I am always right. On everything. In fact, I am never wrong. My views are always – always – correct. On politics, religion, social issues, economics, the law, ethnic issues, people, movies and golf courses. If you disagree with me. You are wrong. You are obviously uneducated (some of the most well-schooled people are hopelessly uneducated. Or fools) or just stupid. So if you want to know the right path, the right opinion, the right way to believe — just give me a call or send me an email. Because I have a righteous mind.
The Righteous Mind is a wonderful book by Jonathan Haidt. It is a New York Times bestseller which explores why people are fundamentally intuitive – and irrational. The book suggests that our views (whether political, social, religious or whatever) are hardwired into us. You were never designed to listen to reason — only to respond with your preconceived notions and (often false) beliefs. When you ask people moral questions and time their responses, you see that they reach conclusions quickly. And they produce reasons – later – only to justify what they have already decided. We often acquire morality (theories on right and wrong – and “justice”) the way we acquire food preferences. If it tastes good, we stick with it. Interestingly this bestseller suggests that conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals since they receive a more varied diet of information. And are more receptive to listening.
Haidt’s comments often sound cynical and yet if you follow the narration, you learn (if you don’t have a closed mind) that Haidt is really seeking enlightenment. He wants you to open your minds to the moral intuitions of other people.
If you don’t want to read this book, you are probably a lost soul. But if you do, you may still have hope. And if you want to know what’s right – and what’s wrong – just let me know. I can tell you. And will. I have a righteous mind.