One thought on “Three Problems America Needs to Solve in Order to Survive as a Nation (Revised)

  1. Before I start, I want to post a tweet that got me thinking about this topic again:

    This epistemic criss–that large groups of Americans can agree on basic facts–would make my list. What’s interesting and may not be obvious is that solving this problem depends on solving another problem on the list. I’ll explain after the new, modified list below:

    1. Higher status groups (e.g., whites, Christians, male, heterosexuals) losing their status, while lower status groups (e.g., people of color, non-Christians, females, and LGBTQ people) increase theirs.
    2. Sources of reliable information that are trusted by political left, right, and center.
    3. GOP becoming an authoritarian party.

    To me, solving the second problem depends on solving the first one. Let me explain. In my view, the epistemic crisis stems from polarization, and the anger and resentment of higher status groups losing their status, and feeling threatened and resentful at the groups rising in status, as well as the groups that embrace these changes. The key, to me, is decreasing this anger and resentment. A big part of depends Democrats and progressive elites (i.e., those that embrace these social changes) to refrain from condemning, shaming, and/or ridiculing these higher status groups. Engaging in those behaviors only makes those in the higher status groups more angry, as Wehner alludes to in his tweets.

    Trump, and his enablers in Congress, GOP leadership, and conservative media have used this anger and resentment in a demagogic way to gain power. A big part of this has involved undermining trust in the media and democratic and elite institutions (e.g., the courts, federal agencies, academic institutions). “You can’t trust them–they’re fake news. Trust us” is their message.

    My sense is that all of this is built on the anger and resentment of these higher status groups. If we succeed at lower that anger and resentment, we can solve the second problem and third problem. And if we solve all three, we can then be in a place to solve problems like the growing economic gap, climate change and all the other big problems.

    For those interested, here’s the older list:

    1. White Americans losing their majority status.
    2. Repudiation of win-at-all-costs partisanship and restoring respect for democratic system and ability to compromise.
    3. Decreasing gap between the wealthy and everyone else.

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