Monday, April 02, 2012

Robert Wright doth squirm

With thanks to Lee, on my Twitter feed, I've seen part of an exchange between Robert Wright and UVA psychologist Jonathan Haidt (a self-proclaimed "Durkheimian" skeptic of the far-left view), in which Haidt says "politics is much more like religion than it is like shopping." Early on in the dialogue, he notes that recent studies show that conservatives are better at understanding liberal positions and perspectives than liberals are at understanding the conservative mentality. Haidt also makes the claim (dubious, in my opinion) that politics is a product of genetics. I haven't finished watching the whole thing, but the dialogue thus far seems interesting, and Wright is more animated than he normally is-- perhaps because Haidt has struck a nerve.

Haidt (pronounced "height") looked familiar to me, and that's when I realized I'd seen him before: he's given a TED talk or two.


1 comment:

  1. I listened to the part about conservatives "getting" liberals better than liberals "get" conservatives. This is a tricky thing to talk about, because "getting" and "understanding" are such broad-ranging terms. For example, "understanding" could refer to having the mental capability to comprehend something.

    After listening to that part of the dialogue, though, I get the impression that this boils down to empathy, or a willingness to empathize. It's also about a willingness to listen to and parse what the other side is saying. So, more about willingness than capability.

    I'd like to see the actual study, though, because everything I've seen on Fox News indicates to me that hardline conservatives are just as unwilling to understand most liberal positions. Either that, or they willfully misinterpret and misrepresent liberal positions to push their views. I'm not sure which is worse: ignorance or malice.



All comments are subject to approval before they are published, so they will not appear immediately. Comments should be civil, relevant, and substantive. Anonymous comments are not allowed and will be unceremoniously deleted. For more on my comments policy, please see this entry on my other blog.

AND A NEW RULE (per this post): comments critical of Trump's lying must include criticism of Biden's lying on a one-for-one basis! Failure to be balanced means your comment will not be published.