"Why We’re Polarized" by Ezra Klein will be discussed on Tuesday, September 8, at 7 pm, via Zoom. The discussion will be led by LWV member Kathleen Holden. The Zoom invite will be sent to all League members Tuesday morning.
21st century America is divided in many ways: race, religion, geography, class, and perhaps, most of all, political polarization. Klein’s book discusses how people psychologically tend toward group identification, and us-versus- them conflict. He writes that American political identities have become all encompassing, and subsume other sources of identity, including race, religion and geography, and are highly predictive of where people stand on various issues, as well as where they shop, what news they watch, etc. Klein writes that these “mega-Identities” are far more powerful than issue positions in driving polarization. Klein feels that this partisan divide poses grave danger to American institutions and democracy.
A companion book to read along with Klein’s book is ‘"The New Class War’"by Michael Lind. This book looks at global polarization and the wider global populist surge that Is seen in the United Kingdom, France and Italy, as well as here. Lind writes that almost all of the political turmoil in Western Europe and North America can be explained by the new class war. He argues that this war pits the working class against a small “overclass" of managerial elites- university-educated, cosmopolitan professionals and bureaucrats, who, though they represent only 10-15 percent of the population, enjoy outsized influence on government and the economy. The working class is rebelling against this phenomenon according to Lind.
Though Lind’s book will not be discussed on September 8, both books are worth reading for different views on the sources of divisiveness in our country and globally. Both books raise important issues regarding populism and polarization. These reads offer thoughtful consideration for voters to consider before the national November election.
The LWV-CC book club is open to everyone.
The next LWV book club will be held on Tuesday, January 12. The book “Caste" by Isabelle Wilkinson will be discussed, led by LWV member Paula Kaufman. This meeting will most likely be a Zoom meeting.