Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jonathan Haidt, Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics & Religion

This is a very fine book. It combines social science research, personal anecdote, and thoughtful observation & concern about the world in which he lives. Haidt's story, which he weaves into the book & which gives it some narrative drive to add to the insightful analytics. Jumping forward a bit, Haidt, a someone typical liberal, Democrat, non-religious academic, wonders why Bush ruled (so to speak). His research leads him into investigating the moral universes of liberals and conservatives (as understood in American politics). His conclusion: liberals have 3 areas of primary concern, but conservatives have five--authority and loyalty have an importance for conservatives that they don't have for liberals. Thus, liberals (think John Kerry), ignore the moral universe of a number of voters.

In addition to the moral universes, Haidt talks about how argumentation, not logic or computing drives our thinking. In other words, we decide what we think & then argue to justify it. Yes, I think so.

His other main insight is that human are not so much selfish as "groupish". In other words, we are very social animals.

Okay, I have to go, so I'll stop here. But this is a very insightful book. It rewards while also giving a great deal of reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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