2009-01-20

The More You Know...

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... apparently it only makes things worse. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that 72% of self-identified conservatives still approve of George W Bush's performance as President. As a Bush supporter back in 2004 I can understand this mindset, especially if you personally believe the US was justified in our use of torture (the impetus for my departure from the right), however I don't think it is a view anchored in reality. Thankfully Matt Yglesias uncovered the following (see chart below) which indicates what happens as one's level of knowledge on a given subject matter increases:



The data seems to indicate that either a) our ideological inclinations predestine our perceived reality so to speak or b) that all of our fact finding is nothing more than an exercise in supporting our previously established ideological inclinations. Either way, this does not bode well for an electorate with ever increasing access to information. Google / the 24 hour news cycle have seemingly become the great enablers of our addiction to our own opinions, rather than a well-spring of truth from which we all blindly drink.


Thought vs. Rationalization

With the George W Bush era ending today, conservatives should take note of their current views on the economy as being largely the result of outside forces (the housing bubble, Alan Greenspan, Democrats in Congress refusing to regulate the GSE's, cheap money, etc...), and compare them with their analysis of the Obama administration in four years time. Though conservatives will admit that Bush did in fact make mistakes, they rationalize them as being the result of the times (911, the housing crisis, etc...). This is what happens when "your guy" is in office. When it's the other guy, this sort of forgiveness is the first thing to go. The truth however seems to be that eventhough it may feel like we're thinking objectively, both parties are equally guilty of "adopt[ing] issue positions, adjust[ing] their candidate perceptions, and invent[ing] facts to rationalize decisions they have already made."

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