I don't usually recommend reading the New York Times but I thoroughly enjoyed William Saletan's review of Jonathan Haidt's new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion in the Sunday Book Review.
[Google it -- it's called "Why Won't They Listen?"]
You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong.
This isn’t an accusation from the right. It’s a friendly warning from Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal. In “The Righteous Mind,” Haidt seeks to enrich liberalism, and political discourse generally, with a deeper awareness of human nature. Like other psychologists who have ventured into political coaching, such as George Lakoff and Drew Westen, Haidt argues that people are fundamentally intuitive, not rational. If you want to persuade others, you have to appeal to their sentiments. But Haidt is looking for more than victory. He’s looking for wisdom. That’s what makes “The Righteous Mind” well worth reading. Politics isn’t just about manipulating people who disagree with you. It’s about learning from them....
"Those who want an end to political bickering will have to come to terms with the fact that being conservative or being liberal is often genetically based and therefore unlikely to be jawboned or reformed away," said John Alford, a Rice University political scientist... (Boston Globe, November 2008)