Polarization and Civil Disagreement Conference: Panel #3 - Populism and Tribalism in American Life

Polarization and Civil Disagreement Conference: Panel #3 – Populism and Tribalism in American Life

our next panel is on populism and tribalism in American life I'm very glad as a personal matter to introduce my my mentor and longtime friend to moderate the panel James R stoner jr. he is the Herman Moysey professor in the Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University and also the director of the Eric vogelin Institute at LSU I'll mention two books he has written common-law Liberty rethinking American constitutionalism and common law and liberal theory Cooke Hobbes and the origins of American constitutionalism Jim is also a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute has collated multiple books with them one of them the thriving Society and his latest co-edited book is the political thought of the civil war co-edited with Allan Levene and Thomas W Merrill Jim well thank you very much Paul the title of our panel is populism and tribalism in American life a decade ago I don't think it would have occurred to anyone to assemble a panel on that topic or maybe even on either of the terms populism in American political life then would have been thought to be a panel about a historical movement in the late 19th century tribalism would have been a term greeted with perplexity at least if used in reference to the United States and yet those these two forces opposite to one another in some respects but in another respect twin enemies of American constitutionalism perhaps increasingly seem to define our political life we're told causing no small alarm to the Friends of the Constitution aggravated rather than alleviated by the alarm that populist and tribalists caused to one another I'll leave the definition of the terms and a more precise definition of what they mean in our current political condition to our distinguished panelists whom I'll now introduce and they'll speak in alphabetical order and I'll introduce it in the same moussa al carbee is a student in the ph.d program in sociology at Columbia University he's been an instructor in government and public service at the University of Arizona managed an academic consortium that studied conflict in the Middle East he's been and is a core member of the heterodox Academy you can see from his bio in the program that he has a wide range of publication outlets including many of the most prestigious of the public prints and his work has been cited by leading think tanks as well as the US Department of State and the Army sheekha Dalmiya is a senior analyst at The Reason Foundation a contributor to Bloomberg view and a columnist at the week and she's a frequent writer with a number of those same and some other public eight leading publications in England in the United States she won the 2009 Bastiat Prize for online journalism and was an award-winning editorial writer at the Detroit News she began her career with the publication or newspaper called the patriot in her native New Delhi India and she's written extensively on topics such as immigration income inequality and education reform Manu Mele is an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley where he majors in political science and minors in public policy in addition to traditional student extracurricular such as the debate team he found it and as CEO of a multi campus organization bridge USA which seeks to improve the political culture on campuses and he's raised over a half a million dollars for that enterprise he was a research intern last summer at the American Enterprise Institute and has worked on a team with the State Department last year a team based at the American Embassy in Pakistan on the ways of countering violent extremism finally Michael succored is visiting professor here at Arizona State this spring having just retired from a 20-year career as the Nancy Drew professor of political science at Notre Dame and that was after a 30-year career teaching at Carleton College author of a number of books on the political theory of Americans to tional ISM for example natural rights and the new republicanism natural rights Republic launching liberalism several books on Leo Strauss and much more he was the founding editor of the journal published by the University of Chicago Press American political thought and he has contributed many of his students to leading schools in the United States with no more ado let me turn the podium well speakers make speak from the podium if they choose and from the chairs if they choose so I will turn the microphone over to Moosa al Garvey alright thank you for having me it's great to be here in true Millennial fashion I have my notes on tablet here but uh we'll we'll get started so the talk my talk today is actually a little different than the talk I had originally planned for a couple weeks ago because it's touching on it's such an on some things that I've just been working on recently that are super relevant for this conference and and I think important for this discussion and the question the primary question that we'll be talking about today but I'll be talking about today is is education itself a key part of the problem that we're facing in America's broader culture today all right so I'll get started so an increasing share of jobs today require some form of higher education and as a result for most educational attainment is increasingly tied to people's life prospects and opportunities meanwhile a shockingly disproportionate number of national political leaders journalists media personalities and professors hail from a small band of elite schools the Ivy League the public Ivies like UC Berkeley or UVA elite private schools like MIT Stanford and CMC business leaders meanwhile are more likely to actually help from public universities like ASU and we can talk about that a little bit later as people are interested but the point is universities matter a lot for shaping America's public culture for better and worse most of us in this room are probably inclined to think for the better right for instance it's intuitive and comforting to believe that while the political preferences of others may be driven primarily by prejudices emotions superstition dogma ignorance etc the position of highly educated and highly intelligent voters are shaped by logic and the facts we make decisions based on a careful consideration of the issues we would readily change our minds if the facts were not on our side or if the situation evolves the faith that education produces just this type of citizen has been baked into the project of modern universities from the outset both in the Europe and the United States and over time we've seen great increases and how many of us take part in the enterprise of higher education the percent of Americans who have completed four years or more of college has grown nearly seven fold since 1940 illiteracy rates have plummeted we've seen we've actually seen consistent growths in Americans average IQ the so-called Flynn effect from the 1930s all the way through the 21st century in addition as mentioned before people have access to information on a skill unknown in human history before available in the palm of your hand at any time anywhere you know for a little low cost yet yet levels of political and civic ignorance have remained astonishingly stable since the 1930 when mass when mass survey research really kicked off we see increasing government dysfunction increased political and cultural polarization a breakdown of many key civil society organizations in our broader civil discourse growing distrust in major social institutions and with particularly pronounced polarization around universities expertise in the media we see declining trust in one another as mentioned before people are increasingly reluctant to marry dates befriend or even live next to people who hold different social political views from themselves now this correlation between increasing levels of education intelligence and availability of information with increased social dysfunction this correlation would have been virtually inconceivable to our enlightenment-era forebears right but it shouldn't be that surprising to us for instance we know the cognitive and behavioral science literature's which is the literature's that I'm most steeped in that those who are highly educated intelligent or rhetorically skilled tend to be significantly less likely than most to revise their beliefs or adjust their positions when the evidence when confronted with evidence that can contradicts their priors this is because in virtue of knowing more about the world of in virtue of being better at arguing they're just better equipped to punch holes and arguments or data that contradict their their priors or to make excuses for just sticking to their guns anyway and so they do similarly as mentioned before rather than serving as an objective base upon which agreements can be built evoking scientific studies or statistics in the context of socio-political arguments tends to just polarize people even more in fact people grow more polarized more politically polarized as their scientific literacy increases as their numeracy increases and even as their levels of reflectiveness increases they grow more politically polarized people with highly refined critical capacities typically to deploy them to scrutinize others hence those with higher education levels and higher levels of academic aptitude tend to be less attuned than most to ambigú to the ambiguity complexity uncertainty and limitations of their own knowledge and according to some study is actually less prone even less prone to innovative or creative thinking although they tend to be more politically engaged on average highly educated people tend to be less self-aware of their own social political preferences than most typically describing themselves as more left-wing than they actually seem to be their involvement is also much more likely to be oriented towards pragmatic and it's much less likely to be oriented towards pragmatic ends instead people with highly high levels of education tend to gravitate towards political hobby ISM and expressive voting that is engaging in political research and discourse and participation for the purposes of self aggrandizement entertainment or validating one's identity compared to the general public highly educated or intelligent people tend to be more ideological in their thinking more ideologically rigid more extreme in their ideological leanings they tend to be more politically partisan than most they tend to be more susceptible to partisan propaganda than most they tend to grow they're more likely to grow obsessed with the moral or political cause they're more likely to overreact to small shocks challenges or slights well they're less likely to be prejudiced against others on the basis of things like a race they tend to be more prejudiced against people who seem to think differently than they do and they often look down on people who have lower levels of education or who lacked credentials in some the biases and distortions which all people are susceptible to a lot of them actually seem to be far more pronounced among those who are highly educated or intelligent and so as education continues to expand unless changes are made to how we educate people we should expect some of these problems to actually grow worse and as this and so long as this expansion in education continues to be unevenly distributed we should also expect polarization around science expertise the media universities etc to also grow more ferocious as well this latter point is something that I'd be happy to elaborate on the discussion if there's interest but for right now I want to focus on a few practical steps that universities could take to be part of the solution to some of these trends right so one of the first things that could be done I think is to educate students more about things like cognitive biases motivated reasoning identity based reasoning etc and how to engage constructively across ideological lines and by this I don't mean what often passes for a diversity training which often fails to achieve its stated purpose and often generates and like increased animosity and blowback there's all sorts of research on diversity training programs in employment situations for instance and how they're typically ineffective instead what I'm proposing is that if students are made to understand but the same traits that predispose them towards success and academia those very same traits also make them more vulnerable to certain cognitive distortions and that the process of education itself can actually exacerbate these tendencies further if they're made aware of this they can be more aware and more careful in their thinking and interactions the successive approaches like cognitive behavioral therapies show that when people are sensitized to the way their thinking can go awry when they're given the tools to identify various cognitive distortions and when they're given practical strategies and techniques to mitigate them they can improve their thinking and adjust their behaviors and it's not perfect of course I mean we're never going to be able to completely device ourselves but we can get to a place where when we're confronted with something or someone that poses a profound challenge to our identity to our beliefs or our preferences rather than just reacting emotionally we can take a step back we can evaluate the situation we can maybe even change our approach or adjust our position we can keep the dialogue going and maybe grow or learn something even and so this is a kind of skill that if developed would would of course be useful in the university context but also in you know employment context and your personal relationships and of course in our broader civil society the second thing I think students really need to be taught you know right now and university students are really taught to hone their critical capacities at universities but what about their affirmative capacities right so put another way there's a big focus on identifying problems on criticizing and problematizing and deconstructing and highlighting differences but there's less focus on you know on coming up with practical solutions there's less on explaining what works and why it's good there's less on acknowledging what the people we engage with are right about there's less focus on building consensus through the things we share in common these are not skills that are prioritized in higher education today to our detriment and I want to be clear when I'm talking about refining people's affirmative capacities I'm not talking about undermining activism or legitimizing the status quo in fact it's it's actually absolutely essential for effective social change that we're able to understand what works in the prevailing order and how it works and why it works because otherwise you know efforts can be wasted interventions can end up doing a lot more harm than good understanding where you want to push and how to push and under what circumstances you push you can't get there by just looking at what's wrong with the prevailing order you also have to look about what's good about it because usually the prevailing order exists and persists for a reason and it's important to understand that moreover we know that building consensus around some kind of positive alternative is an essential ingredient for convincing people to support social change people tend to be willing to tolerate the status quo even a status quo that they really hate unless they just have something better that they actually like to rally behind instead that is we can criticize the prevailing order all day long and it just won't matter it won't make much of a difference unless we're also able to construct some something else to replace it with and so this leads to my final suggestion which is related we need to really Center a civic education as as a part of the curriculum again as things stand education seems to have virtually no effect on levels of political ignorance in America regardless of education level Americans tend to possess a very little knowledge about the political candidates or issues they're voting on or even a rudimentary understanding of civic institutions and processes so for instance most who graduate college cannot speak in meaningful detail about the different roles and responsibilities powers and limitations of the different branches of government or even the different levels let alone the different levels of government like how state local and federal governments relate to one another they have no idea specifically how does a bill get passed how does an initiative how does the ballot initiative get passed how do you run for office how do you build a grassroots movement around a cause and then leverage that movement into actual cultural or institutional change and this lack of awareness about what elected officials do what their capabilities are how they exercise their influence this leads to unrealistic expectations about what politicians can accomplish on the one hand then we see frustration cynicism and despair when politicians are unable to deliver the radical change that people sometimes expect when they vote for them and then on the other hand political races take on this apocalyptic character and this is one of the reasons why a lot of races I think take on this apocalyptic character is because we believe that somehow these elected that these elected officials have a lot more power than they do and so when the candidate that we don't want wins then they'll you know then they have the ability to lay everything to waste when in fact they often don't have that power um at the same time that we overestimate the effect of national representatives and national elections we tend to ignore state and local elections few of us you know few college graduates know who their state representatives are or even their governors in many cases they have even less knowledge about local or municipal government and the irony of course is that in many respects the state and local elections state and local ballot initiatives are highly consequential they often matter more in shaping one's day-to-day life than the national races do in fact state and local governments often can and do act as a bulwark against the policies that are passed on national level in a greater irony ones vote matters a lot more for in the state and local races as do one's donations and one's activism one stands a much better chance a much higher chance of being actually able to win office when they run in one of these races as opposed to the state or local level as opposed to the national and so in short I don't think it's a problem that universe like a lot of the rhetoric criticizing universities and and activism etc like the problem isn't that universities provoke students towards social justice or social activism the problem is that we get them all amped up on making a difference without providing them with the practical knowledge or skills to actually realize those aspirations and this is how you end up with these expressive all politics and virtues signaling in the widespread cynicism about the state of society because everyone thinks that change is necessary but untenable this is how you end up with the kind of ideological fundamentalism that pervades so many educated people today when you're trying to solve practical problems with real people in the real world there's less room for this kind of thing there's less room for this kind of nonsense because you have to build coalitions with people who are different values and interests from you by emphasizing superordinate goals and superordinate identities Van Jones has this great quote and one of his interviews ray says he's here like he often works on criminal justice reform and he's and he said I've never met a mother who was trying to get their son and of jail and said you know do everything you can as long as you don't have to work with any Republicans or you know compromise anything to Republicans right you have to make compromises you have to adjust your aims and your methods and your priorities in light of the circumstances on the ground these are the kinds of things that you have to do when you're engaged in practical politics and so that is by equipping students to better understand how their own thinking can go awry by building out their affirmative capacities alongside their critical capacities and by imbuing students with greater civic knowledge universities can help improve America's political culture and the vitality of our social institutions they can undermine tribalism obviate the appeal of toxic forms of populism and better live up to their founding aspirations Thanks thank you all for coming and thanks for having me here we were asked to offer some solutions to the problem of tribalism and populism and I don't have a solution I don't have a solution but I do have a modest or maybe and a modest suggestion on what we shouldn't do perhaps but allow me to start on a biographical note I left my native India and arrived in Louisiana on a cold winter night in December 1985 to study journalism in the journalism program at Louisiana State University a very fine school that became finer after I left and Jim stoner joined there I took a class in media ethics by a true Southern gentleman named John Calhoun Merrill professor Merrill was something of a libertarian and a First Amendment absolutist and he sensed that I was perhaps a natural fit for his tribe I was bolting from an Indian from India a fabian socialist country after all and I had some Milton Friedman and iron Rand under my belt and I think my questions in class gave me away so he took me under his wing and introduced me to other great white males John Locke John Stuart Mill Joseph Schumpeter called Papa FA Hyack now the mid-eighties were of course the tail end of the Ronald Reagan's term the conservative president who in stark contrast to the current occupant in the White House talked about America as a shining city on the hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere it was also the beginning of the identity politics of the left but when I met professor Merrill the times were still innocent the left hand the odds yet started telling me to look at myself as a racial minority and a woman whose advancement in her adopted country would be stamped stymied by rampant racism sexism and misogyny and the right hadn't yet started telling me that I was a cultural and economic threat to its way of life that if I put a hyphen in my identity as my previous immigrants every previous immigrant group had done I'd be an invader signaling my divided loyalties rather than simply an attachment to my birth culture as another Louisiana and Bobby Jindal has famously lectured this was not a thought that seemed to have occurred to Professor Muriel a man ironically named after a fierce defender of slavery even though I as an off-the-boat Indian with little money for new clothes and lots of homesickness often showed up in class in a salwar and a dot on my forehead clearly America today is not the America I arrived in both the left and the right are in a darker place pushing their own form of tribal politics both of which are a threat to America's liberal democracy no doubt the left successes and efforts to silence reasonable debate through political correctness have spawned the current backlash on the right however even though even though the left got the ball rolling its minority identity politics in the end is not as dangerous as the majority identity politics I dent 'ti politics as no nationalism of the right or so I'm going to argue I agree with conservatives like Jonah Goldberg and centrist like Francis Fukuyama that the antidote to the left's mishegoss and the rights reactionary turn is a restoration of civic nationalism patriotism of liberal democratic principles that can once again subsea the narrower tribal identities on both sides and by the combine the country together in a broader creedal identity however I don't agree that this requires pushing towards a more culturally and socially homogeneous America that I'll argue will only heighten the risk of majoritarian tyranny in fact I think we need the opposite a redoubling of the commitment to pluralistic or in modern parlance but the diversity project that James Madison said was the most effective bulwark against a liberalism and J cost can tell me how full of it I am later but for now I'll go on the right shouldn't ki shouldn't keep treating diversity as a dirty word because the left has sullied it so much there is no doubt that America has made very great strides in undoing the legacy of slavery and other justices in justices as the right points out however it's also true that old biases and arrangements are still baked into existing social norms and power structures as the Left points out black lives matter might have its successes but it's hardly wrong when it demands body cameras on police officers to deter rampant harassment nor is the me2 movement of base and demanding a rethinking of lingering mad meaner madman era attitudes in the workplace nor is it unreasonable that AI diverse America would like Hollywood to reflect diversity and tell diverse stories that may yet have a broad appeal there is no reason a superhero cannot be black indeed it was inevitable that having one basic rights minority is striving to find their place in mainstream America or women joining the workforce in mass would force a reckoning with old ways so the left's basic project is understandable the trouble of course is its means its methods in its eagerness to overcome these inherently intractable problems in one fell swoop rather than incrementally and piecemeal it has convinced itself that liberal democratic principles free speech do you process presumption of innocence and the rejection of all notions of collective guilt are actually white patriarchal inventions that are interfering with its quest for justice rather than aiding it but the left side entity politics is an internally incoherent and self undermining movement so that ultimately it will have to rediscover these principles if it wants to advance its agenda or perish the left's main problem is that it is trying to knit together very disparate groups that have any claim to oppression on account of race gender sexual orientation or religion now the underlying underlying assumption is that the world can be neatly divided into persecutors and persecuted but this discrete binary is to the left is to use the left's own lingo a social construct that has actually little bearing in reality victims on one dimension can also be victimized as on another women who are victims of patriarchy can also be homophobes racists Islamophobes anti-semites no one's group membership tells you anything about their guilt or innocence in specific circumstances to try and use such membership as a way to dispense justice will only create a whole new slew of victims and generate pushback including from its own ranks which is already happening the other problem with identity politics is that it treats each individual as if he or she has a singular identity around a singular interest but the fact is that each of us is a sum total of multiple identities and multiple interests that sometimes collide and sometimes converge with those of others each one of us contains multitudes as Walt Whitman said in the absence of a unifying experience of massive oppression on one mentioned such as slavery segregation lack of franchise it isn't possible to ignore these inner multitudes and develop a single coherent movement around a single goal just look at the women's March it studiously assembled a slate of readers leaders to represent every color of the rainbow but that calculated diversity made it impossible for them to agree on an agenda its minority members could not get along with the white women who hadn't experienced their adversity the white feminists couldn't understand how their gender didn't qualify them as proud second-class citizens every every bit as much as their minority sisters and then there was a tension between Muslim and Jewish leaders the last straw will revelations that the March is black and black and Palestinian leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour were enthusiastic admirers of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and anti-semite homophobe and remarkably an unabashed misogynist how is it possible that feminist leaders would possibly have anything to do with the retrograde retrograde peddler of patriarchy because their concerns as a Muslim and a black Trump their concerns as women in unifying everyone behind a March if unifying everyone behind a march is hard unifying everyone around a political agenda for electoral successes even harder under identity politics of the left the predicament of the Democrat the predicament of the Democrats in Virginia they are facing a decision as to whether to fire accused racists or an accused sexual molesters its instance it shows that the game of identity politics requires such a high level of purity on so many dimensions that it becomes extremely difficult to find one leader who can please everyone ultimately identity politics self destructs by devouring its own as mark Lilla has noted the left side entity politics can't win elections it can only lose them so the left side entity politics chained danger is limited because it's self-destructiveness makes a weirdly self-correcting although whether it can come to its senses before the next elections is anybody's guess majority identity politics does not suffer from the same inner contradictions on the other hand the right does not need to pull together multiple unwieldy tries with disparate interests to advance its goals it has enough members in one tribe with overlapping identities of race and religion to launch a coherent and credible populist movement as Trump has shown if tribal politics becomes the game in America the rights mana tribalism is much more powerful and dangerous than the left's multi tribalism Yann Werner Mueller has brilliantly pointed out that populations real brief isn't with elitism but pluralism so even though a populist Democrat demagogue demagogue I'm sorry claims to represent the people he does not mean all the people but only the real people who back him he makes it morally acceptable to exclude the others from the state's protection and patronage Trump Mueller notes has made many Americans see themselves as part of a white identity movement Christian whites are the in-group and who are members of the out-group Hispanics and Mexicans Muslims portions of the media who are really the enemy of the people and immigrants not just undocumented ones but even legal ones from shithole countries now what are the dangers of this movement the country was a model of calm in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 because President Bush avoided even a hint of collective punishment to the contrary in fact he went to a mosque and prayed for peace this is in sharp contrast to say a country like India where Hindu mobs in 1984 killed thousands of Sikhs in a mini program and in 2002 an equal number of Muslims in Trump's America it's an open question as to whether an aggrieved majority fed a steady diet of suspicions of the other would do in the event of another terrorist attack when minority identity politics over reaches it lamentably forces Chris chance to bake cakes for gays when a majority united by ethno nationalist fashions does so mass violence is not off-limits also a majoritarian identity Pollock's politics isn't self-immolating it is self-perpetuating a majority by virtue of its numbers always faces the temptation of gaining an advantage by weakening the constitutional limits on its powers and imposing its will on others anything that strengthens the possibility of a permanent majority therefore is bad and from the standpoint of our constitutional and economic liberties and anything that weakens it is arguably good that's why I think that the emerging consensus on the right left and center among thinkers as diverse as jonah goldberg andrew sullivan and frank Fukuyama that America needs to refocus on social cohesion instead of diversity and rethink things like immigration is backwards Sullivan in a recent piece maintained that immigration as has undercut the national myth shared icons and a common pseudo ethnic ethnicity that bound America together once upon a time ironically however in the same article that Sullivan Sullivan also says without any sense of contradiction that the sharp fault line that was created between newly freed blacks and whites after civil war was diluted by a myriad other ethnic loyalties generated by the wave of European immigrants at that time in other words immigrants who weren't yet initiated in the polarized black-white north/south divide could see beyond America's sins to its promise of a better life indeed immigrants may not arrive as partisans of limited government but their starry eyes compensate for the gratitude deficit among native population rejuvenating America's sense of its Worth and purpose you won't find too many foreign-born or even children or foreign-born among the ranks of anti-fur and above all there is a Madisonian benefit of immigration as a bulwark against majority tyranny in the Federalist 10 and 51 Madison arguing that tutoring the majority in the gospel of liberty would not be sufficient to persuade it to abandon the temptation of using the strong arm of government to advance its interests nor would efforts to give every citizen the same opinion by creating a homogeneous society work or depending on an enlightened statesman the solution in his view was to extend the sphere enlarge the Republic size and population in order to multiply the factions to avoid the formation of a permanent majority Lord Acton went even further and explicitly emphasized the need for diverse national ''tis in his essay on nationalism he notes Liberty provokes diversity and diversity preserves Liberty the intolerance of social freedom which is natural to absolutism is sure to find a corrective in the National diversities which no other force can so efficiently provide the left has badly overplayed its hand by insisting on a forced program of diversity the rights program of forced homogeneity may be equally bad you can eliminate can't really eliminate the pluribus and replace replace it with universe in e pluribus unum and still maintain a long strong liberal democracy [Applause] um so Thank You sheikah and Thank You Musa for your remarks first I want to say that I can confidently assert that I'm the most under qualified person at this panel given that I don't have a college degree yet but I promise that I do serve a purpose and when I when I found out that Carroll was in Seattle we're hosting a conference on polarization of confronting a civic crisis in America's college campuses I said you ought to have some type of college student representing the people that go to college campuses and that are a victim of the crisis so that's me justifying why I'm on this panel um I want to start off by thanking Carroll I want to thank bridge ASU which is one of the chapter organizations of the organization that I helped found bridge USA they've done a tremendous job on the college campus on especially at ASU furthering schedule's mission from a student perspective and finally I want to thank my girlfriend Reece and her roommates they've saved me a lot of money this weekend by providing me a place to stay and that's important as a college student so let me first give you a overview of where I'm headed first I want to give you the student perspective what are students thinking I'm a junior at UC Berkeley which means that I swear I'm in the thick of it and I know exactly when you know when the news and and the choppers come to your campus to profile protests I know what it feels like and I know how it impacts the classroom and so I want to give you that picture what does it feel like that anecdotal evidence second I want to give you the you know link that to sort of what are the implications what's the significance of what's happening at universities moves have sort of outlined you know the problem from a university perspective but I want to give it from a student activist point of view and then the last point is sort of linking that to how we think about the future of democracy everyone always says I'm so hopeful the youth the youth are coming but where's the investment in the youth so that's what I'm here to discuss at the end so I want to start with a personal story on February 2nd 20 19 20 sorry 2017 I was I was a freshman UC Berkeley's campus and suddenly I hear choppers and I hear like flames and I hear protests and I hear people shouting and before this moment I'd never thought politics was a distant esoteric entity it's you know it's it's in the news it doesn't it's never affected me so I go out of my dorm me and my friends go to Sproul Plaza and there I we literally see parts of the campus on fire and now I'm on the left but when the liberal feels threatened on a college campus you know there's a problem right usually you hear from the right but but I swear it's a problem and what happened was my lien appleís which many of you may have heard of he's a prominent conservative provocateur he was invited to college campus by their College Republicans and never in my in my short political career of two years that I ever expect that American democracy would get to a point where there's violence because of speech I'm sure she could can relate I've got to India all the time now to talk about democracy and I you know you expect this to be in adolescence democracy but not in the United States on a college campus for God's sake so there's a problem and I saw total it was a war zone when you think about college campuses you don't expect you know 150 police in riot gear and I felt sadness I felt hopelessness but worst of all and this is the feeling that most college students feel is discontent and disillusionment with American democracy and when you lose hope in the institution that undergirds your civilization and then you think about what's going on in the future these are the kids that are gonna take your leadership there's a problem now this is this is not a UC Berkeley problem this is reflective of a broader toxic campus political culture this is also just reflective of what's going on nationally bridge USA the organization that I helped found right after that Maile Annapolis incident I helped found the Berkeley chapter we spent 25 college campuses and on every single college campus there's a problem whether it hits the news or not it's an issue just yesterday a conservative activist on Berkeley's campus my team just messaged me they wanted the press release they said a conservative active earth Louisiana just got punched in the face and for for expressing and he was Turning Point USA which is controversial but he got punched in the face and it helps it asks you you know what's going on now there's some hope in all of this when Miley innopolis happened UC berkeley's administration which I'm in close contact with now on a regular basis was timid in their response they were not critical they were scared to be critical two years later when this conservative activists the other day got punched they came out full guns blazing shut down the story and said we will go after the person who punched him so something changed and what changed was student pushback at the end of the day any institution that you try to change top-down change is important but bottom-up grassroots were the students the young people are involved until it doesn't come from them you're not going to achieve that sort of lasting progress and I test that to some of the work that my colleagues and friends did over the past two years but also to you know the university respecting and giving us the voice and then also to committed efforts by students to reach conferences like this to have the views to express that there's a problem we need to fix it now what what's the implication of campus polarization why does it matter you know college campuses they've reflect I think about 180 200 thousand students probably or that really make an impact why is that matter now I think that there's three reasons for this so the first and most important but the most frightening issue is that campus polarization partisanship creates political apathy as I said in the beginning seeing what happened as a result of Milo it caused me to be disillusioned with with our institutions and when you have young people disillusioned with your institutions it causes two things one they either give up and choose computer science and don't engage in politics which is which is terrible because it creates a vicious cycle democracies as good as what we put into it and if there's not much being put into it your institutions are gonna fail or the second issue is that they respond to alternative forms of governance what's frightening is that on a lot of college campuses young people and faculty like our you know they favor authoritarianism which which is shocking especially from someone that comes from India that that's shocking that someone would favor authoritarianism over democracy but then you go and you see and it makes sense Congress has not passed a major piece of legislation that is bipartisan that truly creates change in society in the past five years that college students can you know feel there's there's there's debt our government can't fix things a president is elected that does not support the rights of undocumented students on college campuses it makes sense now the second reason why campus polarization really matters and why partisanship is is a bad thing is you have the politicization of intellect and I'm sure Musa and a lot of the academics in the audience can relate to this academia before Donald Trump and even even honestly frankly before it's sort of partisanship really came to the news when we see it now right being discussed as a problem it's academia was seen as a vehicle to create more knowledge to add a sense of objectivity and to buttress facts that exist right that we all agree on to provide and corroborate objectivity now academia in many spaces and in many universities is being used for political means you're politicizing the intellectual knowledge that's being produced in many campuses and that's really damning for journalists when they go and question the President and say these are the facts because if University and college campuses are not able to support and extend upon the facts then you have no objective basis for reality and the third big issue and problem with campus polarization and why it matters is that you reinforce partisan labels from a young age now moose explained that you know the more educated you get the more partisan and the more ideologically aligned you become which means that there's hope because I don't have a college degree yet but you know it it shows students that the only possible outcomes in democracy are you either become a Democrat or a Republican and if you don't fit you just engage politics so that militarize 'as the labels that we're trying to to get rid of that we're trying to defeat now there's there's a problem there in terms of how academic institutions are operating and how students feel on college campuses but i think that there's a solution and and and it's not it's not a surefire solution but i think that there's ways to alleviate the problem and i think that it's in three parts the the first part is that we must protect and advance the norms of democracy on college campuses so norms like ideological diversity core principles that universities can respect and core principles that define learning now once you advocate and protect those norms you must enact those norms that's step two equipping students as you said civic education equipping students with the skills of responsible discourse constructive disagreement you know students don't not have disagree with one another when you go when you go to college campus and you're like you know you you meet someone on Sproul Plaza which is the the main area at Berkeley and UC students engaging in discussion it's either they agree with one another or they go the opposite way or they start shouting at each other if you don't teach a generation how to disagree constructively you've got a problem and now I'm not saying that this is reflective of all students that's the hope the hope is that there's only a minority of students and campus elites that act this way but they are given the megaphone they control what's happening what the narrative is and so the the majority the the people that are committed to you know enacting these norms into enforcing ideological diversity those people need to be equipped and those people need to be louder and so I hope that conferences like this assure that and the third solution is the third step of this solution is that once you've advocated the norms you've enacted the norm you need to have provide the spaces for to see those norms in action to see what ideological diversity looks like what does it mean to be diverse ideologically and what does it mean to disagree with one another in a constructive manner so the organization that I helped found and there's organizations like this all over the place for example our keynote speaker today mr. mr. rauch his organization better angels does the exact same thing they we essentially go around to college campuses when we construct spaces for constructive dialogue and to provide them norms for how discussions must occur and then you've repeat that and you practice it and that's how you show that there's hope and democracy and that it's possible now I want to conclude by providing a paradigm or framework for how we should approach the problem of college campuses and to really prioritize it because you know if you go to a congressman or you go to a senator and you say hey look my campus is polarized give me some money to fix it they're gonna say no I have to get reelected first but there's a way to really make this a significant issue and that's about thinking about the future of democracy as I started off in the beginning when you ask what investments are we making the future leadership are we training the youth of today to enact the norms that we hope to see I don't think that it's really happening at the degree that it must be happening and and the big problem is for example if you look across the audience the the people that we need to be speaking to when it comes to the people that need to be enacting these norms we don't see a lot of those people and those people need to be engaged so I think that we need to start investing the future of democracy we need to stop thinking about the problems in the now polarization and tribalism these are cyclical phenomena if the path the panel before us showed that this is this has been occurring since 1790 which means that the problem is probably going to exist in the future when you have a democracy where people are passionate about their ideas obviously you'll see bitter disagreement in the future as well so let's stop being reactive to the problem and let's be proactive let's preempt the issue and let's start training those leaders to affect change in the positive manner that we hope to see so let's be proactive by investing the leaders of tomorrow let's start improving the campus political culture in a way that shows that this is what democracy looks like when it works and finally let's begin by inculcating the democratic norms we need to insure our American Way of life 25 years into the future thank you so much I'd like to be in as other panelists have done by thanking the sponsors of this program Jim for introduction Paul for his leadership of this scheduled program Adam for his sub leadership or secondarily whatever it is you do associate leadership Carol for all her work putting this program together and the whole schedule organization I'm grateful to be invited here to rub shoulders with so many distinguished people many of whom are old friends some of whom I think are going to become new friends so it's great to be here the only drawback is we were we were we were lured to Arizona for this semester because my wife and I are visiting scholars here this semester and we were promised Arizona whether the Arizona experience and I had I had visions of sitting by the pool with my dangling in there and thinking about thinking about things like tribalism and populism but you'll have to settle it with what you got because that's all that Arizona gave us so so to begin with when we think about populism and tribalism and suchlike things today it's very hard not to think about Donald Trump his name has come up several times already and I'm going to mention it maybe one or two more times myself but in any in in my in my comments I would like to do something else I'd like to focus my comments away from mr. Trump and in a different direction what I would like to do is to look back to an earlier about with populism in America looking at some of the themes from our previous panel and to look also to some guidance or some guidance to an earlier scholar of populism and hope that we can get some insights from this Koller and from the situation that can take us to a somewhat more abstract level of thinking about populism etc then focusing on Trump where the problems of today particularly problematic for four of us I think they're more on this panel than any of the others we have been sworn to strict obedience to time a certain time diet and I know myself I'm somebody who if I ad lib I consume too many time calories and never get to finish whatever it is I wanted to do and start tart to him you know it's like the big guy in the middle of the airplane he's taking too much room and that gets to be that gets to be my problem so anyway so I'd like to do is I've got a script I'm going to stick fairly close to it so in order to achieve a somewhat larger perspective on this issue or at least a more theoretical perspective I think I should say I want to consult that well-known and eminent scholar of American politics Abraham Lincoln now in 1838 in the aftermath of the Jacksonian populist moment lincoln addressed the game of speech called the perpetuation of our political institutions and he's somewhat surprisingly asserted that our democratic institutions were indeed in peril and the danger he thought derived from a growing tendency toward mob violence this violence which he considered very bad in itself was yet worse in its cascading effects so as he analyzed that mobs encouraged those who tend toward lawlessness in their hearts to become lawless in practice or in action the activities of the lawless in practice in turn lead to the disaffection from government of those who are lawful in their hearts who want to be lawful and that Lee this disaffection of the lawful from in their lawful out sorry of the lawful from my violence dis disaffection leads to disaffection from government and and the the turn away lack of loyalty of those who wish for stable rule of law the unleashing of the of some of this and the sorry the unleashing of the mobs and the disaffection of the others produces a general weakening of the government and a loosening of bonds of loyalty to the those institutions that allegedly run our society and that in turn leads to a loss of faith in the rule of law and this Lincoln thought this whole mechanism leads to great peril for the political health of this democracy so what then are we to make sense of that first set of mount that first group the mobs who set off this whole chain of decay now many readers come away from this speech by Lincoln with the idea that he is concerned with mobs per se that is not in fact the case his interest is in a particular kind of mob action which he describes as follows the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgments of Courts and the worst and savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice it is not mob violence of the garden-variety sort but the sort of mob action he calls mob law which is to say mob actions that substitute for regular and proper legal action by regular and proper governmental authorities he is concerned with the tendency of the people to take the law into their own hands but in America the idea of the people exercising political power is not so strange because in America we think of our system as one based on popular sovereignty that is to say the idea that the source of all governmental power is the people and that the ultimate possessors of political power are the people but at the same time that the nation understands itself as a popular sovereignty based a government as a regime that possesses that possesses its legitimacy from the people at the same time it also possesses a set of governmental institutions which according to that sainted other analysts from an earlier period James Madison which derived very firmly from the people their source of legitimacy but just as firmly were not the people themselves at one place in the Federalist Madison emphasized that the people in their collective capacity were wholly excluded from governance Madison and most of the other founders were in a complex position of affirming the people as the source of authority but denying that the people as such were fit instruments for wielding that authority that authority that indeed believed belonged to them as Madison says at another place in the Federalist if all the Athenians were Socrates the Athenian assembly would still be a mob so the founders made a commitment to be governed by officials acting under the structures and powers of offices as established by the Constitution the commitment to the Constitution and its shaping of political offices according to the law of the Constitution was what American constitutionalism meant the chief aim of this arrangement is to procure rule of law with to use tocqueville's phrase its forms and formalities now so direct governmental action by the people was not what the American constitutional system was about even though the source of governmental power was this very same people for this kind of constitutional system to work properly the people must accept both the limitations upon them and the responsibilities for holding governor's accountable remaining with them now Lincoln was witnessing in the late 1830s a situation where the dividing line between popular sovereignty and constitutionalism was breaking down we can label that kind of breakdown populism that is to say the people attempting to exercise governmental power more directly than the systems constitutionalism wood or aims to allow them lincoln's analysis helps us to a more precise way to define populism than the pundits normally offer it also gives a way to understand the periodic outbreaks of populism though American constitutionalism depends on the people keeping to their place in the system Lincoln shows that there is a constant temptation toward populism in this regime based on popular sovereignty because looked at philosophically populism is merely the people taking directly into their own hands what the Constitution has placed in other hands but which after all truly belongs to the people there is a natural tendency for the people to swing periodically toward populism so what Lincoln looks to with dismay can also be described as a movement toward more direct democracy given the connection between popular sovereignty and populism it may not surprise you as much as it when Lincoln reverses course and almost defends the mobs if you haven't read this read the speech yet you'll be surprised by what I'm going to quote from it the example of mob violence that he spent most time on in his speech was an episode in Mississippi where the mobs turned first against gamblers who had recently been licensed by the state legislature to ply their trade and he very strikingly says of these gamblers he says abstractly considered hanging of the gamblers was of little consequence they constitute a position of the popular sorry a portion of the population that is worse than useless in any community and their death is never a matter of reasonable regret with anyone I told you now judging solely on what the mob intended in taking the law into his own hands Lincoln gives us the belief that their action was in fact just and aimed at the public good these mobs act in the name of justice rather than lawlessness or an aspiration to self enrichment to a degree he vindicates the mobs but he holds to his view that through their liberation of political action from the constraints of law they threaten injustice through the activation of passion and hot judgement rather than the more rational and cooler passions as encouraged by regular lawful constitutional action but the question lingers why does populism occasionally break through the constitutional layering of legal garel governmental order standing between popular sovereignty and the people themselves as Lincoln tells his story of the Mississippi gamblers two facts stand out first despite the fact that gamblers are useless or even pernicious the Mississippi legislature had legalized the profession only a year before the mob mobilised Mississippians then as now were mostly Baptists and Baptists are well known for their antipathy even hostility to gambling now why might legislature have license licensed and activity gambling that went so contrary to the moral sensibilities and policy preferences of their constituents when this occurs there's often a special explanation some special benefit is accruing to the decision-makers from those interests who are specially benefited in the 19th century Elise Joanne if this is correct in the 19th century this was often outright bribery that was the word they used bribery today it is things like campaign contributions in today's parlance this is called the swamp now there are moments in other words when the people wish to take back their sovereign power moments when they believe their constitutional institutions are out of touch with them and their moral sensibilities Lincoln thus points us to the what when and the why of periodic periodic outbursts of populism that analysis should lead us to expect that so long as the nation is grounded in popular sovereignty plus constitutionalism we can expect resurgent populism his cure is in part to keep cool populism is part of our political order and it should be expected but it is also a peril the best regime sorry the best response to which is to cherish and cling to the Constitution and the rule of law here lies the opening I think and the and the need for the kind of civic education the scheduled program and the bridge program and others we could think of aspire to provide let us all do our part in fostering it thank you well thank you to the panelists for those well thought through remarks and especially for keeping to the time so we have plenty of time for questions who'd like to begin yes sir hello my question is am I the only black boxes in this room actually the question was so transparent but I think you guys are smart enough to give it a shot anyway ah what role does the Supreme Court and Supreme Court decisions play in today's partisanship in polarization in America that role doesn't just begin yesterday or when Kavanaugh was affirmed or anything of that sort I would trace the current developments the current set of developments which we see the fruits of now actually back to say 1973 at least I think the the roe v wade decision is decisive in this but we could look back further to the civil rights decisions that the court made and I think one of the things we see is that the courts role here has been rather ambiguous to say the least because I think we'd say well many of the things the court did I think most of us would agree were good things not not everybody in the room I know will agree with everything that the court did but one of the things that the court did was to put set in motion the kind of situation that I tried to describe that Lincoln was talking about when he talked about when he took note of the fact that the legislature had validated legitimated and licensed a group a commune in the community that the people in the community didn't want to have validated and people in the country and to feel that the court was not representing them but was an elite body making decisions which might or might not agree with their moral sensibilities and it led I think to this kind of populist development that Lincoln was trying to analyze so I'm most of the way to black marks this race on black and I'm a sociologist and our and our discipline is like heavily heavily based on the work of Marx so I guess the only I guess the only thing that that I would I would add is that what's one thing that's been striking at least in terms of public opinion historically the like even as faith in other public institutions has declined say Congress or the White House or or you know the media wax and wanes etc the Americans have traditionally at least trusted the Supreme Court they've they have you know traditionally through polling anyway suggests that they have typically viewed the courts as like fair and objective and and or you know at least relative to the rest of the social institutions that we have to to select from and one thing that that we've been seeing at least in some of the immediate polling after Kavanaugh etc is that you are even seeing though increasing polarization there so you know for instance democratic-leaning voters now are much less likely to express trust in the Supreme Court or in the fairness of the Supreme Court review the Supreme Court is legitimate than they were previously and there's a not insignificant chance especially if Trump is reelected that he could actually you know get two or two or more appointments over the course of his next term or maybe even another appointment or over the course of this term hopefully not but so I expect that that could grow worse and and I and I guess that what I find is is that there there's not a lot of institutions left then that the public seems to have robust trust in I mean one of it's the military one of them would be maybe science and an abstract sense not social science and yeah so uh so I do find that I'm concerning and I guess that's all I have to say about that so I'm not colored if that counts and I actually work what's color too and I did work for a Marxist newspaper Patriot that Jim story mentioned was card-carrying Marxist paper but to your question I mean you know if you set aside the really sexy decisions that the Supreme Court has made like roe v wade or gay rights I mean by and large the court I think is a conservative force in the country in that it follows public opinion rather than shapes public opinion and I'll just give you one example of one of the cases that I covered which was you know the University of Michigan affirmative action case Bollinger versus grads and I actually wrote a piece for the Weekly Standard or at that time called the diversity defense where I was very critical of the University and I remember talking to a lot of the activists you know at the time on the left and one of the things that they know very calculated fashion they were doing was trying to show to the court where public opinion was on this and if you remember the even though the court affirmed what the University of Michigan was doing it was very mindful of the other side as well and Sandra Day O'Connor at that time said that well you know a formative action is okay for now but just for 25 more years and so the court by and large tries to do some kind of a balancing of public opinion because it doesn't want to get too far ahead my only addition to their answers would be that if if you ask young people that have only grown up with a court where the major battle that they see ins Cavanaugh that that is a big influence in shaping their trust in the court but also shaping their trust in past decisions and I think that when judicial institutions especially the Supreme Court are victim of skepticism especially by rising academics and rising leaders I think that's incredibly threatening for the for the future sake of the judicial system pick a fight with you guys terms of going back to things like the Dred Scott decision the police decision okay it's separate but an equal decision and that there's been a whole range in fact the you know the civil war cases out there don't wreck reconstruction a whole range of decisions over the history of the Supreme Court there have been just bleeding racism and that lets say that you know one Americans our trust in the decisions of the Supreme Court I didn't hold the thing during the civil rights movement after Brown and then anymore decisions where some states were still the schools were still segregated after 20 years so the this notion that you know I think I hate to call you up but you said Americans must Russ and I have some trust and super Supreme Court center effect for me I'm a skeptical person of right there soon or whatever okay and I don't trust you know I don't wanna call this red but one is this I question the notion that one must trust Supreme Court decisions and your notion and the notions of you guys that that's a healthy thing well thank you for your stating your opinion next question please Rosanna I'm glad to be here it's a very interesting panel and I have a question regarding what ought to be done so there is a problem with this divide with this polarization with this tribal ization of political discourse in that actually politicians who are in the midst of it often feel pressured to further this polarization to further this tribal ization and it is probably very difficult for a magnitude of them to think of an alternative way that would both improve or at least protect the high culture and high morale level of political discourse and at the same time be politically efficient be politically effective so it is difficult to be both moral good cultural and effective in politics would you have some pieces of advice on how to act on what to do on some recommendations to how a politician could be both effective and at the same time protect and advance the cause of high culture in political discourse and decrease this polarization decrease this polarization culture thank you thank you and and everyone doesn't have to answer just if something really really hit you yes so who wants to if someone wanted to pick that one up okay mana welcome so the only reason I think I'm fit just I have something to say on those questions because I have been interacting with a few politicians in the past couple of years as a young person asking them how they respond to their constituents and I think that you know the equation is you have the politician then you have their constituents and oftentimes we put a lot of pressure on the politician to act in a moral high-ground it way at the end of the day the politician also needs to make money right they need to get reelected which means that the equal amount of responsibility in my opinion I think also falls in the see and I think that the key aspect of that equation is that they respond to what's happening within their constituencies and obviously a lot of that can be influenced by gerrymandering and other electoral rules but at least in at least in counties for example where I'm from in the Bay Area where you know our representatives Barbara Lee she doesn't actually face that dilemma between being moral and holding the values of her district and being politically efficient and the reason why is because of the way the constituency responds to her and the way in which the constituency Corral's around a certain set of values and I think that the way you get at this problem and the way you get at improving the quality of constituents and how they respond and how they hold up hold their politicians specific values depends upon rules that are instituted in dividing districts and in influencing the way votes are cast one thing in and that's that there's this presumption I guess in the question there that that what the people that the people really don't like that if politicians decide to like really truly like lead on principle or follow their convictions or something that they'll be punished by the voters for that and and I think actually in many cases like voters are hungry for like authenticity they're hungry for someone who's going to to stand up even against even against them right like they they'll respect someone at times who doesn't do necessarily everything they want more than they will to someone who's constantly than a politician who seems to be constantly looking at the polls and deciding oh what should I do constantly tweaking and calculating like that usually generates contempt with the voters as we saw in 2016 for instance with the candidate that was nominated to the top of the ticket so I think that it's possible for politicians to just rip it if a politician refused to play that game they would probably do pretty well I mean this is in part what Trump did as refused to play that game I wish you know there are other games to be played other than the one he's playing but um but yeah so I guess I'll leave it at that thank you let's move along to the next question thank you very much thank you this is a wonderful panel which I very much appreciate it I'm a Brad Jackson from the Institute for Humane studies I want to begin with sort of the end of Lincoln's Lyceum speech where he suggests that what America needs is a civil religion of the law itself and connecting that to some of the other themes at the conference today we've heard about the need for a return to civil discourse but based on Teresa's work in particular a return to a ability to have civil contention and I'm wondering if Lincoln's guidance of a civil religion of law could help us in this regard because legal education is in particular about regularized contention and formalized contention learning how to argue on both sides are there aspects of Education within the legal Academy that could help us to move undergraduate education forward to help people learn how to have these conversations in a productive way so they can see both sides and how does that relate to a Lincoln's larger project of a civil religion of the law thank you thank you for you to start okay it seems to me that the Lincoln issue is a little more complicated than the question suggests so I would argue that if we did a really good analysis if we really looked at the speech that I was talking about this speech on the perpetuation of our political institutions carefully we would see that while Lincoln did voice an alleged solution of being a civil religion of respect of the law sort of speak obey the law in all respects and although I believe he believed in that as a desirable state of affairs I think he also shows us in the course of the speech why that's an impossible solution why that's not going to work so so there's that I don't think he was in fact serious about that as a solution don't think he sought his viable we also need to remember about Lincoln he did bring us the Civil War now he didn't bring us this I mean it's a good question of how he five minutes late anyway give us the two minute first yeah yeah I mean he didn't bring us he'd brought us to savour that is there was something or other his attempt to produce a civil solution to this problem did not actually succeeded doing so that's important and I think some of the things he did in fact did lead to that outcome wasn't just like an accidental outcome and my third I'll just make one last comment on this he actually did try to model a way of having a more successful politics he for example frequently would speak of the need not to demonize the opponent and he for the most part attempted to live up to that so he spoke many times about southerners and he didn't agree with all that they believed about he didn't believe in their policies but he didn't believe that we northerners who are against slavery were better human beings than they were he said things like we in their situation would act the way they do they and our situation would act the way we do and that goes a long way towards overcoming that somebody was talking earlier about character assassination and so on and so I think Lincoln modeled that extremely well next question please doctor I have a question to you regarding how you said that we must counter populism with an increased deference to the Constitution I can't help but wonder how valid this is and the current period concerning the increasing issue is a feeling rather that the system that the Democratic order itself is the part that's failing not necessarily the constitutional aspect of the order you know it's not that people are looking to two different kinds of democratic governance but rather different kinds of governments altogether hence the rise of the extremes so that's why how can this country defer to the Constitution if you guys still tied up with in the democratic order I live in a different world I guess because I still think people believe in democracy in America I mean I lived it for many years at Notre Dame where you know Oh God his heaven all's right with the world so it's not typical of everywhere I guess in America but I I'm not as I'm not as clear that we're on the brink of people being disaffected with democracy but I think people are not always thinking about what the requirements of democracy are so I myself nor Morenstein I gather I'm troubled by the declaration of a you know like a national emergency in order to achieve a policy goal that is obviously not that kind of national emergency and I wish more people were worried about that that's the sort of thing where people people cut a lot of slack that they shouldn't be cutting sometimes and that that's where I would say we really need to be there were linked when say there yeah pay attention to the Constitution what it requires I mean I think one of the problems is that you know we don't know how to lose anymore and I think you're the left sort of start got this going where it started emphasizing outcome based politics rather than just following the rules that it started first with you know affirmative action that it's not sufficient for universities to just have fair rules of admission that we need to you know aim for certain kind of proportional representation and so the rules went out of the out of the window and I think that politics is just sort of continuing that we don't now agree on the rules we need to play by whether there are constitutional rules or other kinds of procedural rules and politics we just need to go up for the outcome that were very lost your extent is responsible for our polarization and try polarization because now you know it's just brute force we don't agree on the rules so we just have to impose an outcome and by the way Lincoln did that a fair amount too just last question oh I just want to thank the panel my name is Desmond Kumi I major in business law with a minor in schedule unfortunately I only caught the tail end mr. Meals speech about but I caught the part about you being saying that we should be proactive about tribalism and selecting things forward and think about the future that's an idea that I really have an internship where I work with kids who work with their City Council's in order to collaborate and do things like this do you think it's possible to even generate such an atmosphere that's more collaborative and meaningful like as young as ages with an elementary school or would that be too risky because that affect the person the child came with childhood and stuff like that or can you actually see this flourish and prosper yeah I think that's a good question actually this speaks a little bit to mooses point about centering civic education and actually civic education does on D to be centered or emphasized at the college level and there's organizations that we work with for example I don't know if you've heard of JSA juniors something of America um forgive me that's where we work so they're a high school based organization and there's also organizations that are based at the middle school and elementary level that prioritize and teach children not only civic education but how to constructively engage one another and so we are often you know bridge and organizations like us that folks at the college level are oftentimes the end of the pipeline right you you you train a person throughout their childhood and then they enter and start something at the university level so you're absolutely right that stuff can start early and that's where we must start investing when I say invest in the future of democracy that's exactly what a lot of us I'm sorry well we've got about a minute so what can the family pretty much a parents and grandparents knew about that too like fund raising or look out for what organizations in slush like that perfect so that's nice alright so yes I work with an organization called heterodox Academy one of the things we do is promote constructive disagreement on campuses but one of the things that we've realized this we've tried to sort of move forward is some is like Manu said that if we're just starting to engage people by the time that they're in call it's it's pretty late in the game right there sort of patterns of behavior and interaction and stuff for our tea set I mean not completely set it's not hopeless or anything but it's a lot harder than if we intervene earlier in the process and so our co-founder Jonathan Haight one of his other initiatives that he helped launch is an initiative called let grow and one of the things that let grow does so so it was mentioned before that we don't really know how to how to disagree and lose anymore and that actually starts sort of in childhood right like kids a lot of times parents in the post 9/11 age and the post financial crisis age you know there's this there's this tendency to try to avoid conflict and to avoid stress for your children and to protect them and you know and and that's not helpful for teaching them to be robust in the face of difficulty to teach them how to interact without appealing to authorities to resolve issues to like sort it out amongst themselves they don't have unsupervised play time to just hash stuff out you know without an adult overseer adjudicating for them who's wrong who's right so these kinds of things giving kids more free play giving them more unsupervised play giving them just more freedom are like small things that can make a big difference in helping teach these are like the John hight and Greg Lukyanov have an article in The New York Times talking about how free play is like the laboratory for a democracy and I think it's um I think that's a beautiful thought and it's a and it's a it's an easy and literally fun way we can um try to make progress on some of these problems yes I grew up in Maryland and free play on the playground after first grade was the Civil War we would decide who was from North this last word to Professor Cruise despite that last comment please join me in thanking professor stoner and the panel [Applause]

2 thoughts on “Polarization and Civil Disagreement Conference: Panel #3 – Populism and Tribalism in American Life

  1. Great panel! We need more discussions like this. Furthermore, we need to develop both high school and college curriculum covering these topics.

  2. Shihka went right off the rails as soon as she decided to describe Trump voters as inherently racist. I'm sure Trumpism is hard to understand when you're on the outside looking in, but she really needs to try harder. Musa OTOH was great – and while I'd bet we disagree on politics, he has a much clearer understanding of our current political environment.

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