“But the public doesn’t care about this stuff, right? So how do you get Joe America to talk about it in his living room? You give him a little hit of testosterone. Getting to the next step required substituting emotional response for intellectual response. Reality TV, chat boards, talk radio…there were dozens of new vehicles to reinforce confirmation bias. Once an individual was addicted to the hate buzz of stating his opinion, arguing about it, and thereby reinforcing what he already believed, he was primed to respond that way to other issues. Think tanks started building interlaced latticeworks of issues. How can you take an issue like climate change, where 99% of peer-reviewed research supports it, and polarize it? You link it to other social identities. We now have clusters of identities that travel together: religious, conservative, global warming skeptic, Chick-fil-a eater. It’s increasingly difficult to disassociate from one without disassociating from all. Sean Hannity and others like him exist because we need him: we need the constant reinforcement to keep these identities together. We get an ego boast and hormonal jolt; the think tanks get foot soldiers.”
“I’ve been of the personal opinion that the strident anti-pot messages have been particularly damaging to the goal of keeping kids away from dangerous stuff. Pot is not dangerous. It just isn’t. But adults insist that it is, and scream bloody murder about it, all red-faced with their wattles shaking. Then, when the kids actually try it, they figure out that, yet again, the adults are lying to them, as they so frequently do. So then they ignore the screaming about drugs that are actually dangerous I’m not sure if this is still common parlance, but in my youth, pot was called “a gateway drug”. And I think they’re right about that, but not for the reasons they believe. It’s not that pot automatically leads to heroin, it’s that lying about pot means that kids don’t trust you about heroin. Basing your anti-drug campaign around falsehoods is about as counter-productive a strategy as one could possibly come up with.“
Commenter on Metafilter in a thread about drug policy..