Blame the Brain, Not Bolsonaro, for Brazil’s Riots

Neuroscience Shows That We’re Wired to Rebel—But Also That We’ve Evolved to Do Better

Why do people take part in insurrections, like the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the storming of the presidential residence in Sri Lanka, or January’s sacking of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in Brazil?

Sometimes, that question is answered by pointing to precipitating events—elections and their results, protests that descend into anger, or the speeches of powerful demagogues. On other occasions, we blame insurrections on prejudices, or bigotries—racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, white nationalism.

I’d suggest that we think about insurrections differently—because they originate in our brains.

Indeed, I’d …

Let’s Respond Like Romans to the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol

How 5th-Century Senators Took Responsibility, Accepted Punishment, and Restored Trust in Government After a Damaging Insurrection

How should we respond when our capital is attacked?

One enduring answer to that question lies in the ways that Romans responded after the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths and …

God Save the Capitol

How a Cold War Spiritual Arms Race Led to the Jan. 6 Plot to Overthrow the Government

“I am here by special divine appearance, a living soul,” Pauline Bauer stated in federal court this summer while standing trial for crimes including violent entry. “I do not stand …