Haidt like E.O. Wilson, whom Haidt calls “a prophet of moral psychology,” believes that evolution has constructed us to be selfish. We rationalize selfish behavior, he writes, as moral. He asks whether moral reasoning wasn’t “shaped, tuned, and crafted to help us pursue socially strategic goals, such as guarding our reputations and convincing other people to support us, or our team, in disputes?” The moral glue that holds us together, Haidt writes, is concern for our reputations [read "ego"]....
But while Haidt correctly excoriates conventional morality as largely a form of self-justification, his solution is not to seek a moral code that benefits our neighbor but to ask us to surrender to this self-interest and become part of human “hives,” including corporations....
Happiness, then, comes with conformity. If we are unhappy it is not because there is something wrong with the world around us. It is because we have failed to integrate into the hive. This, of course, is the central thesis of positive psychology, which Haidt is closely associated with. And it is an ideology promoted by corporations and the U.S. military to keep people disempowered....
Haidt mistakes the immoral as moral. Totalitarian structures, including corporate structures, call for us to sublimate our individual conscience into the collective. When we conform, we become, in the eyes of the state, or the corporation, moral and righteous. Haidt would do well to remember historian Claudia Koonz’s observation that “the road to Auschwitz was paved with righteousness.” This is a book that, perhaps unwittingly, sanctifies obedience to the corporate state and totalitarian power. It puts forth an argument that obliterates the possibility of the moral life. Submission, if you follow Haidt, becomes the highest good.Read it at Truthdi
Book Review: The Righteous Road to Ruin
by Chris Hedges
[Haidt's] transformation from a liberal to a conservative, he writes, took place on 9/11 when “the attacks turned me into a team player, with a powerful and unexpected urge to display my team’s flag and then do things to support the team, such as giving blood, donating money, and yes, supporting the leader.” In short, Haidt became a lover of conservatism and nationalism when he became afraid. He embraced an irrational, not to mention illegal, pre-emptive war against a country, Iraq, that had nothing to do with 9/11. And if there was ever a case for reason to conquer fear and the emotionalism of the crowd, the Iraq War was it. But Haidt, rather than acknowledge that fear had turned him into a member of an unthinking, frightened herd, holds this experience up as a form of enlightenment.Ok, swept up in emotion, but this is the kicker:
In a very revealing anecdote—which he titles “How I became a pluralist”—Haidt writes of his three months in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar. He has servants. He visits the homes of male colleagues and is waited on by their wives. He writes that “rather than automatically rejecting the men as sexist oppressors and pitying the women, children, and servants as helpless victims, I began to see a moral world in which families, not individuals, are the basic unit of society, and the members of each extended family (including its servants) are intensely interdependent.”
His embrace of rigid social hierarchy and oppression, which makes him sound like the apologists for racial segregation, is a window into the entire book. He does not speak Oriya, the local language, and so is dependent on an educated, wealthy elite. He, by the standards of India, is rich. He makes no effort to explore the lives of the underclass. He celebrates what he calls “a moral code that emphasizes duty, respect for one’s elders, service to the group, and negation of the self’s desires.”Here Haidt doesn't see that he is buying into the caste system that is culturally endemic in India, and the quintessential example of class division based on heredity. Hedges doesn't point that out, but I'll do it for him.
Haidt is so clueless he hasn't seen what has happened to him. He has become diminished as a human.