Jonathan Haidt: Elizabethtown College's 2017 Ware Lecturer on Peacemaking
emoment with carl

The Righteous Mind

“Why are those people so wrong-headed?” We all have heard comments like this.  We say them ourselves. People who disagree with us must be blind to the facts, ignorant, or motivated by awful beliefs. Not so, says Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and Elizabethtown College’s 2017 Ware Lecturer on Peacemaking.  All of us possess fundamental values that shape how we live. These values are rarely questioned. Loyalty, fairness, authority, equality, community—how we feel about these determines much of what we do. Our position on an issue or a candidate is not about the facts. It is about the values that we, often unconsciously, feel are at stake. Having done research in both India and the United States, Haidt demonstrates how profoundly these values can vary between cultures.  Increasingly, the differences between liberals and conservatives in our country have become nearly as profound. Haidt argues that we can only reach across boundaries by addressing—with respect, patience, and empathy—the values held by those with whom we disagree. All of us who are connected with E-town can be proud that Haidt found an example of his message in the way our College Democrats, College Republicans, and Young Americans for Liberty, despite their disagreements, worked together to register voters, bring them to the polls, and organize a conference on political intolerance on campus. Our young people may have much to teach the rest of us.


Enjoy the Moment

Carl J. Strikwerda,


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