Think that people's political opinions are the result of carefully reasoned thought? Think that everyone would agree with you if you could just make them see the light? Think again! Big government vs small government, free market vs a fair market, individualism vs group effort, conservative vs liberal.... Political controversies sound like they're based on factual or logical differences. But they're often not. The differences are largely cultural -- the effect of all the varied influences on us during our lifetime. And, in particular, they're based on how much those cultural influences value empathy vs self-interest and fairness vs social stability.
Because of an attribute of the brain called neuro-plasticity, these cultural influences become part of us -- they determine what we see and feel. That's why it's so hard to change someone's mind in a political argument. But in knowing this, we can better understand both our own goals for public policy and those of others.
About Eric Balkan
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Published May 1, 2011
by Packet Press.
Political & Social Sciences.