Review: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this. Though it gets a little technical in places, and a quick skim of the notes reveals contention within the field that is somewhat breezed over for the sake of a more coherent reading experience, it appealed to me as it matched a view that I had come to over the years. That is — people who do not share my moral and political beliefs are not necessarily bad people; and politicians who represent views other than mine are also not evil people. They simply have a different morality and politics. I choose my morals and politics because they are congruent with who I am as a person. I might try convince others of the rightness of my “beliefs”; but the inability of others to understand or groove with my beliefs does not make them dumb, cruel or selfish.

Despite the technical nature of the book, it is an easy enough read; although it is the kind of book that probably deserves a re-reading at some point in the future. At the same time, it would be good to follow up at least some of  the sources and references in the notes and bibliography (although I was pleased to see I had read at least a couple of the hundreds!). Ah, were there world enough and time for such entertaining diversions.

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