Depolarize Now!

April 24, 2016

 Political animosity between the right and the left is off the charts.  Social scientists say we're living in one of the most polarized periods in history and that conservatives and liberals don't just disagree anymore. They hate everything about each other.  It's time to de-polarize!  Let's figure out how.

  1. How to Depolarize American Politics

    David Blankenhorn calls American politics "the last refuge of open animosity." Somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to say you hate people in the other political party.  Blankenhorn has analyzed the sloppy mental habits that lead to polarization and presents a few de-polarizing habits we should all cultivate.

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  2. The Biology of Political Bias

    Are political beliefs predetermined at birth?  Encoded in our genes? Political scientist John Hibbing does fMRI studies of liberal and conserative brains and says there are significant biological differences. His message: stop yelling at the other party.  They can't help what they think. 

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  3. Elif Shafak on the Pain of Living in a Polarized Culture

    The best-selling Turkish novelist Elif Shafak was put on trial ten years ago for "insulting Turkishness". She says the political climate in Turkey is more polarized than ever today, and even riskier for writers. She also believes fiction can help heal divided cultures.

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  4. Bookmark: Jonathan Chait recommends “What Hath God Wrought” by Daniel Walker Howe

    When and how did American get so polarized? For answers, Jonathan Chait recommends reading "What Hath God Wrought,"  a history of American politics from 1815-1848 by the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Daniel Walker Howe.

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  5. The Future of Left and Right

    Maybe finding middle ground isn't the way out of hyper-polarization. At the Institute for Cultural Evolution, Steve McIntosh is working on a different idea:  learning how to incorporate some of your political opponents' values into your own positions,and acknowledging the shadow side of your own beliefs.  Listen to the interview and then take the Political Polarization Test.

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