The Age of Reflexive Antagonism

When the obituary is written on American democracy, Jonathan Haidt will merit a mention. No thinker has done a better job documenting the dizzying deterioration of our national fabric than this social psychologist.  Through his many books, lectures, and popular articles, Haidt has diagnosed our condition, and his verdict isn't good.  In fact, at our current trajectory, it's fatal. Haidt first earned his fame with his moral foundations theory, which explains how our ethical beliefs, and thus our political voting habits, are shaped by particular values we hold.  For example, conservatives rank feelings of loyalty and respect for authority high on their personal scale.  Liberals, on the other hand, laud fairness and care for others. It was from this formulation that Haidt branched out to how political strife is threatening what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called the "vital center."  His first target: American universities and the...(Read Full Article)

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