2017 January 26 Thursday
Jonathan Haidt Sees Unstoppable Rising Outrage
Moral psychology researcher Jonathan Haidt appears to be turning pessimistic about the prospects of lowering rising disgust that each major faction in American politics feels for the opposing side.
I've been concerned for years now that migrations are creating physically separated Left and Right in America that deeply distrust and misunderstand each other. The animosity could build and cause a split of America into separate countries. The secession of one faction away from the other might even prove beneficial as each faction could rule only members of its own faction and therefore the two new societies could be higher trust than the single united society we now have.
By Randall Parker at 2017 January 26 09:41 PM
I agree. America should split. Considering the hatreds among Left and Right, believers and nonbelievers, it would probably be the healthiest course for American society.
Let's face it, the Left and the Right have irreconciliable differences and same goes between believers and nonbelievers. Two countries within the U .S. would ease these tensions. The border could be in a north-south fashion with the same land area for both.
Support for the left comes mostly from coastal and border areas of the country. The counties carried by Trump cover a much greater number of square miles although about the same population as went for Clinton. Traditional white Americans in the heartland are pretty conservative.
Maybe the West Coast and the Northeast Coast should be split off with the rest of the country continuing as something like the America of past history.
It's telling that it's overwhelmingly conservatives and old fashioned fuddy duddy liberals who even care about Haidt's project. At least it's the impression I get from the readership at Heterodox Academy. Krugman's partisan POV (he criticized HA as a crypto-conservative site) is infinitely more influential.
The hate isn't bilateral yet; You'll note that, at this point, it's still the case that only the left riots. The right wasn't happy about either of Obama's wins, but they didn't have a hissy fit over them.
Still, unilateral hate may be enough to make the nation ungovernable short of the right agreeing to just forget contesting elections and submit to the left.
Which is an unlikely price for the side of America's divide that has almost all the guns, and the strategic high ground, (How long would the cities last if the countryside didn't feed them? About a week, and that's one of the first things you'd see in an actual civil war.) to be willing to pay.
However, there is one ray of hope, sort of. The left has gotten this violent over the last 8 years in an unnatural environment. The Department of Justice had their back, refused to treat left-wing political violence as a crime, and even leaned on local police departments to do the same. It's a sort of hot-house revolutionary fervor, and the greenhouse doors have just been slammed open to admit a refreshing winter breeze.
How is the left going to change, when their rent a riots are met with the National Guard, and federal investigators curious about who's paying the rent? That's going to have some impact, I would guess. Will it harden them, or cause them to give up the revolutionary play and grow up?
Hard to say, but we're going to find out.