Forced examination: How the free speech of others benefits us all

Americans say we value free speech, but recent surveys suggest we love the ideal more than practice, a division that will harm more than it protects.

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  • A majority of Americans believe we should protect people from deleterious ideas and speech.
  • This belief may harm us, both as individuals and as a society, by ironically strengthening the very ideas that do us harm.
  • Forced examination provides a means by which we can strengthen our own ideas while weeding the harmful ones from society, but it only works with free expression for everyone.
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Revenge of the tribes: How the American Empire could fall

Yale professor Amy Chua on the identity of nations, why hardened tribes end up in civil wars, and why you can't just replace dictators with democracy.

Yale professor Amy Chua has two precautionary tales for Americans, and their names are Libya and Iraq. "We’re starting to see in America something that I’ve seen in other countries that is not good," says Chua. "We don’t want to go there. We don’t want to get to the point where we look at people on the other side of the political spectrum and we see them not just as people that we disagree with but literally as our enemy, as immoral, "un-American" people." Tribalism is innate to humanity, and it is the glue that holds nations together—but it's a Goldilocks conundrum: too much or too little of it and a nation will tear at the seams. It becomes most dangerous when two hardened camps form and obliterate all the subtribes beneath them. Chua stresses the importance of "dividing yourself so that you don’t get entrenched in just two terrible tribes." Having many identities and many points of overlap with fellow citizens is what keeps a country's unity strong. When that flexibility disappears, and a person becomes only a Republican or a Democrat—or only a Sunni Muslim or a Shia Muslim, as in Iraq—that's when it's headed for danger. In this expansive and brilliant talk on political tribes, Chua explains what happens when minorities and majorities clash, why post-colonial nations are often doomed to civil war, and why you can't just replace dictators with democracy. Amy Chua is the author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.

How Game of Thrones Speaks to the Recent Violence in Charlottesville

This season of Game of Thrones has been especially political, and episode 7 relates to the social and political climate of the U.S. like never before.

Varys makes a point U.S. leaders could benefit from hearing as he shares a wine with Tyrion in 'Eastwatch'. [Image: HBO]

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How LBJ Foresaw the Election of Donald Trump

As the US prepares for a change in power, Professor Sanford Levinson says dialogue that was formerly bound to people's inner monologue has been "liberated" into the public space.

2nd December 1963: American President Lyndon Baines Johnson addresses the nation on his first thanksgiving day television programme, broadcast from the executive offices of the White House. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

In the 1964 presidential election Barry Goldwater received only 6 percent of the African American vote, down 26 points from fellow Republican Richard Nixon’s failed run four years earlier. Among other critics, Martin Luther King Jr. said that while Goldwater was not necessarily bigoted, his philosophy “gives aid and comfort to the racists.”

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