In “The Big Sort“, Economist.com reports on evidence that the polarization that has characterized political discourse in the U.S. will not end, as some have hoped, with the election of a new president this November. There are signs that increasingly Americans are choosing to live among neighbors who share their viewpoints, which means less exposure to other perspectives on important issues.
The implications are disturbing:
Studies suggest that when a group is ideologically homogeneous, its members tend to grow more extreme. Even clever, fair-minded people are not immune. Cass Sunstein and David Schkade, two academics, found that Republican-appointed judges vote more conservatively when sitting on a panel with other Republicans than when sitting with Democrats. Democratic judges become more liberal when on the bench with fellow Democrats.
If you’re an American, what have you experienced of this political segregation? What effort have you made to combat confirmation bias when it comes to the political issues of the day? What opportunities do you have to talk with people whose values and views are different from your own? What are the sources of news you rely on? What kind of media do you consume — progressive, conservative, mainstream, or extreme right or left? When was the last time you listened to views you disagreed with?
When was the last time you changed your mind?
(Hat tip to Atlantic Review.)