Jonathan Haidt in the Tallahassee Democrat: It helps if you can see the other side’s asteroids

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 9.29.35 AMThe asteroids are coming! The asteroids are coming!

OK, I don’t mean literal asteroids made of rock and metal. I mean big problems that polarize us and therefore paralyze us.

If you’re on the left, you probably have extremely acute vision for threats such as global warming and rising inequality. You’ve tried to draw attention to the rising levels of carbon dioxide, the rising average global surface temperature and the rising seas. You’ve also grown increasingly disturbed by the percentage of the national income taken home by the richest 1 percent. In fact, I’ll bet you spotted those two asteroids back in the 1990s, when it would have been so much easier to deflect them, and you’re angry that conservatives are still deep in denial. What’s wrong with those conservatives?

On the other hand, if you’re on the right, you’ve probably been tracking our nation’s entitlement spending and the rise of nonmarital births for a long time now. You’ve been ringing alarms about those two asteroids since the 1970s, but liberals have treated you like Chicken Little, completely unconcerned. Caring is spending, they seem to believe. All forms of family are equally good for kids, they assert in spite of the evidence. What’s wrong with those liberals? Read the whole piece online at

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.)