A social psychologist who doesn't spend his days finding ways to rationalize being progressive? University of Virginia Prof. Jonathan Haidt certainly was a partisan liberal, he says, but researching John Kerry's failure to connect with voters in 2004 made him see things a little different, and now he is a moderate - which is still right wing in the social sciences, so a bold step not without risk.
Haidt works in a field so left-wing that when he once polled roughly 1,000 colleagues at a social-psychology conference, only three people identified as conservative. Which is holocaust levels even in science academia, where there are only 16% Republicans, much less actual conservatives.
He supports President Obama but chides Democrats for a moral vision that alienates many working-class, rural, and religious voters. He's an atheist but lambasts the liberal scientists of New Atheism for focusing on what religious people believe rather than how religion binds them into communities. And he rakes his own social-psychology colleagues over the coals for being "a tribal moral community that actively discourages conservatives from entering" and for making the field's non-liberal members feel like closeted homosexuals.
In other words, he can see flaws on both sides, which is rare enough in science, extremely rare in the social fields and downright nonexistent in science blogging, the 5 non-progressives out there notwithstanding.
Read Marc Parry's fascinating interview at The Chronicle.
H/T Fred Phillips
The Tribal Psychology of Politics
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