Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Thursday, October 20, 2005

PARALLEL UNIVERSES: Steve Clemons (who was the left side of the blog world's point person on the Bolton nomination) is stunned by research showing "Echo chambers, on the right and left, remain amongst book readers in America." By looking at "Customers who bought this book also bought" on the top 100 political books at, a social network analyst produces a revealing chart of a great divide. His chart looks like two unmatching geodes facing off against each other. Almost no purchasers from either side bought books from the other. We are not reading the same things, and we might as well be living in different worlds.

I suspect the same applies to the websites we visit. We are all busy giving our own views positive reinforcement. That explains why the right wingnuts are so willfully blind to reality, but it points out a danger to the rest of us as well. A lesson I learned in college, minoring in history: If you really want to know the truth, you have to make an extra effort to seek out alternative viewpoints. You may find out many of them were only morally-challenged special interests after all (like the ex-slaveowners who denounced Reconstruction as oppressive looting of the South), but if you don't look you will never be sure.


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