The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives
During an election season, it’s very easy to get captivated by the reasoning of one party over another. Actually, strike that. During an election season, it’s very hard not to get totally captivated by one side over another! While some level of partisanship may be understandable during an election, however, it impedes actual governance.
What I really appreciate about Jonathan Haidt’s TEDTalk on “The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives” is that he outlines the positive contributions of each side of our political spectrum. His conclusion – that though he may stand on one side of the debate (and address an audience that does as well), yet he believes our political discourse needs both sides to function well and effectively.
This doesn’t tell you how to vote, of course, but it does invite a far more generous appraisal of the party and candidates on the other side of the political fence from where you stand. Or as he puts it, this kind of perspective can at least help us “disagree more constructively.”
Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist who has studied morality across cultures. The results of that work are more fully developed in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. You can find out more about his book at a website devoted to it, learn more about his drive for a more productive and civil politics on his blog on Civil Politics, and find and take an eye-opening quiz about your own morals at YourMorals.org.
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