Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nate Silver Graphs the Far-Right Mind

Nate Silver, that geeky obsessive compulsive who runs FiveThirtyEight.com, has put his finger on something I've been grappling with for years now.

There are a certain segment of conservatives who literally cannot believe that anybody would see the world differently than the way they do. They have not just forgotten how to persuade; they have forgotten about the necessity of persuasion.
This is from his followup to the interview with John Zeigler that he posted yesterday. I have run into this attitude frequently during my recreational forays into right-wing world, but for a better illustration look at President Bush's press conferences. How often have you seen him asked to explain something he's just said, and the explaination is the exact same words, only slower and louder with more emphatic hand gestures? It's not that the reporters aren't buying it, it's that the reporter (or the American people) was too dumb to get it the first time.

It must have been really frustrating on that Privative Social Security Tour. Why wouldn't they understand? Those people are idiots!

It's this refusal to swerve from (I'll rosily refer to it) moral clarity that drives conservatives into their crazier corners. This morning I read the opinion that Democrats (presumably the far-left liberal media, because they're all Democrats) caused McCain to prevail over Romney in the primaries. Obviously all the Republicans MEANT to vote for Romney, but Democrats confused them. Or something. I'm waiting to hear further remarks on that one.

Silver thinks this refusal to believe that people might disagree is rooted in Talk Radio. Seems like kind of a stretch to me, but he could be right. Maybe the whole problem is if you listen to that stuff long enough, you forget that the callers are screened.

7 comments:

wamk said...

Thank goodness that only happens on the Right, huh?

Danielk said...

I can't tell you how relieved I am to see you suggesting that it happens on the Right.

Yeah, our non-centrists do it too. It's just... they're less organized about it. Typical Democrats.

wamk said...

Of course it exists on both sides. Why do you think Sullivan is so fixated on believing Trig Palin is not Sarah's son?

Publius said...

I'm sorry, but the guy that you quoted is a man so partisanly mired that he cannot see his way out of the rearward body orifice in which he is so firmly ensconced.

He is not describing the "right." He is describing human nature.

But, he is so filled with hate for his enemies that he imagines his side on the side of the angels.

Daniel, thanks for showing us your idiot du jour.

Danielk said...

Publius, I'm curious. For calibration purposes, who is more "partisanly mired", Silver or Zeigler? Be honest now.

Publius said...

Why do you assume either has to be "more" mired?

Danielk said...

I don't actually; I'm trying to determine what you think.