Hidden Forces
Hidden Forces
Jan 18, 2021
Restoring Trust in an Age of Political Polarization | Kevin Vallier
Play • 59 min

In Episode 175 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Kevin Vallier, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, whose interests lie primarily in political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, and economics.   

In his latest book, “Trust in a Polarized Age,” Kevin draws on empirical data and liberal political philosophy to demonstrate that rising levels of political polarization can be largely attributed to a multi-decade decline in trust. If we want to reduce political polarization, argues Kevin, “we have to start by rebuilding social and political trust.” While this may seem like a tall order during a time in which Americans are less trusting than at any point since at least the 1960’s when measurements began, the situation is not hopeless. 

In this conversation we discuss the causes and consequences of declining social and political trust, the two-way relationship between trust and polarization, and what sorts of practical steps can be taken at both an individual and societal level to begin to restore faith in each other and in our political and legal institutions.  

In the overtime, Kevin and Demetri touch on a number of timely topics, including concerns about domestic terrorism and the parallels that can be drawn between the early 1990’s and today. One of the more interesting parts of the discussion deals with the “mainstreaming” so to speak, of conspiracy theory. Unlike in the early 1990’s where domestic terror groups and individuals were motivated primarily by extreme ideological beliefs, those being monitored today, some of which were involved in the attack on the US Capitol building, combine political violence with mainstream views that are shared by a significant percentage of the American people.

You can access the second part of this conversation, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Episode Recorded on 01/12/2021

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