We can’t get along because “People who belong to different communities —with different ideas, experiences, and values— will hold different standards of reason.” However, reading has the power to unite us:
“The political divide in America can be seen as a geographical problem: Red and Blue Americans disagree deeply … when you don’t share experiences with someone — when you lack a common perspective — it’s easy to think of their opinions as arbitrary and wrong. …
Reading fiction has the power to change it…
“To create a more inclusive society you need to expand community boundaries; you can’t use reason to expand those boundaries because reason itself is parochial; fiction, however, has the power to cross communities and make strangers intelligible to each other; and once a community has been enlarged, it becomes possible for the members of the expanded community to practice politics together using shared standards of reason.
The power that Rorty ascribed to fiction led him to conclude that the novel is “the characteristic genre of democracy.”
And indeed, if there’s an opening in the literary fiction market right now, it might be for a novel that translates across the partisan gap.
That may seem like a lot to ask of a story, but Rorty, who admired Uncle Tom’s Cabin, would have said that fiction has moved bigger mountains before.”