Educating the Public on Evidence-based methods for improving inter-group civility.

Posts Tagged sorting

Are You a Self-Sorted Snob?

Increasingly we live in enclaves of the like-minded. This congregating, like gravity, seems natural enough but the case can and has been made that such a sorting is devastating for democracy.

And while we are used to hearing how liberals and conservatives occupy different galaxies this is not the sole way to discern the sorting. Charles Murray's Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010  returns the conversation to the question of class. Interesting, this, coming from a conservative libertarian. But then Murray's invocation of an "elite" more or less means uber-educated progressive, liberal. Affluent.

The gist: Murray argues that America's cultural and cognitive elite have puffed themselves up into such a bubble that they now float above the many…bear no relation to or understanding of the great mainstream, especially the white working class. More pointedly these elites, as is the tendency of an elite, are faring just swell while the lower class is floundering if not washed up. This is bad for the commonwealth. Is there still a commonwealth?

This PBS Newshour post from last year includes Murray's self-test to determine the density of your own cultural bubble. Can it be taken seriously? And then it's an open question on what, if anything, can or should be done. 

Occupy Elite Street?


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Ever Redder More Truly Blue: The Fate of States

Fred Hiatt laments the state of the states of the nation. We are out of sorts because we are in sorts.  The states' polarized takes on abortion, gays, and guns have us living in different worlds. Only a few purple states remain:

In 2012, only four (Florida, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina) were decided by five percentage points or fewer.

Disturbed though he be there is hope that attitudes and populations may shift:

The migration of foreign-born families into the heartland, for example, may help make immigration reform more achievable than it would be if immigrants were clustered only in traditional coastal cities. And, as Third Way’s Matt Bennett pointed out to me, polls show voters often are more moderate than their politicians, even in deep blue or bright red states.

[Compare this recent post   where I quote Samuel Abrams (via Bill Keller) to the effect that at the state level highly engaged elites are the polarizers.]

Hiatt doesn’t think redistricting will help the national elections so much:

And while congressional gerrymandering amplifies the effect of the division, even fair redistricting would not bridge the chasm, as Rob Richie explained in a Post op-ed last fall. (Richie’s solution: Create multi-member House districts, so that the minority party in any given region could elect at least one out of three legislators.)

[But then Thomas F. Schaller believes single-member districts are here to stay. The map itself is the problem.]

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