The Enemy’s POV

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

From the Martin Luther King, Jr. entry on wikiquote.

At brunch yesterday, the point was being made to me over and over that if climate change advocates could ask deniers, “What would it take to convince you?” and give that data or answers, then that would spark the necessary dialogue to help both sides understand each other. Running across the quote above, it struck me as quite funny and unsurprising that I would be on the wrong side of MLK.

As though proving my point, my repeated argument that ideology trumps facts according to studies fell on deaf ears. False information (such as a misleading negative campaign ad) agreeing with a person’s ideology followed by a retraction or fact checking tends to result in strengthening the false info. The recalled “facts” are those necessary to defend conclusions. It appears to work this way for both liberals and conservatives. The mechanics appear to include remembering the false information because they agree and not the correction because they disagree.

Even before I ran across this through to the present, I try to expose my self to Libertarian, Republican, Green, and Democrat information sources. I find myself dismissing some things and then armed with the ideas above feel bad about having done so. So I dig for more information and sometimes find I was wrong. Doing this is hard. It is far easier to just assume I was already correct. But then I am an information glutton.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

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