Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind

To explain why people are divided by politics and religion, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the principles of moral psychology. The key differences between liberals, libertarians, and conservatives are in the six moral foundations: Care/harm, Liberty/oppression, Fairness/cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation. Liberals value the first three. Libertarians value Liberty the most. Conservatives value all six equally.

Haidt suggests that liberals have a harder time understanding conservatives than vice versa because liberals don’t see how Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity have anything to do with morality. Haidt wrote this book in 2012; therefore, his suggestion might be convincing then. Reading it now, however, I don’t buy it. The Republicans have shown again and again that they have lost their morals, their principles, and their goddamn souls to the authoritarian. They bowed down to him and stood with him even if he embarrassed them. Take Ted Cruz for example. Even when his father and his wife were insulted, Cruz had no spine to stand up for his loved ones. It’s a damn shame.

Haidt ends the book with this statement, “We’re all stuck here for a while, so let’s try to work it out.” I say, “Good luck with that.” Barack Obama tried to work with the Republicans when he first became president and where did that lead him? Republicans always wanted to hold power, but they didn’t want to do anything. The country is deeper and further divided in the past four years. If we want to work it out, we need a president that unites us first.

The book is an intriguing read, but it doesn’t apply to the current political turmoil. We are now living under a leadership that has no morality.