Unsplash.com photo by Lorenz Lippert
When I re-read Chapter 6, I was struck by Wilson's comment that "Whatever threatens loss of status, and whatever invades one's 'space' (including one's ideological 'head space') is a threat to the average domesticated primate."
It seems to me that this explains current politics pretty well. Democrats want to raise the status of groups that have been excluded from the mainstream of American life, and Republicans often seem driven by resentment that their base has seen a decrease in status.
I've spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to apply the first two exercises to myself. I already try to read a wide variety of viewpoints; I feel like I have to, as covering politics is part of my job.
The difficulty for me with the first two exercise recommendations is that I don't really consider myself a liberal or a conservative. I identify more as a libertarian than anything else, with an emphasis on peace and civil liberties. So what should I be reading to enter other people's reality tunnels?
As an experiment, I've put together a Twitter list of authoritarians -- warmongers, left wing extremists, etc. There really isn't a unifying theme, but it will force me to consider points of view from people I otherwise would tune out. [Update: I tried out my new Twitter feed Monday and I was disgusted by some of the Tweets, so apparently seeing the other person's point of view is a work in progress.]
I also pledge to try to watch a couple episodes of Tucker Carlson's show, someone I've managed to successfully avoid for years. As he is Fox's top show host, it also will be interesting to compare his show with his MSNBC counterpart, Rachel Maddow. My wife watches Maddow regularly, so I've seen quite a few of her shows. Will the nature of the emotional appeals for the two shows be similar, or will they seem different?