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The Left Wing Bias on Heterodox Academy’s “Problem” Page

The following assertion on Heterodox Academy’s (HxA) Problem page is refuted by the evidence, analyses, and conclusions of the life’s work of its founder, social scientist Jonathan Haidt:

However, if academics were predominantly conservative or libertarian, a very different set of equally unjustified orthodoxies would likely be prevalent.

It’s true that morality blinds, and humans are better at seeing the speck in their opponent’s eye while missing the log in their own, and if we’re unfamiliar with our opponent’s views then we know little of our own.

But that does NOT mean that all moralities or ideologies are equally blind/insightful.

In fact, Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion is a science-based argument for the exact opposite idea;  the all-foundation conservative moral matrix is LESS blind and MORE insightful than is the one-foundation liberal matrix. The sections in the book called The Left’s Blind Spot and The Conservative Advantage specifically, and really the book in its entirety, make that case, as do his Moral Roots and Sacrilege lectures (among others).

If Haidt’s work proves anything, it’s the following:  

However, if academics were predominantly conservative or libertarian, a very different set of more accurate, better justified, orthodoxies would likely be prevalent. 

Technically I suppose one could argue that the problem in HxA’s assertion is the word “equally” but I think that would be a pedantic misinterpretation and understatement of the scope of the problem.  It’s bigger than that one word.

It’s true that some ASPECTS of human nature and therefore of the divide ARE symmetrical, like “intuition comes first” and The Argumentative Theory and groupishness/tribalism.

But the divide itself is not symmetrical. It is NOT TRUE that both sides are equally blind/insightful about the other or about human nature. More moral foundations means less blindness and more insight.  That’s the whole point of The Conservative Advantage and The Left’s Blind Spot and The Rationalist Delusion and for that matter the entire book.

Symmetry is a left wing sacred value. It’s the crux of the left wing demand for “compromise” or a “middle way” or “can we all get along” or “underneath it all we’re all the same” or “No Labels” and even, arguably, The Asteroids Club and Viewpoint Diversity.

And its not true. The belief in symmetry is a delusion; a belief in something for which there is no basis in fact.  It’s part of the left’s blind spot.

Any implication that the divide, or the dynamic between left and right, is symmetrical is an example of partisan left wing orthodoxy overriding science, and arguably is a critical contributing factor to the divide itself.

HxA’s assertion of symmetry is anti-science. It is an “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxy,” a “sacred value,” of the partisan left. It’s presence on HxA’s web site helps to prove the left wing bias of academia that Heterodox Academy was formed to combat..






One thought on “The Left Wing Bias on Heterodox Academy’s “Problem” Page

  1. This is a good interpretation of Haidt’s findings and theory. Unfortunately, only those individuals evaluating information through a lens of many moral foundations will see the limitations of those who have an incomplete set of moral foundations through which to evaluate information. That is, only a few people will understand your point. I applaude your post.


    Posted by Robert Mather | January 24, 2017, 7:23 pm

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I Support Viewpoint Diversity


A politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities. We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.

An Interpretation of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory

This sidebar lists a series of posts which together make up an essay relating Moral Foundations Theory to today's politics, and even a little history, as viewed through The Independent Whig's six-foundation moral lens.


Venn Diagram of Liberal and Conservative Moral Foundations

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