Recent studies have suggested that the growth of mobility and the e-culture have not served to make us more eclectic in our belief systems but rather more narrow. Increasingly Americans are insolating themselves against all views outside those in a narrow group and the result of that is a populace that is more dismissive of other viewpoints and more committed to their own, which just happens to be shared by nearly everyone in their little circle.
When I penned the first draft of this essay, a little over a year ago, I had in the previous two nights eaten dinner with two different groups of people. On Friday night I had been with a group of my fellow academics from the university and their significant others. I know these people well and I hear a commonality in viewpoint that could have been written by a single author and ever one else reading from a talking points memo. With the election coming the refrain was “Obama would not be attacked so if he were not black”, i.e. all non-leftist are racist. No amount of reasoning, like the Republicans impeached Clinton, could sway them from their belief.
The next night, I spent dinner with a group that was all conservatives, but they were of two different types, the fiscal conservatives and the religious conservatives. Both groups support the Republicans, however, like the night before, I knew the people at the party well and I knew that their prime values were more different than they like to admit. That being said, through the night, from both groups, I heard laced in the conversation snippets of rhetoric taken word for word from the incredibly influential guru of the right, Rush Limbaugh. Like my leftist friends the night before, the rightist largely live in a world that reinforces their own prior beliefs and leads them to condemn not only other beliefs but to judge evil motives for those “others”.
What stands out is the growing tendency to judge those who have political beliefs outside their group to be morally deficient… e.g. evil.
Essay: Of Being Automatons or Being Autonomous