If you’re not watching “Up with Chris Hayes” start doing so. Immediately. That combined with the follow-on, “Melissa Harris-Perry” are the four most thoughtful, intelligent hours on television. (No, I do not have time to watch all four hours, alas.)
I’m disappointed I missed the entire interview with Jonathan Haidt, who wrote the book “The Righteous Mind” and whom I suspect is filled to the brim with shit. Of course, when you want to broach a subject like this, you quickly find yourself in a weird position because the whole point of the book is that liberals and conservatives are emotional creatures who suspect something to be true, then work to find evidence that their suspicions are true. Which is not entirely unfair. Here’s where it is unfair: I think liberals right off the bat have more credibility because they believe things that are unpleasant to believe. For instance, I would much prefer to live in a world without climate change. I’d like not to think about it, worry about it or change my habits to accommodate my beliefs. But when the majority of the scientific community says a thing is true, I err on the side of believing it is. This strikes me as inherently reasonable and logical.
He also contends that conservatives are better at seeing humans for what they really are. HUGE CAVEAT: I have not read the book, so please take everything I say with a boulder of salt. But apparently he uses Ev-psych to back these contentions up, which you may or may not find disturbing. He also–and here’s the interesting/creepy thing–claims to have been a liberal before he wrote this book and now claims the mantle of enlightened centrist. He says we have much to learn from conservatives.
Punchline: He specifies that he means “Burkean (as in Edmund Burke) conservatives. ” Huh? Who, pray tell, are these serious, thoughtful Burkean conservatives? Who the FUCK is he talking about?
This is why I can’t take bothsidesdoitism seriously; you have to twist yourself up into some pretty obscene head-in-ass pretzels to make it work.
UPDATE: Hey y’all…look what I found:
This is a quote from Haidt:
My first few weeks in Bhubaneswar were therefore filled with feelings of shock and dissonance. I dined with men whose wives silently served us and then retreated to the kitchen, not speaking to me the entire evening. I was told to be stricter with my servants, and to stop thanking them for serving me. I watched people bathe and cook with visibly polluted water that was held to be sacred. In short, I was immersed in a sex-segregated, hierarchically stratified, devoutly religious society, and I was committed to understanding it on its own terms.
It only took a few weeks for my dissonance to disappear, not because I was a natural anthropologist but because the normal capacity for empathy kicked in. I liked these people who were hosting me, helping me, and teaching me…Rather than automatically rejecting the men as sexist oppressors and pitying the women, children, and servants as helpless victims, I began to see a moral world in which families, not individuals, are the basic unit of society, and the members of each extended family (including its servants) are intensely interdependent. In this world, equality and personal autonomy were not sacred values. Honoring elders, gods, and guests, protecting subordinates, and fulfilling one’s role-based duties were more important.
Now. What do YOU take away from that? I will be doing another entry about Mr. Haidt.