Letters to the Editor

The Ugly and Dangerous Side of Political Righteousness?

August 02, 2017

To the Editor:

Evan Goldstein’s article ("Can Jonathan Haidt Calm the Culture Wars?" July 7) reminded me of a passage in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, by Adam Smith, on the "animosity of hostile factions." Smith says there are only a very few whose judgment is "untainted by the general contagion." Haidt seems to be one of those few today. But Smith says "such people are held in contempt" by "the furious zealots of both parties" due to their candor, which is anathema to the "true party-man." These zealots "impute all their own prejudices" and "all their own vindictive and implacable passions" to the "great Judge of the universe." We need people like Haidt to remind us of this ugly and dangerous side of political righteousness.

Cyril Morong
Associate Professor of Economics
San Antonio College
San Antonio