Overcoming tribalism on the Day After

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

In this weekend's Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Haidt and Ravi Iyer discuss how to get beyond the partisan tribalism that divides the nation:

Nearly half the country will . . . wake up deeply disappointed on the morning of Nov. 9, and many members of the losing side will think that America is doomed. Those on the winning side will feel relieved, but many will be shocked and disgusted that nearly half of their fellow citizens voted for the moral equivalent of the devil. The disgust expressed by both sides in this election is particularly worrisome because disgust dehumanizes its targets. That is why it is usually fostered by the perpetrators of genocide—disgust makes it easier for ordinary citizens to kill their neighbors.

In short, the day after this election is likely to be darker and more foreboding than the day after just about any U.S. election since 1860. Is it possible for Americans to forgive, accept and carry on working and living together?

We think that it is. After all, civility doesn't require consensus or the suspension of criticism. It is simply the ability to disagree productively with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. That can be hard to do when emotions run so high. But if we understand better the psychological causes of our current animosity, we can all take some simple steps to turn it down, free ourselves from hatred and make the next four years better for ourselves and the country.

Read the whole thing.

In a similar vein, Cass Sunstein suggests five books for liberals to read the help them better understand conservatives and libertarians. It's a good idea. Now someone needs to suggest five books the right should read to better understand the contemporary left.

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