Political Discourse project


Political Discourse project

Political Discourse

The ability to have a healthy debate on policy issues is an important part of democratic life. Unfortunately, political discourse is not always what it should be. The aim of this project is to enhance political discourse, so that we can have an honest, fact-based, policy-based discussion on matters of importance to our society.

The Good

We explore the type of debate and discourse we should all aim for: respectful, fact-based, on the issues.

The Bad

We explore the negative side of political discourse: lies, name-calling, deceit, deliberate misrepresentation, etc. all of which pull down the level of the debate.

Ongoing discussion

Here is a list of ongoing discussion threads that are directly related to developing this project.

Republican Like Me (book by Ken Stern)

Republican Like Me is a book by Ken Stern.


Books and Research on Political Discourse

If you know of any other interesting book or research paper to add to the collection below, please let us know. You may create a new ticket.

Moral outrage in the digital age

Moral outrage is an ancient emotion that is now widespread on digital media and online social networks. How might these new technologies change the expression of moral outrage and its social consequences?
But online platforms have profoundly changed the incentives of information sharing. Because they compete for our attention to generate advertising revenue, their algorithms promote content that is most likely to be shared, regardless of whether it benefits those who share it — or is even true.
Outrage-inducing content appears to be more prevalent and potent online than offline. Future studies should investigate the extent to which digital media platforms intensify moral emotions, promote habit formation, suppress productive social discourse, and change the nature of moral outrage itself. There are vast troves of data that are directly pertinent to these questions, but not all of it is publicly available. These data can and should be used to understand how new technologies might transform ancient social emotions from a force for collective good into a tool for collective self-destruction.

Hierarchy of solutions

This is a draft article.

For want of a better term: Hierarchy of solutions.

From worst to best:
- fight/criticize people who do wrong.
- fight/criticize what is wrong.
- expose/point out wrong ideas.
- talk about the problem in order to seek a solution
- talk about/propose/promote solutions.
- support people who propose solutions.
- actively be part of the solution.

I also tell people:
- Understand the problem.
- Understand the solution
- Make small changes in one's life
- Tell people.

Beware how you use the verb 'to be'

This page is a public draft.... Right now, it's only a collection of disjointed points that I wish to expand on later.

- state vs action
- Chinese
- ad hominem
- attack human dignity
- oversimplify complexity of human psychology
- use in positive or uncontroversial statements.
- use with historical figures (napoleon despot)
- use with living people, in derogative sense.

Positive, constructive political discourse

This section of the wiki (see child pages below) will focus on the positive aspects of political discourse, what we should aim for when debatting and discussing policies.

Political segregation

Still within the context of the Political Discourse project, and in support of the work currently being carried out by Bryce, I'd like to start this discussion thread to speak about a topic that has been in my mind for many months, if not years: political segregation, its roots and its many manifestations.

Fallacies in the discourse and psychological issues as obstacles to teamwork and change

While people like Bryce do an amazing job, trying to get people from opposite sides of the political divide1 to talk to each other and listen to each other, I am personally dumbfounded and deeply saddened by the fact that people who share the same values appear to be unable to join forces and work together in pursuit of their common objectives. Instead, difficulties in communication, fallacies and faulty logic, strong egos, etc.

  • 1. The "political divide" is an artificial division created by the use of Plurality Voting.
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