Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mental ‘bandwagoning’

I have never been a big fan of Howard Stern (I have nothing against the man, just never listen to him) but I think this experiment is pretty interesting. His co-host asked several people who they supported in the next presidential race, and why, and then asked if they supported certain policies; the twist is that he switched the policies of the candidates.

A women was asked who she supported, she said “Obama”; she was then asked if she supported Obama’s pro-life, pro-Iraq war stance; the women said “yes”; she was then asked if she didn’t mind Sarah Palin for Vice President; the women didn’t mind at all. He did the same thing with a man who supported McCain; But don’t take my word for it:

(WARNING: some Language and Crudeness.)

A longer version is here.

To be fair, a good social engineer can get people to answer questions they know are false; people, when nervous and on-the-spot, will often say silly things; people who conduct polls have been doing this for years. None-the-less, this still demonstrates the “mental bandwagoning” that politics seems to inspire (and yes, I am fully aware that is not a word.)

It’s funny, very few feel qualified (or for that matter, interested) to talk about issues of philosophy or science, but nearly all feel qualified to talk about politics; a field of philosophy which is theoretically complex, and even more complex in practice.

How many people actually spend the time to research their own opinions, to critically examine their ideas? Wouldn’t a truly honest person want not only an opinion, but a correct opinion? This becomes even more bizarre when you look at the passions that follow politics; the passions seem to go far beyond the intellect.

It seems everybody wants an opinion, but next to nobody seems to want to work for a good one.

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