I had an illuminating experience this week following the posting of my last blog article, Name the Demons.
In that post, I listed many examples of situations that I believe are the result of some very dark forces at work within our country. Among others, I particularly included examples of issues that have been reported within our public schools--teaching CRT (critical race theory), promoting LBGTQ+ issues, promoting gender identity. promoting gender-affirming surgery and puberty blockers, and preventing parents' involvement in their children's education. I linked all of these items to authoritative sources and even included videos of individuals and teachers who are promoting these things.
Well, a reader of the blog (who has teachers in their family) took great offense to what I wrote about the public schools and made some strong comments back. It's important to know that this commenter is a wonderful person whom I've known for many years. Yes...they have a different political leaning than I do. But what surprised me was that they immediately went on the attack by saying, "Before you print more of these lies and MAGA propaganda, please go visit a classroom and see for yourself."
My response was to send along additional information supporting what I had written; but all that action did was to cause them to dig in their heels and say, "I promise you that this and the many other things you mention are NOT being taught in the classroom. I don't know of any school in this area that teaches what you say they do." They then went further and declared that, "I don't know any of the sources that you are using as references, so they could all be propaganda."
I had also reported in the blog about the World Economic Forum (WEF) global elites endeavoring to create a socialistic one-world government. On this point, the commenter retorted, "I do know that no one is trying to create "a socialized global government. This is just another one of the many conspiracy theories of MAGA Republicans, who have been unfortunately brainwashed by Trump."
After the many back-and-forth comments/replies, the exchange ended with the commenter asking me one question: "Do you believe the election was stolen?"
I replied with one word--"Yes."
Their final statement was, "That really says it all."
We were done.
In the eyes of my friend, my answer confirmed her own strong anti-Trump feelings.
I have to confess that the whole dialog stuck with me for several days afterward. Yes, the Steady Patriot is a "conservative opinion blog" and I do share my thoughts and views. But those of you who are my subscribers and regular readers know that I try my very best to provide only factual information. I not only use alternative media sources that have been censored from the mainstream, but I also regularly include sources that are directly FROM the mainstream. And I welcome any dissenting views, opinions, and comments that can be supported by the facts.
As a result of this whole experience, I did some research on how people get to the point where it's easier to go on the attack and call people (even friends and family) disparaging names instead of engaging in meaningful, non-judgmental dialogue.
It turns out that there's actually a name for it. It's called, "Confirmation Bias." This innate tendency causes people to ignore information that contradicts their own beliefs. There are several processes involved in creating this bias:
People tend to search for information that confirms their preexisting beliefs, and to avoid information that contradicts them. Remember the old adage, "You see what you look for?
People tend to favor and give more weight to information that supports their beliefs, and less weight to information that contradicts them.
People tend to interpret information in a way that confirms their beliefs, even if the information could be interpreted in a way that contradicts them.
People tend to remember and recall information that supports their beliefs, and to forget information that contradicts them.
I think we can all see ourselves, to some degree, having a confirmation bias in our daily lives. We are human, after all. And, in my experience, we put on bigger "bias blinders" as the issues become more controversial and emotional.
Think back over the last two years and the intense issues we've all faced with the pandemic (e.g., lockdowns, masks, COVID treatments, vaccines, vaccine mandates). Which science should we listen to? The CDC? Dr. Fauci? Scientists with differing views who have been censored and de-platformed? We all know families--perhaps even our own--that have been torn apart by differences of opinion on these subjects, and confirmation bias has definitely played a role in destroying relationships.
What do we do?
The confirmation bias article gives some great ideas on how to reduce the bias in yourself and others; and I encourage you to read it when you have the chance.
But I thought I'd share a few things that I do to ensure my own objectivity:
Focus on getting to the TRUTH of a situation. I try my best to set aside any biases I may already have formed and research all sides of an issue. I pay particular attention whenever there is censorship of conflicting views/ideas/people, when the "approved narrative" doesn't make logical sense, and/or individual sovereign rights are being disregarded. Qwant.com is my current uncensored browser of choice for research.
Remain suspicious of ANY information that is presented until it can be verified. This can be a tricky one. I can't tell you the number of times I've almost published something that sounded true (and that I wanted to be true), but it eventually turned out to be false. My friend who commented on my last blog claims that there is no critical race theory or LGBTQ+ agenda being taught in THEIR local schools; therefore, it CAN'T be a widespread problem. And maybe they are right at this exact moment in time. However, a little more research into the subject shows that the National Education Association (NEA) does fund the teaching of critical race theory and promotes "queer sex." One of the NEA's linked resources can be seen here, if you have the stomach for it. SO, if the largest teacher's union in the country is behind these ideas...how long before they become mainstream in all public schools?
Follow the money. Who benefits? If you can dig out the actual money flow involved in a situation, you'll find a golden nugget of absolute truth.
Look for evidence that disproves your point of view. My friend dismissed me because I believe (after reading whistleblower accounts and watching documentaries and media-censored videos) that the 2020 election WAS stolen. I've tried to find evidence counter to this claim and have found nothing -- except more evidence proving it was stolen. However, I'm betting my friend's confirmation bias that the 2020 election was won fair and square would prevent them from watching 2000 Mules.
Get out of the media echo chamber. If you're not convinced that there is a media "echo chamber," watch this video on the Mueller investigation of Donald Trump:
Speaking of Donald Trump...he may be the biggest source of confirmation bias this country has ever seen. Yes, President Trump is a flawed human being. We all are. But those who HATE Donald Trump seem to see ONLY his flaws and not any of the good he has done for the country. To them, the phrase, "Make America Great Again," is toxic. After Biden's "Soul of a Nation" address where he demonized MAGA Republicans, telling a Trump-hater that one IS a "MAGA Republican" is like waving a red cape in front of a raging bull. Those with an extreme confirmation bias against Trump now appear to accept this administration's narrative that any person who supports him is a Nazi, white supremacist, homophobe, xenophobe, terrorist and a deplorable.
Maybe I'm a Pollyanna, but I still believe that my liberal friends really DO want the same things that I do--secure borders, crime-free cities, energy independence, a robust economy, and the opportunity to live life as free and sovereign individuals.
But first...our bias blinders have to come off.
"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
-John Heywood (c. 1497 – c. 1580)
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