Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Why are Americans so politically polarized? For June’s Masthead book club, members chose a read that addresses the question from a psychological perspective: the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion. (Haidt, by happy coincidence, is also a Masthead member.) He argues that political divides are abetted by the fundamentally intuitive, instead of rational, nature of our minds. Using the metaphor of a mind divided into an elephant and a rider, or its intuitive and conscious parts, he demonstrates how much the intuitive part controls our thinking.

Haidt joined members on the forums for a question-and-answer session about his book.

To access this story, become a member

Sign up for our brand-new membership program, The Masthead, and you’ll not only receive exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else—you’ll also help fund a sustainable future for journalism.

Find Out More

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to