TED Conversations

John Toews

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

It seems to me that there should be some fruitful produce that could result in the integration of these two talks.

Though this integration could lead to numerous applications, a specific springs to mind: Democracy.

As an observer from above the 49th (who lived for 14 years below the 49th), I look at Democracy and the USofA, and I fear, you are losing it. Its not just me - in a chat with my neighbor the other day, she recounted the visceral hatred her teenage American nieces had for Hilary Clinton. I responded that I too was struck and bothered by the amount of hatred and vilification betwixt the donkey and the elephant. In my opinion, this hatred is inconsistent with Democracy, and, is in fact, a cancer destroying Democracy from within.

Lest I sound too self righteous, I will have to admit that my feelings about Mr Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld and their ilk are quite visceral as well - and I struggle with this. This struggle is not simplified by the fact that humanity has produced some fairly evil men; Hitler, Phol Pot, etc. However, I need to be very careful in relegating those with whom I disagree, even vehemently, to such notorious company.

In this context, I have listened to Mr Haidt's talk several times, trying to get a clearer grasp of how the other half thinks (I just discovered a Native Canadian-Persian restaurant I quite like). Then, Ms. Schulz's talk seemed to have something to contribute to the issue. But, when she listed her third assumption as to why the 'other side' could be so wrong, I knew there must be at least a fig, if not a date and perhaps a pomegranate to be found in the integration (to continue the 'fruitful' and 'restaurant' themes). Was I not using the assumption of Evilness in rationalizing opposing views?

Can the insights of Mr Haidt & Ms Schulz be integrated and applied at the grass roots to advance Democracy, especially in the land which loves its defense and promulgation? Can the beams of these two talks intersect at the cancer of undemocratic political hatred to eradicate it? Does either party really will this to happen?

progress indicator