Train Your Brain to Think Clearly About Politics

Train Your Brain to Think Clearly About Politics

Politics tap into an unusual mixture of reason and emotion. We want to have the right answer, which requires a neutral interpretation of information and events. However, it is human nature to want to feel like we have the right answer, especially when the topic is something we care deeply about. 

There is a disconnect between the pure detachment required for cool-headed discussion and the often uncontrollable emotions that are part of our nature. This is why an impassioned speech can sway huge groups of individuals better than an exceptionally well-informed but detached policy paper.

How can we train ourselves to think more effectively about politics?

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Misrepresenting Policy: The GOP "Private Jet Owner Tax Cut"

Misrepresenting Policy: The GOP "Private Jet Owner Tax Cut"

The Senate tax reform bill that just passed has many changes, but one that took some flak was an apparent tax cut for private jet owners. As is often the case, the story is more complicated than it seems at first blush. All another reminder to be critical about what you read, no matter how you lean politically.

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Did Your Angry Tirade Work?

Did Your Angry Tirade Work?

Anger in politics is common. What is strange is that people defend getting angry as if it is a strategy, rather than an unfortunate product of our emotions getting involved. 

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WaPo's Attempt to Help Liberals Argue With Conservatives Mistakenly Reveals Why We Struggle to Get Agreement

WaPo's Attempt to Help Liberals Argue With Conservatives Mistakenly Reveals Why We Struggle to Get Agreement

On August 10th, Harvard Professor Max Kasy (economics) wrote a piece for the Washington Post, titled: "Liberals are terrible at arguing with conservatives. Here's how they can get better."

This is a noble effort and you should read it

However, there are a few key issues that Kasy gets wrong. Kasy outlines that liberal facts don't work on conservatives because conservatives care about process and liberals care about outcomes. The two big things that Kasy gets wrong reveal a deeper issue in his mind (and maybe those of people across the political spectrum) that will actually continue to prevent someone like Kasy from breaking through to conservatives. That said, this thinking can apply to both sides of the spectrum.

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A Wedge-Busting National Priorities Survey

A Wedge-Busting National Priorities Survey

We've long made the case that when you're Wedged, you've been manipulated into losing sight of your own political priorities. We've encouraged you to do work to get back in touch with them--and finally we've come across a tool that can guide you--and the country--through that process. 

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Data Manipulation: How Much Does the US Spend on Defense?

Data Manipulation: How Much Does the US Spend on Defense?

On an unrelated errand we were looking up how much the US spends on its defense. We made the terrible mistake of just Googling it. But hey, that mistake turned into an insight we can share!

Turns out a lot of different people have very different ideas of how much the US spends on its defense as a percent of the Federal Budget. So let's play a game.

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To Love Your Country, Love Yourself

To Love Your Country, Love Yourself

What if bridging the partisan divide isn't about building bridges to others, but building a bridge within ourselves that allows us to love everything about us?

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In Defense of Golf

In Defense of Golf

Much ado about golf, once again.

"Once again?" You say. Oh yes, I do. If you're a typical political news reader, you either saw a whole lot about golf in the past 8 years (and then nothing) or pretty much nothing about golf and then a whole lot just now.

So let's look at now: Trump golfs, probably more than many other presidents have golfed. People are mad that he golfs. Did you know it's costing taxpayer dollars? Shouldn't he be busy fighting ISIS

If you rewind a bit, you actually have so much fury about the amount of golf Obama played that there is a fairly popular website dedicated to it. Obama actually spent a staggering (?) 3% of his entire tenure playing golf. That probably cost the American taxpayer quite the pretty penny, too. And ISIS was around for much of his own outings.

What slackers, am I right? We'd better spend energy keeping track of which president golfed more frequently, so we can stock up on some good political points that we'll use later to accomplish nothing at all. 

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Discounting Crime? How Punishment Has Changed Through the Ages

Discounting Crime? How Punishment Has Changed Through the Ages

"Prison is not punishment in Sweden. We get people into better shape."  The statement carries surprisingly grand philosophical significance... and opens up a whole lot of questions about what moral agency even means.

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Helping People Disown a President

Helping People Disown a President

The step-by-step guide to getting people to disown the presidential candidate they voted for. Step 1: enough with the Hitler mustaches. 

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