Americans are Conservative and Liberal

A Review of
Ideology in America (Authors: Christopher Ellis and James Stimson)

This is an interesting but difficult book. Well-argued via painstaking survey data analysis, Ellis and Stimson’s central thesis is that most people like liberal policies and solutions, and most people prefer conservative symbols. It’s not so obvious what anyone outside of political science research can do with this, but let’s think about it.

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Moral Foundations Theory and Ideological Tolerance

A Review of
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
(Author: Jonathan Haidt)

Understanding the deep psychology of liberal and conservative attitudes could help all of us to understand each other better and to cooperate constructively. That is why Jonathan Haidt’s work is so critically important.

The core of his approach, which he calls Moral Foundations Theory, has been to identify a small set of “foundations” or basic values that have social and political relevance:

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Populism in the Social Media Era

A Review of
The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (Author: Yascha Mounk)

Yascha Mounk explains that elites have too much power, and the populists are trying to oppose it by all possible means, even if it might mean authoritarian government and sweeping away of minority rights.

He enumerates modern decision-making institutions that exclude voter input:

  • bureaucratic agencies
  • central banks
  • the courts
  • international organizations/treaties

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