What Drives Political Polarization

The Colin McEnroe Show: Can't we all just get along?

Political Polarization
What is behind the great divide? Photo:Diego3336
What Drives Political Polarization
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What Drives Political Polarization

Why do we have such terrible political arguments? Are we really so divided?

Topics like abortion, the death penalty, gun control, drug policy, tax policy all make us sound like a deeply divided nation, although I've long believed it's possible to formulate a position on almost anything that 65 percent of Americans will agree with. 
But it's not in our natures to do that. Compromise is boring. Dispute is exciting. 
On this show, we're dipping into the science behind our political preferences, our incivilities, and my own growing sense that we're starting to develop radically different modes of thought. 
Not just different opinions but completely different ways of thinking. 
Also, why do religion and science and politics overlap so strikingly? Republicans are twice as likely to be creationists as are Democrats.
Colin McEnroe interviews Chris Mooney, Kevin Smith and Ravi Iyer about political polarization, and if biology plays a part in our political preferences.  
Leave your comments below or email colin@wnpr.org or tweet us @wnprcolin.




Dave writes: What do you think the likelihood of a conservative radio show shedding light on this topic would be?

Children and Politics

Jo writes:

In considering the differences between those on the left and the right, one has to consider how many people raise their children. If you create an environment for a developing child where she is told not to question, or is even punished for challenging or questioning things, and instead she is told that the authority of everything rests in a father and a deity, then it would certainly discourage most kids from continuing to openly exercise her curiosity. If a whole community operates out of this perspective then it would serve to perpertuate this type of world view for subsequent generations.

Political Polarization

Chris writes:

Thanks for hosting this discussion on your show today, and thanks for stepping up and providing some "devil's advocate" counter arguments. While I think Mr. Smith is Liberally biased, it doesn't mean he's also wrong about the likely neural differences, and about how people react to a stimulus and THEN form reasoning about that reaction, while thinking the reverse occurred.

Certainly, people have strong visceral reactions to certain issues (abortion, gun control) and people (President Bush, President Obama). The sadly humorous thing is, they only think the other side is doing this. During President (GW) Bush's presidency we had every bit as much "hyper-partisanship" as we have now under President Obama. Its damned difficult to have a discussion with any balance on a political matter, as most people seem governed by an "us vs them" mindset.

Thanks for the good show.