People are so harsh with one another. So self-centered and mean spirited. Maybe they have always been this way and I have been able to filter it all out. Maybe it is a new thing, idk. Either way. It is what it is now and I wish it were not so.
I see that when there are public discussions on web sites with opinion pieces that most all of the comments are truly "my way or the highway," type of thinking rather than open discussions where we might be able to come to any compromise on difficult issues.
Both sides of any debate often degrade into base attacks on those who disagree with their own opinion and facts are more and more rare. Even when a site becomes solidified into a basic right or left thinking audience, (KOS is a left wing site, Breitbart is a right wing one) much of the discussion(s) seem to be one-sided, lending weight to the idea that both sides complain of that the other side is brain-washed.
Both sides are brain-washed. Both sides have been at least somewhat hypnotized. Both liberals and conservatives are subject to bias. But left thinkers don’t seem to engage in the kind of mass rejections of evidence that right thinkers, or say, climate change deniers do.
The real bottom line evil that is done because of this dynamic is the blatant disbelief of factual evidence. That is to say, when a person who identifies as a right wing thinker is presented with a fact from a left wing thinker, or a left wing person is presented with a fact from a right wing person, even the facts are dismissed as false.
Facts are not right or left wing. They are simply data. Is there a preponderance of evidence to show that right or left wingers facts are non-facts? Well, it certainly appears to be so as I opined above about climate change deniers. But it may be claimed that since both sides are, undoubtedly hypnotized to some degree by propagandized information, we will not be able to ever be certain of a verifiable, unbiased truth.
One of the great losses America has suffered in the last four decades has been the once clear distinction between what is propaganda (opinion presented as fact) and what is strictly factual information. Tragic is not enough of a negative description of the real value of that loss. It was not because of one single thing, however it can be reasonably pointed to the loss of when we decided to drop the Fairness Doctrine.
What happened, below the squigly...
There are two basic type of people, those who think people are generally good, and those who think people are generally no damn good. The people who allowed the Fairness Doctrine to lapse are those who think people are generally good and would be able and willing to self-regulate for facts versus opinion. Those who then ruined our "fourth estate" are the people who think people are no damn good.
The people are no damned good thinkers had wanted to get out in front of everyone else, and began immediately to put in place the most absolutely cynical posture possible by creating monopolistic structures that "reported" what is essentially pure propaganda while painting it to look like what we had when we had and enforced the Fairness Doctrine.
These folks, who also happen to be right-wing thinkers felt the need to quickly "do unto others" before others could do it unto them. Left wing thinkers, who believed that people just would not do such an obviously counterproductive thing, were caught flat footed, and many were even surprised that someone had actually done it.
That result was, of course, Fox News. And unfortunately, the Fox news money machine has made all news more than suspect, even if the other media were doing everything in their power to continue to work within the ideas of the Fairness Doctrine. Since it is no longer enforceable, and the offenses of the obviously corrupt Fox news have so soured what people think about media - none are believed, depending on whether people identify as left or right wing politically.
Only when a sample case had been to court and Fox News argued that they were not legally required to be truthful at all in their reporting, and won the case, was the full tragedy of the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine (and other deregulation, of course) made clear.
When a person comes across results of a study showing that Fox News viewers are actually less informed than those who watch no news at all, their response is determined not by those shocking facts, but whether or not they are right or left wing thinkers. Right wing people imagine that those facts are simply not facts at all (ironically showing exactly how the results of the study could happen in the first place).
People have become much more polarized than ever before by the hyper propaganda machines that once were relied on to report news. Part of the ways that propaganda can be successful is the intentional blurring of the line between what is fact, and what is opinion.
The results are factual: Those who understand for example, that factually, trickle down economics has never worked in any trial case, ever, are confronted by people who have been presented opinions as if they were facts saying that trickle down and austerity programs work. How will we ever be able to move forward when basic facts are misrepresented and our population has not been educated enough to know the difference between fact and opinion?
Let us not get quite so angry at those among us who have been mislead and tricked. They did not know they were being mislead, and are genuinely upset when we confront them with facts that they have been told are not facts at all. I know it can be difficult and can't remember how many times I have wanted to just give up and smack them on the head. But let's not do that. Let us try and educate them regarding the difference between a fact and an opinion and the wisdom in basing our decisions on facts untainted by opinion.