Column: Seeing world through new prism tones down over-the-top rhetoric

American political discourse has degenerated over the past few decades to little more than vicious juvenile banter. A small but helpful step in restoring civility is to work to understand why those we disagree with believe what they believe.

An economic blogger and scholar, Arnold Kling, suggests American politics can be parsed into three camps. Conservatives see politics as a conflict between barbarism and civilization. Progressives see politics as a conflict between oppressors and the oppressed. Classical liberals or libertarians see politics as a conflict between coercion and freedom. The terms of conflict largely reflect each camp’s worldview.

Conservatives note that Western civilization has been remarkably successful. It has generated a high living standard for its citizens and safeguarded their political and legal rights.

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