Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birds Of A Feather Fly Together

This recent poll is representative of almost all political polls I've seen in the large differences that exist between Republicans and Democrats on most any topic:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is real — the highest level in two years — as the public trusted its own observations of rising temperatures, a poll said Tuesday.


The poll showed a sharp gap depending on ideology, with 78 percent of supporters of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party saying there is solid evidence of climate change compared with 47 percent of supporters of the rival Republican Party saying so.
Duh, you might say. As the title of this post says, similar birds (or people) gather together and isolate themselves from other birds (or people). Hence the differences between Republican and Democratic views.

But that "flying together" now has an extra aspect:

If, for instance, Republicans mostly get their information from Fox News, then what Fox News tells or does not tell becomes crucially important. If Republicans and Democrats now get different reports about that thing called "reality", then any initial value disagreements could become stronger, right? The birds which fly together develop more identical feathers.

That's bad news for political debates. It's one thing to disagree on values. It's a totally different thing to disagree on both values and facts.