Larry Arnhart continues his careful reading of Jonathan Haidt’s work, to which Haidt, a psychologist venturing into the realms of politics and political philosophy, responds:
“As always, you have done a very close and fair reading of my work. And as before, you see things in my work that I was not fully aware of, but which I agree with. I think you’re right to call me on some potential contradictions. I am indeed a Darwinian, and I am indeed sympathetic to both classical liberalism and Burkean conservatism — more so than to modern leftism or 1970s liberalism. So I’ll have to think about this, and about the conundrums of tolerance and nested incompatible moral matrices that you raise. Thank you!”
An interesting discussion. Comments are worth a read.
As previously posted:
‘High schools and colleges that lack viewpoint diversity should make it their top priority. Race and gender diversity matter too, but if those goals are pursued in the ways that student activists are currently demanding, then political orthodoxy is likely to intensify.’
Especially in California, in private schools too, I’m guessing you will likely see a lot of what Haidt describes here as the air kids are used to breathing.
Often, should you point out such competing truths, many people appreciate the respectful discussion; a give and take.
But when you’ve upset the true-believers and their followers (people with money, jobs, political power, core-identity on the line), expect to be vilified and attacked.
For the long haul, it’s possible to be quietly ignored as anachronistic, on the ‘wrong side of history’, put in the libertarian/conservative/neo-conservative bin etc.
There, many sit on a dusty shelf in the bin, properly labeled.
Also, as previously posted:
Megan McArdle revisited Jonathan Haidt: ‘Liberals Can’t Admit To Thinking Like Conservatives‘
‘I’m an enormous fan of Jonathan Haidt’s work. Nonetheless, I’ve always had two outstanding questions about it (and would note that these are not exactly questions of which Professor Haidt is unaware).’
Check out Larry Arnhart, at Darwinian Conservatism:
‘The most revealing comment from the Wall Street Journal interview is his praise for Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions, in which Sowell elaborates Friedrich Hayek’s distinction between the “constrained vision” of the British tradition and the “unconstrained vision” of the French tradition. The constrained or realist vision of human nature is the vision of classical liberalism (Adam Smith) or traditionalist conservatism (Edmund Burke). “Again, as a moral psychologist,” Haidt says, “I had to say the constrained vision is correct.” The evolutionary support for the constrained vision is one of the major themes of my Darwinian Conservatism.’
‘The imprecise terminology of liberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism is also confusing. From my reading of Haidt’s book, he is implicitly embracing a liberal conservatism, or what people like Frank Meyer defended as a fusion of classical liberalism and traditionalist conservatism. (Haidt mentions fusionism briefly in his paper on libertarianism.) Crucial for this fusion is the distinction between state and society. The end for a free state is liberty. The end for a free society is virtue. Political liberty provides the conditions for people to pursue virtue in civil society through the natural and voluntary associations of life. Classical liberals or libertarians rightly emphasize political liberty. Traditionalist conservatives rightly emphasize social virtue. Political liberty provides the liberal tolerance by which people are free to pursue their moral visions within whatever moral community they join, as long as they do not violate the equal liberty of all others to live their moral lives as they choose.‘
‘This is, I think, implicit in Haidt’s book, but he never makes it explicit, because he never clearly makes the crucial distinction between state and society, political liberty and social virtue.’
From a reader: ‘The Rationalist Delusion In Moral Psychology:’
Related On This Site: From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’…Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’…
From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”
Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department
Morality in the emotions? Jesse Prinz argues that neuroscience and the cognitive sciences should move back toward British empiricism and David Hume…yet…with a defense of multiculturalism and Nietzsche thrown in: Another Note On Jesse Prinz’s “Constructive Sentimentalism”…From Bloggingheads: Tamar Szabo Gendler On Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Timothy Snyder Responds To Steven Pinker’s New Book At Foreign Policy: ‘War No More: Why The World Has Become More Peaceful’