We have been living with the deteriorating social and political conditions associated with hyper-polarization for so long that it's tempting to conclude that, while disagreeable, these tensions don't present all that serious a threat. We can continue to live with them as we devote most of our attention to advancing our partisan interests. To quote Rudiger Dornbusch, "“...things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they could.” This applies to political conflict as well as the economic crises that were Dornbush's focus. Under this topic we will be adding posts that explain how things could, perhaps quite quickly, get much much worse — bad enough to overwhelm all of our other efforts to protect the partisan interests that are now our principal focus.
- Zach Elwood on the Belief that "Polarization is not the Problem" Polarization is hurting both sides, and both sides should be concerned about reducing it if they want to achieve any of the high-priority goals. - August 28, 2023
- Heidi Burgess and Guy Burgess: Escalation is the Most Dangerous Force on the Planet. But We Continue to Drive It? - Driven by many interacting feedback loops, escalation can get out of control quickly--leading to violence or even worse. - May 22, 2023
- Kevin Clements' "Authoritarian Populism and Atavistic Nationalism: 21st Century Challenges to Peacebuilding and Development" -- Are liberal, democratic capitalist states operating under the rule of law capable of meeting the economic, welfare, and identity needs of citizens in the 21st century? If not, what can? - March 14
- Matt Legge: When Polarization is Beneficial -- Issue polarization can help people come closer to understanding "the truth" about controversial events or issues. How information is presented to parties in conflicts makes a big difference to the quality of the conflict that ensues. -- Dec. 6, 2022
- Is Polarization Good or Bad? -- Rising heat is not necessarily bad--it shows changes are needed. But we need to pursue those changes constructively, as attempts to overpower or destroy the other will also destroy ourselves.
- Kevin Clements et al: The Toda Peace Institute's Conversations on the Subversion of Democracies in the 21st Century -- Democracy is backsliding around the world, driven by polarization, attacks on democratic fundamentals by duly-elected "democratic" leaders, and clandestine, insidious incremental changes.
- Summary of Bill Donohue's "A Framework for Understanding Polarizing Language" -- Polarizing language demonstrates features that are readily identifiable. Can such warnings can be heard and action taken to enable people to shift from violence to problem solving before it's too late?
- Richard Rubenstein: Talking Sense about "the Next American Civil War" -- We should work to avoid inflaming the “all or nothing” consciousness that often leads in the direction of civil violence, and focus, instead, on our real enemy--the capitalist structure of wealth and power.
- James Adams: A Cautionary Tale for a Polarizing America and the World—An excerpted version of James Adams's reflection on the similarities between the United States and war-torn and post-war countries abroad where he has served as a peacebuilder.
- Peter Adler: COVID Consequences: Slouching Toward Civil War -- A report on a poll regarding likelihood of civil war in America, and what that means for conflict resolution work.
- Peter Adler: Defiance at Duck Springs -- The world is made of stories, and good stories accumulate into larger narratives and make the world’s history what it is, and what it could be. Here's a story we should learn from before it becomes true.
- Peter Adler: COVID Consequences: Slouching Toward Civil War -- A report on a poll regarding likelihood of civil war in America, and what that means for conflict resolution work. (Note this was published on January 26, 2022, on our earlier blog, but it fits here so we are reposting it here)
- From Chris Honeyman: Statement of J. Michael Luttig to the United States House Select Committee on the January 6, 2021 Attack on the United -- Luttig asserts that America is at war with itself and if its leaders do not quickly develop the moral courage to make peace, America is doomed. -- Jun 25, 2022
- We Must Break the Logic of War Now--Before We Get World War III -- As we embrace every effort to end the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine today, we must seize this moment for what it is: our last best chance to prevent even greater tragedy tomorrow. -- Apr 17, 2022
- Russians Must Accept the Truth. We Failed. -- From one of the many brave Russians who tried, and failed, to stop their country from sliding into an authoritarian dystopia, an eloquent reminder of why we have to strengthen liberal democracy. -- Mar 31, 2022
- The Ukrainian War: What Happens When You Have a War That Both Sides Absolutely, Positively Can't Afford to Lose? -- The same dynamic that is driving the hyper-polarization crisis in so many countries now threatens to turn the Ukrainian crisis into a truly catastrophic war. -- Mar 30, 2022