Polarization or Authoritarianism?

January 12, 2023 | Lilliana Mason, Ph.D Andrew Marantz Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR

Lilliana Mason, Ph.D., SNF Agora Institute Associate Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University
Andrew Marantz, Staff Writer, The New Yorker
Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR

We are joined by Professor Lilliana Mason and New Yorker staff writer, Andrew Marantz. Both writers have worked to understand what has changed in our democracy over the last decade, as extremists have utilized the power of social media to amplify their positions and our politics have become increasingly polarized. In her recent work, Dr. Mason has argued that group identifications have changed the way we think and feel about ourselves and our opponents. Even when Democrats and Republicans can agree on policy outcomes, she suggests, they tend to view one another with distrust and to work for party victory above all else. Andrew Marantz reason that that technology companies have profited off the most extreme voices. In his writing, he has charted how Silicon Valley has unwittingly contributed to both the rise in white nationalism and our polarized politics. In their conversation, Mason and Marantz will invite the community of HUC to consider how we arrived at our current state of political polarization, and what we might do about it.

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