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Agreeing to Disagree - Jonathan Haidt

  In putting together a series on civility, we learned it is rather easy to find examples of incivility. There is always a sound bite available of somebody yelling about something. Finding an example of civility in action is more difficult. It exists – but sometimes - because it is understated or even hard-wired into us – we tend to overlook it. So for an example of civility, I kept on thinking of Robert Fulguhm’s 1988 poem - "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten."

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Robert Fulguhm’s 1988 poem - "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." Consider that a palette cleanser.

  In partnership with MASS Humanities, we are presenting a three part series entitled: Agreeing to Disagree: Civility in Public Discourse. As we did yesterday and we will continue today and tomorrow during this 10AM hour, we look to explore the issues, concepts and themes of civility and incivility. In this hour we will speak with a quartet of voices from the front lines. Tomorrow, we will open up our phone lines and invite you to join us for an in-depth discussion with a pair of scholars.

For day two of the series – we look at: Civility: Tolerance and Expectations. We will explore the issues of tolerance and how we can remain civil. We will discuss the psychological, cultural and societal forces that help shape our personal levels of civility, the language of civility and what we expect of others in return for our civility. We will consider issues of entitlement, media effects and even sports.

Widely recognized for research on the intuitive foundations of morality, Jonathan Haidt, Social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, uses moral psychology to understand hyper-partisanship in American politics. But, he says, we are far from wanting to go back to “the good old days.”

Agreeing to Disagree: Civility in Public Discourse is funded in part by MASS Humanities.

Joe talks to people on the radio for a living. In addition to countless impressive human "gets" - he has talked to a lot of Muppets. Joe grew up in Philadelphia, has been on the area airwaves for more than 25 years and currently lives in Washington County, NY with his wife, Kelly, and their dog, Brady. And yes, he reads every single book.
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