This book is way over my head. To me it sounds like someone from a post-grad (or post-doc) psych class went to City Hall and gave them a little Saturday “workshop” on how they can learn to agree and have productive discussions through value integration and agreement technology. LOL!
How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself
by Steve McIntosh
2020 / 248 pages
read by Josh Innerst
rating: 4 / Politics and Soc. Sciences
(both read and listened)
So after Chapter 1, I started over in an attempt to get my head sorted out starting with the vocabulary. I don’t think this is for newcomers to the work of McIntosh. I think he may mean something pretty specific when he uses words and phrases like Integral Philosophy.This book is outlining the political side of a spiritual issue which he developed in his 3 prior books. And McIntosh has a heavy background including creating a “think tank” with colleagues which is “dedicated to applying an emerging ‘developmental’ perspective to America’s political challenges.” (Loc 169 in Preface. (The think tank is called the Institute for Cultural Development and it’s at https://www.culturalevolution.org
After outlining the Institute’s brief history, McIntosh goes on to introduce the scope and sequence of the book. He’s very methodical -introduce, detail, conclude – so the book reads a bit like a textbook. The Chapters are divided into 2 main Parts – the first analyzes the current political culture and associated “worldviews” and “introducing a method for overcoming hyperpolarization.” He includes political philosophy and gives examples but he doesn’t get into specific issues because that “would only leave us bogged down in the stalemated duopoly we need to escape.” (oh.) So the prescription is to be beyond “left” or “right” or “center” and be “beyond.”
In Part II McIntire tells us that he is saying we need to “update our political philosophy to account for the radical social changes (of) the past fifty years.” and the ends the Preface with:
“As we will see, the evolution we require must include both the personal growth of a critical mass of our citizens, as well as the collective maturation of our culture as a whole. Fostering positive growth at both of these levels simultaneously is thus the mission of developmental politics.”
So that’s what he does. It reads like an earnest and masterfully well organized textbook. I had to start over again after Chapter 4 because I really wasn’t sure about some of the seemingly specialized terminology.
Bottom line, I certainly wish him and his group the very best of wishes. This book was written before Covid even came on the scene, much less the “stop the steal” conspiracies. Unfortunately, imo, those have been distractions and the polarization continues – maybe more fiercely. And climate disaster is looming. Lots of people will change their minds about Trump but they’ll all continues to be terrified of “liberals,” and will never (ever) vote for one. Where does that put Mr McIntosh’s ideas re “political development” and “evolution:” unless he puts the personal spiritual condition first and foremost (to get an “in”) in which case nothing will change. (That’s what the book sounded like to me.)
I could say a LOT more about this but I’ll hush.