Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Yin and yang: Why we should appreciate moral diversity in politics

April 6, 2011 by Holly Munson


Do Democrats and Republicans complement and depend on each other like yin and yang? In this TED conference video, psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that moral diversity—which is closely connected to political diversity—is essential to create positive change in society. It’s a useful message for a time when politicians and pundits often demonize their opponents.  As humans, when we face a disagreement we tend to think “I’m right, and you’re wrong.” But Haidt advises us to “cultivate moral humility”: recognize that everyone—even those we disagree with—has reasons for believing what they do.

On March 26-27, the National Constitution Center hosted a forum titled “Can We Talk? A Conversation about Civility and Democracy in America,” which examined the issue of civility in current public discourse. What do you think? Can we shift from a mindset of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” to do as Haidt suggests and engage more constructively with people who hold different views?


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