The Righteous Mind: Search for Truth!
by Tom Donelson on January 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Governor Cuomo very ineptly declared conservatives or those conservatives who are actually serious about gun rights and the rights of the unborn as extreme and not welcome in New York. He stated that he was noting that defending gun rights and the right of the unborn couldn’t win statewide races in New York, and the way he phrased it left no doubt that he really didn't want to deal with debating things like whether babies in a mother’s womb have rights or that the Second Amendment actually means what it says.
It reminded me of Jonathan Haidt book, The Righteous Mind, where conservatives, moderates, and liberals were asked to answer questions about care and fairness if they were the opposite ideology. What Professor Haidt found was striking as moderates and conservatives were more accurate in describing their opposition compared to liberals. The result was that conservatives and moderates were better able to understand the liberal worldview than the liberals understand conservatives. Haidt's research suggested the basic problem of our politics is that much of the rancor that exists is because of the left! This is not the position of Professor Haidt; his research would suggest that liberals lack understanding of their political opponent. Whereasconservatives view liberals as good people who are wrong, liberals view conservatives as evil heartless bastards and bitches.
Cuomo's view of conservatives or the recent reaction to Huckabee's statement is simple proof of this thesis in action. When Huckabee made his statement that Democrats view women merely as sex object who need free birth control whereas Republicans support the equality and capacity of women, the media not only just misrepresented Huckabee's position, but assumed that Huckabee could only believe that women want free birth control because of their uncontrollable libidos even though Huckabee actually said the opposite. Cuomo's way of phrasing that many conservatives can’t win statewide seats in New York merely showed his disdain for conservatives. As Wall Street Journal James Taranto observed, “Cuomo’s statement was a gaffe, though one suspects it was a Kinsley gaffe, an inadvertent disclosure of his true feelings.”
Jonathan Haidt is a liberal and has spent some time studying our moral ideals as they relate to political issues of the day. Haidt doesn’t believe that Republicans are a bunch of neotherandrals, but he concludes that conservatives possess a broader set of moral tastes than liberals. He also didn't write this book for liberals to learn how to appeal to the electoral, but instead he wanted to make each political idealunderstandable to each other. Haidt researched how different political views are moved by moral foundations.
Both liberals and conservatives care about harm being done but liberals care more as they are more disturbed by suffering and violence whereas conservatives are more concerned about fairness, defined as getting what you earned. While both sides care about liberty, they differ on liberty. On values like loyalty, authority and sanctity, liberals are ambivalent whereas conservatives, in particular social conservatives, embrace them. Professor Haidt does not suggest that conservatives are right in how they view the moral foundations he studied, but he notes that the left can’t win the confidence of a broad section of Americans if they don’t at least develop their own version of loyalty, authority or sanctity.
Haidt sees us as dual nature, with individual selfish nature combined with moral values that flow from being part of a group. As he notes, “We are selfish primates who long to be part of something larger and nobler than ourselves. We are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bees.” Haidt doesn’t buy the anti-religion bias of Richard Dawkins and otherss who argue that religion is some set of ideas inherited by the past and no longer needed. Haidt views that religion adds trusts for individuals and groups to trust in each other. He observed, “Successful religions work on both levels of our nature to suppress selfishness, or at least to channel it in ways that often pay dividends for the group.”
Our political ideas and our moral foundations join us together but it can blind us from others' viewpoints. The left's advantage is that they control much of the media, and they are the backbone of our academic world; they dominate much of our political class. This in part explains the arrogance of a Governor Cuomo for he truly believes in his moral superiority, and he can’t even imagine that he might be wrong or that the other side might be right on a few issues here and there.
The media is perfectly willing to overlook the corruption of our IRS being used to punish political opponents or President Obama believing in his moral superiority that he can be trusted with massive and expanded NSA spying whereas Republicans can’t. Never mind the fact that it appears that Obama has expanded upon what Bush has done and worse, his administration has been involved some of the most lawlessness corruption from the IRS punishing political opponents, the fast and furious scandal, which allowed guns to fall in the hands of the Mexican cartel which resulted in the death of thousands of Mexicans, and executives orders that have undermined congressional passed laws and most likely violate the constitution.
There was a time when there was an understanding between both sides, and while politics has always been rough game, Governor Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, at least would declare he was personally opposed to abortion and at least tried to understand the other side. Andrew Cuomo simply represents the coarseness of what the left has become, leaving the question, can a movement that hates half of America still be trusted with governing America?