Up With Chris on Polarization: an excellent discussion

Up With Chris on Polarization

by digby

Chris Hayes hosted a must see discussion about ideological polarization.
I am struck by Chris saying that he now believes that the only way to solve global challenges like climate change is for us to find a way to "de-polarize" the population. He may be right, but I also think this polarization is the natural state of human beings --- particularly Americans whose national identity has been one of division along some distinct fault lines. The way I see it, the only thing that ever "de-polarizes" is serious crisis, unfortunately. And the problem with that is that you never know if it's going to have the opposite effect --- sometimes crisis results in radicalization and withdrawal to their respective fighting camps.

Anyway, it's a very interesting discussion, highly recommended:

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I just read Jonathan Haidt's book and am still not persuaded. And my "intuition", however flawed, useless and unenlightened, tells me that newly minted "centrist" Jonathan Haidt is more than a little supercilious and I was glad to see Hayes push him a little bit. I found it somewhat poignant that he suggests the answer is for people to have dinner parties with both liberals and conservatives so they can share food and talk about all this together. He seems to think this is highly unusual when in fact it happens at Thanksgivings and Christmases and Sunday dinners across the country. Indeed, many of us have been living this "experiment" our whole lives. Let's just say the old fashioned elite Tip 'n Ronnie, bipartisan Georgetown dinners aren't exactly the prototype for most of us.

It's a tough problem, but one that I'm fairly sure won't be solved by "centrism" of the kind Jonathan Haidt proposes. We only have to look at the Democratic Party of the past quarter century to see how well his theory works in practice.