Smithsonian Associates

Mon. Sept. 13, 6:45–8:15 p.m. EST

American Schism: Healing a Divided Nation

In the wake of the January 6 siege on the Capitol, bitter political divisiveness, anger, and irrational thinking continue to roil the United States, inhibiting the possibility of logical debate. Disturbed by the contentious state of politics and the disappearance of “truth,”Enlightenment scholar Seth David Radwell decided to take adeep dive into American history in search of the root causes of this split. 

In this investigative tracing of our nation’s divergent roots, Radwell explains that only reasoned analysis and historical perspective can act as salves for the irrational political discourse that is currently crowding out even the most remote opportunities to solve our most pressing problems.

Looking into foundational documents and the influence of the European Enlightenment, Radwell discovered a startling truth: Two disparate Americas have always coexisted, and the surprising origin of this was not an Enlightenment, but two distinct Enlightenments that have been fiercely competing since the founding of our country.

He discusses the nature of this divided vision and the core issues at the heart of the current national brawl. He also proposes a plan to begin the process of repair and reconciliation: a new dialogue between all thoughtful Americans, informed by our country’s history.

Radwell is an internationally known business executive and thought leader in consumer marketing. 

His new book, American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing Our Nation (Greenleaf Book Group), is available for purchase.

CODE: 1L0-417

Members $20; Nonmembers $25

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Allowing primal emotions to go vern our political discourse is like trying to resolve a nuanced disagreement with a WWE match.

1/ Something worth thinking about re: Jan 6 hearings:

The 14th Amendment prohibits insurrectionists from serving in federal or state office. It was adopted during reconstruction, when former Confederate officers were trying to get their jobs back.

1/ In the corporate world, renewal is key to progress.

Employees stay in a particular job until they master it, then get promoted and move into something new.