If you look back far enough in humankind’s history, you will observe that you don’t see civilizations starting without their building temples first. Haidt, who is a secular liberal, is not making a theistic point, not really. He’s saying that the work of civilization can only be accomplished when a people binds itself together around a shared sense of the sacred. It’s what makes a people a people, and a civilization a civilization. “It doesn’t have to be a god,” says Haidt. Anything that we hold sacred, and hold it together, is enough.
.. But then he tells them that if they believe that they could treat without bias a patient who is an open Trump supporter, they’re lying to themselves. In the America of 2016, political bias is the most powerful bias of all — more polarizing by far than race, even.
.. Haidt makes a point of saying that it’s simply wrong to call Trump a fascist. He’s too individualistic for that. He’s an authoritarian, but that is not a synonym for fascist, no matter how much the Left wants to say it is.
.. He says that in his work as an academic and social psychologist, he sees colleagues constantly demonizing and mocking conservatives. He warns them to knock it off. “We need political diversity,” he says. And: “They are members of our community.”
The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It’s not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there’s really only one way to stop it.
.. At the 41:37 point in the talk, Haidt says that we can reduce intolerance and defuse the conflict by focusing on sameness. We need unifying rituals, beliefs, institutions, and practices, he says, drawing on Stenner’s research. The romance the Left has long had with multiculturalism and diversity (as the Left defines it) has to end, because it’s helping tear us apart.
This fall, the Democrats are taking Stenner’s advice brilliantly, says Haidt, referring to the convention the Dems just put on, and Hillary’s speech about how we’re all better off standing together. Haidt says this is actually good advice, period. “It’s not just propaganda you wheel out at election time,” he says. If we don’t have a feasible conservative party, we open the way for authoritarianism.
.. Haidt says we don’t need “equality” — that is, an equal number of conservatives and liberals in the academy. We just need to have diversity enough for people to be challenged in their viewpoints, so an academic community can flourish according to its nature.
.. I don’t think the center can hold anymore. It’s too late. The cultural left in this country is very authoritarian, at least as regards orthodox Christians and other social conservatives.
.. We are the people who defile what they consider most sacred: sexual liberty, including abortion rights and gay rights. The liberals in control now (as distinct from all liberals, let me be clear) have made it clear that they will not compromise with what they consider to be evil. We are the Klan to them. Error has no rights in this world they’re building.
.. all I want for my tribe is to be left alone. But the crusading Left won’t let that happen anymore. They don’t even want the Mormons to be allowed to play football foe the Big 12, for heaven’s sake.