The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Author: Jonathan Haidt
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by Danihan   2018-01-07
To develop mental models you need to start at the ground floor, with understanding basic human nature.

by stonerbobo   2017-12-06

oh man.. just read /r/AskTrumpSupporters.. its depressing.

It really doesn't matter what arguments you make at all. Their intuitions come first, arguments come second. Intuition says Hillary is snobby/rich/evil and Trump is not, end of story.

There are people justifying Trump Jrs collusion with Russians! Anything can be justified with enough mental contortion and denial.

Really, the sooner you realize critical thinking means nothing to a huge group of people the better. Arguments don't form opinions, they are formed after the fact to justify them. Social pressures (what do my friends think?) & intuitions inform opinions.

EDIT: If this is interesting, checkout The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt . Its where i stole most of this from. Theres also other related stuf in behavioral econ & psychology - Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman , Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely . Its the tip of an iceberg

by Arguss   2017-12-06

Echoing the sentiments already said-- Sanders is a politician, not an intellectual.

In terms of book recommendations, I always recommend Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind , which goes into the moral foundations of liberals and conservatives, and can help you see things from another perspective.

In terms of liberal book recommendations, one book I really liked was American Progressivism: A Reader. It's a collection of speeches, essays, and letters written by progressives in the Progressive Era, and really gets at the core of what it means to be progressive, in a way that is not actually articulated all that much in modern times.

It also serves as a sort of history lesson, as a lot of the programs advocated for in the various speeches and essays were later adopted, forming the foundation of the American welfare state that exists today; hence you can see the thought behind these programs when they were first discussed.

by Arguss   2017-12-06

Yeah, I think that's the idea/justification on a sociological level.

In pre-antibacterial times, it made sense to be really weird about shellfish and pigs and poop, because that was a way of promoting hygiene, for example.

Similarly, we might say before birth control it made sense to slut-shame and regulate sexual interactions, to promote marriage and monogamy, because otherwise it was pretty likely you'd end up with a kid that didn't have a stable family to raise them. But now that sex is divorced from procreation, that sort of sociological justification falls apart.

For more information, check out the dude's book, The Righteous Mind . It's a good read.

by BeetleB   2017-10-23
>The purpose of moralizing is to shame those that ignore our struggle as living organisms.

So how is that working out?

Think of all the campaigns that have effected change. How often did shaming work? Sure, you have a few cases like the fight against Apartheid, but in general? Not effective.

Here's the thing. I'm as pro-science as they come. However, I've been blessed to come from communities that fall prey to anti-vaccine and other "nonsense". And one thing I know is that fact based ridicule and moralizing has a low success rate.

As someone who somewhat understands both communities, I am already not on your side. If a pro-vacciner like me is turned off by such rhetoric, imagine it from an anti-vacciner's side.

Think I'm an outlier? I'll hazard a guess that most pro-vacciners are close to someone who is not (family connections, etc).

There is comfort in being "right". But being "right" does not in itself translate to right outcomes.

The Righteous Mind ( is a very worthy read. A few things it points out:

1. On a polarized issue, facts will increase the polarization (and I'm guessing justifying shame with facts will exacerbate the issue)

2. To persuade someone, you will have a lot more success appealing to emotions than to the rational mind. This does not mean playing games where you manipulate people.

by beefman   2017-10-05
– Economics / sociology –

A Farewell to Alms

Cartesian Economics

The 10,000 Year Explosion

The Righteous Mind


– Philosophy –

Tao Te Ching


– Autobiography –

Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman

Recollections of Eugene Wigner

– Fiction –

Fahrenheit 451


by vkrr   2017-08-19

IIRC it was Haidt who demonstrated that people on the right have a pretty good understanding of how people on the left think. On the other hand people on the left seem incapable of understanding those on the right. (excerpt)

by sasha_says   2017-08-19

For general foundational texts, the wiki summary including anything related to voting in the navigation bar covers quite a few of the most important foundational texts. If you want wider coverage or more recent texts looking up comprehensive exam reading lists will help identify more foundational texts.

More recent readings regarding the non-rational motivations for voting include The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt and The Rationalizing Voter by Milton Lodge.

A modern text such as Clawson and Oxley on public opinion is a pretty good overview of a lot of important questions/topics in the literature that may help point you to other works.

by Nevermore60   2017-08-19

I've done quite a bit of reading on it. e.g.:

Conclusion: literally everyone makes snap judgments based on moral instincts and emotion, then tries to project the image socially that they didn't do so. It's an elaborate game of post-hoc logical rationalization, which puts the cart (decision) before the horse (the arguments to rationalize it). It's a universal human characteristic borne of group-evolution, and politics is the purest embodiment of it.

by grimtrigger   2017-08-19
"The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion"

If you're like me and love debates, this book is awesome. It'll show you how to find common ground and understand implicit values behind arguments.

Link for the lazy (non-affiliate):