From my column on the conclusion of the Phil Robertson affair:

You know what would be nice? If the people who make and shape culture — TV producers, journalists, activists and the like — would take this moment to reflect on how ignorant and intolerant they are of their own country, and the world beyond their cultural bubble. Here’s a reading assignment for them: The Moral Righteous Mind, a 2012 book by UVA research psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

Haidt, a secular liberal, explores social science findings that educated, upper middle class Americans are the most extreme moral outliers in the world. That is, the moral framework they impose on human thought and behavior is radically alien to the moral perceptions of the overwhelming majority of humanity. This doesn’t make them wrong, but it does make them extremely unusual.

These happen to be the people who populate and direct America’s culture-making institutions. They are often every bit as parochial as those they condemn, but flatter themselves that they are the tolerant, cosmopolitan ones. I have lived in Manhattan, and I live once again in my tiny south Louisiana hometown. To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, the border between narrow-minded and tolerant runs not between city and country, North and South, degreed and uneducated, but down the middle of every human community and every human heart.

“Anyone who tells you that all societies, in all eras, should be using one particular moral matrix, resting on one particular configuration of moral foundations, is a fundamentalist of one sort or another,” Haidt writes.

The Duck Dynasty mess revealed that not all fundamentalists live in the Bible Belt, and that some of the biggest hicks live in Hollywood. The Duckman’s win is a score for authentic diversity and pluralism in the public square, and a victory for the right to be wrong without being ruined.

Read more: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Mess Revealed That Not All Fundamentalists Live in the Bible Belt |