Newsletter #144 — August 6, 2023
Highlighting things that our conflict and peacebuilding colleagues are doing that contribute to efforts to address the hyper-polarization problem.
- Negotiation / Collaboration
Negotiation: A Very Short Introduction — Leading negotiation scholar Carrie Menkel-Meadow's basic book highlighting things everyone should understand about negotiation.
A Time for Statesmanship — A detailed and eloquent argument calling for the rediscovery of civic- minded leadership and the need for civil servants committed to advancing the common good (not just their political fortunes).
- Saving Democracy
The Rise of a Pro-Democracy Coalition — William Kristol and Simon Rosenberg discuss how a coalition between Democrats and Never-Trumpers could form a successful coalition to help save democracy.
- Constructive Communication
International Storytelling Center — The International Storytelling Center believes that storytelling can yield a better life and a better world for the tellers and the listeners.
Nonviolence News — Each week, Nonviolence News brings 30-50 stories of “nonviolence in action” to readers, illuminating the scale and scope of how nonviolence is actively shaping our world.
- Human Needs
The Belonging Barometer: The State of Belonging in America — The Belonging Barometer calls attention to belonging as a critical dimension of life that should matter to all stakeholders who seek to improve America’s physical, social, civic, and democratic well-being.
Is it still possible to change minds in politics? — A conversation about the possibility and difficulty of persuasion in a time of polarization, disinformation, conspiracy theories, political violence, and more. Is it still possible to reach people?
From around the web, more insight into the nature of our conflict problems, limits of business-as-usual thinking, and things people are doing to try to make things better.
- De-Escalation Strategies
What if We’re the Bad Guys Here? — A must-read article that does much to explain President Trump's continuing popularity and the role that the cosmopolitan elites have played in helping him survive his steady stream of scandals.
- De-Escalation Strategies
- We keep moving from one wrong fight to another. Here’s how to stop. — Thoughtful insights into our tendency to move from one us-vs-them confrontation to another while simultaneously avoiding serious efforts to work through and learn from our differences.
- Rule of Law
Ignore the Histrionic Attacks on the Supreme Court — Amid attacks from the left on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, an argument that the court has, in fact, been fulfilling its responsibilities under the US system of checks and balances.
- Competing Future Visions
Vivek Ramaswamy Wants a Second American Revolution — As the left continues to call for some type of political revolution, a look at what a political revolution from the right might actually look like.
- Psychological Complexity
How to Escape ‘the Worst Possible Timeline’ — An insightful examination of the complex psychology swirling around our pervasive sense pessimism plus thoughts on how to constructively grapple with our many problems without being consumed by them.
- Rule of Law
The First Great Crisis of a Second Trump Term — An essay exploring what might happen should President Trump's criminal prosecutions come into direct conflict with his electoral success.
Women Know Exactly What They’re Doing When They Use ‘Weak Language’ — From a dispute resolution perspective (and a feminist rights perspective), a look at the pros and cons of so-called "weak language."
How To Overhaul Higher Education — For the many who are deeply frustrated by the current state of higher education, specific reform proposals. We need to encourage comparable proposals for reforming our other troubled institutions.
- Artificial Intelligence
AI’s Growing Legal Troubles — An informative look at the legal disputes that are now casting a very long shadow over the future of AI development efforts.
- Constructively Addressing Complex Issues
Journalists should be skeptical of all sources —including scientists — From Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight fame, a detailed look at the COVID lab leak controversy and a spectacular example of how science can betray the public trust.
- Artificial Intelligence
Large language models, explained with a minimum of math and jargon — The best lay explanation that I have seen thus far about how the large language models underlying AI actually work.
- Large-Scale Violence
‘Anger and radicalization’: rising number of Americans say political violence is justified — Yet another poll indicating that the United States is precariously close to crossing the taboo line that normally prevents our hardball politics from crossing the line into outright violence.
- Domination and Oppression
Let the Tragedy in My Homeland Be a Lesson — For a time in which it is common to characterize one's political opponents in extreme terms, a look at the plight of the Uyghurs shows what extreme political violence and cultural genocide actually looks like.
How critical theory is radicalizing high school debate — More on disturbing trends in the way in which we teach high school debaters how to think about the issues and the almost nihilistic strategy that undermines the very notion of constructive policy debate.
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