The Deep Roots of Our Political Divide

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I’m not usually a hyper-partisan guy. Indeed, I wrote a book a decade ago on how to solve our biggest problems in ways that honor both liberal and conservative values. But I confess that Republican intransigence and nihilism -- over Obamacare in particular -- have left me feeling more partisan than at any time I can remember.

Why does the GOP appear to lack empathy for the millions of Americans who are uninsured? More broadly, what accounts for the different ways the liberal and conservative mind process these basic issues? Once I started thinking this way, I knew it was time for a little political psychotherapy with Jon Haidt.

Haidt, a social psychologist, is a professor of business ethics at New York University’s Stern School of Business. What makes him a perfect political therapist can be found in his 2012 bestseller, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” His TED talk on the book’s themes, including his topology of how different political temperaments see the world, has attracted over 1 million views.

In this episode, I talk to Haidt about the deep roots of our political divide. From Obamacare to immigration, from jobs to Social Security, our political parties are not only unable to agree, they increasingly are unable to even imagine or understand the other side’s point of view. I think you’ll find that Haidt has mapped the chasm in values that plagues us, and that makes it hard to address our collective challenges.

Our discussion about the role of luck in life and what that means for public policy might also surprise you.



Matt Miller


Laura Dine Million