As we all get deeper and deeper in the echo chambers in our social media networks we harden our beliefs on Faith or Science. This is especially true around climate change. Dr. Marshall Shepherd emphasizes this when he say people ask if you “believe” in climate change as if the science around it was a faith issue…or a Faith issue. His TED Talk is an informative and accessible 12 minutes of three kinds of bias that shape our thinking. We all need to know more about this and how it impacts ourselves if we are going to be effective critical thinkers and sound decision makers.
For example I have a bias between those who favour religion or science and I perceive that it is pushing people, and therefore society, to more extreme political positions. The divide on perceptions of climate change is but one example. This is also emphasizing the fears and anger as our opinions harden and our ignorance escalates about the “Other.”
There are plenty of Others to demonize by both the Left and the Right. These dangerous Others can be fed by misperceptions around immigration, reliability of information sources, trust in institutions or authority, even the role of government…and the list goes on.
As our politics becomes more polarized by the mainstream parties and the messaging from the hyperpartisan messengers becomes more trigger-happy emotionally, we risk losing the capacity for empathy, compassion, understanding and curiosity.
The outmoded Left vs Right political warfare spectrum model is leading us to an imploding of democracy. Unless radical moderate citizens get re-engaged in politics in serious ways and mean$ (sic) the trend lines are leading us to a decline and eventual collapsing of democracy. We see that happening in the USA and now Ontario. This is going to take hold in Alberta next election too if the NDP is taken over by Leftist Radicals or the Alt-Right Social Conservative Kenney controlled UCP wins.
We need a moderate progressive option if we are to get away from these destructive hyper-partisan political culture wars we see taking over Alberta these days.
There is a moral aspect in that whatever political and policy decisions get made by our elected representative. In a democracy these decisions always involve value-tradeoffs. The foundational next election Ballot question for me is, what mindset values do you want to predominate? Are they to be based on verifiable evidence and science or partisan rhetoric and propaganda or faith-based religious dogma?
Remember we are not electing celebrities or survivors in a reality television show. We are electing LAW MAKERS. In a democracy you always get the kind of government you deserve, especially if you don’t vote.