Red And Blue America: Steven Pinker's NYT Piece on Politics and Geography
In the article, Pinker asks, "why do ideology and geography cluster so predictably?," and, further, why can you predict a person's set of values once you know their stance on a single hot-button issue? Politics plays on conceptions of human nature, he writes. Drawing from theories presented by conservative theorists, Pinker says that political affiliation is rooted in the political right's "Tragic Vision of human nature." and the left's "Utopian Vision." On the right, it is argued that human beings are tempted by aggression which must be dealt with through the enactment of strict commitments to a strong military and stern criminal punishment. The left, contrastingly, sees society as more flexible and aims to improve it through the improvement of public institutions. He explains that the geographical connection to political affiliation is linked to ancestry. The states that have a longer-standing history of democratization continued that tradition whereas the states that have a history of a more anarchic society tended to favor more conservative values.
As one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in The World, Pinker's work delves deep into the human psyche to analyze why we do the things that we do. He has authored many best-selling books charting the course of violence in society over history and and the complexities of language. In his writing and his fascinating talks, Pinker expands our views on the world and helps us answer some of its greatest mysteries.