Jonathan Haidt Quotes

Anytime we're interacting with someone, we're judging them, we're sharing expectations, we think they didn't live up to those expecta... - Jonathan Haidt

Anytime we're interacting with someone, we're judging them, we're sharing expectations, we think they didn't live up to those expectations.
— Jonathan Haidt

facebook-icon whatsapp-icon twitter-icon email-icon

By temperament and disposition and emotions, I'm a liberal; but in my beliefs about what's best for the country, I'm a centrist.

Jonathan Haidt

Congress is full of good, decent, smart people who have devoted their lives to public service.

Jonathan Haidt

Conservatives tend to see the world more in terms of good-versus-evil and, for some of them, the nightmare is a disarmed citizenry that can be preyed upon by criminals. They know that having a gun in the house would increase the risk of an accident for a member of their family, but they're willing to take that risk.

Jonathan Haidt

Democrats talk about programs like Social Security or Medicare, but it's not clear to most voters what Democrats' core moral values are.

Jonathan Haidt

Dividing into teams doesn't necessarily mean denigrating others. Studies of groupishness have generally found that groups increase in-group love far more than they increase out-group hostility.

Jonathan Haidt

Economic issues are just as much moral issues as social issues.

Jonathan Haidt

Even if you have a brain predisposed to liberalism, you might end up with some conservative friends or find inspiring conservative role models who could be very influential on you, and that could send you down a different track in life.

Jonathan Haidt

I began graduate school in the late 1980s, and my goal was to understand how morality varied across cultures and nations. I did some research comparing moral judgment in India and the U.S.A.

Jonathan Haidt

I did say that in-group, authority and purity are necessary for the maintenance of order, but I would never give them a blanket endorsement.

Jonathan Haidt

I got interested in the American culture war back in 2004, and it's one of the only growth stocks I've ever invested in.

Jonathan Haidt

I think Republicans need to take income inequality more seriously. Not because I favor equality of outcomes. I do not. I think the Right is correct to stress merit and earned rewards, not handouts and forced equality. But I think what Republicans are blind to is that power corrupts.

Jonathan Haidt

If you have a personality predisposed to liberalism, you might gravitate more to the artsy crowd or the anti-establishment crowd. And then those peers will affect you, and they will give you values, and you will copy them.

Jonathan Haidt

If you have high IQ, you're really good at finding post-hoc arguments to support your feelings of truthiness.

Jonathan Haidt

In accounts of men in battle, there is an incredible adrenaline rush from group-versus-group conflict. The fervor and passion of partisans is clearly rewarding; and if it's rewarding, it involves dopamine; and if it involves dopamine, then it is potentially addictive.

Jonathan Haidt

It really is a fact that liberals are much higher than conservatives on a major personality trait called 'openness to experience.' People who are high on openness to experience just crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel. People low on it like things that are familiar, that are safe and dependable.

Jonathan Haidt

Let me say it diplomatically: Most religions are tribal to some degree.

Jonathan Haidt

Liberals are my friends, my colleagues, my social world.

Jonathan Haidt

Liberals have difficulty understanding the Tea Party because they think it is a bunch of selfish racists. But I think the Tea Party is driven in large part by concerns about fairness.

Jonathan Haidt

Liberals tend to be much more concerned about business and corporations as the oppressors. They look to government as the solution. On the Right it's the opposite. They see business as good, as what generates wealth in society, and they see government as the oppressor, which makes it hard for especially small businesspeople.

Jonathan Haidt

Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into teams... but thereby makes us go blind to objective reality.

Jonathan Haidt

Morality binds people into groups. It gives us tribalism, it gives us genocide, war, and politics. But it also gives us heroism, altruism, and sainthood.

Jonathan Haidt

Most of our social nature is like that of other primates - we're mostly out for ourselves.

Jonathan Haidt

My early research - I'm a social psychologist, and my early research was on how people make moral judgments. When I entered the field in 1987, everybody was looking at moral reasoning - how do kids reason about a moral dilemma? Should a guy steal a drug to save his wife's life?

Jonathan Haidt

On the religious Right and religious people in general have the feeling that the world is not just material, the world is not just there for us to do what we want with. That our bodies, things have an immaterial essence, a spiritual essence that God is in all of us.

Jonathan Haidt

Our moral sense really evolved to bind groups together into teams that can cooperate in order to compete with other teams.

Jonathan Haidt

People are voting for the kind of country they want to live in, and there are different views about what kind of country we should have.

Jonathan Haidt

People can believe pretty much whatever they want to believe about moral and political issues, as long as some other people near them believe it, so you have to focus on indirect methods to change what people want to believe.

Jonathan Haidt

Politics is really religion. Politics is about sacredness. Politics is about offering a vision that will bind the nation together to pursue greatness.

Jonathan Haidt

Social conservatives are very focused on strengthening the family, and I think they are right to do so. One of the worst blind spots of the Left has been its reluctance to say that marriage matters for children.

Jonathan Haidt

Social reality is so complicated that, once you join one team or the other, you become specialized in detecting certain patterns, but you become blind to other patterns.

Jonathan Haidt

The big breakthrough for me was, once I stopped disliking conservatives and could actually see what they were right about, they showed me a lot of things that liberals were wrong about. But at the same time, I think there are some things that liberals are right about that conservatives have trouble seeing.

Jonathan Haidt

The great conservative insight is that order is really hard to achieve. It's really precious, and it's really easy to lose.

Jonathan Haidt

The most important thing to realize is we're not blank slates at birth. We don't start off with nothing in our heads, and then get imprinted entirely by our environment. There's something in our heads on the day we're born, and then we grow up and make choices.

Jonathan Haidt

The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation - a force for construction and destruction.

Jonathan Haidt

There's an enormous difference between voting for a candidate because you hate another ethnic group and voting for a candidate because he's a member of your ethnic group.

Jonathan Haidt

Trying to run Congress without human relationships is like trying to run a car without motor oil. Should we be surprised when the whole thing freezes up?

Jonathan Haidt

We humans are really good at forming groups to compete, and then dissolving the groups and reforming them along different lines to compete in a different way.

Jonathan Haidt

When I began my work on how morality varies across the political spectrum, there was a partisan, manipulative element to it. I wanted to help the Democrats win.

Jonathan Haidt

When I think about life on Earth, there should not be a species like us. And if there was, we should be out in the jungle killing each other in small groups. That's what you should expect.

Jonathan Haidt

When you hear someone criticize a policy on the other side, that's fine. But when you start hearing motive-mongering and demonization, stand up to it just as you would if it were something that was racist or sexist. If we avoid the demonization, disagreements can be positive.

Jonathan Haidt

While it is useful to rebut charges and get your arguments out in circulation, you have to understand that arguments and evidence have little impact on people as long as their feelings tilt them against you.

Jonathan Haidt

Anytime we're interacting with someone, we're judging them, we're sharing expectations, we think they didn't live up to those expectations.

Jonathan Haidt