Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Have you ever gotten the feeling that the real divide in America isn't between left, right, and libertarian, but is instead between those who have a degree of humility about their opinions and those who prefer to reside in the fever swamps? In other words: between those who treat their political opponents like mature and responsible adults, and those who infantilize and demonize their political opponents?

To me, this is the same distinction as I discussed a few weeks ago between those who know they don't understand other people, and those who think they understand other people.

Regardless, I always find debate with the former type of person to be physically invigorating, even if I wind up having to concede defeat. Debate with the latter, however, is physically draining from start to finish, and in no case does either side actually "win." (Although the resident of the fever swamp usually will declare victory despite having demonstrated nothing beyond an ability to attack a caricature of the other person). Just a thought.

Then again, this study I found discussed at Dr. X's Free Associations would seem to answer my question in the affirmative. At a minimum it would explain why the fever swamp residents so often declare victory in their debates.