“One of the most robust findings in social psychology is that people find ways to believe whatever they want to believe.”
This comes from a Jonathan Haidt column in The Guardian, which investigates why blue-collar voters, around the world, ally themselves with the political right. It was quoted in the October 1 discussion, in the monthly series of Continuing Conversations on Race at the Princeton Public Library on “Race and the Elections.”
From the article:
From the point of view of moral psychology: politics at the national level is more like religion than it is like shopping. It’s more about a moral vision that unifies a nation and calls it to greatness than it is about self-interest or specific policies. In most countries, the right tends to see that more clearly than the left. In America the Republicans did the hard work of drafting their moral vision in the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan was their eloquent spokesman. Patriotism, social order, strong families, personal responsibility (not government safety nets) and free enterprise. Those are values, not government programmes.
The Democrats, in contrast, have tried to win voters’ hearts by promising to protect or expand programmes for elderly people, young people, students, poor people and the middle class. Vote for us and we’ll use government to take care of everyone! But most Americans don’t want to live in a nation based primarily on caring. That’s what families are for.
The column provoked 500 comments.
The next Continuing Conversation on Race will be Monday, November 5, the night before the general election. Topic to be announced.