in a new book by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle, called Be the Change. In the section of the book that discusses political activism, they write,
Arnold Kling says that people tend to act according to a dominant axis–a trade-off between two ideas. On one end of the axis is what you want. On the other end is what you don’t want. When people make decisions, they tend to rely on their dominant axis to make a quick decision.
1. In a book that will appeal primarily to those on the left, it is nice to see an attempt to un-demonize conservatives and libertarians. I hope that readers stop and think about these pages and don’t just skip over them.
2. They cite Jonathan Haidt as well, and in fact they replace the oppressor-oppressed axis with Haidt’s care/harm dichotomy. That is an interesting shift. I think that oppressor-oppressed better describes the loudest voices on the left, particularly on college campuses. On the other hand, care/harm represents a less militant and more tolerant form of progressive expression, but one which is not so prominently on display.
3. Without the discussion of the three-axes model (and perhaps even with it), progressives might be inclined to use the book as a “how-to manual” for political action along the lines of the recent nationwide high school student walk-out to support gun control.
4. As a nitpick, I would prefer to replace “tend to act” with “seek a sense of moral certainty and political tribal solidarity” and I would prefer to replace “make decisions” with “communicate to signal approval and disapproval.”
5. The book has very rich graphic design. It reminds me of the look that many publishers are trying to achieve for “family seder” books for Passover. I guess I should not be surprised that the design is striking, given that this is what they do in their cards and stationery business.