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Old 03-20-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

As one of the few truly centrist/moderate posters on this board, I think this is 100% spot on. You can see it in almost every political thread. There is not so much a sharing of information in a high-minded exchange of opinions and views as there is a "teaming up" of conservatives versus liberals. Then the name-calling starts. Nobody actually changes their mind, their is just an increased polarization. Even ridiculous positions from both sdes become rabidly defensed, even when they are indefensible.

This is very concerning.

http://www.ohio.com/editorial/commentary/41547752.html

NEW YORK: Some of the obituaries these days aren't in the newspapers but are for the newspapers. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is the latest to pass away, save for a remnant that will exist only in cyberspace, and the public is increasingly seeking its news not from mainstream television networks or ink-on-dead-trees but from grazing online.

When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper. We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about.

Nicholas Negroponte of MIT has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that's the trend, God save us from ourselves.

That's because there's pretty good evidence that we generally don't truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.

One classic study sent mailings to Republicans and Democrats, offering them various kinds of political research, ostensibly from a neutral source. Both groups were most eager to receive intelligent arguments that strongly corroborated their pre-existing views.

There was also modest interest in receiving manifestly silly arguments for the other party's views (we feel good when we can caricature the other guys as dunces). But there was little interest in encountering solid arguments that might undermine one's own position.

(Don't we see this all the time here? Posting articles that call attention to the oppositions gaffe's?)

That general finding has been replicated repeatedly, as the essayist and author Farhad Manjoo noted in his terrific book last year: True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.
Let me get one thing out of the way: I'm sometimes guilty myself of selective truth-seeking on the Web. The blog I turn to for insight into Middle East news is often Professor Juan Cole's, because he's smart, well-informed and sensible — in other words, I often agree with his take. I'm less likely to peruse the blog of Daniel Pipes, another Middle East expert who is smart and well-informed — but who strikes me as less sensible, partly because I often disagree with him.

The effect of The Daily Me would be to insulate us further in our own hermetically sealed political chambers. One of last year's more fascinating books was Bill Bishop's The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. He argues that Americans increasingly are segregating themselves into communities, clubs and churches where they are surrounded by people who think the way they do.

Almost half of Americans now live in counties that vote in landslides either for Democrats or for Republicans, he said. In the 1960s and 1970s, in similarly competitive national elections, only about one-third lived in landslide counties.
''The nation grows more politically segregated — and the benefit that ought to come with having a variety of opinions is lost to the righteousness that is the special entitlement of homogeneous groups,'' Bishop writes.

One 12-nation study found Americans the least likely to discuss politics with people of different views, and this was particularly true of the well-educated. High school dropouts had the most diverse group of discussion-mates, while college graduates managed to shelter themselves from uncomfortable perspectives.

The result is polarization and intolerance. Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor now working for President Obama, has conducted research showing that when liberals or conservatives discuss issues such as affirmative action or climate change with like-minded people, their views quickly become more homogeneous and more extreme than before the discussion. For example, some liberals in one study initially worried that action on climate change might hurt the poor, while some conservatives were sympathetic to affirmative action. But after discussing the issue with like-minded people for only 15 minutes, liberals became more liberal and conservatives more conservative.

The decline of traditional news media will accelerate the rise of The Daily Me, and we'll be irritated less by what we read and find our wisdom confirmed more often. The danger is that this self-selected ''news'' acts as a narcotic, lulling us into a self-confident stupor through which we will perceive in blacks and whites a world that typically unfolds in grays.

So what's the solution? Tax breaks for liberals who watch Bill O'Reilly or conservatives who watch Keith Olbermann? No, until Obama brings us universal health care, we can't risk the surge in heart attacks.

So perhaps the only way forward is for each of us to struggle on our own to work out intellectually with sparring partners whose views we deplore. Think of it as a daily mental workout analogous to a trip to the gym; if you don't work up a sweat, it doesn't count.
Now excuse me while I go and read The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
Kristof is a New York Times columnist.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

Well, then...for a few of us, this shows just how good we are. I mean, I'm a Browns fan on a Steelers site! There's a select few of us out there (RWWPC, CB1977, TNEWMAN, that Bungles fan!)

I like the article and do try to play devils advocate as much as possible...however, I do find myself becoming more conservative the older I get...and the more I talk to my family (some of whom are just shy of radically conservative.)

Guess Tony HypSheep and I need to engage in more conversations!
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

I still blame the mainstream/sensationalist media for creating this situation. Before you had the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and guys like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore, people were more willing to have civilized discussions. Now you might get maybe ONE thread out of a hundred that doesn't degenerate into a flame-fest, and forget about discussing politics with someone who disagrees with you in person. You'd be ready to kill each other within 5 minutes. I still remember the 2004 election cycle that was the kiss of death for the other Steelers board I was an admin on. Things were so bad over there that we actually had to kill all political discussions for a period of time. This is where we are, and as we become more polarized, it's only going to get worse. I also think that we have a LOT of people who simply do not like having their opinions challenged, and that certainly does not help matters.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

To add to what you're saying, it's easy to talk tough and strongly on the internet. You can be as brash as you wannabe when the guy you're talking to can't hit you in the mouth.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

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. I mean, I'm a Browns fan on a Steelers site! :
yeah ummmmmm.....we need to talk about that .......
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

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Originally Posted by xfl2001fan View Post
To add to what you're saying, it's easy to talk tough and strongly on the internet. You can be as brash as you wannabe when the guy you're talking to can't hit you in the mouth.
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Guess Tony HypSheep and I need to engage in more conversations!
piss off, brownboy!

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

This is a good read

It is a shame how we, as a nation, tend to act like cattle in a field, all facing the same direction...

In his book, "An Inconvenient Book", Glenn Beck talks about how there have been studies that show that people will sign petitions purely due to that fact that other people are signing the petition---doesn't matter what the petition is about. Similarly, if media polls tell them that this person or that person is ahead in the poll, they will tend to vote for that person's ideas...

Beck tends towards the conservative side in his NPR show, but in his book he states that he told his children that he doesn't care which side of an issue that they fall on, but that they MUST read the opinion of the other side as well. It's all about INFORMED education first.

I respect that
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

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Originally Posted by xfl2001fan View Post
To add to what you're saying, it's easy to talk tough and strongly on the internet. You can be as brash as you wannabe when the guy you're talking to can't hit you in the mouth.
Sad, but true.

I am an Admin on the same BB XT refers to in his post above (which, all in all, is a very nice little Steelers site) and if these political threads ever developed into pure hate fests riddled with personal attacks and even threats as happened over there, there would be no more political topics permitted. Luckily, we haven't gotten to that point . . . .yet.

Nice read, revs.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

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piss off, brownboy!

You're lucky you're in the SouthWest...cuz otherwise I'd beat you to a pulp you wannabe socialist!
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Liberals more liberal, conservatives more conservative?

youre lucky that you are in the north east, cause with your head buried in 3 feet of snow it would too simple to kick your ass! i wouldnt even work up a sweat...

(i see this thread becoming very revealing, enlightening, and theraputic)
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