How You Can Help
I run two non-profit projects that try to apply the ideas in The Righteous Mind:
1) EthicalSystems.org. At this site we are trying to apply the latest research on moral psychology, along with research on organizations, to help businesses do “ethical systems design.” Think of it as “nudge” for business ethics.
2) CivilPolitics.org At this site we are developing tools that any organization can use to measure whether their programs have actually worked — have they led to greater understanding across the partisan divide?
For each project, I rely upon donations to pay the part-time staff, and other expenses. If you are interested in supporting either initiative, please email me. (haidt at nyu dot edu)
In addition, I have come across several groups and projects that I think are doing great work to address America’s political polarization and paralysis. I urge you to look into these groups, to join them and/or make a donation:
1) NoLabels.org: The premier organization that is actually bringing congresspeople together (over 70 so far) to join the “problem solvers bloc.” They have a 12 point plan to “get congress working.” Several of the points would improve social relationships in congress, which is a necessity from the point of view of moral psychology. Relationships open hearts, and open hearts open minds.
2) Represent.us. This group is using humor and creativity to put pressure on congress to end the most overt form of legal corruption: congresspeople who take money from the very companies and industries that they regulate via their committee assignments. This is an insane practice for a democracy, and it costs us tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful appropriations and bad legislation. It’s also an issue that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street agree upon: end crony capitalism.
3) The Village Square. This is a group in Tallahassee, Florida, that has mastered the art of getting people together in ways that calm the elephant and build trust. They have bridged the divide in the Florida state capital, and anything you can do to build cross-party trust in a state capital is going to clear the way for better legislation.
4) James Ault, Documentary Filmmaker. Ault wrote one of the best things I’ve ever read on the sociology of religion — a portrait of an evangelical church in Massachusetts, called “Spirit and Flesh.” He also produced a powerful documentary on that church, called “Born Again: Life in a fundamentalist baptist church.” Now he wants to do a project in which supporters and opponents of gay marriage would take a voyage together on a boat, up the hudson river, and work out their differences along the way. Ault’s project would put into practice many of the ideas I wrote about in The Righteous Mind, to foster civility and mutual understanding. He’s looking for funding to undertake the project.