i had this in my instapaper favorites from my reading queue a few months back. with the recent santorumism in the news as of late, this popped back into my noggin.
Rightist extremism: My right to say abhorrent things | The Economist. the real nuggets here are in the linked research and the corresponding robin hanson posting which is referenced in the body of the article. both are worth the read. in short, hanson indicates that you have a lot fewer opinions than you think and that a lot of shit is just made up on the fly.
personally, this reinforces hard you have to work to avoid confirmation bias. the knee jerk reaction being to simply ack what you’re surrounded with, what you’re brought up with or what you intuit is the right solution. subjecting information to scrutiny, and your opinions as well, is hard. further, it’s consistently uncomfortable.
perhaps a better (but psychologically more difficult) response is to just say, “i don’t know.”
i wonder how much better off we’d be if we just copped to our individual and collective ignorance and thought really hard about stuff before opening our word holes.