempts to be responsible?  In these instances we can all agree this person deserves a “safety net” of some sort.  Although, conservatives would say we don’t need an artificial safety net, rather the friends and family of the person in need should come forward to help (“Christian charity”), however this can’t realistically work in every instance either.  Even if people are really lazy and irresponsible I don’t know how anyone calling themselves “Christian” could justify letting them die.  Massive one-size-fits-all social programs don’t work well either since there are those who are content to remain dependent on government if they can.  Perhaps in the end each case of need should be examined and assessed locally and individually.

  • http://controversialmarketing.blogspot.com Sam Freedom

    It is irrational to save people who are going to grow up and threaten your way of life. I don’t think all illegals are bad, for example, but all are clearly not good, and their first act in arriving here was breaking the border laws, yet liberals wasn’t to give them free services and citizenship. No awareness of La Rasa, no awareness of MS-13. No awareness of Reconquista. Just coddle them.

    I don’t want govt deciding for me who I have to help. We have $1b to indonesia via govt and $1b out of pocket and we send all kinds of money and aid around the country and around the world. The problem is that its never enough for liberals. Instead of finding ways to get more people to help more people, they lazily blame the rich and attack with more taxes which the rich know are already going towards massive este, fraud and duplication.

    The thing that drives people to succeed and invent is the possibility of attaining a better life. But if you tell them that anything they earn over $x will increase their overall tax bracket, they’ll either hold back, or shelter it. Have they no rights? Are the only people who have rights those who don’t take care of their health?

  • Anonymous

    Uncle Sam, what do you think of Hasbara?

  • SaminTexas

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    I am a long time fan of your work, and I think you do great work to draw attention to pressing issues at the core of our society.  However, in your interview of Jonathan Haidt, I was struck by the way in which you allowed his assertions to go unchallenged.  I am sure that Mr. Haidt would dismiss my critique of his theory as a product of my “internal bias” or my view of the “sacral”, but I hope you will give it more thought.

    My primary criticism is that Mr. Haidt perpetuates a far too common notion of false equivalency between liberal and conservative views, and that each side’s criticism or political plank is merely the other side of a coin.  This is most likely in support of his own view of himself as a “centrist” who is above the fray.  His “results” were then presented in support of this notion, but they had several flaws that were either unchallenged or were only lightly challenged.  I will discuss three of the numerous flawed arguments he made.

    First,  Jonathan Haidt stated that the idea that bad actions should have consequences belongs to conservatives is utterly false, and betrays his lack of knowledge concerning the OWS movement; it is undeniable that liberals want to see Wall Street culprits responsible for destroying the economy prosecuted, and are shocked at the settlements the SEC is making with them.  This was expounded in previous Moyers & Company episodes.

    Second, Haidt portrayed “sacral” ideas on the left and right as always equivalent.  Climate Change and Evolution/Theory of Natural Selection are two “sacral ideas” of the left, but they are not arbitrarily arrived at.  Climate Change/Global Warming is a scientifically observed phenomenon, done under the rigors of science, which is beyond a mere discussion of ideas.  The same goes for Evolution Theory.  Science as a discipline requires rigorous experimentation to find “truth” in objectively observable phenomenon.  At the heart of this is that if we can repeat an experiment and see the same results as the experimenter, then we have evidence in support of the theory of a particular phenomenon.  And, if an experiment shows the theory to be invalid, science disposes of that theory and attempts to create a new one that better describes the phenomenon.  Nonetheless, conservatives, mostly those without any science background, tend to be utterly dismissive of these ideas as if these were mere opinions that scientists dreamed up over a beer.  An extension of this does more to explain several conservative policy views, such as the notion that “higher taxes on the rich stifles job growth”, which actually have lots of historical and economic evidence to the contrary, but if you believe that “facts” are merely “opinions”, then you can always assert your own conclusion. 

    Finally, I didn’t understand why you didn’t go after Haidt more when he dismissed “reason” as “sacral” and did not provide any alternative for how he imagines we would otherwise arrive at “truth”.  I got the notion that Mr. Haidt feels that “truth” is simply a matter of opinion, and that objective, observable phenomenon only occur through consensus.  But, even if we all agreed there is no such thing as gravity, it would still be there.  Even if we all agreed that Wall Street is too heavily regulated today would no change the history that deregulation led to Wall Street taking risks large enough to tank the economy.

    I understand that as a journalist you have to be civil and not offend your guests so that they may return, but I have always thought that you would at least challenge them on erroneous and false information that they would put forward for the public to consume.  At the very least, I would like to see you interview an academic in the field of Social Psychology that critiques Mr. Haidt’s views; maybe even bring some climate scientists and biologists to tell us how they arrive at their conclusions on those matters.

    Mr. Moyers, you have held yourself out as a journalist that offers an alternative to the popular news with higher standards to seek out the truth, but in this instance you fell disappointingly short of that goal.  I will continue to watch your shows, because you have such a great track record, but, please, do not diminish your own standards in favor of making your guests feel comfortable.

  • SaminTexas

    You have conflated several ideas and issues and offered absolutely no evidence or support for your position.  Rather, you espouse them as you would a sermon in a church.  Despite Mr. Haidt’s implication, policy is not religion.  Further, you and other conservatives do not offer any alternative solution to the problems at hand, only the tried and true mantra of 30 years “less taxes, less regulation”, ignoring the fact that we have been there, done that, and we now have 10% unemployment, severe income inequality, and a stratified society that appears to only benefit those that already have.  Better yet, like Haidt, you assume that “liberals” want to only “coddle” the lazy, that they do not want to reward those who achieve, and that they don’t want a more equitable society.  But, instead of being in denial about what is happening, maybe you should talk to a liberal and see that you actually aren’t too far apart on your values, and that  you can find solutions together.  But that involves getting out of the bubble. 

  • SaminTexas

    Outstanding dissection of Haidt’s comments.  I think he “outed” himself when he confessed his philosophy undergraduate credentials.  I got the notion about 10 minutes into the interview that Haidt’s “work” is more a reflection of his own veiws and biases (the “greatest generation” were able to get along, but “baby boomers” don’t because of the Civil Rights Movement, i.e. my grandparents and me); his book is more like a mirror of his own internal biases and world view than any serious, objective, academic endeavor. 

  • Anonymous

    If you will notice, these three conceits are useful to authoritarians:

    1) the idea that bad actions should have consequences belongs to conservatives
    2)”sacral” ideas on the left and right are only tools of group-aggrandizement
    3)he dismissed “reason” as “sacral” and did not provide any alternative for how he imagines we would otherwise arrive at “truth”

    Bad actions naturally have self-consequence; however, bad actors frequently displace those consequences on others. A power system based on anarchy must reinforce the creed of responsibility to hide it’s own irresponsibility. Being with people who’ve absorbed this creed but have whose capacities have been exceeded by societal calamity is enlightening. While others are prospering, the willingly suffer. The legend of Robin the Hood stands against the craven parroting and application of unjust, sectarian principle.

    Haidt is either slow on the tack or displays a harsh cognitive bias himself given the control fraud which has produced massive suffering and despair for the America that was.

    “Sacral” ideas on the left are bound up with egalitarianism and are anti-hierarchical. It is thus important to portray them as self-interested in order to establish an equivalence to the “sacral” authoritarian on the right. Evolution and Climate Change are threats to the sacral authoritarian which Haidt dare not buck, but in his domain of social psychology, he is able to ply a conservative framework. Perhaps that resort should startle us.

    Haidt’s frames his sacrilization of reason as an explanation for the abuses of it’s transformative powers, specially by the oppressed or offended. In other words, he in no way denies the power of reason but attacks it’s “misuse”. While the powerful often are more experienced and informed they are also more tempted to corrupt truth. Preferring a  party-based analysis to a class-based one, Professor Haidt avoids the abuse of reason by the powerful and demeans anti-war and leftist movements in order to recommend a retreat into cultural and religious segregation.

    This “doublethink” of his appears rather to be advocacy of intellectual apartheid.

    I recommend BM interview a biologist in the tradition of Lynn Margoulis, who developed a revolutionary theory of endo-symbiosis, to show how the natural world models organic cooperation as opposed to Prof. Haidt’s persistent polarization.

  • Anonymous

    “he needs to emphasize the less-expressed side to help liberals understand where conservatives are coming from.”

    Advocacy, not education, works by emphasizing the less expressed side. If he had rather attempted to explain the conservative position to liberals he might have run into contradiction, illusion, and conflict. Thus, he chose to offend rather than risk frustration.

    “Massive one-size-fits-all social programs don’t work well either since there are those who are content to remain dependent on government if they can.”

    There are those who might be “intent on dependency” whether or not a program is “massive” and “one-size fits all”. Rather, the problem is how they’d rather be dependent and the solution is not to imagine that they must not be.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it seems he’s entered a sort of world of mirrors where he must cling to his foundations.

    It would be very interesting to study these reactionaries to the “new left” – where have they come to rest, what are their salient objections, what is the correct form of liberation, etc. I suspect those answers would be revealing, biased, and disappointing, respectively.

  • Cindy0922

    I think the solution that would  allow Mr. Moyers to remain neutral and above the fray is to have those with opposing beliefs in the same room to debate the issues.

  • Anonymous

    I think it would be interesting to see an activist lefty and activist conservative who actually work together talk about their constructive integration. I think, also, that would reveal more about what our real problems are.

    Might be too hot to handle though.

  • http://twitter.com/dldine Donna Dineley

    I am just dumbfounded on the idea presented that conservatives resent the social safety net programs. If this is true, why are they not as determined as OWS to go after the criminals in the banking system that destroyed the economy, got a huge taxpayer funded bailout, and then stuffed their pockets with bonuses for their inept (and sometimes corrupt) activities. I am all for punishing ‘bad’ behavior. But I believe everyone’s bad behavior must be punished. 

  • Fares

    Why doesn’t he answer when  Moyers asks him around minute 30 “if its so rewarding to demonize the other side, why give that up?”

  • Fares

     I guess you haven’t watched the entire thing have you?

  • Anonymous

    I am dismissive of Haidt (except he’s probably dangerious) and dissappointed in Moyers. New Bill Moyers is confusing me with Bill O’Reilly.
    What is Haidt’s agenda? That this question comes to mind worries me since he presents stuff as if science or reasonable or something but its not. The outrage it deserves takes courage.
    His speak has generious verneers and nuggets of appeal to net unseasoned stakeholders in sustainability (say the way Obama used Change in 2008 to win mass youth). Perhaps the agenda is to defuse or fix a highly polarized situation using crap as diplomacy. Or perhaps his agenda is basically to maintain the general status quo of insane capitalist exploitation – glossing over the issues of serious global responsibilities: adjusting the rigging to take wind out of the Occupy sail and alike.
    My reaction is to treat Haidt as a danger to the real and important need for humanity to graduate out from under the yoke of out-moded and silly/willful authority which cannot deliver the next generation fairness, freedom and future.
    This guy seems to be sweet like fairy floss (candy cane). He somehow makes it onto Bill Moyers without a counter reference. It might as well be the TED format. It is all so twisted.
    It worries me that he maybe acting as a tool associated with an entity not worthy. He works in the most general of scoop in contrast to where similar tools have been used in one-issue scrambblings ie: bringing doubt into Climate Change or tobacco causes lung cancer.

  • Tomtimore

    This discussion should be listened to by every citizen of goodwill in USA. Unfortunately, it won’t be. Since Europeans are not as dumbed down by their media,having dealt with numerous social groups on a daily basis, they actually understand us better than we do. Its why we are feared, since they know what Facism , Nazism, Sovietism brings to the common citizen. Violence and intolerance.

  • kpallist

    Everything I write here is a subjective opinion and quite possibly a gross generalization, but I feel compelled to say it anyway.  I do prefer to state in advance that it is such, otherwise it may sound as if I were stating “facts”.
    Jonathan Heidt has some interesting premises, but what I heard were opinions and beliefs. If there were studies and evidence for accepting those opinions I might have felt differently. But I heard very little of his method for reaching his conclusions. If he is arguing from a psychological vantage point shouldn’t we have heard more about  his studies that would make these conclusions valid?  Who exactly were the conservative intellectuals he has grown to respect and who are the liberal thinkers who who have failed to articulate their views very well?
    It also would have helped if he’d  come up with a few definitions, since Bill’s regular “liberal” audience would have a very different idea of what a liberal is than what Mr. Haidt thinks.  I felt pretty frustrated when Haidt tossed around terms and arguments like “truth is not reason” and liberals believe in victimhood while rugged individualism is a moral imperative for conservatives.  And “We are all programmed hypocrites.”  What exactly does that mean?  Don’t these assertions demand challenge and a bit more skepticism than what Bill offered?  More clarification would have helped.  Then we could have heard a discussion of substance rather than Bill letting Mr. Haidt offer up his opinions and gross generalizations as “truths”.
    Maybe this was the week where a conservative viewpoint takes the upper hand on the grounds that  otherwise the show would be labelled too liberal or socialist or whatever other label the professional right decides to call it. But this discussion won’t change their minds and it disappoints his more faithful viewers. And it is maddening to see that  any critical or pointed question was set aside out of politeness.  I’d like to believe that was why I only heard Bill echoing some of the more questionable assertions rather than offering up the obvious arguments to the contrary.
    Other comments that could have been challenged

    (and this is my wish list for what could have been said in response):
    “But simply saying, ‘Some have and some have not, therefore it’s fair,’ that’s not a moral argument for most Americans.”
    Who makes these simplistic arguments beyond ten year olds?  There’s much more behind that statement, and I’m pretty sure he knows it.
    “…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.
    What coin is cooperation and competition on? Success? Progress?  How does that answer Bill’s argument that cooperation ensures prosperity? Where is the proof that our “getting this far” is due to competition?  It doesn’t disprove we could have gotten even farther with another kind of system.

     Then…
    “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.”
    Aren’t the Occupy Movements about governments rewarding bad behavior?  Rewarding banks for ripping off American Taxpayers?  CEO’s being rewarded and rewarding employees for bankruptcy?  Where has he been?  Hard Work?  These folks failed, abysmally, and without any ambiguity. Is this a conservative value?  Does this make Occupy Wall Street a conservative movement?
    “We’re all political… we all use reason to justify our behavior, we’re all lawyers…”
    Wow.  Amazing how much this guy knows about me.  At least he understands that he’s also guilty of this.
    “…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. … but most Americans are not that politically engaged, and they’re the ones that decide the elections.”
    Almost believable, if you didn’t count for corruption in high places. Didn’t Bill’s last two shows have guests that argued that the only group capable of deciding elections are the super wealthy and they will give just as much to Obama as they will give to Romney or Gingrich?  That the ones with the money drive our politics?  Otherwise, why are Social Security  and Medicare, two of the most popular programs in this country (amongst conservative and liberal citizens), always being threatened when all the politicians know people want them?  Why are trillions being wasted on wars that are largely unpopular with American citizens?
    I look forward to the next show.  It’s got to be a step up from this one…

  • Anonymous

    Talk about hypocrisy…and superficial…

  • Anonymous

    He’s a mess:

    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.

    There you go, moral psychologists are screaming hypocrites!

    So while I’m non-partisan, my big issue is demonizing.

    Apparently a non-partisan has double the demonizing opportunties but the good doctor stands above that.

    [Demonizing can be rewarded politically] 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.

    But he does give your answer:

    [...] 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.

    Religion -> sacredness -> greatness. IOW politics is a narrative of the greatness of hypocrites. We need a new American dream, you see, so we can be united in our hypocrisy!

    Like I said, he’s a mess.

  • Br6647

    I am disappointed that you, Bill, did not challenge the sloppy generalizations about liberal, and for that matter conservative values, the shallow and specious equivalence he claims between various political views, his complete lack of context for statements about safety-net policies that support people harmed through years of government sponsored discrimination and neglect. His statement that everyone is a hypocrite therefore we cannot complain about right wing gas bags is absurd! We all need some self awareness and introspection, but it renders the concept of what it is to be a hypocrite meaningless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-McCarthy/100001487268219 Richard McCarthy

    The more intrusive the government, the more dissension – what’s the mystery here?  

  • lea krauss

    I guess you have not watched either

  • lea krauss

    Why do Christian like republicans?

  • lea krauss

    When 10%  of the people have 90% of the wealth in this country means both parties have failed and that tax cuts and loopholes paid for by corporations have brought this mess and of course citizen are supposed know who to elect…not sure who lies the best and who is more honest. Capitalism without regulation of financial markets fails.
    Warmongering and imperialism fails, when did we ever had a real democracy?
    More then party ideology it is greed that has brought failure. One deadly sin for sure. 

  • Anonymous

    Primarily, they are simpatico authoritarians.

  • Ibpokin

    I have loved Bill Moyers for years, but just recently discovered this site.   Every time I hear him speak, or watch his interviews, I feel like I want to gather all the people I know into a room and make them watch it!!  Better yet, broadcast it on a major network so that millions of people will watch it for the education alone!

    I will get blasted for saying this, I am sure, but the problem I see with my desire to expose lots of people to his shows and opinions is that most Americans are not bright people.  They are not intellectually curious, or even curious at all.   Most people would have a very difficult time understanding the discussions that Mr. Moyers puts forth.  If Americans were forced to watch his shows, most would wander off in their heads making grocery lists, thinking about the big game on Sunday, or how they have to fix that shelf in the garage.   Even I with my 2 master’s degrees , have to pay very close attention to get probably 80% of the conversation, so I think it is fair to say these things about the populace.   That’s why it is easier to listen/watch Bill O’Reilly or Hannity or Beck.   They speak plain language with words under 10 letters each.    They get angry.   The average person can relate to these things without feeling stupid.

    And what is scary to me is that everyone, whether they are smart, stupid, educated, or ignorant, gets the same single vote.   So your vote, after you’ve read everything, attended lectures, weighed out all the pros and cons, counts as much as the guy who sits at his easy chair and makes a design out of his ballot card.

    I wish there was a way a guy like Moyers could have the same show broadcasted with smaller words, easier concepts, etc., for the average person.

    Okay, fire away.   But you know I am likely right, albeit not particularly politically correct.

  • Stuart Mathieson

    Taking a quick read of the comments I am struck by the number of people who are not prepared to take the trouble to read the evidence published in scientific journals by Haidt and many others. It is as if so-called informed comment has been trivialized and Disneyized by mass media where many are content with and look for a Readers Digest synopsis on everything. The published research is available online on the conservative and liberal mind (just google “the new tribalism”) and on global warming. Your favourite blogs wont change your mind. You chose them to coincide with your pre-existing views!

  • Ldoshane

    Wait.. what?  America is a Representative Democracy?  I thought America was a Constitutional Republic?  I guess I must have had a bad history teacher.  hmmm….

  • Ldoshane

    You saw Haidt as having a conservative bias?  That’s interesting, I saw him as center left.  He does admit at one point that he used to be a liberal, but now he considers himself a conservative.  Trust me, he’s not a conservative.

  • Ldoshane

    Oops, meant to say… he now considers himself a centrist.  

  • Anonymous

    From the transcript:

    I think I’m a centrist, in terms of liberal conservative.

    Sorry, buddy, I don’t trust your judgment.

    Remember, Haidt admits we can detect hypocrisy.

  • Ldoshane

    IndianJones – did you not read what I wrote immediately after I posted above and realized that I made a mistake?

  • Anonymous

    You know there’s an edit function, don’t you?

    Maybe you shouldn’t live in a democracy, hmm?

  • Ldoshane

    You’re pretty funny IndianJ.  You didn’t take the time to read my reply then you blame me for not editing.  Thanks for the arrogance.  It adds a lot to the conversation

  • Ldoshane

    Very interesting post IndianJ… considering how rude you were to me.

  • David Snyder

    This guy proves that conservatives with a lot of education can be pretty dumb. He says he’s centrist, but clearly (for example: his interpretation of the Aesop fable) he is not.  I do appreciate him pointing out weaknesses of the progressive platform, so we can be prouder of what progressives are able to accomplish with so little. I like Haidt’s science but when he gets into moralizing himself he crosses the ethical boundary from being a social scientist to being a polemecist for the right.

  • http://twitter.com/UltraVerified verified ✔

    Sorry, but believing President Obama is a ‘secret Muslim’ or Kenyan is not ‘conservatism’. It’s insanity

  • http://twitter.com/UltraVerified verified ✔

    To even cede the description ‘conservative’, to describe the massive ignorance and bigotry of today’s right wing is insulting to any thinking person. 

  • Chrisjurkowski

    Mr. Moyers, you’re always a gentleman.

  • Tyrant917

    If I understand you correctly, I disagree with your comment, “his interpretation of the Aesop fable.” Haidt explained what he thought Aesop himself was trying to communicate through the fable.   Haidt didn’t indicate whether he agreed with it or not.  I’m not sure why you think that makes him non-centrist…

  • Tyrant917

    I feel the same way about “gather all the people I know into a room and make them watch it!!!”

  • Henry Lee

    I think it would be very difficult to make all those challenges as you’d want in one episode. I think the interview is meant the summarize or scratch the surface of Haidt’s book. Perhaps reading it would give you more insight and alleviate a little of your disappointment. 

  • http://SDsustainableFuture.com Philosopher3000

    I believe the ‘liberal’ American values are correct. Care (empathy),
    Liberty (freedom), Fairness (justice), are more valuable than Loyalty
    (to people), Authority (power), and Sanctity (tradition), they are not
    equal as ‘conservative’ Americans would want. What is more, I think
    Haidt is trapped in his data, unable to see outside his own paradigm and
    recognize the limits of science in human psychology.

    Is my rational faith in reason as the best path to truth unfounded
    simply because I myself am fallible? Even if I am sometimes irrational,
    or unreasonable, does that undermine the argument that reason is sacred?
    If reason is not essential to our human nature, if it is not what is
    essential to separate human being from all other animals, then I’ve been
    wrong all along. Even if on average, ‘human nature’ is basically animal
    nature, and the group consciousness we call democracy is subject to the
    vagaries of inter-subjective irrational behaviors, does that make it
    wrong to hold reason itself as sacred? If we fail to hold reason as the
    goal, as the ultimate form for which we strive, even if we are
    individually incompetent and only barley adequate in groups using the
    scientific method, then we give up on our humanism and our freedom of
    will. If so, we will revert to tribalism, to religion, to the darkness
    before the enlightenment, and we will kill our planet and its species of
    life by nuclear war. If social psychologist Jonathan Haidt is right,
    and our ‘human (animal, social) nature is evolved to support war, and
    yet our rational consciousness is unable to reflect upon itself and
    adapt to the new technological reality, then we and our planet are
    doomed to Armageddon. The definition of heroism is to strive in the face
    of certain doom. Even Haidt would admit that the irrational hope that
    stems from our belief in our individual ability to achieve far beyond
    what we should reasonably expect is what gives us the psychological edge
    to attempt the impossible, so our goal must be to ignore the ‘facts’ of
    his social psychology and create a form of social cognitive-dissonance
    that ignores the cynicism, the data, and seeks to transcend our very
    nature and achieve the epic win, freeing ourselves from the matrix
    individually, and ultimately as a species. Perhaps this means evolving
    socially away from traditional cultures of religious fundamentalism and
    conservative foolishness, or just building technological safeguards and
    safety nets to avoid extinction. The war has begun.

    Both liberals and conservatives may be insane, but liberals are less
    insane, because their moral views are based in rational consequences of
    human action rather than a supernatural religious jingoism. Liberals are
    crazy, but conservatives are crazy and blind.

  • http://SDsustainableFuture.com Philosopher3000

    Mr. Haidt, quotes my undergrad Adviser, Eric Schwitzgebel’s study of stolen ethics books from libraries, I suspect the study failed to understand the hidden motivation of the thief. Those who steal such books do not steal from some deeper justification, they do not understand ethics at all, they are sociopaths, and they steal ethics books to keep others just as ignorant and confused, and thus avoid competition in Eric’s ethics classes.

    Individual reasoning in MOST people is naturally unreliable, but those of us who are trained and intellectually honest avoid the confirmation bias by using scientific methods and academic ethics even in our analysis of our own individual thoughts. So, SOME people are much more rational and reliable than most. I wonder if one’s conclusions were tested empirically, and always found correct, if they would still be called biased?

    If social psychology indicates that most people cheat, most lie even to themselves, that most are self destructive and irrational, then perhaps it is true, but this fails to acknowledge the fact that such selfish and short-sighted actions are a choice. We are human, not animals, we have reason, we can ignore our instincts if we choose to. Perhaps, Mr. Haidt is simply claiming everyone cheats and lies to fit in because that is what he has done, and he doesn’t wish to admit the choice. I know I’m an anomaly, but I never tell people what they want to hear, even when it would benefit me to lie, and cost me nothing to be caught. This habit may stem from a lack of ability to understand others animal nature, or a deep rooted sociopathic narcissism on my part, but it proves that Haidt’s assumptions about human motivations are not universal, thus his theory is questionable. 

    Assop’s tale of the grass-hopper was talking about Wall Street types in a time when all of us were all dirt farmers without electricity or nukes. The morality of resource survival doesn’t apply when machines pick your crops and we can split atoms to produce energy. Abundance negates the work ethic, and cleverness replaces self discipline.

  • J.B.

    I would like to hear a discussion by the authors of “American Grace”  – Robert Putnam and David Campbell.  Their new book is really interesting. With particular to their current essay in “Foreign Affairs” magazine.  Very pertinent to our times. 

  • Anonymous

    Whoah, I’m weird. Because I seem to be a conservative liberal person in that I have all the traits of both types in varying  degrees dependent on different contexts and aspects of my life such as social, romantic interests and experiences, WORK, travel, art and entertainment. I mean I’m not too embarrassed at looking at a marble dick (unless I’m staring at it with my mom I guess) but I’m not so “open” to ‘new’ experiences with work and in daily routines I like predictability.

  • K.R.S.

    Mr. Haidt seems to be simultaneously arguing against demonizing the ‘other’, while congratulating Newt Gingrich for being a ‘brilliant social psychologist’. Are these two at odds with each other? Will the liberal tendency towards cooperation leave the left at a disadvantage while the right mobilizes its base with superior social (engineering) psychology?…I do agree though that the left needs to seriously work on their narrative. Maybe they should hire the same folks who helped build the right wing one, I’m sure they’re for hire. 

  • Dnadanyi

    The curious part I totally agree with. Of course many people are not smart.  But what are the reasons that the bright people may not watch Moyers? 1. MSM has drummed into their “dear little heads” that they must watch FOX and that all other channels are full of lies 2. MSM is not really giving us the news because the MSM is now owned by a very few corporations 3. the MSM has conditioned us to expect entertainment instead of real news-like in the old days.

  • Dnadanyi

    Donna
    I am just as dumbfounded that my conservative friends become so incensed about safety net programs. One friend has a disabled daughter who has received ss and medicare for years. My friend takes special notice of anyone receiving government aid that she thinks may not be justified. She resents any help to disabled veterans. Then she listens to the right wing programs and gets all worked up about big government. She does not think that her daughter’s aid is a social safety net. She calls it the law and has no idea that the people she will most likely vote for will change this law and her under 55 age daughter will get a voucher for her health care when she turns 65. She seems totally unaware that the big money is going to corporate welfare and the privatization of the army and top secret america and all the other tax cut and loopholes of the 1%. This information is not on FOX.
    dn

  • Dnadanyi

    Unfortunately most of my conservative friends see everything in black and white /democrat and republican. All republicans are right and all democrats are wrong. They listen to Rush and get their buttons pushed.  They have been spoon fed their talking points.  They walk around like furnaces ready to explode.  They segue into every situation with their talking points and they are all on the exact same page and it is exactly what Rush has said that day. These are not stupid people. Why do they follow?  Why is it impossible to have a conversation without their pent-up anger exploding. Why are so many people such followers?  Why can’t they understand that everything is not  republican vs democrat? It is just not that simple.
    DN

  • http://twitter.com/NWLefty1 NWLefty

    Actually most people are a mixture.

  • LGV

    Mr. Haidt seems to
    examine the moral characteristics of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc.
    and misses examining the internal biological link that creates moral value
    systems in the first place. It is well studied how moral values show up as
    activated areas of the brain and it would be quite helpful in examining
    political choices to demonstrate the connections that these neural/value
    systems have to an individual’s politics.

    We are first brains that
    seek homeostasis between our current experiential ‘wiring’ and new experiences
    that challenge and stress the non-agitated balance that can be seen as the
    preferred state of our brains.

    It might be helpful for
    Mr. Haidt to explain that it is these brain functions that manifest in behavior
    as our sense of empathy or separateness, cohesiveness of political posture vs
    lack of programmatic cohesiveness, sanctity vs fairness, etc. rather than say
    those who are Democrats are more sympathetic while Republicans hold more to the
    value of the sanctity of an idea or a position.

     

    Mr. Haidt seems to
    examine the moral characteristics of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc.
    and misses examining the internal biological link that creates moral value
    systems in the first place. It is well studied how moral values show up as
    activated areas of the brain and it would be quite helpful in examining
    political choices to demonstrate the connections that these neural/value
    systems have to an individual’s politics.

    We are first brains that
    seek homeostasis between our current experiential ‘wiring’ and new experiences
    that challenge and stress the non-agitated balance that can be seen as the
    preferred state of our brains.

    It might be helpful for
    Mr. Haidt to explain that it is these brain functions that manifest in behavior
    as our sense of empathy or separateness, cohesiveness of political posture vs
    lack of programmatic cohesiveness, sanctity vs fairness, etc. rather than say
    those who are Democrats are more sympathetic while Republicans hold more to the
    value of the sanctity of an idea or a position.

     

  • Anonymous

    I know. I was being sarcastic because I see no value in this typical pundit, mainstream media style talker passing himself off as doing real science.

  • Jay

    His message would be far more effective if he didn’t out himself as a former liberal gone conservative. Makes him seem much less objective when his message is all about the importance of objectivity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richardclingman Rick Clingman

    Just watched this on DVR.  I found it to be fascinating at the same time a bit confounding as is to be expected with philosophical concepts.  At the end of the discussion with Jonathan, I had to turn the show off and just let my brain marinate in the many thoughts and ideas I found myself having.  

    Thanks for making some of the best social issue programming on TV.  

  • Savant

    1. Progressives compete to cooperate.

    Using this approach: one who is Progressive considers a “win” as successfully cooperating – and a “lose” as that which results with failure to cooperate.
    2. Regressives cooperate to compete.Using this approach: one who is Regressive only cooperates if doing so results with a personal “win” over someone else (who thus must “lose”). That’s the fundamental difference of approach which I have noticed between the two sides.

    Based upon that: by proclaiming that everyone only cooperates to compete, Jonathan Haidt reveals himself to be Regressive – not to be somewhere in the supposed Sacred Middle between both sides as he proclaims.

    And so: nothing that Jonathan Haidt preaches can be trusted from a Progressive perspective – simply because he strives to foster cooperation between Progressives and Regressives by adopting his false “middle” posture for the sake of securing a “win”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.kippel Steven Kippel

    There’s also this American v. un-American talk today, especially from the “heartland” Republicans. It’s not an idea that we’re all Americans and we have to find common ground to govern, it’s that We are Americans, and these others are insurgents and revolutionaries attempting to overthrow our very way of life.

  • LGV

    It seems to be less a matter of “American”, but a matter of Identity. That is to say: This “America” that I believe in is the America that is My America, My people, My way of living, etc. My economy, the American economy, is the sport of teamwork competition of ‘our team against the other guys’. My religion is My church team (America’s Christianity, etc.) against those who are on any opposing team, who don’t believe similarly. I so deeply identify with all these things that anything that I think is an assault on any one of these ‘Fundamental Values’ is an assault on Me.

  • Anonymous

    48 minutes long & controversial, but does make you think!  

    While Mr. Haidt include balanced examples….Tea Party & Wall Street…. Bill Moyer’s missed the same opportunity providing 4 examples of Conservative bias, but zero liberal bias. 

    Still, I give Bill much credit for having this important discussion .

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    Read the book….

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    because they view the government as the problem not the banks.  The left views wall street as the problem not the governemnt.  The truth is they are both right.

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    And liberals are black and white as well, quit looking through rose colored glasses,  Just look on these comments, if conservatives don’t believe in social nets they must be evil.  Sounds pretty black and white and sounds like something you don’t want to see like many of the posters on here, they are lost in their own views.

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    As a liberal, this comment is why i hate so many of my fellow liberals.  You don’t even see how you are the perfect example of what he is talking about do you?  Sad…

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    Same i didn’t see a center bias at all.  it seems if someone tries to understand a conservative they are automatically labelled as not a true liberal.  Kind of how conservatives view ‘compromise’.  So different yet so alike.

  • http://profiles.google.com/doublespeak12 Double Speak

    Uh that’s not what he said, he moved to the center.  This isn’t uncommon when you actually try learn about another viewpoint instead of demonizing it.

  • Derek Davidson

     You similarly sound regressive in your manichaean use of “nothing:” “nothing that Jonathan Haidt preaches can be trusted…” How conservative of you to offer a nonnuanced, baby-with-the-bathwater read of his thoughtful–perhaps occasionally self-contradictory–discussion.

  • fairliberal

    How frustrating to hear that conservatives are about fairness and punishment of bad behavior when this entire country is founded on the unfair systematic treatment of non-Anglo peoples – with never a breath toward any righting of those wrongs.  I heard his cyclical arguments about hypocrisy and never once heard any structural historical lens on our arrival at this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/curt.doolittle Curt Doolittle

    Which is precisely why you prove Haidt to be correct. :)

  • Anonymous

    A dressed up simplistic socialogical and psychological analysis and evaluation of “our” and the world’s problems. There are so many things which this guy could be challenged with, that are not broached; greed, the influence of power and money, but a total avoidance of what our nation has been doing both internally and externally. The assertion that failure, poverty, is due to laziness and internal faults. Guantanamo, Abu Graib, the destruction of Iraq, Vietnam , now the asault onIran, the cruxifiction of other peoples, in short the imperial process, that process that says the powerful must continue to maintain their prerogatives of power.  Self interest. It almost may me sick to listen to this guy, clever but too involved in his own word play. Disappointing program.

  • http://SDsustainableFuture.com Philosopher3000

    That doesn’t logically follow, but I like that you’re thinking outside the box.

  • Guest

    As an anthropologist, social psychologists often drive me crazy (not always…some are okay…he’s not). Such a narrow focus. Expand your data horizens…please!!!!!

  • Phil

    This is part of what Jon Haidt is saying. He’s saying that many, many people are polarizing the positions. They demonize others to get their way. Actual our society is in flux and growing. Few things are written in stone. This is shown one way by the reversal of Supreme Court decisions that opened up civil rights(Dred Scott case).
    Is it possible for people to settle issues without creating standoffs? Certainly there are issues to stand on that are founded on morality and principle but many issues have been taken up as an “Us against Them” mentality. Thanks.
    P.S I’m stepping out my comfort zone. Like Jon said I’m going to put aside my lawyer tendencies for just awhile and become the scientist. That means that I’m going to look at the FACTS. I’m currently reading his book, “The Righteous Mind”. It’s very good.

  • Thom Roberts

    Welcome Back Bill !

  • Goofy

     As an anthropologist, I would respond that you should be more open to interdisciplinary collaboration.  Adopt the methodological terms of social psychologists and point out what makes his results less reliable or valid outside of the US political context.  Then critique terms like “tribal” as Haidt uses them.  In the process, you will educated non-anthropologist scholars and laypersons alike.

  • Obtrusive Elusion

    This was a thought provoking discussion
    of the kind which you’ll never see on (for-profit) corporate
    networks. We desperately need Bill Moyers and other shows like this
    on TV.

    I think Haidt is right on the following
    points:

    1.The separation of the parties, with
    no overlap in ideology, combined with this Manichean good vs. evil
    mentality, has created extreme polarization. The baby boomers have no
    experience in working for a larger common goal, unlike the previous
    generation.

    2. Republicans excel at this Manichean
    game of uncompromising morality. Obama and the democrats fail
    miserably at making the moral case for their positions or standing up
    for them.

    3. People are isolated from opposing
    viewpoints and can’t acknowledge any validity in the other side, even
    in cases where it exists.

    4. Right and left have a fundamental
    moral disagreement about fairness. On the left compassion is valued
    strongly, while on the right suffering the consequences of your
    actions is valued. Interpreting Aesop’s fable in favor of the ant or
    the grasshopper is illustrative of this.

    5. Conservatives have a better
    understanding of human nature. (I don’t think this is necessarily
    positive however. Conservative leaders see people as irrational,
    greedy, dishonest and easy to manipulate. The success of Gingrich’s
    word games in misleading people is evidence of this.)

    6. Demonization destroys the political
    process and hurts the nation. I agree that we should be focused less
    on the people involved and more on the facts, logic, and underlying
    moral disagreements.

    7. As a general point, I fully agree
    that an understanding of how the right and left can view the same
    things very differently is both politically important, and
    intellectually fascinating.

    I think Haidt is wrong on the following
    points:

    1. Haidt is painting a false dichotomy
    with this idea that both sides are equally deluded (what he calls
    consensual hallucination). The overwhelming majority of the factual
    lies and fallacious arguments are coming from the right. Conservative
    leaders have wholeheartedly embraced deceit as a valid political
    strategy to manipulate people they see as ignorant and uninformed.
    They knowingly convince their followers to vote against their own
    economic interests.

    2. I see no evidence that conservatives
    equally value the six ideological traits which he uses to evaluate
    right vs. left. I also don’t think these six traits are sufficient to
    make this comparison. He’s excluding some core conservative beliefs,
    like faith over reason, the use of force and violence in asserting
    dominance, a total disregard for the environment, and a valuing of
    profit stripped of any ethical consideration of how it’s made.
    Conservatives are also not monolithic and can’t be lumped together.
    The social conservatives/religious wing (Santorum), the libertarian
    wing (Paul), and the corporate wing (Romney) of the republican party
    have different goals and agendas.

    3. Haidt says the “other side” is
    not crazy, or racist, or has been bribed. This is politically correct
    nonsense. Has he ever talked to a Christian fundamentalist (insane),
    a white supremist (racist), or a lobbyist/pretend congressman who
    serves the interests of his corporate contributors/future employers
    (bribed)?

    4. Haidt dismisses political hypocrisy
    by saying that we’re all basically hypocrites who are blind to
    ourselves. While this is true, it in no way means we are all equally
    hypocrites. You can’t compare the integrity of Bill Moyers to Bill
    O’Reilly, or of Obama to Romney. Extreme differences exist.

    5. Haidt says reason can’t be trusted
    because of the confirmation bias (that we see what we wish to see).
    This is incorrect. Confirmation bias exists because most people have
    limited critical thinking skills and make errors in reasoning. It is
    not reason that is at fault, but people’s inability to use it. This
    is why the scientific method (ridiculed by the right) is the most
    valid means of finding the truth.

    6. Haidt says Norquist’s tax pledge is
    an example of the right valuing individualism. The driving force of
    tax policy on the right is the self interest of the wealthy. It is
    about making sure that capital gains, inheritance, and income for the
    rich (e.g. through the highly regressive flat or consumption tax) are
    taxed at the lowest rates possible. It is sold to the masses as being
    about fairness, but that’s not its goal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Ray/1046570819 Chris Ray

    Im going out on a limb here(not really) and saying your a Liberal. This is based on your demonization of Republicans. Just sayin, not a conservative here or anything (in fact not a liberal either, im somewhere in the center, my ideology goes in a few ways each believe in.) I demonize both equally ^_^ ahahaha, but I do tend to demonize Conservatives a little more (the bible belt conservatives…which incorparates a vast majority of them…) even though, if the facts ive ever read are right, I lean a bit more to being conservative (blech) than Liberal

  • Cathy W.

    i agree that conservatives do greatly understand human nature, that is why they have been able to manipulate and exploit it so artfully.  but they do not understand it ‘better’ just one side of it.  liberals understand the other side of human nature – the higher self, beyond the ego side that conservatives ‘get’ 
     (not a judgement just an observation). unfortunately the higher self is less exploitable. i saw a sign from OWS that sums up liberals feelings nicely:  i don’t mind you being  rich, i mind you buying my government.

  • informationforager

     Yea, I realized too that Mr. Haidt was right in that conservatives do recognize human nature in our inherent clannishness. As you say though “that is just the half of it”. Conservatives actually have a very poor understanding of sexuality. Abstinence will never rule and straight(….er, I mean homosexuality) is not a choice. Thanks.

  • Chaarles S

    It appears that about 80% of the commenters should give this another viewing. Most of you are missing the point. Your side, liberal or conservative, is driven by feelings that are unconscious. You lay language and rationalizations on top of those feelings and search for confirmation of your rightness at every chance. Most of these comments are demonstrations of what Haidt is driving at — one side trying to score points over the other without much attempt at understanding the underlying emotional drivers which are present in all of us (in varying degrees) for ancient evolutionary reasons. 

  • informationforager

    I think I totally agree, with just one exception though(coming shortly). It is important to see the other side. Mr. Haidt himself said that he is no longer a liberal, but more of a centrist liberal after studying the conservative viewpoint. He has taken a walk on the other side and seen some of what they are saying.

    For myself, I have read about 6 or 7 of Mr. Haidt’s papers and theories. I have also just finished his book, “The Righteous Mind”. A very good book that I would recommend for liberals and conservatives alike.

    On his experience I also read the book that influenced him somewhat, “Conservatism: An Anthology Of Social And Political Thought From David Hume To The Present” by Jerry Z. Muller. Another very good book that completely lays out the conservative outlook.

    Mr. Haidt’s research has held that the 5 groups of morality are primarily:

    Care/Harm

    Fairness

    Authority
     Ingroup/Loyalty

    Sanctity

    Coming from a liberal background myself I did lean toward just a Care/Harm and Fairness deposition. After reading and thinking a great deal I found some things from the conservative viewpoint that I could understand and I have summarized here in some sentences with the corresponding morality in parentheses. Conservatives can possibly see that:

    Together we are greater than the sum of our parts(Authority, Ingroup)

    Without my family I would be a mess(Ingroup, sanctity)

    Without these things the center will not hold(Authority, Ingroup)

    Mob rule needs direction and cohesion(Authority, Ingroup)

    Preservation of society is important(Authority, Ingroup, Sanctity)

    Children deserve to mature to adulthood(Ingroup, Sanctity)

    Authority & Society can sometimes provide role models, leadership, & direction(Authority, Ingroup, Sanctity)

    The one exception I have is that since conservatives also lean towards a clannish, ingroup mindset it may seem natural for them to demonize and polarize into separate positions and ignore any Universals.

  • Anonymous

    I have not even looked at the video yet, but I saw your post and was – in a word – shocked!

    I am a Conservative.  I have no idea what you are, but I have been emphasizing that very point for many years, and there is virtually nobody – left or right – who seems able to understand that, or to accept it.

    It seems that most people will tentatively agree, then they will qualify it and negate the agreement.  I am convinced that you are correct: We have our base values, emotions, and beliefs, and we then apply “reason” to prove that we are correct.

    Perhaps I am only applying “reason” to my primary emotions, but I believe that in what you wrote we can see the wisdom of the Founders.  They accepted human nature as it is, and they created a structure that deals with its realities.

    I have almost finished a book titled “Envy.”  by Helmut Schoeck, written in German in 1966.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Envy is a universal in humans, and it is behind the drive to socialism and other egalitarian movements.  It basically proves – if you accept the theory, which I do – that these ideologies are not only impossible to achieve but are very destructive. 

  • Andreboco

    I value your respnse on your likes. Your dislikes prove that you still do not get it. You are a memeber of your group and so justify how yours is better. I am neither. As Jim Hightower said…it ain’t left to right, its top to bottom. You have more listening and less speaking to do. You have chosen sides. You are still lost in your delusion. Truth is what works. Neither “side” works.

  • Guest

    We are not born hypocrites, and we are not clueless about our human nature.  Yes, some people do care about what others think, but most do accept them as themselves.  As John Locke said, we are born as a clean state.  We grow with a lot of factors.  His opinions don’t account the power of humans to change and grow, human resilience, and the ability of others to show compassion and grace to their fellow man. 

  • guest

    Amazing insights! Unfortunately individuals like Jonathan Haidt are so rare today…I think everyone would benefit from listening to this interview. 

  • Greg Geddings

    Excellent analysis by Mr. Haidt but he does not seem to be aware that this break down of political discourse is not a random evolution of history. It is deliberate and manufactured and has been going on for a very long time. The purpose is to keep us at each other’s throats while diverting attention away from the anti-democratic cutthroats and thieves who control  the corrupt political system through bribery, blackmail, and never-ending wars for profit.

    Examine the influence of Edward Bernays who, nearly 100 years ago, wrote the book “Propaganda”. It is a blueprint for the control of the masses through lies and manipulation. 

  • DV

     

    Listening to Dr. Haidt I constantly felt
    I agree, almost hypnotized (as was Mr. Moyers) with his ideas and yet my inner
    (unexplained) reasoning was a complete disagreement with the whole.  That is because some basic axioms in his
    arguments had to be challenged.  One of
    Haidt’s main themes is  “… psychologists
    have discovered about reason, reasoning is not good at finding the truth.
    Conscious verbal reasoning is really good at confirming (it).” “Truth” means
    knowing something with zero uncertainty, and reasoning tells truth is a
    mathematical concept.  There is not even
    one scientific discipline that can claim the truth of any phenomena and its
    explanations.  Science is about evaluating
    and explaining natural phenomena with some uncertainty such that any measured
    observable has an inherent uncertainty.  Reasonable
    scientific approach always leaves some room for refutation – not final one with
    an absolute truth.  Peer review in
    Haidt’s mind leads to the truth – false – , which gives the impression that the
    “truth” can be achieved by consensus. 
    That is, “all my peers agree that Starbuck coffee is superior to any
    other, therefore my reasoning that McDonald’s coffee is superior makes me a
    liar ”   .  It is therefore not a surprise that Haidt’s
    finds that we are all “liars”.  His
    arguments and approach are so sophisticated that they basically trap anyone
    into his “well of truth” as he did to Moyers. What needs to be expunged of is
    the notion of a “liberal” or “conservative”. 
    Am I a conservative if I am adamantly against abortion in my immediate
    family or a liberal if I leave this as a choice to others.  Am I a conservative if I support capitalism or
    a liberal if at the same time I say everyone has to play “capitalism” by agreed
    rules. Am I a conservative if I am against bailout of the banks or a liberal if
    at the same time I demand to investigate wrong doing in the banks. Am I a
    conservative supporting a government that promotes the strongest army in the
    world or a liberal if at the same time I say it has to be paid by taxes, and so
    on.  And that is Haidt’s main failure, he
    creates his own definitions of a “conservative” and a “liberal”.  Dr. Haidt’s study would be much more
    effective if he dedicates to the differences between those who use facts (with
    the uncertainties involved in them)  to
    reason versus those who adhere to their own “absolute truths” without regard to facts.    

  • Epn

    This whole conversation was in what O’Reilly would
    call the “theoretical world”.  A world where nothing
    need be clearly stated, defined, and explained.  It is
    like 12th century speculation by scholars about how
    many angels could dance on the head of a pin.  That’s
    an interesting idea, but what has it to do with the real world?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Howell/1365984854 Josh Howell

    Glad you posted this; I had some of the same feelings though I lacked the tact to articulate them as well as you have. A lot of what he was saying struck a cord but it was always shadowed in my mind and it’s his definitions like you mentioned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Howell/1365984854 Josh Howell

    Glad you posted this; I had some of the same feelings though I lacked the tact to articulate them as well as you have. A lot of what he was saying struck a cord but it was always shadowed in my mind and it’s his definitions like you mentioned.

  • Phil

    Actually if you get a chance to actually read his work you’ll find that he’s a social/psychological scientist. What does that mean? It means that he does this for a living. It means he probably knows what he’s talking about. He interviews people, conducts social/ psychological experiments, and then re-interviews people to try to find real answers. He’s not making this stuff up. In fact, in his work he openly admits that he has had to change HIS MIND several times. Why, because just like everyone else he had preconceived ideas about moral theory. His new book “The Righteous Mind” is very good. Further material can be found at http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/mft/index.php?t=publications. Thanks.

  • David Cadogan

    Editorial writers and good columnists know that, to be persuasive, you debate ideas, not personalities and you qualify your comments by pointing out good qualities of the other side. I think this interview is one of the most illuminating I have ever seen. I wish every citizen and every student would see it.

  • Makrmar4

    I realize that Mr. Moyers is from Texas but to claim about his comment that the Apache’s were in West Texas is beyond geographical belief!! The State of New Mexico is home to the Jicarilla and Mescallero Apache’s are from Southern Mountains of New Mexico. What tribes in Texas were you referring too??? Mark from New Mexico

  • Anonymous

     In total disagreement — before you heard and made sense of what he was saying – spoken like a true liberal — So full of excrement that there is no room for common sense were it to hit you in the face

  • Phil

    Some of the language that is used here is still demonizing and positional.   What ideas or theories would you like to discuss or share with others?

  • Marcia K. French

    That goes to show that all politicians lie. 

    Marcia K. French
    Veterinary Emergency in Long Island

  • Jgt8721

    To Markmar 4 — The Lipan Apache ranged all over West Texas down as far as San Antonio. 

    The Jicarilla, Mescalero, and Lipan (in sequence) were driven from the southern plains by the Comanche.  The Jicarilla were the most northerly and so they got pummeled first and withdrew into the mountains of northern NM to get away.  Same thing happened to the Mescalero, except they went into the mountains of southern NM, and into the Big Bend area of Texas.  Some of the Lipan went towards the Big Bend, some went across the Rio Grande to Mexico.

    The Lipan actually asked the Spaniards in San Antonio for missionaries to come up to the San Saba area because they thought they could use the Spaniards/Mexicans as allies against the Comanches.  Didn’t work out though!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lauren-Steiner/1138104490 Lauren Steiner

    I would love for Bill to read Chris Hedges review of Haidt’s new book.  I think if he read this he would think twice about giving this guy a platform for his social darwinist views.  http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/the_righteous_road_to_ruin_20120628//

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Morton-Walters/512337080 Richard Morton Walters

    Conservatives do not like what exists in the PRESENT, and would like very much to escape into the no longer relevant PAST! The Progressives would like to escape from the no longer relevant  PRESENT,” … and move society into a more relevant FUTURE! ….The MODERATE CENTER are satisfied with the present day conditions and compromises the urge to move into a more relevant future or the urge to move backward into the no longer relevant traditional past. … You can’t stop the march into the FUTURE! … One step backward into a no longer relevant past, will cause a two step forward,  beyond the present day, and into the more relevant uncharted FUTURE!   

  • Sickofit

    Why did you even bother to participate in this discussion.  You still see the left as the perfect, smarter side.  What a joke!  The left is just as full of lies, deceit and delusion as you seem to think the right is.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but this is just nonsense. We Conservatives want us to move into a bright and better future just as much as liberals do. It’s how we achieve it that makes the difference.

  • Runsey

    Conservatives want everyone to have a chance to help themselves.  They want limits on welfare and government programs, just enough to get people out of their holes and becoming valuable citizens.  Liberals want to enslave the poor to the government for life so they can dictate how every aspect of their lives are run.  Liberals have a superiority complex and think they know better how to run someone elses life.  Basically, conservatives want everyone to be free and successful.  Liberals want everyone to be slaves.

  • JC

    But of course you can’t see that you are doing the exact same thing.  Your base beliefs?  Individuals are envious of those that have more (presumably wealth); and socialists have less than non-socialists.    Applying your “reason?”  Supporters of socialism use socialism as a means to obtain more because they are envious that they have less.  Your error is that you are looking at this solely from a conservative perspective (but what else could I expect given your preceding comments).  You assume that a socialist is acting based upon his own personal interests. But the pure selfishness inherent in individuality is a conservative characteristic and is not shared by someone who sees himself as a socialist.  Conservative focus is on what benefits the individual. Socialists focus on what benefits society as a whole.   You may call that an “ideology.”  We call that a goal. 

  • HeretoSpeak

    Yes, I am doing the exact same thing.  Left-wingers deny this reality.

    Socialists have more envy; they thrive and promote their pernicious agenda on appealing to envy in people.
        
    Socialists actually believe, for example, that their programs can reduce the amount of envy in a society.  As incredible as it seems, they actually seem to believe that this is possible!
         
    The ignorant who advocate socialism do not understand human nature; they actually think that they can change it.

  • Anonymous

    For the most part I seem to fit into the conservative category.

    I see smart often addresses reality better than intelligent.

    Most liberals are considered intelligent while conservatives smart.

    I think Obama should level with both of us lib and conserv. What is his real objective? He is going to end up hurting all of us.

    Neither of us will have a country to enjoy our rights if he drops our defense against other people who don’t think like us.

    China, Russian, and Islamic countries would probably get along just fine under an alliance intending to get their hands on our resources.

    Don’t forget, we are still all Americans!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PM5W4NYPWETX57EJU6HFO7327U Chime Changa

    Liberals. If people won’t do it on their own, we must force them too by law.

    Conservatives. We must be humble enough to allow people to make their own decisions.

    This is the primary difference between how today’s Conservatives and Liberals see the world. Lets take homosexuality for example. The Conservative refuses the homosexual acceptance and refuses to allow the homosexual to associate with them or their children in any way, but stops short of legally forcing the homosexual not to practice homosexuality.

    The liberal not only accepts the homosexual, but will attempt to force those morally object to not only accept homosexuality, but to accept that homosexuality is natural and good. The liberal will seek to force those who morally object to accept homosexuals in social dealings such as with their kids and their places of work, and basically attempts to take away the right of those who disagree to even disagree. If it wasn’t for Conservative Republicans, we’d already be there. If it wasn’t for liberal Democrats homosexuals would still be ostracized for their sexual practices, but they’d still be legally practicing it despite being a social pariah.

    And this is just one. In just about every single issue today where liberals and conservatives disagree, liberals are trying to force another to do something they don’t agree with whereas Conservatives are trying to force liberals to allow people to decide for themselves what they will accept.

  • john dorch

    It does seem to me that Haidt spends a lot of time reationalizing conservative positions. Several things I would challenge: 1. he claims conservatives are very concerned about fairness.. ie. that people who use social safety networks are lazy and trying to avoid what he calls their “carma”. What about all the people on wall street who “gamed” the system to make money that they didn’t earn… nothing is said about that unfairness. 2. Conservatives believe in hierarchy. It is implanted in their DNA, it seems. But I think it is sociopathic. (Read Corey Robins “The Reactionary Mind”. It is this believe, need really, to prove oneself “better” than someone else that is fundimental to conservative self esteem. It is the reason for racism. It is the reason for economic Darwinism. It is not enough that conservatives have all the money; it is equally important that you have none. I find this view rediculous, and psychologically flawed.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that conservatives are incomprehensible but that is the point of Haidt’s book. Apparently conservatives see my liberalism as incomprehensible. His book attempts to explain why we are blind to each other’s beliefs and ideas. I was glad to learn there might be a reason people who seem to me to be patently nuts can achieve high office and success in various fields in life. They’re still nuts but now I know why they have supporters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1569872074 Alex Birchley

    I’m all for compromise. But when some through greed wish to destroy the very thing you’ve spent a lifetime trying to defend it becomes difficult to see any position of compromise which can be reached without truly sellin out as it were.

  • profesorar

    But “prosper” is precisely where conservatives and liberals seem to disagree.

    What would “prosper” mean in a work context where one earns minimum wage, receives no health insurance, and has no possibility of vacation? Would it ever be possible to “prosper” from one’s work in such a situation? Is the lowest level of wage labor ever propitious to “prosperity”? Or should employers be asked to provide some benefits to workers to aid them in their quest for prosperity? Especially in an environment in which corporations are posting record profits, as they have for the past couple of years?

    Conservatives seem to be saying that those who work hard, no matter how much it is paid or what is involved, should be entirely responsible for whatever their needs are in life. No help from employers or the government beyond wages. Whereas liberals seem to be saying that those who work hard at low wages with no benefits have a harder climb up the ladder toward “prosperity” and as a consequence it is moral and just for those who have more, or who can provide assistance, to extend a helping hand to those people.

    This translates into different conservative and liberal policymaking. In an environment in which minimum wage workers with no benefits are never likely to “prosper”, and yet corporations are ever more profitable and prosperous, how does it make sense to advance policies that give corporations ever more tax breaks to advance their “prosperity”, but at the same time deny benefits to the people who work for those corporations at minimum wage?

  • Bluskies

    Whats struck me the last few years is how many intent self interested sub cultures we have that I was never really aware of, each with it’s own custom tailored political goals, and as a result how little I have in common with so many other American citizens.
    But of course everybody is a immigrant, the immigrants say.

  • kuluo
  • Mateo On Mongo

    If that’s the case, then why are conservatives always idealizing the 50′s (and demonizing the 60′s)?

  • Matt Brown

    There was a time when conservatives wouldn’t accept miscegenation. Now they do — in fact, conservatives can’t abide being called racist — so soon, they won’t abide being called homophobes. Liberals aren’t “forcing acceptance.” They are insisting on accepting the civil rights of the individual. It’s no longer deviant to be homosexual. Get over it.

  • lol

    Because one has to learn from the past in order to make the future better. Rome anyone?

  • RNPRN

    We had enough of conservatives war mongering, murder, lost our our countries blood and treasure. Live and let live and respect someones right to be different. Do not force your beliefs on me. Live the golden rule.

  • Hugh Vincelette

    There are numerous issues wherein people deciding for themselves what they will accept; not the least of which was segregation; will simply perpetuate self evident injustices. Liberals got women the vote. They got African-Americans the vote. they got rid of segregation & created Medicare & Social Insurance. Liberals passed the Clean Air & Clean Water Acts. Conservatives opposed every one of these measures. The religious right will point to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock fame as those who settled America seeking the freedom to practice their faith unhindered. Not true. They did indeed flee Britain seeking such freedom & found it in Holland. But Holland also had freedom of religion for all faiths, & they were not about to tolerate this. Hence, they headed for the New World.

  • Hugh Vincelette

    Conservatives want everyone to be free , …..except them! And they want everyone to be successful , yet place every obstacle possible in their way.

  • Anonymous

    You essentially proved the point of Haught’s book. With conservatives, it is their fear and insecurities that drive their desires for war.