Jonathan Haidt and the Illiberal Left

by Grania

For those of you who have been following the rise and rise of the Illiberal Left and especially the melt-downs on various campuses; this is a heads-up for an interesting discussion on The Rubin Report with Jonathan Haidt.

Haidt is a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, but is probably more familiar to readers for his discussions on subjects like morality and religion.

The conversation with host Dave Rubin covers a range of political subjects. In particular, Haidt has been watching the campus trends carefully and has some (perhaps unsurprising) insights into the main forces behind the current style of protest as well as a prediction for the future of this activism.

It’s well worth a watch or listen if you’ve been baffled by the tendency of some Leftists towards censorship and other misguided and illiberal practices.

Part 1

Part 2


  1. GBJames
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting discussion.

  2. Posted June 2, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


    • Filippo
      Posted June 2, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink


  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. I am especially liking the bit near the end of the video that described how the president of Ohio State U turned the tables on the regressive leftists who stormed the administration building.

    • Somer
      Posted June 3, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      It was one of the highlights. The video is on

      https://www. [I separated to avoid embedding]

      And its very gratifying

  4. Cindy
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Good article on the destructive nature of trigger warnings:

    It references Haidt…

  5. Posted June 3, 2016 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I googled the OSU video referenced by Haidt, and I have to say that I found it actually moving. I’ve spent years of my life working as a university staff member, and this is the first time I’ve noticed anyone acknowledge that we do any work, or that our working conditions matter.

    It highlights for me another irony of the illiberal left, which is that for all of the emphasis on privilege, they simply do not acknowledge economic inequality AT ALL. They want their universities to boycott a foreign, independent state, but they do not even notice, let alone care, if that same university outsources its janitorial services to a company which denies them basic worker rights because it’s cheaper. They don’t know or care who cleans their dorm rooms and public spaces, who washed their graffiti off the walls, who does extra work running around cleaning up the fallout from their “demands”, who spends hours and hours every day doing nothing but trying to ensure that they are happy and safe, and they view community safety personnel as an actual enemy.

    And don’t even get me started on the people who can’t afford four+ years of tuition so that they can skip class to stage self-indulgent theater pieces which falsely claim that they are somehow terribly oppressed by the very institutions that are bending over backwards for their every whim.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 3, 2016 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      “They don’t know or care who cleans their dorm rooms . . . .”

      Is that how it is nowadays? University students can’t be troubled to humble themselves to clean their own rooms as we did in the ancient days?

      • pali
        Posted June 3, 2016 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        While I’ve never been a university janitor and therefore can’t speak to the specific topic, as a service industry worker in a college city (Madison, WI), I can certainly attest to the fact that plenty of “liberal” college students look down on someone who isn’t also in college or lacks a degree. My observation has been that minorities in my position these people treat with a sort of paternalist pity, while a white male like myself is viewed as wasting his time and life. To be honest, I prefer the latter treatment – at least the distaste is honest.

        That said, there are also plenty of students who do NOT share this attitude and who don’t at all look down on someone lacking a degree. They tend to be my favorite customers, as they are intelligent and educated enough for good conversation while decent enough to not assume that a lower paycheck means a lower IQ.

        They also tend to be the majority. The illiberal left is there, and I’ve had some interesting and some not-so-interesting conversations with these people, but the majority of the students I deal with seem to have their feet not too far from the ground, and this gives me hope.

        • Posted June 3, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          Pali, I appreciate your comment, which also makes me feel slightly more hopeful as well. It’s a good way to start the weekend.

  6. ToddP
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Excellent conversation between Haidt and Rubin. It actually left me feeling hopeful, which is rare these days. The tide is slowly turning against the illiberal left.

  7. Posted June 3, 2016 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    A lot of good points in those videos.

  8. Cindy
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The first video was really good. I like what he had to say about how, in the absence of organized religion, people invent new things to signal their devotion and moral purity. Instead of worshiping a religious idol, they worship an oppressed group.
    I have been more than a little disturbed by how Islamists, no matter how violent, have been put on a pedestal by regressive leftists. As if they are delicate, angelic flowers that must be protected. Angelic beings who never do any wrong, who take no responsibility for their actions, as everyone else is to blame. I find this attitude to be really unsettling.

  9. somer
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    This is not relevant to universities but it sure is relevant to Regressive behaviour and shutting down free speech.
    Video “Muslim Schools the Canadan Senate on the threat of the Islamic Doctrine and Left PC Madness.” – Tarek Fatah’s interview before Canadian Senate Committee on National security and defence. The behaviour by Senator Mitchell Grant at the end at 44.05 is just flabbergasting

    https://www. [separated to stop embedding]
    Just published on utube 27 May 2016

    The whole thing is extraordinary. From 40.50 mentions how motion to allow sharia in Quebec was unanimously defeated but in meantime Liberal Muslims opposing faced death threats.
    Also particularly relevant re free speech
    23.20 to 26.20 and 26.47 to 29.25

    • somer
      Posted June 3, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Tarek to some extent is affected by having to suffer from defying the pressures for not speaking out in his community. Of course there are always instances of genuinely marginalising and excluding behaviour towards muslims EG In Australia – vilification of a Muslim woman over the offensive T Shirt in one of our largest supermarkets with Oz flag saying love it or leave it However we do have a lot of PC groups shutting down debate here in Aus too – which has encouraged the very recent formation of knuckle draggers like The United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia
      But nothing like these groups existed until a few years ago. Debate in the middle is not allowed and so there are less means to deal with this sort of thing.

      • cooeerup
        Posted June 3, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        So true. I’m an Aussie too. I was also flabbergasted when Maajid was here that not one Muslim org would meet with him. Not one!!
        Margo Kingston dared to make a comment not approved by the PC police not long ago, and she got hate for days.
        Waleed seems to have corned the market and judging by how Susan dresses I’m guessing they’re far more conservative than “The Project” crew thinks they are. There’s a few questions I’d like to ask him/her 😉

        • somer
          Posted June 4, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

          Yes I went to see Maajid speaking in Jan 2016 and was so impressed – there were a couple of muslimas (they wore hijab) asking questions and one wrote up his talk online very favourably. He had some favourable treatment in the media this time. His I think 2012 visit he was given a hard time by Muslim organisations and the media. Of course, Sam Harris visited Australia this year as well

          I find it depressing how very PC the ABC (Australian national broadcaster on TV and radio) and SBS are (SBS – Special Broadcasting Service – to serve minority communities as well as general pop). Its like they see any criticism of certain behaviours as racism or nationally divisive. Websites of public opinion from academics like the Conversation reflect this too. I haven’t worked or studied at Uni for some time but I don’t hear of the kinds of problems (thank goodness) with no platforming, safe spacing in Unis and general PC hysteria that go on overseas yet theres a great deal PC sentiment and a tendency to label any diversion from the true path as either immoral or “bogan”
          I notice our professions and work places of all kinds are broadly divided by political attitude – narrowly laissez economic/conservative or quiet about real views versus PC workplaces where PC or just shut up about your political views. And it affects friendships and families and to my mind polarises the political scene since the middle ground debate is so slim.

          Plus I think our polarised politics (troglodytes like Abbott, Bernardi, Hesseltine, Arendt etc etc versus Greens and the parts of the left of Labour) reflects this. We have no middle ground parties and our politics is getting shallow.

        • somer
          Posted June 4, 2016 at 12:43 am | Permalink

          Personally I feel tho that Margo’s “Islam must be defeated” comment was unhelpful but I’m fed up with the ABC giving soft or favourable treatment to Islamists, representing religion as pro social justice versus the selfish individualism of nasty modernity, and periodically dissing “new atheists”. They are also good at either not allowing non PC or sometimes even any comment in their laughable comment sections though the “Religion and ethics” online portal is good for comments even if the actual articles are shite. Elsewhere where they do allow comment without much censoring of the right or centre these are vastly outnumbered by many left and extreme left comments including the most extreme luvvies who call for the destruction of Israel or darkly opine that Brezhnev and (later) Bin Laden should have nuked the West.

        • somer
          Posted June 4, 2016 at 1:18 am | Permalink

          Thanks Coooerup! Scott Stephens bugs me the most. Good to hear from another Australian! 😊

  10. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Great way to start a weekend! I licked up the special cream for Scandinavian economy of course.

  11. Craw
    Posted June 3, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Baffled by a tendency on the Left to embrace censorship? Surely you jest. I remember Leftist posters all the way back to 1974 openly calling for censorship. The greatest advocates of censorship in recent decades has been an unholy alliance of Left feminists and the religious right.

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