The Bias of Temperament in American Politics

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9781611633610: The Bias of Temperament in American Politics
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Tucked beside well understood discriminations based on race, gender, sexual preference and the like, an insidious but deeply damaging discrimination based on psychology, or temperament, also haunts both the structures and processes of the American government as well as the policy outcomes of that government. Building on Prof. William Kreml's prior work on the cognitive balances between analytic and synthetic kinds of minds, particularly as they are revealed in the contrast between Kantian and Hegelian preferences for different knowledge forms, Kreml demonstrates how the American political and legal systems favor the analytic forms of thinking that serves the access to government of powerful interest groups and excludes the synthetic, aggregated forms of decision-making that advance the public good. The American system, in other words, cognitively shapes the very understanding of public issues in a way that results in an almost automatic preference for oligarchic, rule of the few, policy outcomes.
Kreml's cognitively based interpretations of the uniquely centrifugal American government, along with his reinterpretation of Supreme Court cases like Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), which initiated the sole cognitively alternating dialectical period in Supreme Court history, accompany his argument that the Bill of Rights was intended to be a synthetic, politically majoritarian document. Subsequent analytically-biased and English common law induced individual rights interpretations of the Bill of Rights have fostered damaging First Amendment rulings such as are found in the campaign finance case of Citizens United v. FEC (2010). Specific recommendations for constitutional reform, such as the abolition of the mid-term House of Representatives election and the concurrent running of the House term with the presidential term, along with the balancing of analytic, common law legal interpretations with more cognitively-balanced civil law-like interpretations, are included.

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About the Author:

William Kreml is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at University of South Carolina.

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