- Written by Richard Panzer
UTS grads, Stephen Stacey '90 and Gordon Anderson ‘78, recommend and discuss presentations on the moral/intellectual roots of liberals and conservatives.
Stephen Stacey recommends the following internet video of a “Ted Talks” presentation by psychologist Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html.
Gordon Anderson comments on the Haidt presentation, contrasting it with a presentation by author Dinesh D’Souza and a fascinating lecture by philosopher and political economist F. A. Hayek, which he prepared for the Plenary Address at the 14th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, Houston, Texas, 1985 which had the title, “The Presumption of Reason,”1 shortly before his death. http://blog.ganderson.us/2011/12/the-presumption-of-reason/
Gordon Anderson: The TED talk is excellent.
The conservative D’Souza film shows the problems that the TED talk speaks about, presenting left-wing and right-wing positions as the only two options.
The TED film shows both the value of liberal openness and pluralism, but criticizes their resistance to moral concepts that have proven necessary for society. Conservatives are stuck looking in the rear-view mirror, unwilling to improve on their sacred inheritance. Both views—and both our political parties—appeal to incomplete and inadequate thought systems.
I think the TED film helps to pave the way for headwing thought more than the D’Souza film, but the D’Souza film is valuable in staving off total collapse because a moral system in which pluralism is the only value is no moral system at all and leads to hell. The object is not to break down the inherited civilization that has evolved and improved over thousands of years, but to improve it further, recognizing limitations.
Most liberals are guilty of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and their present worldview leads to an outcome similar to the French Revolution. This is why we should view the U.S. Constitutional system as “Life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 3.0,” and develop a headwing thought that will bring “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0.” And, I think Hayek’s talk on receiving his ICUS founder’s prize is very similar to what the TED talk is saying, but goes beyond it.
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