For the past year, Glenn has been trying to figure out two things:
1. How do we talk to the American people?
2. How do we talk in a different way when there is so much fear and anger is happening?
He may have found the way in a book written by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt titled, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
The book covers what’s called the Moral Foundations Theory. Not surprisingly, conservatives and liberals approach big issues from completely different moral perspectives or pillars.
“He said at the beginning of his book, ‘I thought, before doing all of this research, that I was a deep progressive. As it turns out, I’m not, but I didn’t understand the right because they never spoke my language. I didn’t think they cared about people,'” Glenn explained.
Haidt actually studied Glenn to research hate-filled speech, but realized he’d been under a misconception — and it was an eye-opening awakening.
“He realized . . . I think I’ve misunderstood this entire thing. Now, he’s come up [with a way ] to explain what’s happening to us,” Glenn said.
That way could be the key to bridging the divide.
In the coming months, Glenn will take a deep dive into the moral pillars to teach how learning this second language, if you will, can engage people with opposite ideologies. In the meantime, he introduced the moral pillars on radio today.
Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: There’s — there’s really three or four books that I would like you to read. And we’ll talk about those in the coming days. But one of them is called The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. And he is a — a — a New York liberal NYU professor, who is not liberal anymore. He said at the beginning of his book: I thought, before doing all of this research, that I was a deep progressive. As it turns out, I’m not. But I didn’t understand the right because they never spoke my language. I didn’t think they cared about people.
Now, here’s an educated man and an honest guy, who says, “As I started doing research, I realized, ‘Wait. That’s not who they are.'”
And the reason why he came to that is because a couple of people started speaking his language. In talking to him, you know, off air and talking about his theories, I found out that I’m one of the guys that was speaking his language. And he was shocked because I was one of the guys he was studying because I’m so hate-filled.
And what he realized is, wait. I think I’ve misunderstood this entire thing. Now, he’s come up to explain what’s happening to us.
And — and he was looking for a way for people to be able to reach out to each other. But he doesn’t think he found it. I do. And it’s a fantastic read that — that describes what’s happening to the human brain. And how he describes this — this is an older theory, but he’s really kind of made this — he’s brought it to life.
What happens is, we — our brain — our choices — so much of our choices are guttural. We’re presented — for instance, I don’t know if you know this, this is crazy. Five thousand advertisements a day. We see 5,000 advertisements a day. Now, that doesn’t even seem possible. But that’s the average that the Americans see every single day. So we’re weeding those things out. Because how many of them make it to us recognizing that’s an ad?
We make 15,000 yes or no choices every single day. I don’t think that’s even possible.
But at least 15,000 on average. So much of what we do is what he calls the elephant part of the brain. And the elephant is this big, huge immovable object, that reason is sitting on top of. And reason is sitting on top of this elephant. And it’s really rarely consulted by the elephant. Because the elephant is just moving.
And it’s moving, based on what it has experienced. What its upbringing was. What its first reaction is. What first impressions are.
You know, you meet somebody, and your first impression is, I don’t know if I really trust them. I don’t know if I like them. Sometimes, if you have to, you will say, wait a minute. Let me reason this out. But most times, you just kind of let that go, and it builds one way or the other.
Well, that’s the elephant. And then before you know it, you just don’t trust that guy. And you’re not really sure why. I just don’t trust him. That’s the elephant.
When it comes to critical decisions — especially when fear is introduced — we know that fear shuts reason down. And that’s because the elephant just says, through experience, we’re going that way.
And the writer — because this — this part of the brain — this intuition and this X factor in the brain is so big and so lumbering, the writer — the reason can rarely turn it.
Now, it can be turned. But it usually is turned, not by a great argument. We always say, how are we losing? We have the great argument. Well, it’s not turned by the great argument. It’s actually more likely to have the writer stop and wake up and tell the elephant, “Stop for a minute,” from peer pressure.
It’s more likely to be stopped when a bunch of people that the elephant trusts says, “You got this wrong. You got to listen. You have this wrong.”
That’s really the only time you have a chance that the elephant stops. The other time is when the elephant meets somebody new and likes them and has a general feeling of, this is a good guy. And that person gently challenges the elephant’s belief, in a kind and friendly way. And then the elephant kind of looks up to the writer and says, “Does that make sense?” But that rarely happens.
Does this make sense so far? Do you understand?
GLENN: So my job has been for the last year, to figure out two things: How do we talk to the American people? How do we talk to them in a different way, when so much rhetoric and so much fear and anger is happening?
Remember, I’ve made a pledge to myself, and I’ve asked to you make this pledge years ago: I will not go over the cliff with the rest of humanity.
So now, here we are. Humanity is going over a cliff. How do we stop our friends? I’ve said to you for many years: You’re going to have to be the one that says, “Stop. Don’t go that way.” Well, when they’re panicked, when they’re fearful and the elephant is in charge, how do you wake the writer up?
Well, first, you have to be a trusted friend. You have to be kind. The best book you can read right now — this is according to Jonathan Haidt. One of the best ways to do it is start with How to Win Friends and Influence People. Norman Vincent Peale, because the whole thing was actually care about the other person. Listen to them. Listen to them.
I would have behaved much differently in the last 18 months had I not been so arrogant. And I would have listened to you more. But I didn’t.
And what I was talking about was principles. And those principles are great. And we all agreed on those principles. And I thought I was talking to the writer. What I didn’t — what I didn’t realize is that you are struggling so hard with insurance. You’re struggling so hard — I know the chaos — what you’re feeling. But, honestly, I thought it was at more at our level, that we’re looking at the news and can’t figure it out. And that — I just didn’t — I didn’t see you. I was too egotistical. I saw me.
And that ended in disaster. That’s not good. Many of us aren’t friends now. Many of the people who are with me for a long time, they’re not friends anymore.
Well, that’s not — how did that happen? My fault. Okay. I got that.
So now, how do we repair that, and how do we now reach out to people who have never liked any of us?
I’m going to explain this quickly. It’s called the moral foundations theory. And what he has done — and I urge you to watch it on TheBlaze TV. If you have a subscription, just watch it right now. This is actually in my office. And this is something I’m actually taking the staff through every day. And we just started. But let me show you how it works.
There are five — there are five moral foundations that our society generally runs on. And it’s loyalty and betrayal. Sanctity and disgust. Authority and subversion. Care and harm. Liberty and oppression. So the flipside of five moral pillars.
What Jonathan Haidt found in his research is that conservatives have loyalty and betrayal, sanctity and disgust, authority and subversion. We have those strongly. Liberals have care and harm and liberty and oppression. And they really have care and oppression. They don’t focus on liberty as much as they focus on oppression.
Libertarians happen to have all five. And you’ll see, Libertarians always seem to get a bunch of liberals to join them. Why?
Because they’re the only ones speaking from a place of — of authenticity on care and harm, liberty and oppression.
Conservatives do have all five, but they — but they — they don’t exercise all five very often. And on top of that, liberals only have two. And they never go up to the top three.
So let me just show you how this works. When it comes to health care, they argue health care, you don’t care — you want to harm the — you want to kill people. You don’t care about anybody. You don’t care about children.
When it comes to school vouchers, you don’t care about children. You don’t care about them having education. You know, you want to cut welfare. You don’t care about people. They’re all there, care and harm.
When it comes to things like moms at home. What do we argue? We argue moms — because that’s a sacred job — we’re arguing sanctity. We look at motherhood as a sacred job, a sacred responsibility with your child. And that children — that’s a sacred duty to us as parents. That’s not what they’re arguing. They’re arguing oppression.
You are oppressing the woman by making her stay at home. And they mean that as much as we mean it’s sacred.
But they don’t relate to sacred responsibilities. And I’m speaking generally. And we don’t relate to oppression, speaking generally. We don’t relate to that.
So we’re using different languages. It’s like going to Mexico and speaking French.
So what we have to do is we have to move — for instance, under sanctity and disgust, have you ever noticed how disgusting the left can get in things? Like there’s nothing too vile. Occupy Wall Street, there’s a protest, we can’t relate to them because they’re crapping on cars and smearing feces on things. There’s no — there’s no — there’s no disgust that is too low for them. Because they don’t have the sanctity bar.
We talk about sex, marriage, and God. We’re up at sanctity. But they bring the sex, marriage, and God down to oppression. That’s why we’re not able to understand each other.
We literally are speaking two different languages.
And somebody has to master the second language. And I am asking you to help us and let us help you master a second language.
And begin to speak a different language. Because if there’s enough of us doing it, we can stop humanity from going over the cliff. And we’re never going to win with just a great argument. Because we’re not speaking the same language.