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Jonathan Haidt

A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt

By editor (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/author/editor/)
 February 3, 2016 (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/)
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On January 11, John Leo, editor of “Minding the Campus,” interviewed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, one
of the editors of the five­month­old site, “Heterodox Academy,” and perhaps the most prominent academic
pushing hard for more intellectual diversity on our campuses. Haidt, 52, who specializes in the psychology of
morality and the moral emotions, is Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business and
author, most recently, of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
(http://www.amazon.com/The­Righteous­Mind­Politics­Religion/dp/0307455777) (2012).  

JOHN LEO: You set off a national conversation in San Antonio five years ago by asking psychologists at an
academic convention to raise their hands to show whether they self-identified as conservatives or liberals.

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JONATHAN HAIDT: I was invited by the president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology to give a
talk on the future of Social Psychology. As I was finishing writing The Righteous Mind
(http://www.amazon.com/The­Righteous­Mind­Politics­Religion/dp/0307455777), I was getting more and
more concerned about how moral communities bind themselves together in ways that block open-minded
thinking. I began to see the social sciences as tribal moral communities, becoming ever more committed to social
justice, and ever less hospitable to dissenting views. I wanted to know if there was any political diversity in social
psychology. So I asked for a show of hands. I knew it would be very lopsided. But I had no idea how much so.
Roughly 80% of the thousand or so in the room self-identified as “liberal or left of center,” 2% (I counted exactly
20 hands) identified as “centrist or moderate,” 1% (12 hands) identified as libertarian, and, rounding to the
nearest integer, zero percent (3 hands) identified as “conservative.”

JOHN LEO: You and your colleagues at your new site, Heterodox Academy (http://heterodoxacademy.org/),
have made a lot of progress in alerting people to the problem that the campuses are pretty much bastions of the
left. What kind of research did that prompt?

JONATHAN HAIDT: There have been a few studies since my talk to measure the degree of ideological diversity.
My request for a show of hands was partly a rhetorical trick. We know that there were people in the audience
who didn’t dare or didn’t want to raise their hands. Two social psychologists – Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers
(http://pps.sagepub.com/content/7/5/496) short did a more formal survey. And they found that while there is
some diversity if you look at economic conservatism, there’s none if you look at views on social issues. But all
that matters is the social. That’s where all the persecution happens. They found just 3-5 percent said they were
right of center on social issues. .

JOHN LEO: Have you gone into the reasons why?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Oh, yes. After the talk, I was contacted by a few social psychologists who were interested in
the topic. None of them is actually conservative.  We looked into a bunch of the reasons. And the biggest single
reason is probably self-selection. We know that liberals and conservatives have slightly different personalities on
average. We know that people with a left-leaning brain are attracted to the arts, to foreign travel, to variety and
diversity. So we acknowledge that if there was no discrimination at all, the field would still lean left. And that’s
perfectly fine with us.  We don’t give a damn about exact proportional representation. What we care about is
institutionalized disconfirmation – that is, when someone says something, other people should be out there
saying, “Is that really true? Let me try to disprove it.” That is now much less likely to happen if the thing said is
politically pleasing to the left.

JOHN LEO: But what about the argument that things are really tough for conservatives in academe now? After
they get through college, they have to find a mentor in graduate school, keep swimming upstream and try to get
hired somewhere by a department head who’s looking for another leftist. And conservatives can run into cruel
and aggressive people in academe.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes. That’s correct.

JOHN LEO: To many of us, it looks like a monoculture.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes. It is certainly a monoculture. The academic world in the humanities is a monoculture.
The academic world in the social sciences is a monoculture – except in economics, which is the only social
science that has some real diversity. Anthropology and sociology are the worst — those fields seem to be really
hostile and rejecting toward people who aren’t devoted to social justice.

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JOHN LEO: And why would they be hostile?

JONATHAN HAIDT: You have to look at the degree to which a field has a culture of activism.  Anthropology is a
very activist field. They fight for the rights of oppressed people, as they see it. My field, social psychology, has
some activism in it, but it’s not the dominant strain. Most of us, we really are thinking all day long about what
control condition wasn’t run. My field really is oriented towards research. Now a lot of us are doing research on
racism and prejudice. It’s the biggest single area of the field. But I’ve never felt that social psychology is first and
foremost about changing the world, rather than understanding it. So my field is certainly still fixable. I think that
if we can just get some more viewpoint diversity in it, it will solve the bias problem.

JOHN LEO: Oh, that shows up on your site, “Heterodox Academy.” It’s had a big impact in the small time you’ve
been open. Why is that, and how did you do it?

JONATHAN HAIDT: We started the site back when we knew that our big review paper
(http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/09/14/bbs-paper-on-lack-of-political-diversity/) would be coming out.
Five of my colleagues and I worked to write this review paper, beginning after my talk in 2011. It took us a while
to get it published. Paul Bloom at Yale was the editor at Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He thought that it was an
important paper. So we knew that it was coming out in September. And we thought, we don’t just want a little bit
of attention and then it’ll go away. We want to keep up the pressure.  And, along the way, we were contacted by
people in other fields — a grad student in Sociology, Chris Martin, who now runs the blog, a professor of law at
Georgetown, Nick Rosenkranz – both these guys had written about the absence of diversity in their own fields.
And one day last summer, I was having lunch with Nick here in New York. And we thought why don’t we get
people together who are concerned about this and make a site? And Nick thought of the name, “Heterodox
Academy.”  I loved it. I thought it was just perfect

JOHN LEO:  It says what it stands for.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes. We had no idea that the universities were about to commit suicide. We had no idea
that they were going to blow up just a few weeks after we launched the site. So we launched in September. I
wrote a post about our big review paper in social psychology. And we got a lot of attention the first week or two.
Then it died down. And then we get the Missouri fiasco, the Yale fiasco, the Amherst fiasco, the Brown fiasco.
You get place after place where protesters are making demands of college presidents, and college presidents roll
over and give in.

JOHN LEO: So you got a lot of attention.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Since Halloween, especially. Look, I graduated from Yale in ’85.  Yale is very devoted to
social justice. It’s very devoted to affirmative action.  Now no place is perfect. But it’s probably among the best
places in the country. And to have protesters saying it’s such a thoroughly racist place that it needs a total
reformation – they call the protest group ”Next Yale”– they demand “Next Yale”!

JOHN LEO:  Everybody saw that.

JONATHAN HAIDT: And these were not requests. This was not a discussion. This was framed as an ultimatum
given to the president – and they gave him I think six days to respond, or else. And I am just so horrified that the
president of Yale, Peter Salovey, responded by the deadline.  And when he responded, he did not say, on the one
hand, the protesters have good points; on the other hand, we also need to guarantee free speech; and, by the way,
it’s not appropriate to scream obscenities at professors.

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JOHN LEO: Or the threat to one professor: “We know where you live”?

JONATHAN HAIDT: I didn’t even know about that. The president was supposed to be the grown-up in the room.
He was supposed to show some wisdom, some balance, and some strength. And so we’ve seen, basically what can
really only be called Maoist moral bullying – am we saw it very clearly at Claremont McKenna. The video is really
chilling–the students surrounding this nice woman who was trying to help them, and reducing her to tears.  As
we’ve seen more and more of this, I’ve begun calling it, “the Yale problem,” referring to the way that left-leaning
institutions are now cut off from any moral vocabulary that they could use to resist the forces of illiberalism. As
far as I’m concerned, “Next Yale” can go find its own “Next Alumni.” I don’t plan to give to Yale ever again,
unless it reverses course.

JOHN LEO; How did they cut themselves off?

JONATHAN HAIDT: They’re so devoted to social justice, and they have accepted the rule that you can never,
ever blame victims, so if a group of victims makes demands, you cannot argue back. You must accept the
demands.

JOHN LEO: Michael Kinsley once referred sardonically to one unhappy student as “another oppressed black
from Harvard.”

JONATHAN HAIDT: Did you see that website, The Demands.org? Lots of people know how ill-conceived the
demands are and what would happen if our universities all set out at the same time to reach 10 or 15 percent
black faculty.

JOHN LEO: Are you a Democrat?

JONATHAN HAIDT: No, not anymore. Now I’m non-partisan. I was a Democrat my whole life, and I got into
political psychology because I really disliked George W. Bush.  And I thought the Democrats kept blowing it. I
mean, in 2000, 2004, they blew it. And I really wanted to help the Democrats.

JOHN LEO: So you voted for Obama.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Twice. I no longer consider myself a Democrat today. But let me be clear that I am
absolutely horrified by today’s Republican Party – both in the presidential primaries and in Congress. If they
nominate Trump or Cruz, I’ll vote for the Democrat, whoever it is.

JOHN LEO: To get back to the lopsided faculties – -what are the chances of cracking anthropology or sociology?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Anthro is completely lost. I mean, it’s really militant activists. They’ve taken the first step
towards censoring Israel. They’re not going to have anything to do with Israeli scholars any more. So it’s now –
it’s the seventh victim group. For many years now, there have been six sacred groups. You know, the big three are
African-Americans, women and LGBT. That’s where most of the action is. Then there are three other groups:
Latinos, Native Americans….

JOHN LEO: You have to say Latinx now.

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JONATHAN HAIDT: I do not intend to say that. Latinos, Native Americans, and people with disabilities. So
those are the six that have been there for a while. But now we have a seventh–Muslims. Something like 70 or 75
percent of America is now in a protected group. This is a disaster for social science because social science is really
hard to begin with. And now you have to try to explain social problems without saying anything that casts any
blame on any member of a protected group. And not just moral blame, but causal blame. None of these groups
can have done anything that led to their victimization or marginalization.

JOHN LEO: No. Never.

JONATHAN HAIDT: There used to be this old game show when I was a kid, called “Beat the Clock.”  And you
had to throw three oranges through a basketball hoop.  Okay, that doesn’t look so hard. But now you have to do it
blindfolded. Oh, now you have to do it on a skateboard.  And with your right hand behind your back. Okay. Now
go ahead and do it. And that’s what social science is becoming.

JOHN LEO: Well, but there’s always a possibility of truth and accuracy. I mean, why is the professoriate so…

JONATHAN HAIDT: Spineless? Nowadays, a mob can coalesce out of nowhere. And so we’re more afraid of our
students than we are of our peers. It is still possible for professors to say what they think over lunch; in private
conversations they can talk. But the list of things we can say in the classroom is growing shorter and shorter.

JOHN LEO: This sounds like the Good Germans.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes. Exactly. It is. It’s really scary that values other than truth have become sacred.  And
what I keep trying to say – this comes right out of my book The Righteous Mind – is that you can’t have two
sacred values.  Because what do you do when they conflict?  And in the academy now, if truth conflicts with
social justice, truth gets thrown under the bus.

JOHN LEO: Talk about The Righteous Mind a bit.  How did you develop this system of three moral foundations
among liberals, versus six or eight for conservatives (http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/01/07/new-study-
finds-conservative-social-psychologists/)?

JONATHAN HAIDT In graduate school, I was very interested both in evolutionary psychology, which seemed
obviously true, that we evolved and our brains evolved; and in cultural psychology, which seemed obviously true
– that morality varies across cultures. One of my advisors was Alan Fiske, an anthropologist. And my post-doc
advisor was Richard Shweder, another anthropologist. And they both had developed accounts of exactly how
morality varies. And they were both brilliant accounts, but they didn’t quite square with each other. And so I, I
tried to step back and build up a case from evolutionary thinking – what are likely to be the taste buds of the
moral sense?  Things like reciprocity, hierarchy, group loyalty. So the theory grew out of ideas from Richard
Shweder, in particular, and then it’s been developed with my colleagues at YourMorals.org.

JOHN LEO: When conservatives read this, they’re going to say, gee, we have more moral foundations than they
do. Is there an advantage in having more?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Well, it certainly isn’t a game where more is necessarily better.  One of my conservative
friends argues that having one moral foundation is dangerous, because you’re much more likely to develop a kind
of a mania about it. And, since the Halloween eruption at Yale, I now think much more that he’s right. That if you

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make anything sacred and, in this case, if you make care for the vulnerable your sacred value, and that becomes
more important than anything else, you’re liable to trample all the other values.  So I do think there’s a danger to
having a one-foundation morality

JOHN LEO: So how did you assemble the team you have at “Heterodox Academy”?

JONATHAN HAIDT: It started with lunch—myself and Nick Rosenkranz. And then I right away emailed an
introduction of Nick to the various other people I’d come across, especially my five co-authors on the BBS paper.
And that was the core. And then we just talked about, like, okay; who’s in political science? Well, there’s, you
know, some guys who were just writing a book about the experience of conservatives in the academy. Let’s invite
them. So we just used our network of people we know. We’re up to about 25 people now. We don’t actually know
how many conservatives are in the group. We know it’s less than half.

JOHN LEO: What about libertarians?

JONATHAN HAIDT: I think we’ll have more libertarians. When you find diversity in the academy, it tends to be
libertarians. You rarely find social conservatives. And so I’m thinking of doing a survey of our members. Because
I think we ought to know. Paul Krugman recently referred to our site and described us as “outraged
conservatives.” I looked back through all the essays we published and failed to find outrage. Krugman just
assumed outrage because we think there should be more diversity in the academy.

JOHN LEO: What happens to the academy now? You used the word ”die.” Is it dead or dying? Most academics
think it’s just aflutter. They seem to have no idea that something important happened at Yale.

JONATHAN HAIDT: The big thing that really worries me – the reason why I think things are going to get much,
much worse – is that one of the causal factors here is the change in child-rearing that happened in America in
the 1980s. With the rise in crime, amplified by the rise of cable TV, we saw much more protective, fearful
parenting. Children since the 1980s have been raised very differently–protected as fragile. The key psychological
idea, which should be mentioned in everything written about this, is Nassim Taleb’s concept of anti-fragility
(http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incerto/d%20p/0812979680).

JOHN LEO: What’s the theory?

JONATHAN HAIDT: That children are anti-fragile. Bone is anti-fragile. If you treat it gently, it will get brittle
and break. Bone actually needs to get banged around to toughen up. And so do children. I’m not saying they need
to be spanked or beaten, but they need to have a lot of unsupervised time, to get in over their heads and get
themselves out. And that greatly decreased in the 1980s. Anxiety, fragility and psychological weakness have
skyrocketed in the last 15-20 years. So, I think millennials come to college with much thinner skins. And
therefore, until that changes, I think we’re going to keep seeing these demands to never hear anything offensive.

JOHN LEO Like micro-aggression, trigger warnings, safe spaces and different forms of censorship for anything
that bothers them?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes, that’s right. Even much of the gender gap in STEM fields appears to result from
differences of enjoyment-–boys and girls are not very different on ability, but they’re hugely different in what
they enjoy doing. Anyone who has a son and a daughter knows that. But if you even just try to say this, it will be

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regarded as so hurtful, so offensive. You can get in big trouble for it. And that’s what actually showed up in the
article I have online where I gave a talk at a school on the West Coast, and a student was insisting that there’s
such massive institutional sexism, and she pointed to the STEM fields as evidence of sexism….

JOHN LEO:  Is this the talk you gave (http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/11/24/the-yale-problem-begins-in-


high-school/) at a high school you called “Centerville”?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes, “Centerville High.” That’s right. That’s exactly what this was about.

JOHN LEO: Where the girl stood up after your talk and said, “So you think rape is OK?”

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yes, that’s right. It’s this Marcusian rhetorical trick. You don’t engage the person’s
arguments. You say things that discredit them as a racist or a sexist.

JOHN LEO: How do they learn that? The young don’t read Herbert Marcuse.

JONATHAN HAIDT: I don’t know whether they get it from one another in junior high school or whether they’re
learning it in diversity training classes. I don’t know whether they’re modeling it from their professors. I do
believe it’s in place by the time they arrive in college. And colleges are teaching this. Now, some colleges are
much, much worse than others. We know from various things we’ve read and posted on our site, that liberal arts
colleges – especially the women’s schools – are by far the worst.

JOHN LEO: Women’s schools are worse?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Nobody should send their child to a women’s school any more.  And that’s especially true if
you’re progressive. The last thing you want is for your progressive daughter to be raised in this bullying
monoculture, and to become a self-righteous bully herself.

JOHN LEO: Well, that’s one of the things I learned from your site. I kept debating with friends whether the
closed mind, all the PC and the yen for censorship were there before they arrive at freshman orientation. But I
hadn’t see it written about until Heterodox Academy came along.

JONATHAN HAIDT: I wouldn’t say the game is over by the time they reach college.  I would just say, they’re,
they’re already enculturated.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t change.  Kids are very malleable.  Kids are anti-
fragile.  I would say there’s some research suggesting that by the time you’re thirty, your frontal cortex is set.  So
after thirty, I don’t think you can change.  But at eighteen, I think you still can.  So my hope is that universities
will be forced to declare their sacred value. I hope we can split them off into different kinds of institutions–you
know, Brown and Amherst can devote themselves to social justice. Chicago is my main hope. The University of
Chicago might be able to devote itself to truth. They already have this fantastic statement on free speech
(http://freeexpression.uchicago.edu/page/statement-principles-free-expression), making very clear that it is not
the job of the university to take sides in any of these matters. The university simply provides a platform.

JOHN LEO: Yes, that’s just one university though.

JONATHAN HAIDT: But that’s fine. As long as you have an alternate model, then other universities can copy it.
But more importantly is this – here’s the one reason for hope – almost all Americans are disgusted by what’s
happened to the universities.

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JOHN LEO: You mean the micro-aggression, the trigger warnings and the censorship?

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yeah. The craziness on campus. Almost everybody says, you know, shut up, grow up, stop
complaining. And this is even true for people on the left.  And so, there’s a gigantic market of parents who don’t
want to send their kids to Yale and Brown and Amherst, and they want to send them someplace where they won’t
be coddled.  And so my hope is that if there are some prestigious alternatives where their kids actually could
learn how to survive hearing things they don’t like, and that market forces will lead a stampede to less coddling
schools.

JOHN LEO: But what about the craving for elite credentials, no matter how bad the school really is. A lot of
parents will send their kids anywhere, to the mouth of hell, if they can get a Yale degree.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yeah. Well, look, Chicago’s pretty darn good. Chicago’s a very prestigious school. I don’t
know what Ivy could join them. …

JOHN LEO: Well, Columbia still has the Great Books course.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Columbia is very PC. Columbia’s not, going to be it. So, another reason for hope is that
more and more progressive professors and presidents are being attacked. And each time they’re attacked, they
usually feel quite bitter. And at some point we’re going to get a college president who has been attacked in this
way who sticks his or her neck out and says, enough is enough; I’m standing up to this. I also hope and expect
that alumni will begin resisting. That’s something we’re going to do at “Heterodox Academy.” We’re going to try
to organize alumni and trustees.

Because the presidents can’t stand up to the protesters unless there is extraordinary pressure on them from the
other side.

JOHN LEO: After the Duke fiasco, I made a point of looking into the alumni reaction. Resistance at Duke fizzled
out very quickly. Stuart Taylor, Jr., co-author of Until Proven Innocent, the classic study of the Duke disaster,
predicted that Brodhead would never get another term as president of Duke, or any other college. Not so. Despite
the mess he made of things, they gave him a big, new contract. The forces upholding dereliction and folly are
very strong.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Yeah. Duke was one outrageous case. This, “The Yale Problem,” is a much more existential
threat to the whole system. It’s very hard to organize alumni for collective action. But if there’s a widespread
sense of revulsion out there, then I think it might be more possible. You asked, how has “Heterodox Academy”
been able to be so successful so quickly? And the basic answer is, we’re pushing on open doors. Most people are
horrified by what’s going on.  And when we ask people to join or support us, they say, yes. If we can find an easy
way to organize alumni and get them to put their donations in escrow, or otherwise stop giving to schools that
don’t commit to free speech and free inquiry, we may begin to see schools move away from illiberalism and
return to their traditional role as institutions organized to pursue truth.

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editor (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/author/editor/)

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(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/author/editor/)

77 thoughts on “A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt”

Rick Hornung August 25, 2016 at 7:06 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-237584)
says:
Fantastic interview! Dr Haidt is right on about the distaster which is colleges and universities in America
today. And while I can understand his revulsion toward the Republicans and their nominee, after all he’s
said and written about political correctness on college campi, I don’t understand how he then go ahead
and vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. If any political party is leading this illiberal
movement toward PC and the demise of free speech, it’s the Democrats. I fear that Clinton will only
double down on stifling free speech, and even more so use the coercive power of government to stifle
views contrary to the Left and SJW’s. It seems like such a intellectual disconnect coming from a brilliant
and insightful man like Dr Haight.

Reply

trou solutions May 19, 2016 at 2:21 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-225060)
(http://www.trousolutions.com)
says:
Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after browsing
through some of the posts I realized it’s new
to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it
and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back
frequently!

Reply

mark drysdale April 5, 2016 at 8:19 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-211749)
says:
Leonard Peikoff saw a lot of this coming in his 1982 book “The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom
in America” . . . . but because he is aligned with Ayn Rand (anathema to both liberals and conservatives),
he was ignored.

Reply

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Marcus February 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-202654)
says:
This is an interesting article. I wish there was some examples of truth and accuracy as he stated
regarding professors being afraid to express them in the class. Also of the blaming the victim for their
position in life. If there is such a deficit there should be numerous examples.

Something that I did find interesting was the Good Germans comment, because I have seen people
preach in class tolerance then discriminate and hold prejudice in private and I believe this is the state of
the US we live in now where people hide their true feelings due to the backlash they may receive, which
is scary. This revolves around the idea of being PC. You hear this rhetoric from Trump supporters, I love
him because he’s not PC. Is PC something bad, I ask? I wouldn’t want to be in a class where the teacher
calls blacks niggas that are lazy? Or Gays are going to hell and women just can’t do science because they
should be in the home? Is that what we need to diversify? Allow these people to hold courses and guide
research? I think you will return to early sociology that was based on psudo science. I have heard from
students who had teachers who were not PC and they felt attacked for being muslim and that they didn’t
feel like they got a fair chance at an A because of their demographics. I know there are people out there
who are not PC but if you are in a public institution shouldn’t they have to treat all people the same?
For me, being PC comes to having tact when discussing issues. You can talk about blacks being shot by
police as a result of their behavior, in essence, blaming the victim, but talk about it like that and not that
blacks are thugs or genetically predisposed to violence. You can talk about gays being different just don’t
bring in religion into the reason for them being bad, since everyone is not christian.

The comments regarding the marcusian rhetoric is something that both sides, liberal and conservative
use. So I do not think that is a one sided response mechanism, it is something that people use to
maintain their beliefs rather than critically assess their position. I don’t believe the left in climate change
because they are socialist, I don’t believe the right in attacking yemen because they are from the right.
Yes those arguments are weak.

What I do agree with is that Sociology is dominated by social justice and I am wondering why that is a
wrong thing. Should we not strive to treat all people the same? There are 3 factions of sociology – basic,
public and applied. The applied is the social justice aspect, public is the one that tries to influence
political policy making and basic is somewhat philosophical/theoretical. So I think if you think of
sociology as a science you can avoid ideological influence.

Reply

Carl M. February 14, 2016 at 9:53 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-201791)
says:
The only real solution is to replace the federal system with the Hellenic polis system. Let there be a
thousand city-states that have environment and community most attractive to their type of citizen;
socialist to SF, Christian to SCand so forth. Let each state establish their own social, economic and
foreign policies.

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We could always argue about anything but the only way to settle the debate is via competition between
the polises. The best and the strongest system will beat out others. There is no chance in Hel that 300
million will agree on much anything. Smaller communities will be better for both civil peace and search
for truth.

Reply

roman February 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-201751)
says:
I noticed anthropology mentioned as an activist field by Dr. Haidt …. I would suggest that the situation is
worse than this. The dynamic discipline of anthropology had largely been supplanted by faux-activism
and race-class-gender studies. Most of my colleagues know little to nothing of classical anthropological
theory. They have a superficial knowledge of third-rate Left Bank philosophers of 1960s-70s, but they
know little about the dynamics of human culture. Anthropology is inert.

Reply

Chuck K February 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200937)
says:
Mr. Haidt, thank you very, very much for your frank discussion. In the ’50s, when American university
professors were majority right of center, even someone like history professor Eugene Genovese –
publicly declared Marxist at the time – averred that he was treated with utter respect by his colleagues,
and that he could share his theories and thoughts openly, without fear of repercussion. Since then, the
professoriat has leaned much farther left, leading to the “horror” you describe. Pew Research has found
that about 40% of today’s university students do NOT believe in free speech and exchange of ideas, and
many of those favor abolishing the First Amendment.

Yet you also describe being “horrified” by today’s Republican party, who bear no responsibility for the
horrors going on inside universities, and who believe far more strongly than their Democratic opponents
in First Amendment rights, including free speech.

You’re a far smarter man than I, so I have a sincere and open question: do you feel any cognitive
dissonance with those two “horrors”? What am I missing here?

Reply

Augustinian February 8, 2016 at 2:12 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200759)
says:
Yes. On many an American campus, thoughtcrime is punishable.
“Liberals claim to be open and tolerant to all points of view but are shocked and offended when they
discover there ARE other points of view.” — William F. Buckley, Jr.

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Reply

James Brown February 8, 2016 at 1:40 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200754)
says:
The reason the humanities and social sciences attract those with “left leaning brains” is because they’ve
been dumbed down. They are an easy way to assert authority, have a job where nothing needs to be
produced and where they can pronounce their moral authority without fear of competition.
The ‘how’ and ‘why’ all this happened is well chronicled; “The Closing of the American Mind” may have
been the opening salvo in the culture wars but there were rumblings and warning which went unheeded
for quite sometime before than.
I must take issue further with the Haidts idea that those with “left leaning brains are attracted to the
arts, to foreign travel, to variety and diversity”. That’s just an amazing stereotype. Conservative enjoy the
fine arts, literature and music-what they don’t like is the blurred distinctions between what is truth and
beauty and a bunch of post modern whining drivel posing. They are probably more adventurous that
Hiadt seems to want to believe. As to “variety and diversity” what do they mean? Variety might be the
spice of life but its not the end all and be all. Moreover diversity for its own sake is a zero sum game
which, in the final analysis means gerrymandering, ethnic and racial chauvinism and quotas. So for
Haidt to say that he doesn’t give a damn about “exact proportional representation [in the humanities
and social sciences] is kind of a joke. Both are shot and its not the conservatives who did it. Nor for that
matter did they start the culture wars.
Lastly, I find liberals like Haidt to be passive/aggressive and generally ruled by emotions not reason and
certainly not faith. And the reason, which I alluded to, they divided themselves into “tribal moral
communities” is quite simple: they hate competition.

Reply

john February 8, 2016 at 5:07 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200737)
werneken says:
There is no such thing as “social justice”. Such justice as can exist is limited to force-backed methods for
resolving disputes about material things and infringement of personal rights.

Groups have no rights.

There is no such thing as a victim.

No one has any right to even live, only to not be unlawfully put to death, let alone rights to other
goods/services respect or status.

Broad boulevards, cannons, and machine guns were created to deal with those deluded fools who believe
in ‘social justice’.

Reply

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Steve C February 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200722)
says:
Conservatives want it both ways. On one hand, they decry the “unfair” practice of affirmative action,
despite the relatively good arguments that could be made for the role universities could choose to play in
promoting change in class structure (and particularly for African Americans, who spent hundreds of
years in slavery or slave-like conditions and continue to be the number one target of discrimination in
the US). On the other hand, they expect science to bend over backwards to accommodate ideology. For
that is EXACTLY the argument. The argument is obviously that politics has, and should have, some hand
in shaping science. Aside from the fact that science and politics are orthogonal, this idea of marrying the
two is contrary to the whole idea of science. Regardless of the political leanings of the scientist, s/he
cannot do science AS an ideologue. That’s not doing science.

I understand that Haidt’s point goes beyond the social sciences, but of course they are an easy target for
him. Psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists always catch an outsize load of **** talking from
conservatives, but yet, if you actually study or work in social sciences departments, there is a lot of
counterargument to politically correct thinking. You wouldn’t believe, in fact, how counter some
intelligence scholars are. But their theories don’t come from politics… not the good ones’, anyway. They
come from observation, logic and intuition.

But the greater fact is… it’s absurd to choose people on the basis of their political leanings, be they left or
right. To go out searching for righties is a hell of a quest, too. It’s absurd to say that universities
discriminate on the basis of politics. It’s not like there are tons of out of out of work conservative PhDs
who can’t get jobs on college campuses. And you’re right, in all likelihood. Liberals tend to test higher on
“openness to experience” on FFM personality tests and “investigative” and “artistic” on RIASEC. Theyare
probably more likely to pursue “ivory tower” jobs than conservatives, whose interests on RIASEC tend to
be more “enterprising.”

And don’t kid yourself… there are PLENTY of conservative college campuses out there. The thesis of the
Closing of the American Mind is as much bunkum today as it was when Bloom published it in the late
1980s. Conservatives have always hated the freedom of thought inherent in liberal arts education. Unlike
many liberals, however, I don’t believe that the goal of conservatives is mind control. Not exactly. It’s to
mint “practical” types who go out into the world to do important things, like running companies, and not
unimportant things, like making pottery, writing poetry, doing social work or making music… You
know…. things that you *supposedly* don’t need college to do.

Ahem, conservatives… Isn’t it your belief that private institutions should be allowed to do as they please?
That’s a cornerstone of modern conservative doctrine. So, what if they want to promote diversity
through selection? Maybe they can state that as part of policy. Would you then cry “discrimination”?
Also, what if they *DID* want to hire liberals? Who are we to tell them who to hire and not to hire.

You can’t have it both ways.

Reply

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James February 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200757)
Brown says:
I tend to think liberals don’t want competition which is why they ‘run home to mama’ to the only
place their ideas and ideals can take root-the schools. I tend to blame John Dewey for the general
dumbing down of the schools of humanities and social sciences. They are an easy place to hide,
preen the moral superiority and never have to be held accountable. Oh and “The Closing of the
American Mind” was not exactly the opening salvo in the culture war as there were rumblings and
warning for quite sometime before then. They went unheeded which is why the humanities and
social sciences are pretty much shot.

Reply

Al Barrs February 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm


(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-
(http://albarrs.wix.com/usandfamilyhistory)
jonathan-haidt/#comment-200710)
says:
And, we must correct the socialist revision history of our Nation and leaders so we can stop making the
same mistakes of the past, tell and teach our citizens and the world the true history of America. What
you were taught in school and college is not the truth. You must only rely on period documents, which
thank God, are today available for free on the Internet.

Reply

Al Barrs February 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm


(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-
(http://albarrs.wix.com/usandfamilyhistory)
jonathan-haidt/#comment-200709)
says:
I sincerely hope people will become “horrified” by what is happening in our “colleges” and more
importantly what is happening in our K-12 schools! I have been warning and writing about the socialist
revolution for many years that socialists/communists (liberals/progressives) were and have infiltrated
our education systems and were brainwashing successive generations of our children to support
socialism and become good little obiadent communists. All this swung into gear in the very early 1960s
under the camouflage of the “free sex and drug” flower power distraction… American individualism,
independence and freedom are going by the wayside and will continue to deteriorate until our Nation is
a communist country under a one-party totalitarian communist regime. There will come a point – soon
– when we are unable to stop this long running communist revolution and socialization of our beloved
nation. We must unite and fight back, whatever it takes, regardless of political party affiliation, to
confront and defeat the real danger to the People and our Nation… a “new communism”.

Reply

Robert Tormey February 7, 2016 at 3:34 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200708)

(http://www.roberttormey.com)

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says:
Been following Haidt’s work for some time but somewhat disturbed by his statement “. . .But let me be
clear that I am absolutely horrified by today’s Republican Party – both in the presidential primaries and
in Congress. If they nominate Trump or Cruz, I’ll vote for the Democrat, whoever it is.” how can Haidt
hold himself out as being open minded when he is willing to embrace the moral horror that these two
Democrat candidates represent? Put aside the horror that is abortion, put aside the fiscal wreck
Democrat political party machines have imposed on cities and states, but we have two candidates, one
an advocate of redistributive socialism and the other a child of such a perverse ‘crony capitalism’ as to
shock any true ‘Democrat’ (if any exist anymore). Suggest Haidt ought to read his books as if they were
written by someone else and embrace that while he has met the enemy, the enemy (in the words of Pogo)
is himself.

Reply

Dennis February 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200707)
Kelnhofer says:
Mr. Haidt seems to be baffled by where these young people are getting their propensity to cry racism or
sexism. Who teaches and prepares these teachers who are teaching these kids in middle and high
schools? Universities. It’s like a trickle-down victimhood that finds its way to all schools, including
preschools. Another item that hit me like a taser to the face is the lumping together of spanking and
beating. Maybe he wasn’t equating the two, but it sounded like it. I agree that kids are not fragile, but
they are also not innocent, wonderful and virtuous coming out of the womb. When they put adults to the
test, they need to be disiplined to reinforce the idea that there is something greater than themselves.
Nothing accomplishes that like a careful and loving spanking. And last, if you think that Cruz is as
dangerous as Trump, you’re just not paying attention. I love the article though.

Reply

Sean Whalen February 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200705)
says:
Columbia, obviously.

Reply

Sean Whalen February 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200704)
says:
Very thought provoking (am I still allows to say that?)

John Leo – Would like you to expound more about your comment about ‘Cokumbia has the Great Books
program.’

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Thanks gents.

Reply

Bill February 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200701)
says:
Show of hands, how many people think slavery and bigotry are a good idea? Clearly educational
institutions are lacking ideological diversity if almost no one believes this, or maybe these ideas are just
being tossed into the dustbin of history by intelligent and well educated people, just like social
conservatism is.

Reply

bdavi52 February 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200749)
says:
You miss the point entirely….but you illustrate the Marcusian Rhetorical ‘Trick’ quite effectively.

No one thinks slavery and bigotry are good ideas…not even your demonic social conservative
believes slavery and bigotry are good ideas. It is unfortunate, though, that you yourself seem to
think so narrowly, to parse your world so simplistically.

Sadly, for too many on the left, to disagree with any portion of the Social Justice Agenda…to object
to the racism so evident in Affirmative Action….to point out the lies, the massive exaggerations, the
irrationality which characterizes the so-called Rape Epidemic …to simply ask the loudly tantrum’d
protesters What Exactly Is It, that you find so offensive…. to do any of these things is to find one’s
self knee-jerk tarred & feathered by all those True Believers as just another Pro-Slavery, Pro-Rape,
Anti-Woman, Racist, Sexist Bigot.

As Prof. Haidt points out — far better to think, to engage, to actually examine reality and see how it
might challenge and even change one’s programmed preconceptions. I would strongly recommend
it.

But you will find it much harder.

Reply

Proctor S. October 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-241277)
Burress says:
This writer reveals a profound lack of understanding of both goal and the actual method of
Affirmative Action. Of course, bdav152 is not alone. Few to none both within and without
corporate organizations…particularly the HR people responsible…had sound understandings

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of these matters…AAPs for government contractors (companies with contracts paid for by the
American people and their taxes). Clearly, some people should sit down and shut up or
otherwise seek out someone who might educate them as few as that may be.

J. Wright February 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200697)
says:
Absolutely eye opening article. This is a huge problem. College liberals are probably the most bigoted,
hateful, and close minded segment in our country. These ivy schools are disgusting and an
embarrassment. All this on top of the fact that more and more a college education is getting you nothing
but debt.

Reply

Richard Reed February 7, 2016 at 1:36 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-


with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200696)
(http://none) says:
Thank you for this. I was not aware of Heterodox Academy, but it is much needed. I quit donating to my
alma mater (Cornell) and going to their reunions (the last one was a Kerry rally) over 10 years ago, and
just recently unsubscribed from all their email lists.

When I was an undergraduate, conservatives were a small minority, but that was tolerable. Now we are
at best invisible, at worst scorned, and that is not. I sent my youngest daughter to Cornell, and now
regret it. She came back brainwashed, and it nearly destroyed our formerly close relationship, until we
both just avoided politics altogether.

Reply

George February 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200695)
Suchko says:
I enjoyed reading this article and its honesty about the state of academia. I heartily agree that the
millenials are commonly overly coddled and incapable of dealing with setbacks ; constructive criticism is
now viewed as a personal attack. I’m a retired surgical specialist and I had been an attending faculty
member and taught at the predoc and post the socail sciences doc levels. Papers have been published in
many of the specialty journals describing the changes described in your paper in too many of our
surgical residents. Remediation , for a lot of reasons, is now accepted in predoc education versus the fear
of dismissal for failure to comply to established and accepted standards. Suffice to say that the life of the
surgical resident is “softer” than it used to be. If this is happening in our basic science realm of academia
I shudder to think what
is happening in the social sciences.

Reply

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Diane February 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200694)
Scarpelli says:
I am among the horrified. A graduate of the University of Michigan. No longer a donor. My daughter was
indoctrinated at Mizzou – and is still recovering. My sons resisted that process at Albion College and
Hillsdale.
I also live in a state college town in Michigan and have noticed a thread among the university staff I
interact with: they read only affirming headlines and do not question the authenticity or verifiability. I
have been surprised by the simple lack of knowledge on topics despite strong opinions, e.g., in a very
general back and forth on voting in the upcoming elections, a passionately liberal university friend
denied that there are areas of the country wherein voters are not required to present identification to
vote. “That’s not possible” she insisted even tho a couple of us outlined that activity and lawsuits working
their way thru the courts re: voter ID as a discriminatory practice. “That’s just not happening”. From
personal experience, these people seem uninterested in fact or circumstance. They prioritize what they
feel about any given issue and when pushed on this will relate one story they read or heard about for, say
on the ObamaCare issue, how this one person was able to get a life-altering operation they would not
otherwise been able to afford. This in response to complaints about the current rate paid by healthcare
for everyone else standing there. It seems to be an argument that if something works for a few, it should
be accepted by all. No facts or ideas on how it could all work better if…. So what I come away with is the
perspective that liberals are well-intentioned but uninformed and unwilling to accept or acknowledge
blame for the peripheral and unintended effects of their ideas, programs, et al.
My father would have described this as unable to see the forest for the trees.

Reply

Tom T February 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200693)
says:
Bottom line the humanities and social sciences (HSS) are getting squeezed in favor of STEM. To combat
this the HSS have ginned up their students into a frenzy. The demands may be asinine buy they have one
thing in common, they all read like a jobs Bill for HSS professors and administrators. The administrators
who almost all come from HSS quickly agree to the demands in an academic version of sue and settle.
The administrators can then argue to their funders be it the state or alumni that their hands are tied they
agreed to the funding for HSS.

This is all one big scam so HSS professors can keep their jobs.

Reply

Christopher February 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200692)
Collord says:

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When I took my Child Development Psychology course at American River Junior College in 10 years ago,
they had a section on corporal discipline. The author stated corporal punishment is always wrong, except
in black families where it’s an act of love and survival. They claim blacks live in such hostile
environments that their parents need to have to their children respond and obey quickly like soldiers in
order to protect them from emergency circumstances in their neighborhoods. As if other groups don’t
live in such grinding dangerous neighborhoods. PC craziness.

Reply

mary lucks February 7, 2016 at 12:06 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200688)
(http://Minding%20the%20Campus)
says:
This was a true Sunday morning treat (after Mass with no longer a NYT’s subscription). I have been a fan
of Mr. Leo since his U.S. News days and our whole family has read Mr. Haidt’s The Righteous Mind.

Hope is for dopes but I now have some faith in our diminishing culture.
Thanks, again.

Reply

Steve February 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200687)
says:
Great article! Good luck with your Academy. However, the root cause you’ve identified — “coddling” —
was decades in the making, and I fear that it will take generations to reverse.

My 28-year-old son brought up the subject just yesterday. He was questioning how the PC world came
about. Now I have an
article to share.

Thanks

Reply

Dan February 7, 2016 at 10:48 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200681)
says:
Let’s summarize the stand of the contemporary student: “I demand that you remove any statue, name,
honorarium or program that offends me personally. I demand that you insert courses into the
curriculum that reflect my personal race, political leaning du jour, gender, sexual identification or lack
thereof, and general philosophy of life and culture. I demand that you hire faculty and staff in precise
proportion to my specific perception of fairness. In short, I demand that you tailor this institution from
root to fruit to suit ME, ME, ME!

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Reply

Brian Reilly February 7, 2016 at 9:56 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200678)
says:
This was probably one of the most intellectually gratifying interviews that I’ve read on this topic in a long
time. Until now I really hasn’t heard about the Heterodox Academy movement, but I’ll definitely look
into it more now. I find it disgusting how dissenting voices are being trampled on in college to the point
where I’m telling my 6 year old that if anybody ever tries to take away her right to speak her mind to yell
it out even louder regardless of the position of authority that person holds

Reply

Gary Tschosik February 7, 2016 at 9:37 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200676)
says:
So Mr. Haidt keeps voting for the politicians who foster the climate of intolerance when it comes to
opposing points of view, then raises the alarm? Good Lord.

Reply

Beverly Utter February 7, 2016 at 8:07 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200674)
says:
There are very few conservative professors in colleges today. No diversity when it concerns the hiring of
conservative professors. THEY ARE RARE.

Reply

Beverly Utter February 7, 2016 at 8:01 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200673)
says:
This article makes me understand more fully what I have noticed about most elite universities. I believe
the reason there are so many thinking that Socialisn is better than what our founding fathers set up in
our Constitution is mostly taught in colleges. I is so sad. There is nothing easier to do than to influence a
gullible college student and it has been done by liberal professors. Decent morality is gone.

Reply

J. February 7, 2016 at 7:56 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan- 

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says: haidt/#comment-200671)
Lack of competition in the marketplace of ideas at the university level delivers a well trained, hyper-(D)
partisan mind, that’s atrophied for lack of healthy debate.

Someone who’s had to negotiate life without that malarkey will have a less partisan, scrappy(less
trained), mind with less atrophy.

Neither are ideal hires. The ivory towers that are our universities will need a change from the outside if
the US hopes to be competitive. Otherwise, they’re failing our nation and might need a haircut.

Reply

Steven February 7, 2016 at 7:41 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200669)
Hansmann says:
No, people are not appalled, “conservatives” are. This is another kerfluffle entirely orchestrated by the
fascist wing of politics in this country. Why are most professors and instructors liberal? Same reason the
overwhelming majority of scientists are; liberals and the left value education more, and statistically are
better educated than the right. Quit whining, get a graduate degree, or go teach in one of the academic
hell holes like Liberty college that has no liberal, or intellectual or factual, value at all.

Reply

DadofThreeFebruary 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200996)
says:
Ever hear the old adage “Those who can’t do, teach”? The best and the brightest are certainly NOT
those who go on pursue ever higher graduate-level degrees in order to become professors in
anthropology or social studies. Ironically, the article clearly states (based on various studies) the
harder sciences (think medicine, mathematics, biology) are not as lacking in diversity, which
essentially undermines your argument.

The way it worked at the Liberal Arts college that I attended was: If you weren’t smart enough to
cut it in math/astronomy/science or pre-med, you got a biology or economics/finance degree or did
pre-law. If you couldn’t cut it in bio or econ, you tried for communications, philosophy or
journalism. If you still couldn’t cut it, then you went into sociology, teaching, ethnic studies, or one
of the other social science departments.

Reply

mm February 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-201004)
says:
ever looked up from your navel?

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Reply

Roger Miller February 7, 2016 at 7:02 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200664)
says:
Perhaps Heterodox Academy might try to enlist the support of Bloomberg, who might put his
considerable resources behind the effort to reform campuses. He did give a very good commencement
speech at Harvard in 2014 on the subject of the lack of diversity amongst the faculties of our institutions
of higher learning, wherein he noted that the politburo of the old USSR was more diversified.

This was a generally hopeful article or interview, ‘though somewhat disheartening when it came to
current presidential candidates. The abrupt dismissal of Trump or Cruz, wherein the interviewee stated
that he would vote for the democrat if either of them were the republican candidate, contained no
argument and is surely akin to the PC positions on campus that he so rightly condemns. The reductio ad
absurdum of that line of reasoning would countenance a vote for a congenital liar with no moral
compass, or an avowed socialist whose policies would take the country down the path of Venezuela. O
me miserum!

Reply

David February 7, 2016 at 2:22 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200635)
says:
You are so right! We should affirmative action for conservatives to get into academe. Those poor guys
are just not fortunate enough to do it by themselves.

Reply

Jesse ParksFebruary 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-202554)
says:
Of course, sterotyping is always wrong, except when it’s Right.

Reply

Matt J February 6, 2016 at 5:13 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200565)
says:
It is bad in private industry too. There are many HR administrators who are every bit as bad as the Yale
President when it comes too “forces of dereliction and folly”.

They do it out of fear of lawsuits. But this cannot be entirely blamed in the lawyers. The jurors have to be 
complicit, so they too take blame.

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Reply

bdavi52 February 5, 2016 at 5:57 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200386)
says:
Yes….but also no.

Prof. Haidt’s insights into this, the Age of the Campus Tantrum are astute, and his embrace of ‘anti-
fragility’ as a potential ‘cure’ for the madness is exactly on target. But I fear he still steps a bit too
cautiously around some key points.

He tell us, “We know that people with a left-leaning brain are attracted to the arts, to foreign travel, to
variety and diversity. So we acknowledge that if there was no discrimination at all, the field would still
lean left. ” This assertion is tied, of course, to the question explored at some depth at Heterodox
Academy: “Are Conservatives Really Simple Minded?”. The answer, of course, is ‘no’ (underlined by the
finding that Conservatives use Haidt’s 6-8 ‘Moral Foundations’ to Liberal’s supposed 3)… but this
conclusion is also significantly undermined by the mistaken notion that “linguistic complexity” (typically
linked to ‘liberal’ thought) somehow signifies a ‘higher’ level of being. It does not. Or rather our
understanding of what is truly simple or complex, and what that means, is itself significantly flawed…as
is the conclusion that the Academy is and will be naturally left-leaning (because ‘we all know’ liberals
more than conservatives like ‘the arts, foreign travel, variety, and diversity’).

C’mon now.

The Academy pendulums like everything else pendulums, historically weaving in response to (or
reaction against) the same political/cultural/social rhythms we see in the world beyond the campus.
Founded essentially to ‘conserve’ knowledge (our given, direly earned understanding of the World)…
established to preserve it, share it, and build it, block by block, each new insight piled atop another… the
University existed in parallel to the Church (and for quite some time as a direct accessory to the Church)
as the keepers of Truth (with a capital “T”).

Was this Truth a conservative Truth? A liberal Truth? A libertarian, socialist, royalist, whateverist
Truth?? In actuality it was none of those things, it was simply believed to be The Truth – a Truth arrived
at through intense study, exposure to the Arts, Travel, Diversity & Variety. So were these academicians
liberals? Conservatives? Economic Libertarians? Democractic Socialists? What??? The question is
meaningless. Political labels (which we so dearly love and insist upon using despite their hollowness)
have themselves also waxed and waned, evolving as the world evolved.

The Enlightenment, however, pushed the University away from the Church (becoming more…liberal?)
….finding Truth, instead, in Science, transcending old dogma. And, of course, it is from the
Enlightenment that the ideal of a classic, traditional “Liberal Arts Education” developed (though much
of it was, indeed, founded in Ancient Greek/Medieval tradition).

Today, of course, a classical, deeply traditional Greek/Latin/Great Books kind of education, founded
upon universal values & universal truths, would be typically considered to be quite Conservative (at least
by some lights). Naturally, therefore, it is mostly abandoned by the colleges which carry its name. They 

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have adopted, instead, an essentially post-modern kind of cultural Marxism in which Multiculturalism,
Sustainability, Diversity, Identity Politics & Relativism all hold sway.

Why worry about Truth when our priority is Social Justice? As Harvard’s Ms. Korn put it, “No academic
question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and
heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of
“academic freedom”?” That end-justifies-the-means thinking quickly gave birth to the outrageous
demands of the perpetually aggrieved victims (the 70-75% segment Haidt references), captured most
‘eloquently’ in the ransom note from Amherst: “a statement of apology to (all) who have been victims of
… injustices including but not limited to our institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-
black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/ indigenous racism, anti-
Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism,
ableism, mental health stigma, and classism.”

This, of course, is not enlightenment – this is the absolute darkness of unquestioned dogma.

Prof. Haidt also points admiringly to the University of Chicago’s Report from the Committee on Free
Expression and its staunch support of the Right of Free Speech. He suggests that Chicago’s efforts might
very well serve as our first and best Hope to turn away from the Religion of Social Justice preached by
the majority of our elite institutions of Higher Education. But when he rightfully decries the dogmatic
rejection of truth in favor of Social Justice (“if truth conflicts with social justice, truth gets thrown under
the bus”), he fails to recognize that Chicago’s statement is really not all that much better . Peter Wood in
his essay, “The University of Chicago’s Flawed Support for Freedom of Expression” speaks to this point:
“In an era when student activists on many campuses are attempting to silence expression of views they
disagree with, the University of Chicago statement is a welcome counter-measure. It is easy to see why
principled scholars and organizations concerned about the integrity of the university are drawn to it. But
I urge caution. The Chicago statement is, in effect, half a loaf. And sometimes half a loaf can be worse
than none. The basic problem with the statement is that it presents a context-free defense of freedom of
expression. It does not offer any reason why such freedom is important and, in the absence of such a
reason, it amounts to an endorsement of much of what is currently wrong with our colleges and
universities. ” More specifically, as pertains to this discussion, he notes: ” The statement ignores the
need for true speech.”

Academic Freedom / Freedom of Expression is not an end unto itself — it is a means to a higher end.
And if we sacrifice Truth in a misguided effort to protect Expression (the very thing Prof. Haidt rightfully
despises), we have lost the most of ourselves — discarding the Baby while protecting the Bathwater. And
though Chicago’s effort to re-sacralize Free Speech is admirable, especially in light of today’s tantrum’d
intolerance, it does not go far enough…offering as it does, simply the blessing of a common platform to
exchange conflicting views, no matter how false.

The Academy, ideally, should lean neither left nor right but should stand most centrally upon Truth.
Truth, as arrived at through wisdom, accumulated through study & thought. Experience reduces
complexity. Wisdom smooths & untwists what seems unruly and knotted. The best solution is, indeed,
the simplest that solves…the most elegant…the most effective. Goldbergian Mousetrap Thinking can be
entertaining…and demonstrate an amazing command of the non-essential…but it doesn’t produce the
mousetraps we would buy. And Truth, in its most elegant form, becomes simpler and simpler the more
we come to understand it.

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“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius
— and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Ernst Schumacher

Reply

richard40 February 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200383)
says:
Good article, and a good project, by a good man, a former liberal, who still has many liberal sentiments,
but an honest one, who is finally waking up to where the SJW leftists are hijacking his institutions. One
caution, he says he is hoping the alumni will finally put their foot down and end the SJW insanity. But
given enough years of this, most of the alumni will be SJW fanatics as well, then who will stop it?

Reply

The Independent Whig February 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm


(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-
(http://www.theindependentwhig.com)
jonathan-haidt/#comment-200366)
says:
If I’m not mistaken I might be the “conservative friend” Haidt refers to in this interview. I know I’m one
of the three conservatives mentioned in the acknowledgements of “The Righteous Mind.”

I’m not a social scientist. I’m not in academia. I’m just a guy who likes to read and write about this stuff,
and who wants to help, as Haidt says, “build bridges.”

One of, if not the, greatest obstacles to bridge building is, in my opinion, the existence of a small number
of hugely influential assumptions upon which almost all political debate rests that happen to be false.

I’d like to elaborate on some of the things Haidt said by making five points. Of course, this is all just my
opinion – my two cents – that I offer for consideration and possible further inquiry. But I think you’ll see
there’s merit here.

Point 1: The Yale Problem Begins in Kindergarten, not high school.


http://theindependentwhig.com/2015/11/25/the-yale-problem-begins-in-kindergarten/
(http://theindependentwhig.com/2015/11/25/the-yale-problem-begins-in-kindergarten/)

Think about the posters about good citizenship on the walls in elementary and middle schools. Think
about the summer and school year reading lists our kids work through as they ascend through the years.

They are heavily weighted toward, if not exclusively focused on, the one-foundation morality of social
justice.

The seeds of the Yale problem are planted in kindergarten, and are nurtured all the way through primary
education. As Haidt said in the interview, the problem is already “in place by the time they arrive in
college.” 

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Point 2: Brain types and style of thought

Pay close attention to Haidt’s use of the phrase “People with left [or right] – leaning brains.” It’s
tremendously important.

Just as there are different physical body types (e.g., ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph), so too, I
believe, are there different brain types. For better or for worse (I think worse, because it conflates
separate things) the best labels available at this point in time for the different identifiable brain types are
“liberal,” “conservative,” and “libertarian.”

Ideologies are not merely social constructs. They’re different configurations of cognitive wiring; different
ways of logically connecting the dots of the evidence we see in the social world; they’re even different
ways of perceiving.

Moral foundations are “evolved psychological mechanisms” of 1) social perception, 2) cognition of the
intuitive elephant and 3) reasoning of the rational press secretary rider.

Point 3: Balance is good, imbalance is bad.

Moral Foundations Check and Balance Each Other.


http://theindependentwhig.com/2012/02/26/moral-foundations-check-and-balance-each-other/
(http://theindependentwhig.com/2012/02/26/moral-foundations-check-and-balance-each-other/)

Haidt calls the first three foundations – care/harm, fairness/cheating, and liberty/oppression – the
“individualizing” foundations because their primary focus is on the autonomy and well being of each
individual; each bee in the hive of society.

The latter three foundations – loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation – he


calls “binding” because their focus is on facilitating the formation of cohesive groups of individuals; the
hive of society.

Individualizing and Binding, aka Shweder’s ethics of autonomy and community, are opposing forces,
competing concepts. The autonomy of each individual bee is unavoidable somewhat restricted by the
necessary realities of cooperation within the hive.

The great struggle of all societies in the entire history of mankind has been to find the proper balance
between the individualizing and binding; between autonomy and community.

And since social action is almost always a response to a previous action, the target is constantly moving.

I believe history proves beyond reasonable doubt that societies thrive when they find balance, and
flounder and sometimes fail whenever a subset of foundations is allowed to dominate the others and
balance is lost.

THAT is the subject of JUST ONE of the many books that could be written on the basis of MFT: How
Societies Prosper, and Why They Fail.

Point 4: The culture war is not what we think it is

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Haidt’s data shows that the right-leaning brain and personality tends to weight all of the foundations
more or less equally. It holds the opposing ideas of autonomy and community simultaneously. It tends
grasp, both intuitively and rationally, a concept described by Thomas Sowell: “There are seldom true
solutions, mostly there are just tradeoffs.”

The left-leaning brain and personality tends to heavily weight the first three foundations, and of those
three mostly just “care.” It’s not balanced. It’s all bee all the time, and it tends to see the binding
foundations only as sources of oppression that need to be swept away. The left tends to trust that there’s
ALWAYS a solution, and if we apply enough reason we can find it.

I am conservative, and on the surface a strong critic of liberalism.

But the God’s honest truth is that it’s not liberalism, per se, that I rail against; it is ANY and ALL
moralities that lack balance and allow a subset of moral foundations to run roughshod over the others.
Liberalism just happens to be the most prominent of those. If libertarianism dominated our culture the
way liberalism does then I’d be railing against that instead.

All of this is prelude to the real concept of my fourth point.

The war between left and right, rightly understood, is NOT a struggle between individualizing on the left
and binding on the right, nor is it a battle between “change” on the left and “stability” on the right, nor is
it a contest between Yin and Yang.

It is a struggle between a force that tends to disrupt balance and one that tends to seek it;

It’s a war between a lopsided moral system of just a few foundations focused almost entirely on the
individual, and a comprehensive system of all of the moral foundations focused on balancing the desires
of the individual with the necessities of the hive.

The dogmatic, unthinking, intractable, hiding-in-plain-sight, assumption that the culture war is between
individualizing/autonomy/change/progress and binding/community/stability/resistance is a MASSIVE
LOG in our collective eye, in our collective consciousness – a Shakespearian tragedy of mistaken identity
that creates Sorcerers Apprentice grade mischief – that prevents us from seeing what’s really going on,
and thus also prevents advancement of knowledge and the development of effective ameliorative
measures.

Point 5: The Education System is The Cause AND the solution.

There will always be liberalism and conservatism in some form or another. I’m convinced that our innate
groupishness is natures way of ensuring that there’s always somebody out there who can see the speck in
our eye. It’s how knowledge is developed.

But the education system as it currently stands, with it’s near laser like focus on reinforcing ONLY the
individualizing foundations and demonizing the others is preventing that from happening. It is creating
the Yale problem. It is exacerbating the false assumptions we hold about each other.

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And therefore it is within the education system where any hope of amelioration lies.
http://theindependentwhig.com/imagine-update-32815/ (http://theindependentwhig.com/imagine-
update-32815/)

It’s not that hard. By the end of a school year, make sure the posters about good citizenship have
reinforced ALL the foundations. Make sure, but the end of the school year, and by the end of high school,
books assigned to our kids have extolled the virtues and values of ALL the foundations, not just half of
them as is generally the case today.

In later grades, after our kids have matured to the point at which they’re capable of abstract thought,
actually teach the moral foundations in a non-partisan way. Show THAT the foundations exist, show
THAT different positions on political issues are based in different configurations of foundations.

Demonstrate that the different configurations of moral foundations correlate with different conceptions
of words like “liberty,” “equality,” “justice,” and “fairness” and that because of those different
conceptions left and right are often talking past each other; each dumbfounded as to how for example,
“justice” can possibly be achieved through the policies of the other side.

Humans are, and always will be, groupish. We will like to be around people who are similar to ourselves.
We gravitate toward others who share our value systems. And through from that groupishness political
parties naturally form.

And that’s a good thing.

What is NOT good is that neither side truly understands where the other is “coming from,” and that both
sides speak different languages.

There’s no reason that the education system cannot give our kids a common language, and every reason
it should.

Groups, factions, parties, will always exist, but at least they’d be able to communicate, and not talk past
each other.

And with a better grasp of human nature, the leaders who eventually emerge would have more empathy
and understanding of people different from themselves, and would therefore have a much better chance
of developing social policies coincident with human nature, and more successful at doing the most for
the most.

Reply

James Christensen February 8, 2016 at 10:52 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200745)
(http://none) says:
@The Independent Whig:

That you for taking the time make your post. I found it very informative! 

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Reply

Larry February 5, 2016 at 2:47 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200359)
says:
I stopped donating to my crazed liberal arts school some years ago. It has gotten worse since then. I’m
not going back. Raising awareness among alumni is the key.

Reply

Bill Ramey February 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200346)
(http://mrbillwulf.tumblr.com/)
says:
“I don’t know whether they get it from one another in junior high school or whether they’re learning it in
diversity training classes.”

It’s a form of intellectual immaturity wherein anyone who disagrees with them is seen as having bad, if
not outright evil, motives. It’s also an inability to understand other points of view and offer counter-
arguments. What’s sad is that college should mitigate this problem instead of making it worse.

Reply

Doggy O'Dog February 5, 2016 at 5:48 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200274)
says:
He said he’s “horrified” by the front running Republicans and will vote for a socialist or criminal instead
of one of them. He’s exbhit A of everything he’s talking about. He drinks the very Koolaid he condemns.

Reply

Michael K February 5, 2016 at 12:12 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200216)
says:
I have taught medical students for 14 years. They seem to be immune, so far, to this insanity. A few years
ago, two of my female students invited me to attend a performance of “Vagina Monologues” and I
declined. They consider me a harmless old fogey, I suspect, but my evaluations have been good so I
soldier on. The worst of the pathology seems to be isolated to the least useful fields of study. I ask your
pardon for that observation but it seems pretty obvious.

Reply

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Tom L February 4, 2016 at 11:40 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200214)
says:
I don’t get this Haidt guy all slamming Trump and Cruz (although I don’t support either of them–
especially Trump), but then not making the connection to this entire conversation about the war he’s
fighting in academia. Dude, you still have blinders on… Though I really applaud your website and enjoy
reading it, you really have to see that you’re still camping with the enemy.

Reply

EB February 4, 2016 at 9:05 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200195)
says:
These are all good points, with one quibble. There is nothing wrong with being devoted to social justice;
it is only when social justice is the only value in an academic setting, that there is a problem. There are
even plenty of conservatives who are devoted to social justice, but who differ from liberals as to how that
is accomplished and what it looks like.

Reply

bdavi52 February 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200750)
says:
A quibble with your quibble…

What, exactly, is social justice?


We talk a lot about it…lots of seminars…lots of speeches…. lots of “strike a pose” voguing going
on…. and I’m sure people are probably majoring in it somewhere (or will be soon). Almost everyone
I know says they’re all for it (yessirreebob!) But what is it, really?

Economic equality? Social equality? Cultural? Educational? Personal? Genetic? Familial? A


historical/ongoing ‘fairness’ rubric which guides and governs every human transaction? State
mandated, enforced, and defined?

Are we to raise up everyone who is somehow ‘lower’ than us? And diminish everyone who is
somehow ‘higher’? And where exactly is that justice peg point (where I am? where you are? or Sally
down the block?) Who defines it? Who controls it?

If you’re faster than I am…if you win every race… is that socially unjust? Suppose you do so because
you have a better coach? Is that socially unjust? Suppose you get rich because you’re so fast? That
must violate some kind of social justice standard. Suppose you’re faster just because you’re faster…
or because you work a whole lot harder? Suppose I’m slower because I prefer to drink 2-3 beers
every evening and watch a lot of game shows? Is that just?

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Long way of saying, no, there is a lot wrong with being devoted to ‘social justice’. It is an empty,
mythologically fantastic concept which has no real-world correlate — nor should it, nor can it. It
does not exist and in a free society it will never exist. Each of us is born unequal — one to the other
— and each of us steps into this life exactly upon the absolutely unequal
social/economic/political/cultural platforms provided by our parents. This is neither just nor
unjust; it is simply reality.

That we exist in perpetual inequality goes without saying …the question is what do we do with all
these inequalities which both bless us and haunt us. Will we be the heroes of our lives…or will that
role be played by another.

And now, I suppose, we should also ask: or will some Social Justice Maven (some Handicapper
General — Diana Moon Glampers) step into our lives and make everything all better?? As long as
I’m being made ‘better’ at someone else’s expense — sure, what a great idea!

Reply

Smashmaster February 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200192)
says:
When I read The Righteous Mind, I kept telling myself “It’s only a matter of time before he voluntarily
leaves the left, or the left kicks him out. No truth seeker (and I believe Haidt to be one) can stay on the
left, as the modern left is all about supporting various narratives, all other priorities rescinded.

I wonder what he has against Cruz, though. I would be very disappointed in him if he yet again voted for
an corrupt, incompetent whacko just because he has a D next to his name.

It would be further evidence for the Significant Emotional Event theory, that it’s required for serious
values reorientation.

Reply

somercet February 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200191)
(http://somercet.blogspot.com)
says:
“If they nominate Trump or Cruz, I’ll vote for the Democrat, whoever it is.”

Signal harder, Haidt. See, this is why I do not place a lot of trust in you.

Reply

David R. Henderson February 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm


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(http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2016/02/post_12.html)(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-
says: conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200187)
Fantastic interview.

Reply

February 4, 2016 at 6:47 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200184)
TheNextBubble
says:
Wow, with education entrenched doing this at the college and apparently the high school, and probably
earlier, it is hard not to think that America and Western Culture is doomed……

Thank you Jonathan Haidt, and keep up the good fight. I hope you are right there is still time.

Reply

TBlakely February 4, 2016 at 6:10 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200181)
says:
I wonder how many parents are proud of their little Maoists? It’ll be amusing to see how those thugs will
survive after college.

Reply

Tom Perkins February 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200177)
says:
The interviewer writes, towards the end of the but, “The forces upholding dereliction and folly are very
strong.” And what you said that seemed to prompt that in part is, “Because the presidents can’t stand up
to the protesters unless there is extraordinary pressure on them from the other side.”

And yet…
“If they nominate Trump or Cruz, I’ll vote for the Democrat, whoever it is.”

I do not believe Trump will be an effective countervailing force against the results of 8 years of extreme
leftist rule by fiat, a term essentially unopposed by the GOP, or even troubled by so much as being
required to often employ a veto pen.

It seems your dedication to diversity does not extend to so little as moving in any degree back to respect
for the constitution in law.

Reply 

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Willis Cook February 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200176)
says:
I read your book, The Righteous Mind, and enjoyed every word of it. It was one of the most enlightening
books I have read. I am very conservative and a strong supporter of Ted Cruz. However, I am not
horrified to learn that you are horrified of him. I believe you are capable of having a meaningful
conversation with him in the unlikely event the occasion arises. You would listen, perhaps learn
something from him and vice-versa. I doubt that it could lead to a shouting match. Keep up the good
work.

Reply

Basil Duke February 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200171)
says:
After discussing at length and acknowledging the outrageous, freedom-suffocating Maoist realities of
modern progressive politics as inflicted on the masses in academia, this guy is still going to vote for the
progressive presidential candidate, because the current crop of Republicans scare him. Yeah, I’ll bet
matters’ll get a whole lot better if Hilary! ever gets her claws on the Department of Education. Jesus
Christ.

Reply

Ex Liberal February 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200166)
says:
I have no respect for the opinion of a person that voted for Obama in 2012. Morons don’t deserve to have
a valued opinion. No matter their vocabulary.

Reply

John D February 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200133)
says:
My daughter is taking anthro in university right now. She was assigned three articles about
“globalization” and they were all negative… stating how the local culture is changing due to the
introduction of western companies. The assignment is to write an opinion paper on the topic. My
daughter’s opinion is that globalization is worth it since it grows the local economy. I warned her that
she may want to lie and just write about the damage to the local “culture” since her prof is probably
biased. She said “So what…. I’m gonna write what I think!” Good for her… and we will see how the
grading works out… haha.

Reply 

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Scott February 4, 2016 at 8:11 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200097)
McConnell says:
Very lucid. I would only disagree on the Israel-Palestine point. Obviously it is ridiculous to present
“Muslims” as an oppressed people, but Israel does oppress the Palestinians, really. I have no problem
with campus activism devoted to highlighting the miserable situation there, and pressuring Israel to
either permit a two state solution or allow Palestinians full democratic rights. Ought there be a way to
separate that kind of activism (typically carried out by a coalition of liberal Jewish and Arab kids) from
the other nonsense.

Reply

Jay Hobbs February 8, 2016 at 10:27 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200743)
says:
Completely disagree with your point. First, it’s obvious where you stand on this conflict, and that is
way left. Many people in the center, like myself, believe the situation in Israel is caused primarily
by Palestinian leadership over the last 20 years. It is Palestinian leadership that is oppressing their
own people and teaching hate and violence, which has led the Israeli public and govt to build walls
and (rightly) fear Palestinians. And if you look to Canadian Universities (York, Concordia, etc.) you
see that it is the Jewish students on campus that are threatened – not the “Arab kids”.

Reply

Cedric April 25, 2016 at 4:26 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-


with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-217561)
Knight says:
Ironically perhaps, what Jay wrote is a good example of the polarisation that Haidt has spent
much time decrying. Scott suggests a more nuanced view that sounds like it is based on
experience, avoiding conflating justified concern or understandable anger with an over-
protective bubble. Someone then classifies that opinion as ‘way left’, apparently in order to
marginalise and dismiss it and propose a better ‘belief’, without providing evidence for that
belief. Thus an ‘opinion’ is used as a social marker rather than being an informed perspective
on facts. What threats precisely do you refer to, and how representative are they numerically?
Is the ‘fear’ generalised among a group of people actual evidence of where power lies? How do
people react to being feared? Is the phenomenon of informed foreign students of different
backgrounds uniting to promote what they see as justice not real?

RudyM February 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


says:
jonathan-haidt/#comment-200788)

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It should be pointed out also that the academic boycott of Israel, at least as articulated by the main
organizations calling for BDS, does not call for zero contact with Israeli academics or intellectuals
generally: it calls for boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It may be a fine distinction for Haidt,
and no doubt it would make it more difficult for Israeli academics to communicate with colleagues
outside of Israel, but it is different from cutting off all contact with Israeli academics.

When I read Haidt’s Righteous Mind, I noticed that it seemed there were lots of positive mentions
of Jews. It’s been a little while since I read the book, but it seems to me all of them were positive),
but all mentions of Muslims were negative. I was left wondering if he does not have an
ethno/religious bias that would make it difficult for him to grasp what’s wrong with Zionism.

Reply

Gary February 3, 2016 at 11:11 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200034)
says:
My mum was a middle school teacher in the UK (11-15 years old) before she retired a few years ago and
often reported that exact same Marcusian rhetorical trick being used by the kids.
They would apparently torment teachers by just reporting to the school that they’d said something racist
(which of course, teachers almost never actually do).
I don’t think it’s taught. I think it’s learned. I’ve always thought it’s a general rule that any potential holes
in a value system will very quickly be exploited and manipulated. It happens in almost a Darwinian
fashion.
Keep up the good work Mr Haidt. A lot of people agree with you on this.

Reply

David Hall February 3, 2016 at 9:08 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-jonathan-


haidt/#comment-200019)
says:
This is a riot. Let me get this straight. You wonder why less than 1% of professors are conservative at
your meeting. Then you say
“But let me be clear that I am absolutely horrified by today’s Republican Party”

Are you not aware enough to see how your own attitudes toward conservatives is what has led to the bias
in the academy? When you actually think in an biased way and then can say to your lefty friends, “I see
things differently than 60 million of my fellow conservative Americans, but I value their point of view”
we mght get somewhere. You validate and empathize with every oppressed and alienated group in
America, but can’t or won’t empathize or begin to understand conservatives. Ask yourself why? Think
about how outcast, truly outcast you would be…

Re read this article with a genuine inner thought about your hypocrisy. Then call me or write me and
we’ll talk.

Reply 

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Robert Klein February 8, 2016 at 5:59 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-


with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200740)
Engler says:
It’s complicated. Once you are accused you start living a short story by Kafka. In the end, like
Humpty Dumpty, all the lawyers, journalists, and administrators can never put you back together,
again.

The Roosevelt University student newspaper, THE TORCH, seems to have purged its files of this
story. The link to it leads to an error. Thankfully, there are other sources.

“One student that filed a complaint, Cristina Solis, has spoken out…saying that she does not regret
her decision to complain. “If that is what it took to give him a reality check, and to make sure that
no other student has to go through that, maybe it’s for the best,” she said.

Reply

February 19, 2016 at 12:10 am


(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-
WasEyeRolling;NowTeethGnashing;FistClenchingImminent
conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-
says:
202622)
The hyper-racialized bitterness and cultural disdain that is the leading intellectual product of the
social sciences and ‘the humanities’ has taken deep root and is getting very wide notice. With
intense partisan polarization in close parallel, how long before political violence results? Violence,
that is, beyond the epic gun play still endemic in and near black, urban ghettos and the so-far-
anomalous mayhem of Baltimore? Can a national tipping point be distant?

That a degree-less radical black nationalist who spits racial antipathy for whites with every
pronouncement, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a hero of American liberals, in general, but the darling of the
academy, especially, is proof positive the modern scholastic left is, frankly, irredeemable.

This quibbling on the margins about ‘viewpoint-diversity’ among social psychology faculty is–I’m
sorry to say–a trivial farce: too little, too narrow and much, much too late. There is no academic
counterbalance in the offing. Indeed, the contempt of elites for common people of pallor, the
heartland and most of the nation’s traditions is about to be reciprocated outside the academy in
bold strokes. In particular, this horrible racial Balkanization-by-design is backfiring in the worst
ways, and activist educators will be much to blame.

As most any will tell you, fervent mono-cultures do not diversify voluntarily. To think otherwise is
the Haidt of naivete.

PS: Ex post facto trigger warning: this blunt talk is probably too much for readers, even in this
space, to tolerate.

Reply 

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Holly Taringsworth February 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-199993)
(http://hoind.com) says:
I am a professor – fortunately in the physical sciences. Doubly fortunately at a Catholic university that
has a spine.

But the left wing media- politico(Democrat)- education complex is never satisfied and we will be in the
cross hairs soon.

I recommend home schooling for grades K-8.

Reply

James Currin February 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-199983)
says:
Jonathan Haidt is admirable for his courage in confronting his peers about their political mono-culture.
He unfortunately is also astonishingly naive as to his own politics. He notes with apparent pride of
having twice voted for Barack Obama. Is he not aware of the notorious “Dear Colleague” letter addressed
to universities over the country by Obama’s D of E which is fostering a lack of due process in “rape”
accusations, and is contributing to the rape hysteria on our college campuses? He excuses this on the
grounds of how much he disliked George Bush. I understand this since I once harbored a similar animus
against Richard Nixon, and voted against him every time he appeared on my ballot (about six times if I
remember correctly). The only vote I truly regret however, starting with Adlai Stevenson in 1952, is the
one I cast for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, because I didn’t like Barry Goldwater. LBJ proved himself to be
the worst president of my lifetime, and Goldwater turned out to be a rather moderate Senator.
The Liberal project, with all its malodorous offshoots, is a seamless garment, extending from the
executive to the foundations, to the “Captains of Erudition”, all the way down to the lowliest adjunct
professor. In this respect, it resembles the National Socialism of the1930’s. Haidt says that even now he
will not vote for either Trump or Cruz. Well and good in the case of Trump—I won’t vote for him either.
As for Cruz, I would advise him to hold his fire. There are worse candidates than he, including the two
Liberal contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Reply

Eric Raymond February 3, 2016 at 2:40 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-199959)
says:
As a lifelong conservative, I have found how much I don’t know by reading Jonathan Haidt’s books and
writings.

I’ve bought and gifted over a dozen of his Righteous Mind books to family members who are far too
wrapped up in their singular pursuit of social justice…..trying to throw conservative traditionalists like 
me under the bus.

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While I detest evangelism, the fact is that unless you can touch each radical liberal through careful
consideration of their own biases which adjusts their attitude….one never can and never should expect
behavioral changes.

Reply

Robert Klein February 8, 2016 at 5:59 am (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-


with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-200739)
Engler says:
It’s complicated. Once you are accused you start living a short story by Kafka. In the end, like
Humpty Dumpty, all the lawyers, journalists, and administrators can never put you back together,
again.

The Roosevelt University student newspaper, THE TORCH, seems to have purged its files of this
story. The link to it leads to an error. Thankfully, there are other sources.

“One student that filed a complaint, Cristina Solis, has spoken out…saying that she does not regret
her decision to complain. “If that is what it took to give him a reality check, and to make sure that
no other student has to go through that, maybe it’s for the best,” she said.

Reply

Joe February 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-conversation-with-


jonathan-haidt/#comment-200813)
Magarac says:
If you are really a conservative, you would not say that you “gifted” anything to anyone.

Reply

Bryan February 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/02/03/a-


conversation-with-jonathan-haidt/#comment-201393)
McRoberts says:
Joe – you forgot the sarcasm tag. It is interesting that conservatives generally give to charity
far more than liberals. I wonder if that’s because conservatives place a higher emphasis on
what you do with your own resources whereas liberals don’t feel the need to be as generous
because they feel the state should take the place of charities?

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NOTABLE

Erasing White Men from Politics

Believing that courses on American political thought are too xated on white males, Professor Chad Shomura of
the University of Colorado at Denver has solved the problem by banning discussion of white men in his course on
the nation’s political thought. This means nothing from Washington, Jefferson, Tocqueville, Rousseau or any of the
pre-Obama presidents. Discussion of the Hillary Clinton race for the presidency in 2016 is allowed, but how she
managed to lose while apparently “running unopposed” is unclear.

No Free Speech: Heckler Cancels Another Student Meeting

Last week, a group of at least 4 Portland State University police of cers stood by and declined to intervene as a
heckler with a cowbell single-handedly canceled a College Republicans meeting. This is the second time in 2019
that PSU allowed hecklers or would-be hecklers to shut down campus expression — and the second time
(https://www. re-
mail.info/sendy/l/0zLaIIoJbzYXrjfUWe38wQ/Z1d0MEuXuxSFBWHgX4DTGw/TFwARZtEmgj5u64br763rTfQ)
the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has demanded the university adhere to its First
Amendment obligations. FIRE rst wrote (https://www. re-
mail.info/sendy/l/0zLaIIoJbzYXrjfUWe38wQ/763VDeoDvRQvNx763Vm8ghtBqg/TFwARZtEmgj5u64br763rTfQ)
to the university Feb. 18 after PSU’s law enforcement unilaterally canceled a meeting of a socialist student group
after the founder of the group Patriot Prayer said he would show up.

Be Careful What You Wish For on Social Programs

Nathan Glazer, the last of a group of famous neocon social scientists, died at the age of 95 on January 19 at his
home in Cambridge, Mass. (He resisted the label “neocon.”) Glazer consistently warned that vast government plans
to improve the lives of the poor often come to grief or create new problems of their own. “The evaluations  of the
speci cs of the rst ten years after the launching of (the War on Poverty) con rm that nothing worked and in

particular, nothing in education worked.” He concluded that the family was the key institution to positive social

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4/2/2019 A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt - Minding The Campus

change and that rights are inherent in individuals, not groups. The article here by Howard Husock
(https://www.city-journal.org/html/nathan-glazer%E2%80%99s-warning-13398.html) of the Manhattan Institute
ran in 2011 when President Obama planned an extension of the War on Poverty.

You, Too, Can Turn in Your Classmate

The campus police of the University of Illinois have issued calls for students to report “acts of intolerance” to the
schools Bias Assessment and Response Team. It said, “acts of intolerance create an unsafe and unwelcoming
environment for campus community members. Please let us know if you feel unsafe.” According to BART, bias is
de ned as “actions or expressions that are motivated at least in part by prejudice against or hostility toward a
person or group because of that person or group’s perceived age, disability, status, ethnicity, gender, identity-
expression, national origin, race, religion/ spirituality, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, etc.” Those reported
to BART may be required to participate in mediation or other educational conservations.

More Evidence of Professorial Political Bias

University of North Carolina business professor Michael Jacobs polled 40 Republican students at his school and
found that all but two believed they would be penalized for not expressing the professor's politics in a test answer.
The professor claimed that faculty should pledge to respect ideological diversity and that chancellors who are too
afraid to promote tolerance for ideological diversity should be red. “One of my top MBA students, who I would
categorize as moderate, recently told me that she will no longer participate in class discussions that involve social
or political issues for fear of being branded by the ‘progressive police,’” the professor said. Read the story at
Campus Reform (https://mindingthecampus.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?
u=f3a628bee3010f1fae6b473ae&id=67ea9314cc&e=b377d8af71).

More Risible News From Yale

As you recall, the campus exploded in outrage in 2015 when Prof. Erika Christakis challenged a Yale diktat warning
students not to wear offensive costumes for Halloween. (“If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look
away,” she wrote in a campus-wide email. Her husband Prof. Nicholas Christakis, threatened by a group of offended
students, quit as master of Silliman House after getting zero backing from Yale. In a review of The Coddling of the
American Mind in the American Interest, writer Aaron Sibarium says Christakis' successor at Silliman, psychology
professor Laurie Santos, has a program for happiness that includes this advice:

Avoid binding attachments and obligations; these will stress you out and make you sad.

Focus on cultivating your own mind and mental habits so that you can be happy regardless of your external
conditions, a self-reliant ray of sunshine.

Prioritize instrumental knowledge that helps to achieve your goals; in particular, learn how to manipulate others to
your advantage.

READER LETTER OF THE WEEK

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(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/wp-

content/uploads/2018/05/graphicstock-top-view-of-a-concentrated-young-man-working-on-laptop-computer-
while-sitting-on-sofa-at-home_HdRUvnLnl.jpg)

In response to "How Diversity Hijacked History 101 and All the Humanities"
(https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2019/03/05/how-diversity-hijacked-history-101-and-all-the-humanities/)

The humanities have been committing suicide for some time, but in the early 1990s, it was called “multiculturalism,”
not diversity–different name, same game. That’s when our annual faculty reports began to ask for details about our
“contributions to multiculturalism” in the three areas of teaching, research, and service. I was on a faculty senate
committee discussing this change way back then, and many people on it wondered what they were expected to say
to this. One asked: am I supposed to list how many Black students I have in each class? By now, of course, new PhDs
are indeed required to pledge fealty to “diversity” and list their contributions to it in “diversity statements” that
many universities insist on as part of a job application.

So, their diversity statements read, e.g., “As a gay, biracial, child of a single mother…” etc. One student (very
talented, incidentally) with whom I discussed this, responded that there was no choice but to comply, however
demeaning it is to have to stress and itemize personal identities and in effect brag about one’s “intersectionality.”

In English rhetoric programs, there are the (required) writing courses, which place curricular emphasis on social
justice and identity issues, not on intellectual development, and certainly not on independent thinking. As for the
faculty, I could never gure out why professors who have contributed to the decline and numbing repetition of
their new pedagogy thought students would want to study second-hand politics in literature courses instead of
going straight to the source in, say, poli-sci and related programs.

I think my generation is responsible for most this: professors have by and large not defended the integrity of their
own elds, apparently because they do not feel such integrity exists. Identity issues have driven out most
everything else. Course descriptions and job ads provide undisguised portraits of this depressing scene. It’s a
terrible loss of intellectual vitality and in fact shameful — and faculty bear enormous, rarely acknowledged,
responsibility.

Daphne Patai, Amherst MA

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Calling all professors, college newspaper reporters and editors who believe in diversity of thought as well as
culture and ethnicity. Minding the Campus aims to expose today’s single lane thought highway at today’s
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was denied legal representation. If you want to know more, please click here to read more
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IN THE NEWS

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Conservative Students Say Iowa Universities Are Sti ing Free Speech: Des Moines Register, February 7
(https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/07/conservative-university-students-court-
gay-iowa-lawmakers-protect-free-speech-campus-court-ruling/2802130002/)

Regents Oppose Campus 'Intellectual Diversity' Measure: US News, February 6


(https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-dakota/articles/2019-02-06/regents-oppose-campus-
intellectual-diversity-measure)

Massive New Diversity Initiative at San Diego State: The College Fix, February 5
(https://www.thecollege x.com/massive-new-diversity-initiative-at-san-diego-state-combats-faculty-
microaggressions-bias/)

Reeducation Camp Planned for Whites at University in St. Louis, New American, January 29
(https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/education/item/31323-reeducation-camp-planned-for-whites-at-
university-in-st-louis)

Read more "In the News" HERE (https://www.mindingthecampus.org/archive-in-the-news/)

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