The Moral Divide in US Politics

August 24, 2012

Perhaps one of the most obvious and important cultural divides in the United States is between the political right and left.

In this UNCUT interview, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks with Steve Paulson about his research into the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republican, and how we might begin to speak across the gap.


I've been saying things like this for years! Especially outside the world of politics I have to be very careful when I ask questions of people on the other side. If I don't consciously try these tactics I usually end up in something the internet likes to call a flame war. It's much easier to learn this way.

I had a tough time listening to this interview all the way through to Haidt’s ultimate “a pox on both their houses” conclusion. What I found most disturbing is a very strong sense that what Haidt’s analysis suggests and even what he endorses is that national politics is and should be is a use of moral posturing as a marketing tool for nuts and bolts policies unrelated, often even antithetical, to that morality. I simply cannot accept that.