How the Academy and the Mainstream Media Contributed to Polarization

“Neal Devins and Larry Baum have written a fine new book, The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court. Their argument briefly stated is that the Supreme Court responds to elites and has become more polarized as elites have become more polarizedI reviewed the book at Balkinization, where I generally praised its analysis but criticized its slighting of the role that jurisprudence, particularly the rise of originalism, has played in the transformation of the Court.’

This institutional polarization would have been much less likely to occur had universities embraced greater representation of conservative and libertarian views. Likewise if professional organizations had applied neutral principles. And less institutional polarization would have likely reduced overall polarization. If genuine ideological debates occur within a single institution, people are more likely to moderate their views to persuade the middle. They are also more likely to make friendships that transcend ideological differences, reducing polarization at the personal level.”

How the Academy and the Mainstream Media Contributed to Polarization