Hey Americans, I’m not going to stop posting Steve Paikin interviews until you stop heading towards civil war!
In the second half they talk about this article:
“A funny thing happens,” Haidt said, “when you take young human beings, whose minds evolved for tribal warfare and us/them thinking, and you fill those minds full of binary dimensions. You tell them that one side in each binary is good and the other is bad. You turn on their ancient tribal circuits, preparing them for battle. Many students find it thrilling; it floods them with a sense of meaning and purpose.”
The problem is that tribal common-enemy thinking tears a diverse nation apart.
This pattern is not just on campus. Look at the negative polarization that marks our politics. Parties, too, are no longer bound together by creeds but by enemies.
Once you’ve identified your herd’s oppressor — the neoliberal order, the media elite, white males, whatever — your goodness is secure. You have virtue without obligation. Nothing is your fault.
Haidt and Bruckner are very different writers, with different philosophies. But they both point to the fact that we’ve regressed from a sophisticated moral ethos to a primitive one. The crooked timber school of humanity says the line between good and evil runs through each person and we fight injustice on the basis of our common humanity. The oppressor/oppressed morality says the line runs between tribes. That makes it easy to feel good about yourself. But it makes you very hard to live with.
They also mention a study showing that each side in the current American left-right conflict overestimates the prevalence of extremist views on the other side. (I’m shocked I tell you, shocked.)