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 …