Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Lessons from Extremists and Utopian Visionaries


What, if anything, can we learn from those on the political extremes?  Are those lessons merely warnings, or do they tell us something constructive about political movements and strategies — and about the human experience that underlies them?

What do those on the political extremes tell us about the messy experience of being human? Come join Jessie L. Mannisto of Braver Angels for the latest salon on the philosophy of political depolarization!

In this second salon exploring the philosophy of political depolarization, we’ll look at the philosophy and psychology of the political extremes.  History is littered with utopias gone wrong; and yet, some continue to argue the world is better off for aiming at that unreachable asymptote.  Come talk to us about the good and the bad of radical political views, including some of the following:

  • How have extremists influenced our culture, for better or worse?  How do you personally react when you hear extreme ideas?
  • What makes something “utopian” in your view?  How far would you go toward pursuing something you consider utopian?
  • Are there instances where an extreme policies are justified?  What would such a circumstance look like to you?
  • What is the role of the psychological temperament in political ideology?  Can an extreme idea be presented in a moderate fashion?  What does that look like?
  • How do you relate to the extremes on the half of the political spectrum on which you feel most comfortable?  Do you resent your extremes more than the other side’s moderates?  Why or why not?
  • How do you judge whether a political idea is good or bad within your own “side”?

Recommended Reading:

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