political animals how our stone age brain gets in the way of smart politics

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Political Animals

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9780465073825
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 85. 13 MB
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Can a football game affect the outcome of an election? What about shark attacks? Or a drought? In a rational world the answer, of course, would be no. But as bestselling historian Rick Shenkman shows in Political Animals, our world is anything but rational. This isn’t because we aren’t smart. Instead, modern cues are setting off ancient, instinctive responses that worked to keep us safe in the Stone Age but lead us astray today. Pop culture tells us we can trust our instincts. But science is demonstrating that when it comes to politics, our Stone Age brains can malfunction and misfire. Fortunately, we can learn to override our instincts and ensure that they work in our favor. Drawing on science, politics, and history, Shenkman explores the hidden reasons behind our political choices and uncovers the invisible forces that are truly responsible for victory or defeat at the ballot box.

Just How Stupid Are We

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9781458775801
Genre : History
File Size : 71. 4 MB
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Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from ¢¬The Simpsons,¢¬ but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid. In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. American democracy is as direct as it's ever been¢¬"but voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. At once a powerful indictment of voter apathy and political indifference, Just How Stupid Are We? also provides concrete proposals for reforming our institutions¢¬"the government, the media, civic organizations, political parties¢¬"to make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.

Democracy Despite Itself

Author : Danny Oppenheimer
ISBN : 9780262300957
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 26. 49 MB
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Voters often make irrational decisions based on inaccurate and irrelevant information. Politicians are often inept, corrupt, or out of touch with the will of the people. Elections can be determined by the design of the ballot and the gerrymandered borders of a district. And yet, despite voters who choose candidates according to the boxer--brief dichotomy and politicians who struggle to put together a coherent sentence, democracy works exceptionally well: citizens of democracies are healthier, happier, and freer than citizens of other countries. In Democracy Despite Itself, Danny Oppenheimer, a psychologist, and Mike Edwards, a political scientist, explore this paradox: How can democracy lead to such successful outcomes when the defining characteristic of democracy -- elections -- is so flawed?Oppenheimer and Edwards argue that democracy works because regular elections, no matter how flawed, produce a variety of unintuitive, positive consequences. The brilliance of democracy, write Oppenheimer and Edwards, does not lie in the people's ability to pick superior leaders. It lies in the many ways that it subtly encourages the flawed people and their flawed leaders to work toward building a better society.


Author : Anjana Ahuja
ISBN : 9781847652119
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 76. 90 MB
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We are all leaders or followers - or both. We can recognise leadership in almost every area of life: in the workplace, among friends, within families, in politics and religion. But what makes a good or bad leader, why are some people followers, and what are the benefits of each? Fusing psychology, business, history and current affairs, Selected examines how and why leadership has evolved over tens of thousands of years, and presents a bold and compelling new 'mismatch hypothesis': that the slowness of evolution means that there is a mismatch between modern ideas of leadership and the kind of leadership that our Stone Age brains are still wired for. This makes for all sorts of tendencies, problems and solutions that no author has yet discussed but that affect all aspects of our lives - it's why, for example, we prefer working in small companies. Full of fascinating examples drawn from a diverse range of spheres, from politics and commerce to sport and culture, Van Vugt and Ahuja show our evolutionary history explains why taller political candidates usually win, why women chief executives attract such hostility and why we like it when the boss asks after our children. This is the first book of its kind to explore how the evolution of leadership affects us all - and, by doing so, to provide deep, practical insight for all of us into our personal and professional lives.

Corruption In America

Author : Zephyr Teachout
ISBN : 9780674050402
Genre : History
File Size : 25. 15 MB
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When Louis XVI gave Ben Franklin a diamond-encrusted snuffbox, the gift troubled Americans: it threatened to corrupt him by clouding his judgment. By contrast, in 2010 the Supreme Court gave corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Zephyr Teachout shows that Citizens United was both bad law and bad history.

The Secret Of Our Success

Author : Joseph Henrich
ISBN : 0691166854
Genre : Science
File Size : 64. 31 MB
Format : PDF
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Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments. What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective brains—on the ability of human groups to socially interconnect and learn from one another over generations. Drawing insights from lost European explorers, clever chimpanzees, mobile hunter-gatherers, neuroscientific findings, ancient bones, and the human genome, Joseph Henrich demonstrates how our collective brains have propelled our species' genetic evolution and shaped our biology. Our early capacities for learning from others produced many cultural innovations, such as fire, cooking, water containers, plant knowledge, and projectile weapons, which in turn drove the expansion of our brains and altered our physiology, anatomy, and psychology in crucial ways. Later on, some collective brains generated and recombined powerful concepts, such as the lever, wheel, screw, and writing, while also creating the institutions that continue to alter our motivations and perceptions. Henrich shows how our genetics and biology are inextricably interwoven with cultural evolution, and how culture-gene interactions launched our species on an extraordinary evolutionary trajectory. Tracking clues from our ancient past to the present, The Secret of Our Success explores how the evolution of both our cultural and social natures produce a collective intelligence that explains both our species' immense success and the origins of human uniqueness.

Why The Right Went Wrong

Author : E.J. Dionne
ISBN : 9781476763811
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 23. 23 MB
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From the author of Why Americans Hate Politics, the New York Times bestselling and “notably fair-minded” (The New York Times Book Review), story of the GOP’s fracturing—from the 1964 Goldwater takeover to the Trump spectacle. Why the Right Went Wrong offers an “up to the moment” (The Christian Science Monitor) historical view of the right since the 1960s. Its core contention is that American conservatism and the Republican Party took a wrong turn when they adopted Barry Goldwater’s worldview during and after the 1964 campaign. The radicalism of today’s conservatism is not the product of the Tea Party, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes. The Tea Partiers are the true heirs to Goldwater ideology. The purity movement did more than drive moderates out of the Republican Party—it beat back alternative definitions of conservatism. Since 1968, no conservative administration—not Nixon not Reagan not two Bushes—could live up to the rhetoric rooted in the Goldwater movement that began to reshape American politics fifty years ago. The collapse of the Nixon presidency led to the rise of Ronald Reagan, the defeat of George H.W. Bush, to Newt Gingrich’s revolution. Bush initially undertook a partial modernization, preaching “compassionate conservatism” and a “Fourth Way” to Clinton’s “Third Way.” Conservatives quickly defined him as an advocate of “big government” and not conservative enough on spending, immigration, education, and Medicare. A return to the true faith was the only prescription on order. The result was the Tea Party, which Dionne says, was as much a reaction to Bush as to Obama. The state of the Republican party, controlled by the strictest base, is diminished, Dionne writes. It has become white and older in a country that is no longer that. It needs to come back to life for its own health and that of the country’s, and in Why the Right Went Wrong, Dionne “expertly delineates where we are and how we got there” (Chicago Tribune)—and how to return.

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