Sunday, March 25, 2012

United We Stand?

William Saletan reviews Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

Saletan summarizes Haidt's recommendations:

Our task, then, is to organize society so that reason and intuition interact in healthy ways. Haidt’s research suggests several broad guidelines. First, we need to help citizens develop sympathetic relationships so that they seek to understand one another instead of using reason to parry opposing views. Second, we need to create time for contemplation. Research shows that two minutes of reflection on a good argument can change a person’s mind. Third, we need to break up our ideological segregation. From 1976 to 2008, the proportion of Americans living in highly partisan counties increased from 27 percent to 48 percent. The Internet exacerbates this problem by helping each user find evidence that supports his views.
In short, people have to talk to people they don't like, live next door to people who frequently disagree with them, and listen before they speak.  How will the Internet survive?
Snark aside, Haidt's observations require serious consideration.  

I briefly discuss a Haidt New York Times briefly here.  Dr. Blanchard analyzes a Reason article here.

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