Ninety percent of this sort of thinking..
…is because of this:
“One of the many ironies in this quotation is that it shows the inability of a theater [person] – who skillfully enters fantastical imaginary worlds for a living – to imagine that Republicans act within a moral matrix that differs from his own.” – The Righteous Mind
“If you have a moral matrix built primarily on intuitions about care and fairness (as equality), and you listen to the [conservative] narrative, what else could you think?” – The Righteous Mind
The majority of the partisan rancor that exists today can be traced directly to this single, glaringly obvious, cause:
This is a stunning finding with enormous implications. The first is that conservatives can relate to the moral thinking of liberals, but the converse is not true at all. Haidt, who is liberal himself, elegantly explains how and why conservatives will view liberals as merely misguided while liberals tend to view conservatives as incomprehensible, insane, immoral, etc. – “The Righteous Mind” – Understanding Conservatives and Liberals, by R. B. A. DiMuccio.
The left’s memes about the right – e.g., that the recent Trump and Brexit electoral wins are because of white supremacy or racism or misogyny or bigotry of one type or another – have very little to do with anything the right actually thinks, says, or does, and practically everything to do with the left’s inability to imagine a way of thinking other than its own. The awful image of hatred and bigotry the left projects onto the right is mostly a made up boogey man that exists almost entirely inside the left’s righteous mind and has little relation to the reality outside of it. The anti-Trump, anti-Milo, anti-Ben Shapiro, anti-Laura Ingraham, anti-conservative protesters, rioters, disinviters, safe spacers, trigger warners, and shout downers are raging against a fictional monster under the bed that does not, in fact, exist.
The three principles of moral psychology are insufficient to explain the left’s paranoid style of thought. A fourth is necessary. What’s more, the data behind Moral Foundations Theory demands it. An honest, open minded reading of The Righteous Mind proves it.
The fourth principle, proposed below, lifts the veil from our understanding of morality the same way The Argumentative Theory lifted the veil from our understanding reason.
The Fourth Principle of Moral Psychology is “Moral Foundations Reveal and Enlighten.” Moral foundations are the colors of the moral rainbow, the color receptors of the moral eye, the cognitive processors of the moral mind, and the tools of the moral imagination. The more of them we employ the better able we are to perceive and understand the entire moral rainbow and, importantly, to imagine how and why other people might think and act as they do. Conversely, the fewer of them we employ the less able we are to understand and empathize, and the more prone we are to conclude that people who think differently are “incomprehensible, insane, immoral, etc”
And yet, seemingly due to a sense of decorum or politeness or yes, political correctness, like fish unaware of water, we pretend it doesn’t exist. We think and act as if left and right are equally insightful/blind about themselves, each other, and human nature. We normalize unlike things to make them seem alike.
This dogmatic insistence, this sacred value, this “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxy,” this Procrustean imposition of moral and intellectual symmetry where none exists, underlies much of the social efforts like Heterodox Academy and No Labels.
But it’s a delusion: A belief in something that has no firm basis in fact.
I strongly suspect that not all members of Heterodox Academy believe in the delusion. I’ve read enough of their work to know better. I believe that at least some of them know the truth.
But that’s immaterial.
Insofar as efforts like Heterodox Academy and No Labels, as well intentioned and even productive as they are, allow the myth of symmetry to continue they exacerbate the problems of partisan rancor by sweeping under the rug one of its most significant root causes. This, in turn, allows misinformed, misguided, monster under the bed thinking like that of Jeffry Wright’s to continue.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.