2022 Blog Aif Speaker Guest Blogs 5


Jonathan Haidt on Structural Stupidity

Plus — Building a religiously diverse democracy and highlights from Aspen Ideas: Climate.

  • October 27th 2022

How the Digital Age Has Damaged Democracy

Are you haunted by the question, “What in the world is happening to this country?” So is Jonathan Haidt, an NYU social psychologist who studies emotion, morality, and politics. Sometime in the 2010s, something went terribly wrong, Haidt says, leading to the fractured country we find ourselves in, unable to recognize and speak the same truth. That something, he argues, is social media. It has corroded core ingredients of democracy, such as strong institutions and shared stories. In his conversation with the editor in chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, Haidt traces the messy story of how we went from the techno-democratic optimism of the Arab Spring to things going “viral” to cancel culture. How can we reconcile the positive potential of social media with the unchecked power it gives to trolls? And what does founding father James Madison have to do with any of this?


The Role of Religion in Transformative Social Change

“A huge part of what I call our civic genius is that particular identity communities, especially faith communities, build institutions inspired by their identity that serve everybody,” says Eboo Patel, president of Interfaith America. “That is part of what maintains the reasonable health of a religiously diverse democracy.” Still, the current state of religious pluralism in the United States is messy, nuanced, and often filled with hateful rhetoric. Patel talks with Austin Channing Brown, author of I’m Still Here, and angel Kyodo williams, Buddhist priest and teacher, in a conversation moderated by Simran Jeet Singh, executive director of the Aspen Institute Religion and Society Program. How can we foster healthy religious diversity, from classrooms to Congress? In our increasingly secular culture, what is the role of religion in making us feel connected to one another? 


Highlights from Aspen Ideas: Climate

In May 2022, the world's most ambitious climate problem solvers came together in Miami Beach to address our collective future. Watch highlights from the inaugural Aspen Ideas: Climate, which brought together global and local policy makers, artists, young leaders, and many others for a series of conversations aimed at educating and inspiring action to combat climate change and adapt to a changing planet.

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