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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hello, Fox News?

I have received some nice letters from folks from both left and right who liked my recent Virtue of the mean blogpost. 

I was talking about it with a conservative friend in Orange County this afternoon. I asked him if the two sides would ever be able to meet in the middle again?

His answer sort of surprised me. "No way," he said. "Too many powerful interests make too much money keeping us divided."

Cynical, but he may be on to something.

3 comments:

Jon Harwood said...

I think your buddy is onto something. At this point I am incapable of seeing a Grand Design behind any of this, it is too complicated and it is really hard to see the historical trends when you're in the middle of it. However a nice example of the powerful interests would be Facebook algorithms that are designed to keep eyeballs glued to screens so they can look at advertisements and generate revenue. These algorithms will maintain interest by directing viewers to content similar to what they seem to like. By doing this they might direct dog lovers to dog related sites but they also direct political extremists to more extreme sites. Repeat this 500 million times and you have the Facebook money making machine producing the inconvenient by product of political extremism.

Unknown said...

Current legislative bills run 1000's of pages. Nobody but the lobbyists know what's in them: certainly not the public nor those who vote on them. That leaves a lot of room for the "powerful interests" (i.e., those that pay the lobbyists and fund the congress-critters campaigns) to provide the talking points (to both sides) that characterize (often mis-characterize) the legislation and frame the public debate. More controversy = more people sending money to their favored politician, interest group, etc. More controversy = more people voting (and likely sticking to party lines). I partly blame the two-party system that is so thoroughly engrained in this country: both parties have an interest in framing it as a choice between good/evil (or evil/good) to ensure maximum $$ and turnout of their base. Politicians who stray from their party seem to generally get excoriated. Given that enough 3rd party votes are cast in elections to swing results (if cast differently), I'd be interested to see what would happen if we switched to ranked-preference voting. Perhaps more reasonable centrist candidates would fare better in such a system. But can a centrist be counted on by those powerful interests?

Victoria Roberts Art Assemblage said...

Fuckers. Yes too much money can be made on the division, sad but true. They will get theirs in the end.