Oh, how I love it when I see a comment somewhere that starts out “all libtards,” or “all repugs.” It’s not the wildly overused and unimaginative insults that are the problem; it’s that word “all.” Such broad generalizations do nothing except further cement the political divide in this country.
Although I guess that’s what some want (not pointing fingers at Cheeto Jesus, but …).
You can’t take the behavior of one person (who it seems is almost always an outlier and/or ideologue) and ascribe it to all who share a political affiliation/race/religion/etc. … not because it’s not politically correct (do I have to remind you I hate that?), but because it’s logically fallacious.
William R. Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, described on Bloomberg View the steps in what he called “bogus analysis of groups”:
“First, define the group by the outcome you are trying to explain. Second, invoke a stereotype and exaggerate it. Third, endow the group with innate permanent properties, akin to racial characteristics. Together, these errors establish a kind of collective guilt, blaming an entire ill-defined group for the failings of its individuals, even if the offenders are a tiny minority. This is both divisive and false—and all the more toxic because of its flavor of intellectual propriety.”
And yet it hasn’t happened, even though there are many people whose lives and beliefs belie those generalizations. Take a look at the Tomi Lahren dust-up with Glenn Beck and The Blaze, currently in a Texas courtroom after Lahren was fired following her admission that she’s pro-choice (gasp!).
Oh, but they’re not “real” conservatives/liberals, I hear you say. To that I ask: Who gets to decide who is a real anything? Oh, right … the hyperpartisan, because they’re obviously such great judges … at least they’re certainly good at passing judgment on any who don’t fit their idea of what their party is. Ideological purity must be maintained!
Two prime examples they cite are that Americans believe 32 percent of Democrats are homosexual (it’s only 6.3 percent), and that 38 percent of Republicans make over $250,000 a year (that one’s 2.2 percent). Those misconceptions, they found, color how partisans judge the opposing party, and even those in their own party (and it seemed to be worse among those who paid attention to political news). However, when given accurate information about the opposition’s composition, the partisans in the study tended to rate the opposition as less extreme.
In reporting on the study in the Washington Post, John Sides wrote:
“When we hear ‘Democrat’ or ‘Republican,’ we often think about who that party is. That is, we associate certain racial, religious and social groups with each party—often the same ones that we have for decades. Knowing which of those groups we like in turn helps us choose a party. Unfortunately, we have very caricatured notions of who the parties are. And the more we exaggerate the differences in the social bases of each party, the more tribal partisanship becomes.”
As to those people that hyperpartisans like to point to to prove the other side is evil, evil, evil, I’ll leave you with this admonishment from Easterly: “Whatever group we belong to, each of us should be held responsible for our own misbehavior, violence, and racism.”
And now for this week’s Twitter burns (I really need to come up with a graphic for that!), as well as a few not on Twitter, thanks to some spunky scientists.