On the confluence of political and economic division in America

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The idea that an increasing sense of material precariousness can lead to cultural retreat from liberalizing “self-expression” values can help us understand why low-density white America turned out to support a populist leader with disturbingly illiberal tendencies. But this idea can also help us understand why our larger national culture seems to be growing apart in a way that has made it seem harder and harder to communicate constructively across the gap.

pub. 02/2017

Okay, this one is a bit of a challenging read. It’s an interesting analysis, though, and from a libertarian rather than liberal source. And there’s fun with data visualization.

Lessons from a pleasant conversation across party lines

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In a county with 1,700 people, there’s no need for Seattle-style process or bureaucracy. This shapes political views: smaller government, more people problem solving, leave solutions to the locals. … A number of folks at the event expressed the desire to have fewer top-down decisions and more local control. Adapting to local conditions, one said, would strengthen unity by letting people shape communities to their particular needs. Another said that with more local solutions there would be “less anger and [people] would be a whole lot happier.”

pub. 03/2017