Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Common Threats can lead to Compromises

In his blog post four days ago, "Avoidance of Fellow Humans," Justin Whitaker challenged bloggers associated with ProgBud to write about "reaching out and coming to deeper, clearer understandings, across the political spectrum and toward those we might see only in their 'otherness.'"

Philosopher Jonathan Haidt has been a hero of mine in writing about the different moral values that liberals and conservatives have, and how in understanding each other across the seeming miles-wide abyss of our near-polar differences is possible.

At the time of the presidential election in 2012, he offered a means to get the Federal Government functioning, again, such that the needs of people could be met and the dangers that were "out there" could be addressed.

Sadly, nothing much has changed since Haidt's TED Talk in 2012. Most of the dangers America faces are still "out there" -- from climate change to a dwindling Social Security fund.

As a perhaps good starting place to look at where we are and how we, as a country, are polarized in separate camps, I recommend listening to the Talk, titled "The asteroids club - common threats can lead to compromise." It's fast-paced and under seventeen minutes in length.

The cure that Haidt puts forward -- recognizing common threats -- seems still out-of-reach. But perhaps there is an opportunity, after such a long period of having a do-nothing congress, that Washington politicians can find a way to work together to get some important things done to prevent catastrophes that are on the near horizon.


  1. Great stuff, Tom. I'm reminded of a climate scientist who happens to be an Evangelical Christian (I believe) who is trying to spread the message in Southern churches that climate change is real, is human caused, and is something we need to address. The 'stream' she is swimming against is strong, but it shows at least one person willing to point at a common threat, really the most dire threat to humanity as far as I know, and try to get everyone on board with idea that we need to work on this. I do feel like some things have changed, or at least shifted, since 2012, acceptance of same-sex marriage being foremost. 3 years ago there were just a hand-full of states where a same-sex couple could get married; today the most famous person in America (so it seems) is a lonely county clerk who refused to issue licences to those couples.

  2. I think it is INSANE that the world did not promptly and robustly address climate change beginning six or seven years ago. People in the future will not forgive us for our hideous failure.

    As for same-sex marriage, it has had an amazing record in coming to be widely accepted -- and, now is the Law of the Land. I'm unclear on the importance of the role same-sex marriage will play in giving kids a more-secure childhood -- buy, hey, it can only help.