Moral Crisis: A little cross-cultural perspective, please?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Moral Crisis
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Want a colorful copy of Americans’ 10 core values? Click on this image to visit our ‘United America’ resource page where you can download a free copy.

If we are united by 10 core values, why does it seem like we are so divided? That’s the most common question I get when I give talks about my new book United America. It’s an important question, because Americans have said repeatedly in polls that they feel divided when it comes to the most important values. Are there good reasons why we feel divided when we are not?

This week we’re discussing the reasons why we are prone to perceive a moral crisis. These include basic human psychology that puts too much weight on the negative, the media’s tendency to focus on the negative, the “fallacy of change,” and the fact that political activists are not “normal.” Today, we complete the week with a plea for a little perspective.

Sure, we have conflicts, disputes, and disagreements—perhaps even a culture war, of sorts. But our disagreements pale in comparison to conflicts around the world. Syria. Egypt. Darfur. Bosnia. Rwanda. Chechnya. Crimea. And so many more.

A little cross-cultural perspective reminds us that we are one nation, and a relatively peaceful one. Our “culture war” is not a hot, shooting war. It’s sharp. But it’s nowhere near the level of religious conflict and ethnic conflict that we see elsewhere.

Of the five reasons we’ve discussed this week, which one stands out for you?

Does a little cross-cultural perspective help?

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Comments

  1. EB says

    Thank you for the reminder, Dr. Baker. I think many people in the United States, from political pundits to internet commentators, need to take a moment and remember that it’s the culture they’re warring about that allows them to debate and argue in the first place.