Are your political conversations becoming fights? Or do you silence yourself to avoid those fights? Cognitive Politics is a workbook that will help you integrate new science with communication techniques — and put heart and hope back into your political conversations.
Cognitive scientists are discovering the underlying differences between liberal and conservative mindsets. These differences are amplified by media and political messaging resounding through echo chambers, making it very difficult for good people to have reasonable political conversations.
Cognitive Politics reviews scientific discoveries, successful historical campaigns, and communication strategies. We’ll integrate ideas that are rarely combined and explore the contradictions. How does the recent Moral Foundation Theory match Gandhi's historical campaigns? Did Martin Luther King Jr use framing the way George Lakoff now suggests? What compromises did King make — what compromises did he avoid? And how can these lessons improve your conversations at Thanksgiving or online?
The second section puts these ideas into practice, applying them to different issues that are notorious for getting us into confusing and unproductive political arguments.
There are techniques to counteract efforts to turn Americans into warring partisan tribes; you can learn them and have heart-filled and effective political conversations even in the current climate.
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About the Author
We found ways to connect with teens who smoked, so we all felt aligned and part of a broad community. We were able to do this even as the tobacco industry created advertising that aimed to worsen the sense of tribalism and separation. The same techniques apply well to our tribal politics today, and are the inspiration for Stephen's current work.
Currently, Stephen facilitates strategic planning amidst conflicting visions for cofounders, social enterprises, and nonprofits.
In lieu of regular book readings for Cognitive Politics, he facilitates workshops on conversations across partisan divides.
Next year he hopes to partner with a conservative author to write a parallel book for cognitive conservatives who seek to express their values to liberals in deeper and more effective ways. He is also seeding a start-up for liberals and conservatives to improve dialogue through a "fair exchange" of listening.
Table of Contents
1. Frame the Debate: Language, Stories, and Metaphor
2. Cognitive Science and Psychology: The Roots of Conservatism and Liberalism -
3. Communication Techniques: Options Beyond Fire with Fire and Give In
4. Historical Successes: Gandhi and King
5. Historical Failures: Authoritarianism --
Transition: Choosing Your Goals
6. Abortion: Sanctity, Authority, and Otherness
7. Same-Sex Marriage: Weaving Community, Unraveling Authority & Sanctity
8. American Exceptionalism: Shared Views That Define an In-Group
9. Economics: Compassion and Fairness Don’t Mix. Trump 2016: Deflating Strongman Politics