From David Sirota’s list of New Year’s resolutions, here’s my favorite:
4. Stop expecting facts to make a difference to my opponents: In my job as a left-leaning host on an otherwise conservative radio station, I spend three hours a day reciting simple, verifiable facts to right-wing callers. I had initially believed this might change minds, or at minimum, create the conditions for civil conversations. I believed this because — call me crazy! — if you show me a set of facts that refutes my beliefs, I tend to change my beliefs. The craziness, of course, was my expectation that most conservatives have the same open-minded attitude. In fact, as recent peer-reviewed academic studies have proven (here and here), conservatives seem hardwired for a so-called “backfire effect.” Basically, they react to facts that contradict their beliefs by more strongly clinging to those inaccurate beliefs.
Resolved: For the sake of my sanity, I will no longer expect facts — no matter how demonstrably true — to matter at all to committed right wingers.