Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Normally, I hate stories like this. They're trying to poll what reality is. They purport to tell us what we should be able to see and judge ourselves. The non-rational truth is that many people are influenced by social consensus to believe things they didn't actually conclude themselves. (See Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.) In evolutionary terms, this is adaptive for social species (humans, ants, etc.), but I digress.

In politics, the usual rule is that perception is reality, but I obstinately resist the claim that anything besides reality is actually reality. Yeah, I'm old fashioned that way. My blog-friend Winston Smith at Philosoraptor (we've exchanged links, but it doesn't mean we're married) may be relieved to hear that I believe this, despite my occasional hedged defense of the phrase 'socially constructed'.

Still, the CNN polling story does show at least that people are seeing through the bullshit that we call our mass media. But, sure, I agree that Obama's more compassionate, better at the economy, smarter, a better leader, etc., so of course I like it.

Everybody rationalizes. Why shouldn't I?

Update: Ditto this story about the debate.

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