1253 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA
Our standard discussion venue is the Front Street Cafe in Fishtown on the corner of Front & Girard Streets. SEPTA's Girard Station is just a block south, and there's also usually spaces available for street parking in the surrounding neighborhood.
Typically, I'll write up a topic and post some links to articles for us to read and discuss... The text you're reading here is simply the default text I have for meetups where I haven't written up the discussion topic yet.
In general, we don't want people to merely debate which political ideology or set of policies is better. Instead, we try to understand WHY people are predisposed by both inherent psychological traits and cultural upbringing to have certain political views. In past discussion, we've often relied on psychology's "Five Factor Model" which categorizes people's personality traits along 5 spectrums: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness & Neuroticism.
While Extraversion & Introversion don't tend to correlate with political ideology, the other four traits do. In general, people who are socially liberal tend to show higher Openness & lower Conscientiousness, while people who are socially conservative tend to show lower Openness & higher Conscientiousness.
People who are fiscally liberal tend to show higher Agreeableness, especially as it pertains to higher taxes to fund welfare & social programs, while those who are fiscally conservative tend to show lower Agreeableness.
While some studies have shown social conservatives experience higher activation of the amygdala which senses external threats & can provoke anger, they also tend to experience less internal psychological turmoil and thus typically show less Neuroticism (emotional instability) than social liberals. "Core Self Evaluations" theory posits that Neuroticism is linked to a psychological trait known as "locus of control" (external vs. internal), and that liberals score higher in Neuroticism because they tend have an "external locus of control" and feel as though their life is largely at the mercy of external forces, whereas conservatives tend to have an "internal locus of control" and feel as though they can control their fate.
We also tend to use 3 theoretical tools for understanding political polarization:
1) Bryan Caplan's concept of "Rational Irrationality"
2) Dan Kahan's "Cultural Cognition" theory
3) Jonathan Haidt's "Moral Foundations Theory"
Since we've discussed these topics a fair amount in prior meetups, it would help if newcomers would familiarize themselves with the basics by at least checking out the Wikipedia articles I linked.