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The Righteous Road to Ruin -- Chris Hedges

Society & Culture  (tags: americans, children, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, media, philanthropy, politics, religion, rights, society )

- 2182 days ago -
The moral life is achieved only by fostering a radical individualism with altruism. The Christian Gospels call on us to love our neighbor, not our tribe.

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Kit B (276)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 12:40 pm

Jonathan Haidt’s book “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” trumpets yet another grand theory of evolution, this time in the form of evolutionary psychology, which purports to unravel the mystery of moral behavior. Such theories, whether in the form of dialectical materialism, Social Darwinism, biblical inherency or its more bizarre subsets of phrenology or eugenics, never hold up against the vast complexity of history, the inner workings of economic and political systems, and the intricacies of the human psyche. But simplicity has a strong appeal for those who seek order in the chaos of existence.

Haidt, although he has a refreshing disdain for the Enlightenment dream of a rational world, fares no better than other systematizers before him. He too repeatedly departs from legitimate science, including social science, into the simplification and corruption of science and scientific terms to promote a unified theory of human behavior that has no empirical basis. He is stunningly naive about power, especially corporate power, and often exhibits a disturbing indifference to the weak and oppressed. He is, in short, a Social Darwinian in analyst’s clothing. Haidt ignores the wisdom of all the great moral and religious writings on the ethical life, from the biblical prophets to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, to the Sermon on the Mount, to the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita, which understand that moral behavior is determined by our treatment of the weakest and most vulnerable among us. It is easy to be decent to your peers and those within your tribe. It is difficult to be decent to the oppressed and those who are branded as the enemy.

Haidt, who is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, is an heir of Herbert Spencer, who coined the term “survival of the fittest” and who also attempted to use evolution to explain human behavior, sociology, politics and ethics. Haidt, like Spencer, is dismissive of those he refers to as “slackers,” “leeches,” “free riders,” “cheaters” or “anyone else who ‘drinks the water’ rather than carries it for the group.” They are parasites who should be denied social assistance in the name of fair play. The failure of liberals, Haidt writes, to embrace this elemental form of justice, which he says we are hard-wired to adopt, leaves them despised by those who are more advanced as moral human beings. He chastises liberals, whom he sees as morally underdeveloped, for going “beyond the equality of rights to pursue equality of outcomes, which cannot be obtained in a capitalist system.”

“People should reap what they sow,” he writes. “People who work hard should get to keep the fruits of their labor. People who are lazy and irresponsible should suffer the consequences.”

By Chris Hedges| Nation of Change|

Entire article at Visit Site.

Antonia Windham (6)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 12:51 pm
I'm in agreement with Haidt when when, as the writer says, he '..believes that evolution has constructed us to be selfish. We rationalize selfish behavior, he writes, as moral. He asks whether moral reasoning wasn’t “shaped, tuned, and crafted to help us pursue socially strategic goals, such as guarding our reputations and convincing other people to support us, or our team, in disputes?” The moral glue that holds us together..'

Each does what he believes will best serve his own ultimate interests, interests both physical and psychological. Doing good things for others makes most of us believe others'll do good things for us, or at least that if the world's a better place through people doing good things we'll benefit from that personally. We've also a need to see ourselves a certain way and fulfill the need by trying to show the world we're that way. Self-satisfaction's big as a motivator as is fear of public shame.

I've a suspicion that more of the problems we've encountered as humans comes from people who've mistakenly put their short-term interests before their long-term interests. Unless we're in catastrophe and short-term's mattering intensely, usually cooperation's in the long-term best for us personally (if we've thought about it, not that many're of the mind to do much thinking about their motives.)

Vicky P (476)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 1:13 pm
It depends on the person..for some people that I've met, Religion has helped them be better people, just like Atheists, etc; you can't stick all of them into one category.

Michael T (82)
Saturday June 30, 2012, 7:09 pm
This is a ruinous work Haidt has published at a time that it will be taken in by those who ascribe to it completely as a means of continuing the dominance of the status quo. Thanks for alerting us to this Kit.

For any and all interested I recently made several posts in another forum that responds to these wrongful suppositions of Haidt. Here is a link to that other article also submitted by Kit, if you are interested in reading my thoughts about it from a sociological and activist perspective.

The title of the other article is
How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 1, 2012, 5:28 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Calliope Muse (7)
Sunday July 1, 2012, 6:20 pm

JL A (281)
Monday July 2, 2012, 7:22 am
Thanks Kit--Hedges shows good insight into the flaws of the source being analyzed

John B (185)
Monday July 2, 2012, 12:30 pm
Thanks Kit for posting Mr. Hedges' article. His take on Haidt’s book and philosophy are well written and right on target. I would encourage everyone coming here not only to note the story but actually read it. Read and noted.

bob m (32)
Monday July 2, 2012, 1:09 pm

..Haidt.. "musings from the "track"..snuff box commentary... various droppings for the serious afficienado (sp)?.. those serious about a seat on the bus with the most proud one... "arbeit macht frei"... Various delusionary finger foods for the discriminating; at the gathering of the well to do, who await the tidal bore of cupability ..inevitable in the game monopoly which shall Destroy most....but leave a remnant which shall rise out this chaos to carry on in the ways of "insanity" as usual.... flies forth from "tongues" of serpent progeny.......................Who; but He who discerns and binds can prevail?

Michael T (82)
Monday July 2, 2012, 1:26 pm
uh bob m? Are the drugs really that good?

Christopher Fowler (82)
Monday July 2, 2012, 3:55 pm
The last time anyone mixed politics with religion, people were burned at the stake, scientists were put in prison for heresy and religions attacked other religions with massive armies.

Our founders knew that; it's a crime that so many people have forgotten that fact.

Gene J (290)
Monday July 2, 2012, 4:12 pm
' It is easy to be decent to your peers and those within your tribe. It is difficult to be decent to the oppressed and those who are branded as the enemy."

I've written of this here myself, many times, and on my personal site and blog as well. When we stop seeing each other AS others and begin seeing each other as people, that the world is not composed of separate entities, us and them, but only US, one people on one world, all sharing the same hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children and our future, we begin to become a civilization. It is the powerful who have reason to keep us apart, that fuels their power and their wealth. We are one family, when we truly believe that we won't need weapons, just handshakes and hugs.

Michael T (82)
Monday July 2, 2012, 4:14 pm
Wassamatterwittyou Christopher, Didn't you know that America is a Christian Nation?

Michael M (60)
Monday July 2, 2012, 5:47 pm
E O Wilson coined, I believe, the term Biophilia, and contrasted it with the narrower love for one's tribe or species. It would at first seem curious that Hedges implied the Wilson was in error for his understanding of evolutionary process. But then, Hedges often has written reigious rhetoric, and the essence of rhetoric is to convince others of one's views, and not at all truth.

So, the question arises: "Who among you loves his neighbor as much as his tribe?"
Yeshu'a taught that, and more. Yet his most powerful followers do not follow his example nor his teachings, but use him as idol or icon, for their own purposes. I have elsewhere read Hedges transparently do so.

Socrates misliked the rhetoricians and sophists; but then he also knew that literacy would make people forgetful and foolish. Hedges is skilled, but, should you smell hidden or other agenda with which you take issue, it is up to you to unravel the skein of thought, and create a better one yourself.

On the third hand (as Tevye says), Haidt also mixes some insights with a greater confusion of rabble-rousing rhetoric. AH, philosophers! All making unsupported inference to enhance their temporary position!

Maranatha made good peanut butter until I discovered their agenda, and it suddenly soured in taste. Long before, the specious explanations for abuse offered on Sunday mornings made me throw rocks at the sky. Coalitions with those who wish you not well, may well be unwise.

Michael T, Christopher Fowler makes the mistake of believing that last time has ended and mixing is not right here right now, all over.

Kit B (276)
Monday July 2, 2012, 6:09 pm

Wilson was addressing the study of ants, he life's work. Sorry, Michael M. Too many mixed metaphors. Pick one and run with that.

None of us in today's or known past societies loves our neighbor or the "tribe" as we love ourselves.

Coalitions with those whom you wish not well? Give me a break!

The point is to drop the superficial issues, those made for us by others and join together on the mutual issues.

Robert B (60)
Monday July 2, 2012, 9:56 pm
Haidt, like Ian Rand, does not have a grasp on what is real and what is crap.

Peace Monger (185)
Wednesday July 4, 2012, 1:56 am
Egads the spam! Have been away for a bit & coming back the threads are over-flowing with it! /rant

Universes of GREEN STARS, or perhaps Red, White & Blue ones to Kit for her statement "The point is to drop the superficial issues, those made for us by others and join together on the mutual issues. "

This, my fellow Americans is what our nation is all about. It's not the idea of whoever dies with the most toys wins. Remember... 1 nation, under Creation, with liberty & justice for all.

Peace y'all

Kerrie G (116)
Wednesday July 4, 2012, 12:26 pm
Noted, thanks.
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