Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


The Political Brain

A book review in the NYT of Drew Westen's new book, "The Political Brain".

Stop Making Sense

Published: August 26, 2007

Between 2000 and 2006, a specter haunted the community of fundamentalist Democrats. Members of this community looked around and observed their moral and intellectual superiority. They observed that their policies were better for the middle classes. And yet the middle classes did not support Democrats. They tended to vote, in large numbers, for the morally and intellectually inferior party, the one, moreover, that catered to the interests of the rich.

How could this be?

Serious thinkers set to work, and produced a long shelf of books answering this question. Their answers tended to rely on similar themes. First, Democrats lose because they are too intelligent. Their arguments are too complicated for American voters. Second, Democrats lose because they are too tolerant. They refuse to cater to racism and hatred. Finally, Democrats lose because they are not good at the dark art of politics. Republicans, though they are knuckle-dragging simpletons when it comes to policy, are devilishly clever when it comes to electioneering. They have brilliant political consultants like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, who frame issues so fiendishly, they can fool the American people into voting against their own best interests. (READ MORE)