ICE Receives More National Media Attention for Its Work on Polarization

By Steve McIntosh

On Monday the Washington DC-based Nation Journal published an extensive article on the “polarization movement” entitled: The War On Partisanship, How fighting polarization became its own cause. The article describes the efforts of a wide variety of nonprofits who are working to overcome hyper-partisan polarization and gives special attention to the work of The Institute for Cultural Evolution. Here are the paragraphs in which ICE president Steve McIntosh is quoted:

“The Boulder-based Institute for Cultural Evolution is tak­ing a more philo­soph­ic­al ap­proach to po­lar­iz­a­tion. The group is pub­lish­ing pa­pers, such as one called “De­pol­ar­iz­ing the Amer­ic­an Mind,” and hold­ing con­claves with “in­flu­en­cers” to brain­storm solu­tions for what Steve McIn­tosh, the group’s pres­id­ent, de­scribes as a cul­tur­al prob­lem. “Our tech­nique is to find ex­ist­en­tial prob­lems that can’t be solved at the level of think­ing that cre­ated them—Ein­stein’s fam­ous quote,” he says. “Those ex­ist­en­tial prob­lems are where open­ings for new ways of think­ing exist. …

“Oth­er anti-po­lar­iz­a­tion act­iv­ists are gauging suc­cess dif­fer­ently. At the Bi­par­tis­an Policy Cen­ter, Jason Gru­met cited the group’s re­com­mend­a­tions for health care re­form that ended up in the bi­par­tis­an-sup­por­ted doc-fix deal earli­er this year. At the In­sti­tute for Cul­tur­al Evol­u­tion, the fo­cus is more on “in­flu­en­cing the in­flu­en­cers,” ac­cord­ing to pres­id­ent Steve McIn­tosh. The group re­cently put on a polit­ic­al po­lar­iz­a­tion con­clave at Esalen, the stor­ied spir­itu­al re­sort in Big Sur that of­fers renowned mas­sages and nude hot springs, foot­ing all the ex­penses for the two dozen par­ti­cipants—in­clud­ing Blades, Joyn­er, Blanken­horn, and Civil Polit­ics ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Ravi Iy­er. For them, suc­cess means launch­ing their philo­sophy of de­pol­ar­iz­a­tion “in­to the na­tion­al mind, in­to what’s be­ing dis­cussed by pun­dits, and what’s be­ing tracked by the me­dia,” McIn­tosh says. “We’d like Dav­id Brooks to be able to say, ‘Here’s this in­ter­est­ing idea about a fu­ture left and a fu­ture right that’s a fresh way of think­ing about the prob­lem of po­lar­iz­a­tion.’ ” (The fact that I wrote a story about one of their con­fer­ences a few months ago in Na­tion­al Journ­al makes a dif­fer­ence, too, he says.)”

We invite you to read the entire article at this link:

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