Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives | Video on TED.com
OK, Nimed posted this and wanted my thoughts on it. That’s a general sort of assignment, so I’ll start with what I’ve written below, and discuss further if anyone has any other points to make.
I’ve seen this before, and really enjoyed the video.
Even before it got to the conclusion, as I listened to this I would have said that people with differing views (open/Liberal, or closed/Conservative) need to avoid seeing each other as “the enemy”, which I think is the conclusion he ended up with.
My experience in life has told me this: There is always a pendulum swinging, between great change, and the status-quo. We humans need everyone participating, to keep the pendulum from swinging into chaos, and also to keep the pendulum from staying too long with things just as they are.
In order for this to work, we cannot see each other as the evil enemy. Unfortunately and sadly, there are many on both sides of the aisle who do see the others as “the enemy”, or if not the enemy, at least great misinformed or just plain stupid.
In my personal life, I know my friends who are liberal will on occasion approach our differences as if I am completely stupid! How in the world can I think that way?
In my own personal life, I admit that I have on occasion had the same thoughts about how my liberal friends think.
Usually, this comes into play on those matters where we are farthest apart. Keep reading, because I’ll tie in with this in a bit.
Now: I will take issue with his conclusion that conservatism = close mindedness.
I want to consider as much information as I can get before I form an opinion. If I’ve got an opinion I feel comfortable sharing, it will be because I feel like I’m able to justify or at least explain that opinion in some sort of logical fashion, with something more than just, “Gee, this just feels like it should be this way”.
I may be slow to change my opinion; but I believe I am more open to looking at different pieces of information, and more open to trying to understand another point of view, even if I don’t agree with it. That part of it comes, I think, from what he described as a conservative’s inclination to give more weight to the “Ingroup/Loyalty” and “Authority/Respect” principles than liberals do.
So in those matters where my liberal friends think I’m being completely stupid, it seems to me that they stop listening to anything I have to say, and dismiss my opinion with a flippant remark about what it is I’ve been reading or who it is I’ve been listening to. In other words, they will insult my intelligence, my ability to actually, you know, think for myself. My own (liberal) brother has done this to me, and he knows better! He actually truly knows I’m not evil, nor am I completely stupid. But he’ll do it anyhow.
Whereas I find my tendency is to try to find out more about why they have the opinion they have. Or at least try talk to them about it without insulting them.