Political Polarization? Blame The Internet!

from the oh,-come-on... dept

John Dvorak seems to spend his time figuring out what he can trash each week, and it just gets sillier and sillier (see his belief that disruptive technologies don’t exist, for example). His latest, however, probably touches a nerve with a lot of people, especially this particular season. His complaint is that the internet has turned us all into a bunch of partisan nut jobs — and therefore the internet has made us worse off. Specifically, we have a bunch of ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative bloggers spouting off with disingenuous positions — often (it appears) with the effort being to completely demonize the opponent, rather than show why their guy would be better. To Dvorak, this just means that everyone is not entitled to their own opinion. Funny to hear this from someone whose opinion so many people have problems with. Dvorak’s solution: shut down the internet. He’d prefer everyone “go out and mingle.” Yes, that’s right, because everyone is so much more honest when they meet up face to face. While many of us believe, indeed, that the level of discourse on all sides this political season has sunk to new lows, it’s not the internet that’s at fault, but all of us. Why do we let the politicians and their flunkies get away with all of this? Why not take a stand, like Jon Stewart appearing on Crossfire (video, for those who missed it), and point out what most people know is true: the extreme partisan hackery is both ridiculous and bad for everyone involved. If anything, while Dvorak blames the internet, he’s giving the “seriously disturbed [and] feebleminded” folks way too much credit. The reason why Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire is getting so much attention, and why the crowd was with him was because the extreme partisanship we’re witnessing angers most people who wish politicians would just tell the damn truth for once. But, when all we see is extreme ridiculousness on all sides, it forces people to actually figure out what’s true for themselves. While some people may be convinced, and the “true believers” may scream the loudest, hopefully these two extreme positions are forcing most people not to rely on what anyone is saying and to figure out for themselves what’s really going on and maybe (for once) make up their own mind.

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