Newsletter #88 — Date February 26, 2023
Highlighting things that our conflict and peacebuilding colleagues are doing that contribute to efforts to address the hyper-polarization problem.
- Countering Bad-Faith Actors
Not in Our Town — NIOT is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive, communities for all, using film, social media, and community organizing. NIOT helps local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns for everyone.
- Crime / Policing / Guns
Police2Peace — Police2Peace is a national nonprofit with members from the activist and police communities. Its mission is to unite police departments and communities around programs that uplift and heal them.
- Multi-Faceted Projects
Polarization and Social Change Lab — Our work is focused on developing practical scientific knowledge in three main areas: paths to political consensus, reducing harms of polarization, and effective strategies of social activism.
- Saving Democracy
Team Democracy — Team Democracy's mission is to rally all Americans - and especially those who we elect to represent us - to a shared identity, and a shared commitment to democracy. They work especially on assuring safe and fair elections.
- Civic Education
National Civic League — The mission of the National Civic League is to advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities. We achieve this by inspiring, supporting and recognizing inclusive approaches to community decision-making.
Beyond Intractability in Context
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.
- Examples of Complexity
Bing and Google's chatbots are a disaster — A reassuring look behind the curtain (and the hype) surrounding the new AI chat bots. They are a long way from anything like artificial intelligence, but not so far from pretending that they have it.
Why Did Fox News Lie to Its Viewers? — A rare look at court-admissible evidence that documents the way in which the need to tell audiences what they want to hear is distorting news coverage -- a problem that is far more widespread than Fox News.
How Putin's Russian goon squad used Mexican gig workers to troll an American election — An account from a person who found himself in the middle of Russian efforts to hire provocateurs to influence US elections and politics.
- Escalation Limiting Projects
How Football Might Prevent Iraq's Next Civil War — A hopeful story about a sports team that is helping span social and political divides in ways that are helping reduce tensions.
- Bad-Faith Actors
Our Age of Impunity — An exploration of why so many people in so many contexts have come to the conclusion that they can get away with most anything. And, a call for building the "countervailing power" needed to restore accountability.
- Understanding The Issues That Divide Us
Biden’s Federal Budget Blowout — An alarming, nonpartisan report from the Congressional Budget Office shows just how far the abandonment of budgetary constraint has taken us. Is this, as Democrats claim, "sustainable?"
- Left / Right Conflict
Revisiting the Three Point Plan to Fix the Democrats and Their Coalition — From a Democratic perspective, a look at the deteriorating strength of their political coalition and proposed changes that could make it much more broadly attractive.
- Interstate War
We are already at war with Russia — A critically important reminder of how dangerous the war in Ukraine has become. Somehow we have to find a way to prevent Russia's brutal invasion from succeeding, while also preventing a wider and much more catastrophic war.
- Saving Democracy
Rachel Kleinfeld on Why America Isn’t About to Have a Civil War — Rachel Kleinfeld discuss strategies for limiting extremism, strengthening American democracy, and containing political violence. She also explains why she mistrusts predictions of “civil war.”
- Class Inequity
Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class—A Status Update — An update on the complex psychology of the cosmopolitan elite and the subtle and consequential ways in which they influence the rest of us.
Please Contribute Your Ideas To This Discussion!
In order to prevent bots, spammers, and other malicious content, we are asking contributors to send their contributions to us directly. If your idea is short, with simple formatting, you can put it directly in the contact box. However, the contact form does not allow attachments. So if you are contributing a longer article, with formatting beyond simple paragraphs, just send us a note using the contact box, and we'll respond via an email to which you can reply with your attachment. This is a bit of a hassle, we know, but it has kept our site (and our inbox) clean. And if you are wondering, we do publish essays that disagree with or are critical of us. We want a robust exchange of views.
About the MBI Newsletters
Once a week or so, we, the BI Directors, share some thoughts, along with new posts from the Hyper-polarization Blog and and useful links from other sources. We used to put this all together in one newsletter which went out once or twice a week. We are now experimenting with breaking the Newsletter up into several shorter newsletters. Each Newsletter will be posted on BI, and sent out by email through Substack to subscribers. You can sign up to receive your copy here and find the latest newsletter here or on our BI Newsletter page, which also provides access to all the past newsletters, going back to 2017.
NOTE! If you signed up for this Newsletter and don't see it in your inbox, it might be going to one of your other emails folder (such as promotions, social, or spam). Check there or search for firstname.lastname@example.org and if you still can't find it, first go to our Substack help page, and if that doesn't help, please contact us.
If you like what you read here, please ....