According to a psychological prinicple known as “confirmation bias,” we tend to seek out or interpret information that confirms our preconceived opinions. We all do this. If you disagree, try this experiment. Think of the last time you sought out and read a book that you knew was contrary a strongly held opinion or belief. My guess is you probably haven’t. After all, what’s the point? Why would you want to have your opinion challenged? If you have, it was probably like me, who often seeks out books that are contrary only to understand the enemy, or see why they’re wrong. : )
It is in that spirit that I have began reading, somewhat simultaneously, Bill O’Reilly’s Culture Warrior, and Al Gore’s The Assault On Reason. O’Reilly offends a lot of people. His is not a book that I would read normally, but I’m reading it. With an (arguably) open mind. To balance that (arguably), I’m reading Gore, who also offends some people. Some might even suggest that Gore’s book itself is an assault on reason.
I believe that in order to truly be rational, thinking citizen, we must seek out information from all over the spectrum. We don’t need to agree with everything, of course, but learning about other’s perspectives will help us understand each other, unify people across partisan lines, and make us more thoughtful in what we do believe.
Any suggestions (from all sides) of books I might want to read? One caveat: I’m not ready to read Ann Coulter, so please don’t suggest that. : )