Jonathan Haidt: Polarization as Religion

Jonathan Haidt: Polarization as Religion


It’s great to welcome back to the program
today. Jonathon hight, who is a social psychologist
and professor at [inaudible] New York University Stern School of business. He’s the author of multiple New York Times
bestsellers, including the righteous mind. The newer book coauthored with Greg Luke. Ian Off the coddling of the American mind
is just now available in paperback. Jonathan, so great to have you back on. Thanks. David’s great to be back. So we’ve been talking a lot on the program
about the, um, sort of media cycles related to kind of modern politics now in particular
as the election is starting to ramp up and how sort of at a core, structural level, the
way in which corporate media cover politics perpetuates a lot of the polarization that
you’ve been writing about for a long time. Do you see it that way today? Oh my goodness, yes. Um, so, you know, I, I think of human beings
as this amazing species that that came down out of, out of the trees and evolved for life
in small groups. Um, you know, groups of 50 to 150 people that
are constantly, or not constantly, but often at war with each other, or at least having
violent intergroup conflict. Um, and we, uh, and we evolve to circle around
rocks and trees and other things, make them sacred and then have small scale religion. That’s human nature. Now somehow or other, we escaped from that. We built these gigantic societies, uh, that
were feudal originally and very hierarchical. And then very recently we built these amazing
secular it get relatively egalitarian, open, prosperous democracies. Uh, really quite amazing what we’ve done. But we’re still the same tribal religious
creatures that we’ve always been and the modern media ecosystem beginning with cable TV and
then moving onto the Internet and social media has gotten more and more effective at breaking
us up into smaller groups, feeding us with very different fats. We live in different worlds, a worlds in which
we, we hate the people and the other worlds. Um, and we increasingly are willing to take
action against them. So yes, it’s very frightening. One of the criticisms that sometimes levied
when one starts to make a more general, we live in different worlds and have different
facts sort of analysis, which is not an a wrong analysis. But one of the criticisms that sometimes comes
up is yes, people live in these self perpetuating, Algorithmic Echo chamber sort of worlds with
different facts, but there is still some truth. There are things that are true and things
that are not true. And there needs to be more of a maybe reckoning,
some would say, which separates the fact that there is a degree of polarization in which
people are just an echo chambers. And at the same time there are, there is truth
and falsity at the same time as they’re not. Oh, well, I certainly agree that there is
truth or falsity, but I don’t see that as a, as a critique or criticism of the view
that we now live in separate worlds. Rather, I would say the truth has always been
hard to find. Um, even about medical issues, people didn’t
notice that if, you know, doctors wash their hands, their patients don’t die. Uh, and even when that was pointed out to
them, they didn’t believe it. So it’s very hard to find the truth. Uh, we have universities, we have an academic
system to ferret it out, and we also have journalists who are supposed to do that. So we have adaptations to help us find the
truth. But man, has it gotten harder in the last
five or 10 years because of social media? Almost anything that you take as a fact. Now, uh, there are people on the other side. If it has a political valence, there are people
on the other side who, who are certain and have evidence that you’re wrong. Um, and because I’m in the center and I write
about these things, I get emails from people on all sides. So whatever the scandal, whether it’s Brett
Kavanaugh, whether it’s the Amazon rainforest burning, um, people send me things to show,
oh look, the other side’s crazy. You know? Uh, so, um, so no, I do agree that there’s
truth. That’s why I’m a researcher and a professor,
but I am despairing of our ability as a country to find truth on important matters ever again. So what is the, is there a set of a, of a
ta, I dunno, this set of steps, so to speak, for someone who wants to determine that truth
because as you say, there’s a, there’s a significant difference between supply side. Economics is a positive or negative influence
on our, on our economy for example. And, uh, here is the reality of what we are
doing to the planet because of industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels. I see those as as distinctly different sorts
of arguments. Question one is do you agree that those are
different types of arguments? And then the maybe more important part is
what is the process you can recommend to people to arrive at the truth about either or both
of those issues? Well, it’s true that there are certain propositions
that are more easily testable and so on. The question is the planet warming. But there are some people in the right who
deny that, but as far as I can tell there are very few. So that I think is widely accepted as a fact
and has been for a long time, not by all. Um, next question, are human beings responsible
for the warming? Well then some more people on the right will
drop off and say they used to say no, it’s sunspots. I don’t know if they still say that. Um, so there are certain things that are fact,
and I certainly think it’s established that human activity is the major cause of the rise. Uh, but then the question is, uh, anything
else that happens? So let’s just take the, the fires and the
Amazon that people are understandably worried about. Well, if you’re on the lift, you’re told that
this is, that this, the Amazon is the lungs of the world, makes 20% of our oxygen. Uh, but I read from people on the right end
in the center, uh, that biologist say that that’s not true. I know I haven’t dug into it. I don’t know. I’m just saying that, um, and you’re a counter
point. Well, it’s the, and it’s not just that there
was a counterpoint. Uh, it’s that we, if you’re a partisan, if
you’re on a team, whatever comes your way, you don’t just say, hmm, is it true? You say, Oh my God, this confirms the things
that I believe most desperately. This confirms why they’re so evil. And you have lots of people helping you confirm
that. It’s called confirmation bias. That we don’t say, well what’s the evidence
on both sides? We say, can I, can I take this as evidence
that my enemies are evil? We look for that evidence and we always find
it and the internet just Google it, you’ll always, you’ll find it online. So yeah, there are facts, but I think, um,
I am again, I am just despairing of our ability to find them. You have talked about, um, the sort of, um,
evolutionary advantages, some of the dynamics that we observe in humans, uh, have had at
prior times and maybe even still have today. One of the things I’ve been studying is this
concept of the narcissism of small differences. And I’m, I’m curious if we imagine a world
where imagined that the right convinced the left to come to their side on global warming,
on abortion, on gay men, whatever, right? Let’s say the left said, you know what, you’ve
convinced us. You’re right. Uh, would there not be a re stratification
within the new sort of pillars of discussion wherein there would be a new outgroup within
the right that would be on the left of what is left. So to speak. And you would have the same exact degree of
polarization, disagreement and sort of alternate fact worlds that you describe. Yes. In general. I think that’s true. I mean, we certainly have made a lot of moral
progress. Each side has convinced the other a few things. The direction of history has been more in
the progressive direction in that, um, uh, you know, should women have the right to vote? Should women have equal opportunity or equal
access to everything? Uh, there’s not any serious debate or doubt
over that. So then we move on where the left says, well,
okay, um, now what we need is equal representation. That women should be 50% of say all the, you
know, all the s all the engineers and computer programmers and the rights says, no, we should
have equal opportunity. Um, I wouldn’t exactly call it the narcissism
of small differences. Those are major and important philosophical
questions. What counts as the standard for a fair society? Um, but yes, I think your general point is
that progress, uh, progress, be it material progress or moral progress will never end. Are, are furious debates. We will always find things to argue about
something as simple as do we need the, is the cause of our problems that we’ve lost
touch with the old ways and the wisdom of our ancestors or is the problem, uh, that
we are not advancing fast enough and we need to tear down what we’ve inherited and build
something new? That’s the fundamental question between progressives
and conservatives. Is the political system that we have a well-suited
to adjudicate some of these bigger questions that you’ve mentioned today and also that
you talk about in the book or is it fundamentally a system that either by design or by outcome
by side effect is not going to possibly resolve those disagreements? Yeah, well, I would never say not possibly
because the future is very long and we’ve been through bad times before. So, uh, you know, 50 a hundred years from
now, I have no idea where we’ll be. My friend Steven Pinker’s probably right. That things will be a lot better. Certainly on material issues they’ll be a
lot better. But are there specifically some design flaws
or problems with our system that make us worse or more gridlocked, more, um, dysfunctional
than many other democracies? I think the answer is yes. Um, so the worst number of political parties
to have in a country is one that’s really, really bad. Um, but the second worst number is to, uh,
because our minds are really finely tuned to do us versus them. And there’s even research showing that if
you break people up into groups into three or four different groups, you don’t get the
kind of split. You don’t get the ferocity of the split that
you get when you break people up into two groups. So two is a, we have two parties. I wish we didn’t, it wasn’t the design of
the founders, but it emerged even over the question of whether to ratify the constitution. There were the federalists and the anti-federalists. Um, our system is designed to make it easy
to block, uh, to block bad ideas, to block whims and passions of the public. So our system is designed to be at the top
chorusy and then various kinds of political corruption have amplified that. Any, any group that is strongly like the NRA,
any group that’s really wants to stop something has a lot of ways they can stop it. Uh, whereas if the majority favor something,
it’s very hard for them to actually push it into law. What are the particular issues that you see
as, um, at least in the short to medium term, not solvable as a result of that structure? Um, so I think, well, I think almost all of
our big issues are gonna be very hard to solve. So let’s just take, uh, climate change for
one. Um, so I think the left has been correct about
the nature of the problem. Um, but the right has been correct that trying
to solve it by getting big government agreements is hopeless. Uh, we’re not going to get China and India,
um, to solve things because they agree, you know, to reduce the air pollution. Uh, because of a, some agreement that their
government signed. Emmanuel Macron tried to do that and he had
riots. He tried to, uh, have more, uh, environmental
minded policies. He had riots in France. So countries aren’t going to do that. Um, that way I think his failure lies failure. I think the right is correct. And here what I mean is especially the libertarian
or free market, right. Um, that these problems are massive and the
only way we’re going to decarbonize is if individual consumers and companies conclude
that it’s cheaper and better for them to use carbon free sources. And so, um, I think if we leave it to AOC
and the green new deal, um, which basically takes let’s say tries to approach climate
change by importing all the things that the left most wants. That approach that we new deal has some, some
good things in it, but it guarantees that people on the right are going to fight it
tooth and nail. I mean we have to have a high minimum wage
to fight carbon. Yeah. So, okay, but let’s, let’s go back just one,
one half a step maybe. Um, I, I actually sorta sympathize with the
idea that I believe the fact bear out that in the long term it is actually cheaper, more
efficient than therefore more profitable to get away from fossil fuels. But I think the, the missing step in the libertarian
approaches, unless there is an intermediary force that pushes before we get to the longterm
in the short term, it’s much easier not to do it. And I think that that’s where the libertarian
analysis that you made falls a little bit short. Oh, totally agree. So, you know, if I were king or if I could
advise or if there was a government capable of acting on advice, um, I would say that,
um, that ultimately the heavy lifting is going to be done by market forces. And if we could have massive federal expenditure
into getting really cheap solar, wind and nuclear nuclear, it really has to be part
of the problem. If we’re serious about this, um, massive government
expenditure to, to get to those points 10 or 20 years earlier than we would without
subsidies. Yes, it’s urgent that we do it. So I’m not a partisan, I’m not a conservative,
a progressive or libertarian. I think all three have, have insights. To go back to your early question, what should
one do if they want to find the truth? I’ll tell you what worked for me. I was on the left when I started writing the
righteous mind. My goal was to help the Democrats win more
elections. And I committed myself to understanding conservatives
and Libertarians. And what I discovered is that if you look
at the best writing, you get lots of great ideas. There are lots of really smart, interesting
people on all sides. Um, whereas if you get the worst writing,
if you’re on Twitter and you just experienced people, the most extreme versions, you’ll
think, well, they’re stupid and evil. Um, so I think we do need, we do need as individuals
and in a policy process, we do need people to propose ideas, other people to say, no,
that won’t work because of X. Here’s a better way. And you have to have a process by which the
best ideas when universities and we’re supposed to do that. That’s sort of the idea of the HIG alien dialectic
in a sense. But the, the concern I have with it is that
when some of the ideas being proposed are outrageous, you’re sort of pulling the mean
in a direction that is not particularly productive. I mean, that’s my concern with that, that
the idea you’re proposing, um, I think I see what you’re saying that
the John Stuart Mill didn’t use the phrase marketplace of ideas. Uh, but it’s not a bad metaphor. And so if in a real marketplace, you know,
uh, real market places work really well, but if you had a marketplace which you had a lot
of people trying to manipulate the market and you have, uh, lobby groups and industry
groups putting out fake reports, yeah, that’s a market failure. So, uh, that’s why we need quality control. And that’s why universities I think are or
should be our best hope for finding the truth. Now, I have been very concerned that, um,
into social sciences, which is what we’re really talking about here. We really need the social sciences to work
right, to, to solve these political and social problems. Um, in the social sciences they have always
leaned left, which is not a problem as long as there are a few people, real researchers
who are committed to the academy to say, well wait a second, here’s some counter evidence. We used to have that. Um, now that we’ve shifted much further to
side and this is happening across society in a polarization cycle, lots of institutions
are purifying. So my fear is that a social science research
is not as reliable as it would be if we had more viewpoint diversity. When you have serious professors who are committed
to the research process, you don’t get crazy ideas put it that that comes from lobby groups
and non non-professionals. So you’re not literally saying every crazy
idea should be part of what is considered the serious discussion, but that we should
have a system in place that will sort of a filter so that the ideas that are being taken
seriously have passed some kind of either explicit or implicit vetting of sorts. Yes, that’s right. I would never say we need all ideas. I would never even say we need all perspectives. What I would say is we have to really look
out for orthodoxy. If we have any group that is responsible for
finding the truth, which is subject to orthodoxy, which means that if someone finds counter
truth, they will be shamed or expelled. Then we cannot rely on the conclusions of
this group. We’ve been speaking with Jonathan Height. He is a social psychologist. The paperback version of the coddling of the
American [inaudible] mine coauthored with Greg with Yanoff is now
available a Jonathan, so great to speak to you. As always, my pleasure

100 Replies to “Jonathan Haidt: Polarization as Religion”

  1. Pakman's audience in the comments aren't realizing that they are exactly the problem he's referring to. His meta-analysis is highly condemning of the left – turns out that as a group the left are the least capable of describing their opposition's point of view accurately.

  2. Healthy narcissism v Pathological
    narcissism
    Common sense v Delusion
    Progressives v Conservatives
    Harmony v Polarization
    Wind and Solar v Nuclear
    Ideas v Filter
    Why does he talk about shaming one group is the cause of excluding the other? Answer: Narcissistic shame and fear of rejection? Howcome does he use shame, exclusion and polarization as foundation in his argumentation? Answer: Narcissistic disordered mindset? David, he ignored your argument about narcissism, did you notice? FlyingMonkeysDenied.com

  3. Is this the same out of touch douchebag that tried to jump on the anti-sjw bandwagon and later write a book about how he thinks the younger generation is coddled at a time when the workforce is higher than it was decades ago when he himself probably never had to work a physical job in his entire life? I'm not dismissing everything Jonathan Haidt does, but there are times where this guy comes off as kind of a grifter(and I don't like to throw that term at just anyone). FYI, I'm in my 30's and I've worked with younger Zoomers and I think this whole "Younger generation is tOo tRiGgErD" tends to be blown out of proportion.

  4. He makes some interesting points. But I think the flaw in a lot of people who complain about polarization is that it is really hard to get them to acknowledge there is a such thing as objective reality, and we do have ways of at least getting closer to the truth. He is more useful in understanding than culture wars than understanding the nuts and bolts of our political system. His view on how to deal with climate change seems naive. We don't have enough time anymore to wait for people to change through individual action. He needs to read that IPCC report.

    Not necessarily him, but many people with a similar view of things that I know don't like to admit one side is more wrong than the other and gravitate to the center not based on what is true and what works, but because they seek social harmony and don't like to disagree with people.

  5. Jonathan Haidt generally seems to have bad intuitions/ideas about evolution. I prefer Patricia Churchland's approach to morality. I prefer Michael Shermer's approach to religion (and political beliefs).

  6. Haidt is terrible: He once penned a letter to his kid's school that was published, in which he explained why test scores shouldn't be lowered to allow underprivileged black kids in NY to attend private school with his boy.

  7. BEWARE CENTREMISM! Just because a debate is polarised, it doesn't follow that the correct position is dead centre. This may seem obvious, but the naive "golden mean" fallacy is remarkably tempting… At least, to well-meaning liberals! That's why it's so often invoked, at least implicitly, by right-leaning folk, like Jonathan Haidt, to promote a position they love to label "moderate" or "centrist". Their stance is typically pitched as a fair and reasonable balance between opposing views and interests – but in practice, it is often nothing of the sort. Instead, so-called "centrist" policies can usually be more accurately described as "moderate, in the eyes of liberal-minded billionaires," or "the centre-ground of establishment opinion." I call this political viewpoint "centremism", because its partisans are, I find, just as dogmatic and intransigent as devotees of any other self-serving ideology. So, as always in the marketplace of ideas: caveat emptor. Don't be fooled.

  8. So many people on the Left are posting here, claiming that the Professor is wrong, and they are the only rational ones. The truth is that way too many people–on BOTH the Left and Right–pick positions/make decisions based on emotion, and only look for facts to support them AFTERWARDS. They only believe sources that say what they want to hear.

  9. Undoubtedly we have evolved from small groups and are emotionally only able to form close bonds with small groups. I have to believe though that we also are capable of reason. So if behaviour is immoral when inflicted on our in group then certainly it must be immoral to behave the same way to the out group. I honestly can't see another way to live morally other than by using such thinking

  10. Haidt said it was a small minority or the right who denies that the globe is warming…I've heard form Noam Chompsky that every Republican Presidential candidate denies Climate change. I guess these don't necessarily contradict but I'm wondering if anyone has found good data on this?

  11. If you want to stop the two party system, then we need to change the voting system. The best solution is to have a non-partisan top two primary that unlike CA and WA uses APPROVAL VOTING to get the top two candidates. That means voters can vote for all the candidates they like instead of just one and you no longer have any vote splitting. The two that make it out of the primary are the two most approved candidates instead of whoever happens to survive the vote splitting.

  12. Can someone point me to a David Pakman equivalent on the right? Does that exist? When I try to give myself a break from my own algorithmic echo chamber all I see are bad faith actors and complete goons who strawmen people constantly.

  13. The riots in france was because of the top down nature of the ecological policies not because of a "big government approach". If you don't understand the intricacies of french politics abstain from commenting all together.

  14. Haidt is clearly a smart guy, but he continues to underwhelm here. His mealy mouthed centrism and phony hand wringing really seems hollow to the point of being irrelevant.

  15. Nuclear must be included?!?!? By the time nuclear facilities can be built to be part of "the solution," the timeframe to make drastic changes will be over!

  16. 13:22 "So I'm not a partisan, I'm not a conservative, a progressive or a libertarian, I think all three have insights" LMAO I'm done listening to this guy please don't bring him back, conservatives and libertarians have insights? what a joke, conservative ideals are all bunk and libertarians are right down buffoonish, Thalidomide and the 2007 market crash is more than enough for anyone to know what a joke the right is.

  17. 11:35 YES, I've said this myself, I'm setting up my own solar panels & battery and I got fleeced hard by EU/UK tariffs/VAT, it makes solar products almost twice as expensive as they should be, there is probably half the solar adoption that there would be because of government. (EU adds 65%, UK adds 20%)

    Renewables are sorta kinda economically viable, they would be an absolute no-brainier if the government didn't interfere.

  18. Haidt has some relevant points but I don't really like his stance politically. He claims to be the rational one who can look at both sides without blinding partisanship but I feel he criticized the left using strawmans and stereotypes.
    Also the libertarian approach to climate change has already proven to be a catastrophe.

  19. point blank and an undeniable faleshood, Haidt is not from the centre. He's clearly an establishment lap dog which is not centrist but conservative. which is evident when discussion about climate change modifications.

  20. This guy said a lot of stupid stuff. The center-left has been advocating for market-based solutions to climate change for DECADES. Does he live under a rock?

  21. One problem is that people including the ones in this video have trouble grasping is the difference between truth and reality. Truth is the weaker of both measures.

  22. The best number of political parties is ZERO. Every idea needs to be debated and adjudicated on its merits, and party identity gets in the way.

  23. I would like to hear how Haidt's ideal deals with the scenario of 'the graduated idiot', someone who made his way through the academic vetting process spouting actual nonsense. Because there is no clear difference between telling someone that their ideas are actual nonsense, or baseless, and shaming them out of the discourse.

  24. What no one ever says is that the MILITARY and Military Industrial Complex are inextricably wed to the FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY!!! The US Military IS THE BIGGEST POLLUTER ON THE PLANET!!! As long as this is true, THEY WILL NEVER ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE OR THE WHOLE CLOTH POLLUTION OF THE PLANET!

  25. Macron didn't have riots in France because he tried to enforce an environment laws. He had riots, at least at the beginning, because he changed laws regarding retirement age where he tried to push people to retire 3 years later then today. People exploded because of it. The later riots of the so called "Yellow vests" were infiltrated by the Antifa from one side and the right wing groups financed by Russia to provoke chaos and instability in one of the 2 pillars of the EU, on the other side. When thinking about it it's quite funny to see 2 completely opposing groups that usually trash talk about each other calling the other Soros globalists etc.. And they were manipulated into protests on the same side. Thankfully it all withered down when the money ran out (Russia is after all pretty poor country that can't sustain prolonged actions that involve great amounts of money, but hey, they tried, tried and failed)..

  26. I like what Haidt has to say, but the problem is that there isn't a third party to drive the conversation down different paths. Unfortunately for Jonathan (or everyone really) we live in a highly polarized world. Unless there is a real push away from that format, we have to deal with the problems of the current system.

    What I think would be interesting, would be seeing a "leftist" party form where the Republicans can act as clear agents of the "right" the Democrats occupy the center, and this new party occupies a more labor/social democratic left.

    David made a great point, which I feel like Jonathan completely dismissed…if the "left" concedes or adopts more moderate stances, all the right has to do is take more extreme positions and force the left to the center. That's exactly what happened with Obama, heck he did exactly that Haidt said should happen, and he was rendered impotent by it.

  27. Every time I see you I wonder if you can slouch, and curl your girlish shoulders forward any further. It's like you're one big droopy talking bag of shit. With arms and legs.

  28. This guy's point that gov't doesn't have a part to play in climate change is idiotic. If gov't subsidized green energy and more sustainable practices the way it does the dirty industries, we'd be a LONG way ahead of where we are now. What a joke.

  29. One of my favorite interviews of yours thus far. When the Green New Deal came up, Haldt was so close to hitting the nail on the head, but he just fundamentally misunderstands the tenets of the Green New Deal (Evidence: He attributes it to AOC, when AOC’s proposal was only a resolution, not legislation; he should read Bernie’s plan) Bernie’s plan is essentially what he’s arguing for: that we need to utilize markets and force other countries into competition when they see how we got off of fossil fuels and it boosted our economy. In his defense, this argument isn’t presented by the progressives but it is the intended result of the policy.

  30. Omg. I am so sick of this argument. “Both sides are to blame for the polarization!” What garbage. One side has been pulling as hard as it can in its direction (the right) and has blatantly said it uses f*^cking WEDGE issues to achieve its ends. After 40+ years of this the left is finally done pretending we’re playing patty cake (it’s biggest mistake) when it’s clear this is a knife fight. This is why npr is utter s&#t now. This country was set up so that one side pulls in its direction, the other pulls in its direction and who pulls hardest, wins, with the courts playing ump.

  31. That was painstaking to listen to. Thoroughly uneducated on the yellow vest issue yet makes such sweeping statements as "the problem was big government solution", revealing just how little he knows about anything outside of US politics. He just wanted a random example of "left is wrong, big government isn't always right" and made one up, just what.

    The science on climate change is settled. There's an overwhelming consensus, far larger than most topics get. Yet there is a number of people on the right that reject its existence and whether it is manmade, which is settled. They are wrong, on a factual level. There's honestly nothing to be gained from participating in the "marketplace of ideas" with people who are factually wrong, that conversation ends there.

    This bothsidesism is honestly toxic to discussion on these topics.

  32. There are people in their own little bubble who believe that the world is flat. These are people in the crazy bubble. There are also people in their own little bubble who will argue that Ronald Reagan wasn't racist, even when we have tapes of Reagan calling black people "monkeys." These people are also in the crazy bubble. Haidt has for years tried to make a false equivalency between the left and the right in the US. He got a great deal of right-wing money from the Templeton Foundation. He has given them their money's worth.

    MFG, what we've seen on the right is first a denial of global warming, by most of the right. Doesn't Haidt remember the right-wing memes about, "they used to think that it was global cooling." When the right could no longer deny that climate change was happening, then they moved to the, it isn't human-caused position. They, the right, are just disingenuous at best and fucking imbeciles at worst. And the same pattern repeats for other issues. I do not think that the right has a legitimately arguable position on any issue. They've been consistently wrong for 40 years. The fact that confirmation bias exists does not necessarily mean that someone is engaging in it.

    I would give no more credence to Jonathan Haidt's ideas on how fix government than I would Trump's. I would no more want one as "king" than the other. (Haidt does a much better job explaining human consciousness, though)

  33. It is difficult to escape from the computer algorithms that offer suggestions which feed you information based on previous views and trapping us in an echo chamber.

  34. The marketplace of ideas is too strong a metaphor.

    To be a successful merchant in a marketplace, the customer is always right.

    That applies to the merchants in the marketplace of ideas too. Merchants of all sorts are competing savagely and optmizing their strategies. For all of living human memory, we have been getting a sales job from merchants telling us we're right all the time. We're culturally adjusted to that, it's what's normal.

    Learning the truth first requires us to entertain the notion that we don't already know it. If we were ever equipped for that at a cultural level, we've lost it now.

  35. The left isn't having the same problem with reality as the right. Who aren't arguing in any kind of faith, let alone good.

  36. They believe in man made global warming but they don't want to make radical change because they feel it's inevitable anyway and they're afraid that regulations and green new deals are the Communists seizing the means of production, and that that would be worse.
    They believe that having a "free market" will help us roll with the punches when global warming is flooding the planet.

  37. Jonathan Haidt- "Polarization and political parties cause us to make bad decisions bc we attack anything that doesn't confirm our biases."

    Comment section- "Jonathan Haidt is a Centrist Tool!"

  38. TL/DW: Jonathan Haidt exposes himself as a dilbert hack throwing shade on AOC and Social sciences while pushing for nuclear energy. Another tell, Haidts constant harping of treating the other side as evil is mantra from shameless center right who dont see the embrace of trumpism as fundamentally immoral (see deportation papers for kids receiving leukemia).

  39. David is a good interviewer, but Jonathan is a hack. From his verifiably false junk science on the Amazon, to his misunderstanding of the nature of integrated proposals like the Green New Deal (and a misunderstanding of climate change's relationship to our economic system), to his vague non-theories of how change happens in society, this whole segment is exactly the problem of "centrism" – it takes what can be important insights, but filters them through some layers of unaware assumptions to reach really unhelpful conclusions.

  40. Centrism itself is a political stance and susceptible to confirmation bias. If Haidt or anyone else were actually "unbiased" then they would really have no stance. Sitting there and stating you are a "centrist" means you are staking claims yourself. The idea of centrism is also idiotic, because sometimes one side is actually correct and the other is wrong. So if one side is right, and one is wrong, are you really doing the correct thing by saying both sides are wrong and should just meet in the middle? That makes no sense.

    For example, on climate change, it is either happening or not. One party accepts it, the other denies it(contrary to Haidt's claim). So should we say both sides are half right, or just say that deniers are incorrect? Centrism is untenable for actually taking the correct actions.

    And the right is correct about how to decarbonize? You mean the people denying and holding up all the decarbonization efforts? Sure.

  41. If you want market solutions to reducing carbon, then yes, you need higher minimum wages and higher worker incomes, otherwise people can't afford to pay to personally decarbonize their lives.

  42. I watch every Pakman video, and enjoy most of the content. This video is not one of them – many easy questions in response to borderline stupid comments on how to fight climate change and bias in universities. Usually you ask difficult, challenging questions even when you agree with your interviewees, but not this time.

  43. China and India actually are fighting pollution, not because of climate change, but because they can't breathe in their cities.

  44. I find Haidt’s case erratic and unconvincing. David puts forward some good critical questions which Haidt does not answer satisfactorily. Haidt says that, while he believes in the existence of truth and facts, he despairs about our ability to find them. He says that, instead of looking at ‘evidence from both sides’, ‘we’ just look at evidence that confirms that ‘we’ are right and the other side is evil.

    Haidt says academics have a left wing bias. He also says that “the direction of history has been more in a progressive direction”. (A minor quibble I have is that he appears to equate ‘left wing’ with ‘progressive’ and ‘right wing’ with ‘conservative’ and it is debatable whether these are indeed the same). Could it be that there is a stronger empirical basis for a left wing/progressive view and that this is the main reason for this bias in academics?

    Haidt says that “if you’re on the left you are told that the Amazon are the lungs of the world”. “But I read from people on the right and in the center that biologists say that that is not true”. What does Haidt mean by this? That we needed a ‘right wing biologist’ to find out that the Amazon forests are not the lungs of the world? That seems nonsense to me. Basic biological knowledge explains why the Amazon forest are not the lungs of the world. No kind of political bias is needed to find these facts.

    Haidt claims he himself is not right or left wing. But on the topic of solving global warming he clearly is. He favors a right wing (libertarian) perspective. However, this perspective is simplistic. In her book The Value of Everything, Mariana Mazzucato provides an evidence based explanation of how governments play an essential role in guiding the market toward solving these types of huge societal problems.

    What does Haidt argue for? Is there a left wing bias in universities which should be neutralized by injecting more right wing bias into universities and research? If not that, what does he argue for?

    I would say that the scientific process needs to be valued by society and that politics should be more informed by science. Currently, right wing politicians on average are much more disconnected from evidence and reality than left wing politicians. Which academic in their right mind would be able to support today’s Republican party, the party who has been fully taken hostage by a science denying, lying authoritarian?

  45. There are major arguments from the right concerning women in the work place and in the millitary, and arguably the far right does say women are too emotional to vote, what the he'll is this guy talking about, just tell it like it is, don't sugar coat it to save people's feelings

  46. This dude is clearly far on the right everything he's saying is ridiculous will not maybe everything but a lot of what he said is ridiculous and has actually been proven false

  47. FINALLY, someone talking some sense about the effen politically idiotic Green New Deal! The left in this country seems to have some sort of death wish.

    OTOH Haidt is totally wrong about nukes. They are not going to be a part of the new energy system, and I can refute that just on libertarian free market principles (even though I'm not of that persuasion), without even invoking any climate crises.

  48. This guy is very typical of the "I don't have an ideology" types; he has an ideology he just lacks self awareness.

    Depressing for someone so well educated.

  49. What a freaking joke. That's what Democrats have been doing since Plantation days. That's how they have run for any government office for decades. What in the hell do you think identity politics are all about? DIVISION! Keeping us fighting amongst ourselves and ignoring what corruption that they are up to. Look at any city or state run by Democrats. All about identity politics. And running the city and/or state into the ground. Turning cities into third world shitholes. Actually, third world countries are angry when compared to Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Far leftists are unashamedly hypocrites. LA has the PLAGUE!!! Are you kidding me? That's middle ages. Leftist leaders in those cities should be charged with malfeasance, crimes against humanity for God sake, not lauded.

  50. Dr Haight, I fear we're being a bit pessimistic. As you probably know the human mind is very malleable and evolution never ceases. It's true that we evolved in tribes of 50 to 150 people. But our capacity for empathy does not stop there. Large civilization is at least 3 or 4 thousand years old by now. Traditionally religion had been the unifying ideal, but nationalism has largely replaced it. And humanism is on the rise.

    We do need conservative caution but in my view that would involve conservative voices championing folks that make their living in the old way and not in denying the science that tells us what we must do to survive. Those conservative voices should be advocating for individuals whose geographical location places them in jeopardy. And finding ways to mitigate their suffering. The capitalist marketplace doesn't care about a coal miner or a guy who makes buggy whips.

    That's why the whole argument seems upside down. Those that fear radical change ought to be the ones willing to use government to subsidize family estates and allow local communities to remain intact despite market forces that threaten to tear them asunder.

    Ironically it's liberals who are proposing the programs that would allow folks to live where they wish and be unburdened of survival stress. While still championing markets to allow people with great ideas to gain wealth by offering products and services that folks want or need.

  51. You cannot get equal opportunity WITHOUT fair representation. One derives from the other. Put it another way: if minority groups and women were fairly represented in the court system, anyone really think it would be so heavily weighted against black people….? There are people who believe in facts, science and logic and then there's the Right wing. eg, it's a fact that Melania has never met Kim Jong Un. And then there are the people who believe she knows him so well she can vouch for him on the world stage; because her husband mentions him quite a lot when they're together. This is one side trying to save the other, not a reasoned 'two sides' debate!

  52. One thing you can count on is that the MAGA hats will not be staying home on election day. They will vote for anyone who is a republican before they vote in a democrat – out of pure spite.

  53. His concerns about the social science falling into orthodoxy is dead on. I am a part of academia and the fear of shame by presenting counter evidence is a real thing. This isn't just anecdotal, it can be seen in the stats on the leanings of these departments and how they have maintained being ideologically homogeneous over time. Additionally it can simply be reasoned by critically looking at the studies put out that do not approach the hypotheses and theories with the intent to try and disprove them, but rather to reinforce them with select data points. This is a reason why it is so easy for "whataboutisms" to persist when debating social topics. The information being presented that people cling to is only half true more often than not and neglects inconvenient data. Activism has no place in science.

  54. I am left of Haidt for sure, and he said some things I don't agree with. However, I find his psychological work to be very good. People in the comments should give him a break on that and maybe read his book The Righteous Mind. Its quite good.

  55. There are stupid and dishonest people on both the Left and the Right. That said, his eagerness to portray both sides as equally mendacious and his characterization of the political center as being where political "truth" lies make him part of the problem. We are in a war over what defines America, whether we like it or not. While the right-wing tightens it's grip on power, centrists like this guy hunt and peck for evidence of equivalency and fail to impress.

  56. As someone who went to university this guy should realize that if you aren't educated on a subject like the rain forest and global warming, then any random ass hat argument from someone else will seem reasonable. You can literally do the same with any topic.
    The only reason we have consensus more or less on certain things is because they have been out there for a long time or the evidence is completely undeniable, and still you will have flat earthers and moon hoaxers.

  57. Jonathan is a fucking marvel. Every time I read him or hear him speak I find something new. I wish I had gone to Stern to get a class with him.

  58. Haidt's whole thesis is just cultural relativism for white people. It is a way to justify the backwards thoughts of the white right-wing. Some christofascist beats up a gay person? "It's just their culture! There's no right or wrong. You can't judge!" Now, make one of those people black or brown and you will see a world of difference in Hate's argument. I like you Pakman but this interview was WAY to softball.

  59. Thank goodness I've got Haidt to listen to on occasion for hearing non-partisan views on issues…refreshing. Critical thinking still exists thankfully.

  60. I want to like Haidt. I enjoyed a couple of his books. But, holy shit, he's such an enlightened centrist it's nauseating.

  61. Ah, mushy, nebulous centrism. I love how they think they're the only ones who can see anything clearly yet don't take a stand on anything and generally seem to find fault with the left and not the right. So fair and balanced and reasonable and rational. 😒

    I'm not a fan of Haight. Too cozy with the IDW for my taste. I do really appreciate you engaging with him, Mr. Pakman. Gives me an opportunity to get a fair hearing of his ideas from someone trustworthy and genuinely fair minded.

  62. Both sides my arse. The reality is that the right wing side of discourse is much less connected to facts and truth and they are much more likely to support someone just for being on their team. They are authoritarian by nature – toeing the party line is to be expected.

    This is the neutrality bias that Cenk and Ana often talk about. Some people just want to look reasonable by decrying both sides, regardless of the merit on either side. The minutiae of what's true can be difficult to work out but there's a lot of information out there that is clear and we all know which side is more likely to deny the existence of that information.

  63. It is not just the left that is told that Amazon is the lungs of the Earth, that it produces 20% of the oxygen. I went to school in a different country, not a socialist one, in late 70's and early 80's and we were told this information in public schools.

    I also disagree that libertarian idea of leaving to climate change fight to the individuals and industry, rather than the government. I believe that people, and especially businesses need to be PUSHED to change their behaviour, that will cause a gradual change of attitudes and eventually (somewhat) voluntary behaviour even by those who are climate sceptics…

    In Europe more and more shops have stopped giving free plastic bags: I don't hear people complaining. The shops sell jute, canvas or stronger, multi-use plastic bags instead. To get to this, shops at first started charging a small fee for single use plastic bags, then they started selling stronger "a bag for life" plastic bags (the shop will exchange it to a new one for free once it is worn out) and now even those are gone and we pay a bit more for even stronger plastic bags, often at the same price as as canvas bags.

    Not sure if some other governments penalised households for not bothering to recycle when it was a new thing. So, even my father's 2 – room apartment, he has a drawer under the sink with 5 buckets to separate his waste. My friend has only one recycle bin with a sticker on what his local government can (will) recycle. Sometimes the recycle bin liners given by the council, transparent and printed text so difficult to abuse, run out early. (pizza boxes take lots of space!) But an extra roll can be picked up from town hall. Recycling is so easy that only the very lazy people with anti-social tendencies do not do it. One thing is sure: I never hear anyone questioning the logic of recycling any more, or complain how difficult it is.

  64. This is one of the things that makes David ten times better than Kyle. Willing to talk to people with different views who aren't low hanging fruit like Candace Owens.

  65. We need carbon taxes. Literally a ton of economists agree with this. If the free market worked as it should then would've found a solution long ago. The truth is that most people are uneducated on the issues and are too shortsighted selfish and impulsive to actually actually give a fuck about the environment. That's why we need big daddy to dominate us sexually and tax our carbon emissions and invest the revenue in nuclear energy

  66. The Amazon fires are a prime example. Other parts of the planet suffer wildfires, too. There's been more than 21,000 square miles of the Siberian Steppes burned up so far this year alone. Goodly chunks of land goes up in flames every year. Wildfires are a part of nature, in fact. Hardly a peep about that.

  67. I like Jonathan, I think he has interesting points, and he is right there is far too much polarization, but the problem is that while there are many criticisms of the left, and in some ways they are becoming more ideologically rigid, the right wing has become a suicide cult of pure insanity. Haidt is a centrist in spite of the facts. The right wing in america is cult of irrationality, violence, stupidity and racism. Of course that will make left a little crazy, we are dealing with people who seek to cause the extinction of the human race through their denial of science and hatred of the libs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *