Copyright 2018, Henry LeMieux, all rights reserved.
Currently topical national angst the book addresses:
Across the US political spectrum, intense frustration exists over the inability to resolve important national issues.
Climate Change, Border Security, Gun Control, Manufacturing Jobs Outsourcing, Minority rights, Trade Imbalance, etc.
On both “sides of the aisle” and in the middle, anxiety has reached a fever pitch; people want to understand why the nation can’t move forward on whichever issues are most acute to them. They yearn to know how to overcome the impotence.
The book’s premise: The root cause is indulgent, out-of-control partisanship and polarization across society. It is not the issues themselves, nor the opposing positions that exists on each; it is simply our society’s relatively recent devolution to a state of unwillingness to engage with, understand and collaborate across ideologies. And this is good news, because it is normal human behavior, is often cyclical, and can be fixed.
But it requires that individuals take proactive steps, as explained in the book.
The book’s discussion:
Each section below is a collection of chapters.
- Tribalism is natural and normal: Explain how group-forming/tribalism and out-group demonization is innate human behavior (normal). Review social-psychological reasons why (cite specific studies/works). Establish how it has helped society advance. Illustrate with historical examples. Perhaps also a chapter devoted to factors commonly blamed for most recently exacerbating tribalistic perspectives (social media filters bubbles, balkanized news, income inequality, metro-rural growth disparities, etc)
- Collaboration is the foundation of tribe-forming and needs to continue if interests are to be advanced: In many/most situations, individuals and groups are more likely to advance their interests through collaboration than through conflict. Indeed one cannot form a tribe at all without collaboration. Therefore, if a tribe hopes to continue advancing its interests, it must continue seeking to engage and collaborate with out-tribe partners. Illustrate with abstract and historical examples. Perhaps develop a model/criteria for differentiating among situations where collaboration vs conflict are more appropriate. By way of illustration, one chapter tracks the arc of worsening partisanship in America over recent decades, illustrates how it has confounded the nation’s ability to achieve sustained progress on key national issues and discusses the factors causing this.
- How then, does one collaborate with “opponents?” Assuming one concurs with the philosophy advanced in (2) above, how does one go about successfully collaborating with an otherwise “opponent?” What are best practices? How does one do this as an individual, and as a group? How does one train oneself and others (one’s team) to be effective at this?
(You may note that there is an interesting theme in here that I haven’t fully worked out, about how the very behaviors needed to successfully form a group (“us vs a challenge”) are the same behaviors that can prevent formation of a yet larger, even more advantageous group (because the “challenge” may be those not (yet) in the group.)
Supporting Digital Training Module:
The book is supported by a multimedia training module video/GIF, fashioned to be easily shared on social media, which summarizes sections 1&2 above and then provides some simple training on collaborating with opponents. Perhaps it links to more detailed training interactives on a web site (which could be monetized).
The vision is that the message be applicable not solely to the current US situation, but to any situation worldwide where a choice exists between two groups to collaborate or conflict.