Too Much Centralization Is Turning Everything into a Political Crisis

By Porter Burkett

Mises Institute

Is American politics reaching a breaking point? A recent study by researchers from Brown and Stanford Universities certainly paints a grim picture of the state of the national discourse. The study attempts to measure “affective polarization,” defined as the extent to which citizens feel more negatively toward other political parties than their own, in nine developed countries, including the United States. The study authors concluded that affective polarization has risen much faster and more drastically in the United States than in any of the other countries they studied (figure 1). They then speculated on possible explanations of increasing polarization, suggesting that changing party composition, increasing racial division, and 24-hour partisan cable news are convincing possible causes. Notably, the research was completed before the coronavirus pandemic or the police killing of George Floyd, two events that have only deepened political division.


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  1. I disagree with the “anarchist” characterization, of course. But at least according to ‘conventional’ law, this actually makes sense. The 14th Amendment guarantees “equal protection under the law” for all people. When governments such as that of Portland, Oregon allow rioting for 105+ days, they are clearly NOT protecting non-rioters, including people who live and work in those areas where riots are typically occurring.

    See that case recently where Reinoehl murdered Danielson. Reinoehl later lied to the camera, claiming that he was trying to ‘protect’ himself and his friends, but another video caught the actual shooting in plenty of detail. Clearly, Reinoehl stalked and murdered Danielson.

    It might make sense if the government of Portland (or its cops) were major offenders in the problem, but if anything Portland is just about the most “pandering” city for ‘progressive’ causes it is possible to imagine.

    For a number of years, Portland cops seem to have been ordered to ‘stand down’ in the long-running dispute between Antifa and a few conservative people on the streets of Portland. See, for example, the assaults on Andy Ngo, a gay asian journalist.

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