Posted: December 19, 2017 Filed under: Education, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Academia, Activism, Anti-American, Crisis, Global Panic, Hysteria, Jonathan Haidt, Manhattan Institute, Marxism, Microaggressions, Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, Trigger Warnings
Jonathan Haidt writes: Here is the fine-tuned liberal democracy hypothesis: as tribal primates, human beings are unsuited for life in large, diverse secular democracies, unless you get certain settings finely adjusted to make possible the development of stable political life. This seems to be what the Founding Fathers believed. Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of those eighteenth-century deists clearly did think that designing a constitution was like designing a giant clock, a clock that might run forever if they chose the right springs and gears.
Thankfully, our Founders were good psychologists. They knew that we are not angels; they knew that we are tribal creatures. As Madison wrote in Federalist 10: “the latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” Our Founders were also good historians; they were well aware of Plato’s belief that democracy is the second worst form of government because it inevitably decays into tyranny. Madison wrote in Federalist 10 about pure or direct democracies, which he said are quickly consumed by the passions of the majority: “such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention . . . and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
So what did the Founders do? They built in safeguards against runaway factionalism, such as the division of powers among the three branches, and an elaborate series of checks and balances. But they also knew that they had to train future generations of clock mechanics. They were creating a new kind of republic, which would demand far more maturity from its citizens than was needed in nations ruled by a king or other Leviathan.
Here is the education expert E.D. Hirsch, on the founding of our nation:
The history of tribal and racial hatred is the history and prehistory of humankind. . . . The American experiment, which now seems so natural to us, is a thoroughly artificial device designed to counterbalance the natural impulses of group suspicions and hatreds. . . . This vast, artificial, trans-tribal construct is what our Founders aimed to achieve. And they understood that it can be achieved effectively only by intelligent schooling. (From The Making of Americans)
Thomas Jefferson wrote, in 1789, that “wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government;” he backed up that claim by founding the University of Virginia, about which he wrote, in 1820: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it.”
[Read the full story here, at City Journal]
So, how are we doing, as the inheritors of the clock? Are we maintaining it well? If Madison visited Washington, D.C. today, he’d find that our government is divided into two all-consuming factions, which cut right down the middle of each of the three branches, uniting the three red half-branches against the three blue half-branches, with no branch serving the original function as he had envisioned.
And how are we doing at training clock mechanics? What would Jefferson say if he were to take a tour of America’s most prestigious universities in 2017? What would he think about safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, bias response teams, and the climate of fearfulness, intimidation, and conflict that is now so prevalent on campus? But first, let’s ask: How did we mess things up so badly? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 16, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, Global, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Heterodox Academy, Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, The Rise of Populism and the Backlash Against the Elites
Jonathan David Haidt (born October 19, 1963) is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Haidt is the author of two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 20, 2015 Filed under: History, Science & Technology | Tags: Ancestry, Cornell University, DNA, Dog, Family Dog, Gray Wolf, Greg Lukianoff, Harvard University, Ig Nobel Prize, Jonathan Haidt, The New York Times, Trauma trigger, United States
Where do dogs come from?
James Gorman writes: Gray wolves are their ancestors. Scientists are pretty consistent about that. And researchers have suggested that dogs’ origins can be traced to Europe, the Near East, Siberia and South China.
“It’s really great to see not just the sheer number of street dogs, but also the geographic breadth and the number of remote locations where the dogs were sampled.”
— Greger Larson of Oxford University, who is leading an international effort to analyze ancient DNA from fossilized bones
Central Asia is the newest and best candidate, according to a large study of dogs from around the world.
Laura M. Shannon and Adam R. Boyko at Cornell University, and an international group of other scientists, studied not only purebred dogs, but also street or village dogs — the free-ranging scavengers that make up about 75 percent of the planet’s one billion dogs.
Dr. Shannon analyzed three different kinds of DNA, Dr. Boyko said, the first time this has been done for such a large and diverse group of dogs, more than 4,500 dogs of 161 breeds and 549 village dogs from 38 countries. That allowed the researchers to determine which geographic groups of modern dogs were closest to ancestral populations genetically. And that led them to Central Asia as the place of origin for dogs in much the same way that genetic studies have located the origin of modern humans in East Africa.
[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]
The analysis, Dr. Boyko said, pointed to Central Asia, including Mongolia and Nepal, as the place where “all the dogs alive today” come from. The data did not allow precise dating of the origin, he said, but showed it occurred at least 15,000 years ago. They reported their findings Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 20, 2014 Filed under: Think Tank | Tags: Acton Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Corner, Dalai Lama, Daniel S. Loeb, Jonathan Haidt, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Tibetan people
Over at NRO‘s The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez writes: There is a tendency in certain parts to eye-roll when the word “dialogue” is raised. And I’ve certainly sat through some dialogues now and again that didn’t seem to get anywhere. But today in Washington, D.C., Arthur Brooks, it seems to me, did a very good thing. The president of the American Enterprise Institute hosted the Dalai Lama for a conversation about morality and economics. During the course of private and public interactions with Brooks and the people he gathered at the American Enterprise Institute, the Dalai Lama announced that he had a new respect for capitalists, who, he had previously assumed took people’s money and exploited them.
Dalai Lama and Aurthur Brooks. Image credit: Patrick G. Ryan
An affirmative answer to the question posed in the title of this post would be a step too far, but at AEI today, the spiritual leader of Tibetans wasn’t playing economist or politician, but reminding people of our common humanity and responsibilities to one another. And it seemed pretty clear to me that the hedge-fund billionaire on the main panel, Daniel Loeb, talking about how contemplation and meditation enhances decision-making and his work with an inner-city Brooklyn charter school, was not at all the caricature of capitalists the Dalai Lama is used to hearing from his admirers on the Left.
Arthur, along with Jennifer Marshall at Heritage and the Poverty Cure project at the Acton Institute are doing excellent work trying to advance ideas that help lift people out of poverty.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 17, 2012 Filed under: Reading Room | Tags: Atlas Shrugged, Gallup, Jonathan Haidt, Libertarianism, Libertarianism in the United States, Paul Ryan, Republicans, Washington Times
Interesting item from Emily Esfahani Smith – Washington Times:
If youve ever observed a group of libertarians at a bar — perhaps discussing objectivism, the Second Amendment, or marijuana, all with reverence — then you know that they are a species of political being unlike the rest of us.
But they are an important group to understand this election cycle, as topics such as the economy, the size of government and entitlements take center stage and “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” opens in movie theaters nationwide. According to Gallup, libertarians make up about 20 percent of the electorate — and they are a vocal and influential minority, as the tea party movement has shown.
The ascent of the “Atlas Shrugged”-loving Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket is another indication that the libertarian movement may be in the midst of its political moment.
But what exactly do libertarians believe?
Psychologists Ravi Iyer, Spassena Koleva, Jesse Graham, Peter Ditto and Jonathan Haidt set out to answer this very question in the largest study of libertarians to date, “Understanding Libertarian Morality,” published recently in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
After surveying nearly 12,000 self-identified libertarians, the researchers determined that libertarians have a set of moral values that are distinct from those held by ordinary conservatives and liberals…