The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
Are you a person of the left wondering why conservatives are so cruel? are you a person of the right wondering why liberals are so blind? are somewhere in the middle wondering why we can’t all just get along? are you someone who doesn’t care wondering why there are all these political commercials on your TV? In any of these cases this book is for you.
Haidt drills down to the fundamental inclinations that are behind our feelings and convictions of what is right and wrong. He examines the differences in our values, how they come about and how they shape our perceptions of politics. He looks at how culture influences moral beliefs and how moral beliefs shape actions that impact the overall outcomes for societies, and how politics reflects this. Using his own research and that of others from a broad array of disciplines, he displays penetrating insight into how we shape morals and how morals shape us. There are some of his conclusions that I don’t necessarily agree with but he brings in new information to the conversation that point to fruitful areas of research and important things to think about.
This book is an easy and engaging read. It is well organized with a narrative that pulls you through the information. The evidence the ideas are based on is clearly explained. Haidt teaches powerful tools for either side to reach across the political divide to convince or to cooperate. The ideas in this book are important to understand if we are going to understand and work with each other. America needs to grasp these ideas if we are act coherently to influence our own future and communicate clearly with the rest of the world. I would recommend this book to everyone.