Righteous Mind Jonathan Haidt Wins Zócalo Book Prize

01f11331865778350871 lg Righteous Mind Jonathan Haidt Wins Zócalo Book Prize

The
social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has
just won the third annual $5,000 book prize from the Los
Angeles-based public affairs group Zócalo Public Square, for his
great work
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and
Religion. Reason was proud to run a cover excerpt
from the book, which we headlined “Born This
Way? Nature, nurture, narratives, and the making of our
political personalities.”
Zócalo, which I’ve
written for and spoken
at in the past, has an interesting little
Q&A with Haidt up at its site. Excerpt:

Q. There are joiners like the 1930s fascists or
communists who remained blind to all faults on their own side, and
then there are loners like George Orwell, who seemed
extraordinarily immune to some of the moral and logical blindness
common to human beings. What characterizes the clear-eyed person
who can see the truth in front of his nose from the person who
can’t?
A. ;One of the three principles of moral psychology that I
present in the book is “morality binds and blinds.” Some people do
this with more gusto than others. Some people crave the security
and moral certainty that comes with joining a group that is engaged
in ideological battles. Orwell, somehow, didn’t just join the left
and go blind. I don’t know if the reason is to be found in his
personality—perhaps he was more secure or more of a loner—or
whether it is to be found in some of his idiosyncratic profile of
experiences. A deeply disillusioning experience can snap one out of
a dream, as happened with Orwell during the Spanish Civil War. Then
again, Robert Frost defined a liberal as a man too broadminded to
take his own side in a quarrel. So Orwell might be an example of
the true liberal—not just a partisan, but a true descendent of the
Enlightenment, which many leftists are not.

Haidt recently
gave a great talk at a Reason-sponsored event at the Museum of
Sex in New York, which you can watch below:

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Righteous Mind Jonathan Haidt Wins Zócalo Book Prize

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