Fareed Zakaria Compares Current State Of American Politics To Sunnis and Shiites

In episode 83 of Sam Harris' Making Sense (formerly Waking Up) podcast, Fareed Zakaria makes a good analogy between today's polarizing politics of America to that of Sunnis and Shiites. Of course he did not mean it literally. He means to say that our politics today is based on which side we identify with, rather than deriving our stances on issues based on reason and debate. He made this point after he said how he thought Trump's plan to privatize the FAA might be a good idea, but it was dead on arrival with Democrats solely because it was Trump who proposed it. The timestamp I pulled this from is between the 20 to 23 minute mark of the episode.


The liberal tradition, and now again I mean just liberal small l, really the democratic tradition assumes you can have debate because there are common facts to which we have access. We are assuming each side is amenable to changing their views. But we have become in America more like Sunnis and Shiites. You really can't have a debate because one side views the the other as insulting them and there is no compromise possible because you would be surrendering your very identity to this other side. Each side in a sense thinks that to let the other one win would be to dramatically change our core conception of what our country is. Now if we are locked in that kind of a debate---it's not even a debate---into kind of a cultural contest, conflict, it makes one disparate the prospects of liberal democracy which does depend on reason and debate with common facts.
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