Amanda Ripley

Jul 2, 2021

High Conflict

Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out

Simon and Schuster 2021

What’s the greatest crisis facing America today? — Racism and hate crimes, exploding government debt, climate change, or the mess at the border?

It may be none of these.

America and many other countries are trapped in high conflict. Both sides are paralyzed by fear and anger as they demonize the other. The national narrative of "us versus them" is a threat to democracy and stops us from working together to build a better world.

Best-selling author and investigative journalist, Amanda Ripley, is our guest. She is well-known for her writing in The Atlantic, Time, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her latest book is “High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out."

Amanda argues that good conflict involves nuance and complexity. It can teach us to be better people, who are capable of solutions as they move past misunderstandings. Many are trapped in high conflict, which is threatening to tear us apart, creating an even deeper crisis than we have now.

We discuss "conflict entrepreneurs"— cable TV personalities, talk radio hosts, and politicians from both left and right — who profit from making us angry and fearful.

"Most Americans want "out" of this high conflict," Amanda tells How Do We Fix It? "They very much want to see a different way of disagreeing among their politicians and the news media. They are frequently tuning out of politics and the news, which is a big problem, but totally understandable."

Recommendation: Jim enjoyed watching "Long Strange Trip", a highly-praised documentary about the rock band, the Grateful Dead. TV viewers can watch it on Amazon Prime.

This is an episode of the excellent podcast "How Do We Fix It." You can find it on all the major podcast apps and here

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