February 6, 2006

Refreshing Moment of Candor

So I read this Washington Post story from a couple days back and it's pretty disturbing to me. Basically the gist of it is that your brain uses chemicals to actively reinforce your political preconceptions. Quoth P.:

Studies presented at the conference, for example, produced evidence that emotions and implicit assumptions often influence why people choose their political affiliations, and that partisans stubbornly discount any information that challenges their preexisting beliefs.

When you get right down to it I know I'm one of those people. There are certainly reasons why things in Iraq might end up being better for us having intervened, but my brain actively refuses to entertain or accept them. Apparently this isn't just because I'm bullheaded (although I certainly am) but also because my brain has some sort of vested interest in clinging to certain ideas, even if they become outmoded.

It would be easy at this point to make, as plenty of others have made, easy allusions to conservative beliefs w/r/t homosexuals, redistribution of wealth, nationalized health care, torture, etc. But the fact is that I probably hold some beliefs that are as irrational as theirs.

Essentially I think my liberalism derives from a core belief that conservatism is inherently selfish, and in my desire to fight that selfishness I've compromised logic on probably more than one occasion. Sorry, guys.

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