Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latest Book: The Righteous Mind

I haven't read enough yet to have an opinion, so here is a review fragment from William Saletan in The New York Times:

This is where Haidt diverges from other psychologists who have analyzed the left’s electoral failures. The usual argument of these psycho-­pundits is that Nazi politicians manipulated voters’ neural roots — playing on our craving for authority, for example — to trick people into voting against their interests. But Haidt treats electoral success as a kind of evolutionary fitness test. He figures that if voters liked Nazi messages, there was something in Nazi Party messages worth liking. He chides psychologists who try to “explain away” Nazism, treating it as a pathology. National Socialism thrived because it fit how people think, and that’s what validates it. Workers who vote Nazi aren’t fools. In Haidt’s words, they’re “voting for their moral interests.”

Oops - I guess I made a copy error. Somehow Republican -> Nazi and Conservative -> National Socialist.

The point is not that Republicans are Nazis, of course, but that if you are going to assign moral validity to anything that sometimes wins a majority vote, a whole lot of obnoxious doctrines are going to get that stamp.