Saturday, July 17, 2004

Dueling echo chambers

This has been something that I've been meaning to post about for a while now.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been doing a fair amount of digging through the political blogosphere lately. What I've found shouldn't be too surprising, but, then again, it's how things really and truly are right now.

For the most part, one can divide the American political blogosphere into two camps: the "left/Democratic" and "right/Republican" camps. There are obviously others, but for the most part, they all dwarf in comparison to these two. This, by itself, is obviously not a problem per se. What creates the problem is the relative interactions between the two, and the feedback loop each side is currently generating.

It should be obvious to anyone paying attention to the blogosphere that "discussions"--on both sides--are, when restricted to a single side, "pile-ons" against the opposing candidate or "lovefests" for their own. Although we're not quite at the level of "Bush eats babies" or "Kerry is a devil-worshiper," we're admittedly not that far away. Compounding matters is that most discussions that "include" both parties are only because "trolls" come in from one side or the other and raise havoc.

Again, I suppose I'm being unduly harsh to both sides--there are a few havens where free discourse reigns. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. On the other hand, reports of people being banned on various websites simply for being insufficiently or incorrectly partisan outnumber these oases of rational discussion.

Is there a solution to this problem? Is there any way to prevent the coming decades from being increasingly polarized ones in our society? Can we find people who are acceptable to our entire society, our will we have to live with half the country hating the guts of whoever is leading our country?

It's a depressing thought, but that's what I've been finding lately.


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