Some studies have shown that people in the United States are possibly more divided, politically, than they have ever been. That may be shocking to some, but one experienced social psychologist actually predicted that as early as 2013.
I’ve already reviewed Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World, as well as Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), so I wanted to stick with the tradition of recommending books that are becoming increasingly relevant in today’s society. All three books also demonstrate predictive qualities, using common sense and the scientific method to draw conclusions about where the world is heading.
In The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided on Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt, who received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, explains where morality comes from and why it creates so much division among almost everyone. If you hate understanding those who disagree with you, this book is not for you.
“Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.” – Jonathan Haidt
Not everyone will agree with everything written in this book (in fact, I found myself disagreeing with some pieces), but it is what we need as a society, nonetheless. It helps readers understand not only why conservatives and liberals are so divided, but how we can fix it and better understand one another.
“Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality —people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.” – Jonathan Haidt
If you see understanding as weakness, and enjoy demonizing the “other” because you view your moral code as objectively superior to those of different cultures, you may want to avoid this book. For everyone else, The Righteous Mind is an incredibly interesting read, especially given the current political climate, so I highly recommend that you check it out.