It’s a lot easier to seek confirmation than information.
So not only does the online world provide less information, it provides more spin and distortion of that information from an online empire of advocates that enables us as never before to find the voices we agree with, and to ignore anybody else.
DENIAL & AVOIDANCE HAVE DRAWBACKS
When you are confronted with information that contradicts your attitudes, beliefs, impugns your identity, or groups that you identify with, you—we—all of us are motivated to reason through that information in a way that keeps our original attitudes intact.
So, we’ll counter argue, we’ll criticize the data source, not pay attention to information that contradicts our pre-existing attitudes.
Mix in the conservatives’ recognized fear of change and support for simplified decision-making with their inclination to support the “system” as currently structured [so as to avoid change and any considerations regarding new perspectives or factors], and then add human nature’s basic desire for consistency in thought and belief, quite the stew is served! Avoiding new and contradictory information is step one, supplanted with a quest for obtaining reassurances as needed.
Questioning what the reassurances are, their sources, how they came to be, or what they are based on and/or if they are even valid are not part of the program. So those so inclined defer knowledge and presumed expertise to others who share their psychological and ideological preferences, and what results is a profound urgency to preserve what they know, regardless of the implications. Sometimes that’s just fine.
RUNNING THE RISKS
But when the challenges we face have the potential for imposing so much change, denying themselves a place at the table carries a certain set of risks. Blithely dismissing those risks—made easier by avoiding information worth at least considering—is a curious strategy.
As liberalism has increasingly been aligned with the values of empiricism and reason, the incentives for conservatives to reject empiricism and reason multiply.
To be a ‘conservative’ increasingly means taking a contemptuous view of reality.
Today we in America are besieged by a reversal of intellectual growth that finds comfort not in scientific inquiry and method but rather in instinctive reliance upon either what we want to believe or what we think others want to hear.
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