To my SJW friends — your extreme moral outrage may be hurting minorities instead [Strange Solutions]
Polarization of opinions is the new norm — its presence is felt in the news cycles we consume and the living rooms we occupy.
It has become rampant in almost every topic, but especially in those that have always been controversial — politics, governance and religion.
There are two hypothesis that go a long way in explaining this trend:
1. With social media & emergence of echo chambers, it has become all too easy to fall prey to confirmation bias. Furthermore, with recommendation engines that are incentivized to keep us around (FB, Netflix etc.), increasingly extreme recommendations are not a rarity
2. Creating and consuming information has never been easier. And with this ease of consuming information, there is an associated ease of viewing oneself as an expert. A treasure trove of information related to any topic is at our fingertips, ready to fuel our fantasies of believing that we’re more knowledgeable than we are.
A potent cocktail of believing you’re an expert, finding validation in niche online communities & ease of communication has given way to proliferation of extreme political opinions — both on the left & the right.
What is an extreme opinion or an extremist? Here’s one definition that works well for a particular topic:
An extremist is one who can’t answer (or has never even thought of) the following question: What data would I have to be shown to change my opinion on this topic?
While extremists on the political right tend to get highlighted, the political left is often ignored. But the left has extremists as well — ones who will fail to come up with an answer to the above question on political topics.
While each of us may be an extremist on certain topics, extremism in politics is especially dangerous as it impacts day-to-day lives of millions.
Why am I only talking to the left?
At a time when extreme right seems to be gaining momentum around the world, there are still some reasons that this article is dedicated to the left.