The New Rules of Engagement, by Jeff Deist

It’s a vicious jungle out there. From Jeff Deist at mises.org:

Not that long ago, my grandparents explained to me why they never discussed politics, religion, or sex in mixed company. Politeness was their currency. And why antagonize people or create ill will over private matters?

Fast-forward to 2023, and their advice seems needed more than ever. Today nothing is private; everything is political. And American politics is characterized by a perverse degree of bad faith.

Whether the country really is more divided than any time since the Civil War or this is merely our perception—thanks to social media rancor, nonstop cable news, and rabid political partisanship—scarcely matters. Either way, the psychology is clear. Anger directed toward the “other” delivers the desired dopamine hit. Under conditions of extreme distrust, scapegoating is far easier and more satisfying than cooperation. We see this clearly with attitudes toward Brexit, Hillary versus Trump, covid lockdowns, vaccines, Ukraine, Antifa, January 6, the 2022 midterm elections, and a host of other manufactured issues. Americans are watching at least two different movies.

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