BY STEVE MURRAY
OCTOBER 13, 2013
You know that one friend or relative who seems impervious to facts? Especially political facts? Well, here’s why.
I am an unabashed progressive liberal. I have several conservative friends on my Facebook page, most of which are intelligent, well-read and well-informed. Some of them I’ve known almost my whole life. I can have conversations with these friends about a variety of subjects: Philadelphia sports, movies, comics and other geek stuff, education, etc. There have, of course, been some steadily contentious subjects, going back to 2007—the Iraq War, the legacy of the Bush Administration (“enhanced interrogation,” warrantless wiretapping, Abu Ghraib, etc), the 2008 election, and gun rights (especially after Sandy Hook) just to name a few. But even then, the conversations are usually somewhat productive and respectful, and people at least tried to stick to facts.
If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you’ve seen examples of this: people arguing that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, the idea that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, the 9/11 Truthers, the Birthers, climate change deniers, and people who actually listen to (and believe!) Alex Jones. I’m sure you have that one friend-of-a-friend or that one crazy future sister-in-law who is constantly posting links and pictures that make you simply shake your head and wonder “How can they actually believe this?” Well, the answer is pretty simple: because they want to, badly.