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Can liberals and conservatives really communicate?

Joshua Greene is hoping to change the way the left and right debate issues with his new book "Moral Tribes." (Image courtesy Penguin Press)

The 2014 campaign is underway, and this Harvard Professor is hoping to change the way the left and the right debate issues.

“What I’m primarily interested in is changing the way ordinary people think about complicated policy matters,” says Joshua Greene.

Greene says the left and right seem wrapped up in their own moral codes, and therefore can’t cooperate.

What the two camps need to realize is that moral systems evolved in the first place to make it easier for groups to cooperate by creating common expectations for behavior within a tribe.

I know, this is too deep for radio.

But what it boils down to is a new set of ground rules for cooperation between America’s various “moral tribes,” which happens to be the title of his new book.

“We all care about our own happiness. We all care about avoiding our own suffering and we all recognize that, that is a legitimate care for everybody to have,” says Green.

Acknowledge and respect each other’s emotions – but for the good of the nation, lay those emotions aside and debate policies based on the likely and testable results of those policies.

“If you just ask people to explain how some policy works, simply forcing people to confront their ignorance about complex policy matters can by itself make people more moderate and more agreeable,” says Greene.

And that, he says, is how liberals and conservatives can learn to communicate on issues like Obamacare and Immigration – and meet on the common ground of maximizing well-being for the greatest number of people.

Of course, there is a downside, it would kill talk radio.

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