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Episode Info:

In episode 024 of the Argument Ninja Podcast I'm starting a series of episodes that will explore different models of the causes of social and political polarization, and introduce some general principles for thinking critically about complex social phenomena like polarization.

In this episode (Part 1) I examine models of polarization and social change that are implicit in the depolarization strategies of three different depolarizing initiatives: Better Angels, AllSides, and OpenMind.


00:00  Why I'm doing a multi-part series on understanding the causes of polarization

06:46  Ideological polarization and evidence for increases

09:36  Affective polarization and evidence for increases

13:12  The depolarization strategy of Better Angels

20:25  The depolarization strategy of AllSides

26:32  Jonathan Haidt and OpenMind

31:48  The four-factor account of the causes of polarization in Chapter 3 of The Coddling of the American Mind

32:22  Loss of a common enemy or challenge

33:53  Social sorting and the emergence of homogeneous political identity groups

38:14  Partisan media and filter bubbles

39:05  Rise of negative partisanship in government

43:24  On the mismatch between individual-level strategies for depolarization, and multi-level, multi-scalar theories of the causes polarization

49:06  Wrapping up


Better Angels (

AllSides (

AllSides For Schools (

LivingRoom Conversations (

OpenMind (

The Righteous Mind (

The Coddling of the American Mind (


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