At CivilPolitics.org, our mission is to find and promote evidence-based methods for increasing political civility.
By civility we do NOT mean politeness, decorum, agreement, bipartisanship, or unity. We think disagreement and debate are good things. We think America is well served when political parties represent different viewpoints and then compete vigorously to recruit voters to their side.
But we are disturbed by the increase in recent decades in demonization that characterizes American political debate, particularly among politicians and in the media. We are motivated by recent research in moral and political psychology showing what happens when disagreements activate the psychology of good-versus-evil. It becomes more difficult to reach agreements that meet each side's key interests; reasoning becomes far less responsive to facts; and combatants begin to believe that the ends justify the means. When that happens, partisans are more willing to break laws, play dirty tricks, lie, and ruin the personal lives of their opponents -- all in the service of what they think is a good cause. Good people are discouraged from entering politics. Good public servants are driven out of public service.
Civility as we pursue it is the ability to disagree with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. We believe this ability is best fostered by indirect methods (changing contexts, payoffs, and institutions), rather than by direct methods (such as pleading with people to be more civil, or asking people to sign civility pledges).
Our approach is to draw on the best scientific research to understand how we got into this condition, and how we can make systemic legal and electoral changes that can get us out.
To use this site, please begin by looking at our "areas for intervention" pages. If you want to dig deeper, check out our Blog, and our "academic resources" pages. If you want to get the word out to others, please see our "teaching and multimedia" pages.