Building the courage to speak according to principled convictions and foster genuine discourse

Building the courage to speak according to principled convictions and foster genuine discourse

Emily Ekins from Cato Institute

Even the best financed campaigns can’t win the media war if they don’t have a strong message. The conventional thinking is that voters’ opinions are largely static and your goal as a candidate is to craft a message that caters to the votes you need to win. This often means pandering to narrow interests and ignoring constituents your pollsters deem unlikely to listen. Recent research from Jonathan Haidt on Moral Foundations Theory suggests that people are actually more open to being persuaded by a speaker’s presentation of evidence if they see the underlying values guiding her as genuine. Emily Ekins from the Cato Institute is drawing on Jonathan Haidt’s work to assess the effectiveness of reaching out to new constituents and speaking from principled convictions so we can have a more inclusive and evidence-based discussion about how we live up to the values we all share.

Interview

1) Who are you and how did you come to get involved in this work?

2) Why is your work important?

3) What distinguishes your project from similar efforts – and why do you believe it will succeed in ways that other efforts might not?

4) What does success look like in five years – how will things be different if you’re successful?