When it was first released in 2013, Arnold Kling’s The Three Languages of Politics was a prescient exploration of political communication, detailing the “three tribal coalitions” that make up America’s political landscape. Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians, he argued, are “like tribes speaking different languages. As a result, political discussions do not lead to agreement. Instead, most political commentary serves to increase polarization.”
Now available as a newly revised and expanded edition, Kling’s book could not be any more timely, as Americans—whether as media pundits or conversing at a party—talk past one another with even greater volume, heat, and disinterest in contrary opinions.
The Three Languages of Politics is an accessible, precise, and insightful guide to how to lower the barriers coarsening our politics. This is not a book about one ideology over another. Instead, it is a book about how we communicate issues and our ideologies, and how language intended to persuade instead divides. Kling offers a way to see through our rhetorical blinders so that we can incorporate new perspectives, nuances, and thinking into the important issues we must together share and resolve.
Arnold Kling received his Ph.D in economics from MIT in 1980. He is the author of several books, including Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics, and Crisis of Abundance: Re-thinking How We Pay for Health Care. He writes a monthly column for the library of economics and liberty. Find him online at www.arnoldkling.com.
“While acknowledging the limits of any broad framework, Arnold Kling offers a spectacularly clarifying matrix for understanding our political debates. After reading this insightful book, you’ll never think about politics (including your own views) the same way again.”
—Yuval Levin, editor, National Affairs
“The Three Languages of Politics is one of the deepest books I have read on the way we think about politics and public policy. It changed the way I look at the world and helped me better understand my own views and those who disagree with me.”
—Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk