Defusing political conflicts: A Q&A with Jonathan Haidt about how liberals and conservatives can band together

TED Blog


In the final days of 2012, as Congress worked to hammer out a last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, it was difficult to turn on any American news source and not see political finger-pointing. Words like “extremist,” “angry” and “sharply divided” floated in the ether.

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has long been interested in how political choices are made – at TED2008, he delved into “the moral roots of liberals and conservatives.” So he seemed like the perfect speaker to invite to our New York office to tackle the question: can’t we all just get along?

His answer in short: yes. But the key is to understand that all of us are facing the same looming dangers, and make some critical changes in Congress that will allow us to work together on them.

Haidt begins today’s talk with an unsettling statement: A pack of giant asteroids…

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