Jonathan Haidt wows FSU: Professor Jonathan Haidt speaks about morality to a full house at the Student Life Cinema on Sept. 11

Written by Elena Novak, Contributing Writer

Imagine there’s an asteroid hurtling toward Earth. At its present rate, it will make impact in the year 2022. The human race is doomed; however, there is one controversial solution: raise taxes and cut spending. This would fund a project designed to divert the asteroid’s path.

The harrowing scenario began New York University Stern School of Business professor Jonathan Haidt’s speech addressing FSU students and the Tallahassee public on Sept. 11. His speech, entitled “The Righteous Mind: How morality binds us together and tears us apart,” was delivered to a filled-to-capacity Student Life Cinema on Tuesday evening.

Those who came late to the event were directed to an overflow room, where the lecture could be viewed on a projector screen.

There is no known asteroid bent toward destroying mankind; Haidt made it up as an experiment to gauge the audience’s willingness to implement measures that might go against their political views if it meant saving the world. The majority said they would. (Read the whole article online at FSView.)

Look how far we’ve come…apart

I have an essay in today's NYT on America's growing polarization. Marc Hetherington and I show what's happened over the last 50 years, not just in Congress but among citizens, in 3 simple graphs.The first one is below, from McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal. It shows that things were really polarized in the late 19th century, after the civil war, then they got much less polarized, but it's been a rapid climb upwards since the 1960s. We talk about why.


read more

What drives polarization (by Timothy Ryan)

Guest post by Timothy Ryan, graduate student in political science at U. Michigan

read more

Discovering that the other side is not really so loathesome

Here's a lovely essay

read more