Partisan Politics In The Echo Chamber

It is a commonly held belief that the political debate has become more partisan, less civilized, and more extreme during the last decade. In the age of strongly opinionated blogs and other media (such as Fox News or the Huffington Post), it is easy to listen only to people who shares whatever view you already hold.

In a talk at Princeton, Steven Johnson argues that this is an illusion, and that people are more in agreement than they used to be. You can watch it here.

It is certainly the case that we see a lot of slogans where arguments and reasoning would be preferable. And quite often politicians disagree on things, just because they want to be different from the other side. At the same time, diversity of opinion is not just something we must live with in a democracy, it is part of the very foundation that makes it work. It is in the clash of ideas that we find progress, and having heated debates is a cheap price to pay. Especially when they are just that: debates.

HT: Mattias
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