May 18, 2009
The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop
Why is there such political and cultural polarization in America today? That is the question Bill Bishop sought to answer in “The Big Sort”. He discovered that while we were once much more mixed in our neighborhoods, cities and counties, we have been moving- often intentionally to be around “people like us”. So how and why did this shift occur? He traces it back to the year 1969- before that people trusted each other more, and trusted the government much more. After events in that year, there has been a steady decline in civic involvement, and increasing distrust among races, religious vs. secular people, liberals vs. conservatives as these groups have had less contact with each other.
There are a lot of statistics and numbers laid out in this book, which I liked being a former political science major. For others it may be more than you want to know. But it’s great to see thorough research backing it up, not just rampant speculation as many other books have done. Also while you are reading this think about how your lifestyle has been “sorted” and what impact that has on your actions and worldview.