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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Should We Trust Jonathan Haidt's Moral Judgments?

by Ricardo Duchesne

Jonathan Haidt
Jonathan Haidt: the soft, smiley face of globalism

There is a deep seated flaw in Jonathan Haidt's theory that liberals tend to value caringequality, and liberty/tolerance, and that conservatives value these liberal values as well as loyaltyauthority and sanctity. While Haidt formulated his theory through the study of moral behaviour in different cultural settings, and in this respect he recognizes the import of cultural differences, he neglects the way European peoples were singularly responsible for engendering the "liberal" values of our times, in the course of which they thoroughly redefined the "conservative" values in ways unprecedented in the rest of the world's cultures.

It is wrong to claim that these six moral values are "innate" dispositions that can be found in all human cultures is wrong. There are no conservatives outside the West who value equally these six values. There are hardly any liberals outside the West who hold a universalistic ethics, or a concept of care beyond one's ingroup, who believe in the equal rights of all humans regardless of national borders, and who understand individual liberty in the way Westerners do. The conservatives outside the West — notwithstanding the diluting effects of globalization — tend to be traditional in ways that still reflect the durability of their pre-modern beliefs. The conservatives in the West are actually liberals, and the liberals are best described as cultural Marxists.

What liberals in the West today reject as utterly immoral are ingroup behaviours by Whites, while they cherish, or at least "understand," non-White ethnic identity politics. Current liberals also exclude from their "universalistic" group anyone who objects to the reduction of Europeans to a minority in their own countries. Liberals believe that Whites who challenge mass immigration and racial miscegenation have no right to freedom of expression.

Even conservatives in the West no longer believe in-group racial solidarity for Whites, though they appear to be more consistent in their emphasis on freedom of speech. Haidt, seemingly a conservative, looks and acts like a liberal, has the composure and mannerisms of a liberal. He welcomes a tolerant, pluralistic society, as these terms are now understood, that is, a Western society open to immigration and racial diversity. The social psychologist John Jost half detected this when he said that Haidt "mocks the liberal vision of a tolerant, pluralistic, civil society, but, ironically, this is precisely where he wants to end up." The basic message of his "look" is that liberals should not mock conservatives, but should form an alliance of moral foundations in order to defeat the enemies of globalism. European ethnic nationalists, the conservatives who are truly loyal to their heritage, the authority of ancestors, and unafraid to engage in open inquiry about the ways White nations are undergoing ethnocide, are the enemies of Haidt's out-look.

This becomes all too clear in an article Haidt wrote last summer, When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism, highly praised in conservative circles, and understandably so, for, on first reading, this article questions the easy dismissal of right wing nationalists as irrational xenophobes, and, beyond this, questions as well the standard liberal explanation that national populism is driven by "economic factors," the inability of less educated White members to compete with cheaper immigrant workers and the repatriation of jobs to the third world. Haidt thinks his moral theory provides better insights.

He puts the onus on the upper and middle class beneficiaries of globalization for their celebration of cosmopolitanism and diversity in disregard of the sincere concerns lower class members have over the ways unrestricted immigration has threatened the integrity of their traditional communities. Populists are simply expressing an innate human need "to live in a stable and coherent moral order" threatened by globalization. They are more conservative in their moral outlook than liberals who only talk about "more open and tolerant" societies. Populists value loyalty to their local communities and their country's culture, and they have a stronger in-group identity.

Most nationalists, Haidt observes, are not racists; they are "civic nationalists" attached to the values of their nation. They do not like they way elites have imposed cosmopolitan diversity upon them while paying scant attention to the ways lack of Muslim assimilation threatens the moral coherence of their nations. Haidt warns cosmopolitan elites that their one-sided promotion of liberal values is not easing the situation but is, instead, activating the more authoritarian tendencies among nationalists. .

It is my view that Haidt's trans-historical theory of moral foundations is incapable of grasping the new moral reality facing the West today. It is quite anachronistic and disingenuous to speak of the dangers of the "authoritarian personality," in the same way that modernization theory did in the 1950s, simply because European nationalists want an end to mass immigration. The so-called "extremist" or "far right" parties of Europe are more open minded in their critical thinking and in their platforms than our current liberal globalist establishment, which does not allow dissent on the supposed merits of diversity, and is deceptively manipulating the public to view their nations as "immigrant nations".

Haidt identifies personally with the globalists. Haidt always reserves the best words for the elites: freedom, autonomy, creativity, openness, tolerance, cosmopolitan sophistication, rational, educated, urbane. The words attached to the civic nationalists are "parochialism," "authority," "uniformity," "discipline." His ideas, his lectures, are always addressed to the globalists, aimed at improving their image, teaching them how to assimilate "conservative" moral insights, how to appeal to the emotional needs of the "less educated" White nationalists in order to "trick" them to sit at a table programmed for diversification.

He says indeed that his article is intended as part of "a clear set of policy prescriptions for globalists." He calls for a "strong and successful assimilationist program" to counter nationalists. The values to which immigrants are expected to assimilate are liberal, including the "conservative" idea that all Western nations are alike in their endorsement of civic national values. Loyalty is to be played up only in reference to the current civic pro-diversity values of Western nations. "The globalists," he advises, "could easily speak, act, legislate in ways that drain passions and votes away from nationalist parties" by speaking of their globalist values as values inherent to the national identities of Europeans.

Haidt is not even a civic nationalist; he is not for Marine Le Pen's moderate emphasis on France's revolutionary ideals of 1789, liberty, fraternity, and equality; he prefers the globalism of Macron coupled with some psychology sessions for nationalists to make them feel that their moral horizons have been included. Haidt wants to teach globalists how to embrace the six moral foundations so they appear to be inclusive as they go about destroying the moral foundations of European peoples. Do not trust him.

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