There you go, Bill. I gave Bridgier the downvote I’m sure you’ve been aching to give him.
We now live in a post-fact, post-truth era. I became more aware of “alternative facts”, as they have become known (thanks Kellyanne) when George W. Bush became president. The justification for the Iraq war based on the alternative fact that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, even though the UN inspectors could find no evidence that these weapons existed. Then there is the alternative fact that tax cuts for the wealthy increase tax revenues. The Republicans proceeded to blow up the balanced budget achieved by Bill Clinton and the previous Republican Congress by giving tax cuts to the rich. More proof beyond the recently passed tax bill and budget that the GOP doesn’t give a crap about deficits or the national debt.
So how did we get to this point, where people on opposite side of the political spectrum can’t even agree on a set of objective and provable facts? The Atlantic published a great article recently that gives a good overview explaining how this happened, providing examples from both the left and the right.https://www.theatlantic.c...nd/534231/
The Economist also released an article on this topic. This article references the “backfire effect”, where a person, when presented with facts contradicting their preconceived beliefs, refuse to change their opinion, or even consider the new information, and become even more entrenched in their views. Research suggests that conservatives are more likely to suffer from this phenomenon than liberals.
“humans do not naturally seek truth. In fact, as plenty of research shows, they tend to avoid it. People instinctively accept information to which they are exposed and must work actively to resist believing falsehoods; they tend to think that familiar information is true; and they cherry-pick data to support their existing views. At the root of all these biases seems to be what Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prizewinning psychologist and author of a bestselling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, calls “cognitive ease”: humans have a tendency to steer clear of facts that would force their brains to work harder.”https://www.economist.com...ow-lie-andhttps://www.researchgate....erceptions
In the scientific world, there is a whole industry producing fake science funded by corporations, with the purpose of undermining legitimate research. Especially research that may lead to policy decisions that would improve public health at the expense of corporate profits.http://www.phil.vt.edu/dm...roduct.pdf
Now we have Cambridge Analytica with Russian troll farms and confirmation by all our intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our election with the goal of getting Trump elected. A fact that the Republicans refuse to acknowledge, and won’t even consider the idea that Trump may have colluded with the Russians and are actively trying to interfere with the Mueller investigation. All of this with 9+ years of birtherism, BENGHAZI!!, Obama secret armies, Agenda 21, taking away guns, HILLARY EMAILS!!, Uranium One, Clinton Foundation, school shooting crisis actors, pizzagate, and any number of Republican nutjob conspiracies, I don’t see civil discourse returning anytime soon.