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Political scientist Francis Fukuyama reviews Ezra’s Klein’s new book about the roots of political polarization. - The Washington Post
This part of the story has been well understood for many years; what has puzzled observers is why polarization has more recently intensified into what political scientists label “affective polarization,” a highly emotional attachment to one’s side that defies considerations of rational self-interest. Here Klein, like many others, reaches into the realm of social psychology and notes a basic human propensity to form powerful group attachments: Being red or blue has come to constitute an identity rather than an ideology. He cites a large literature suggesting that human cognition does not begin with facts and work its way to interpretations; rather, humans start with preexisting identities and use their considerable cognitive skills to justify positions they somehow know in advance to be right. Under these conditions, having more facts and information does not necessarily lead to better decisions. Klein cites one rather depressing study in which better-informed partisans were more attached to their incorrect opinions than people who were more ignorant.
polarization  toblog  objectivity 
8 weeks ago by scritic
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