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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Opening minds

Arnold Kling has an interesting post on "Opening Minds, Closing Minds." Excerpt:

The following thought occurred to me recently. Suppose we look at writing on issues where people tend to hold strong opinions that fit with their ideology. Such writing can 
(a) attempt to open the minds of people on the opposite side as the author 
(b) attempt to open minds of people on the same side as the author 
(c) attempt to close minds of people on the same side as the author
So, think about it. Wouldn't you classify most op-eds and blog posts as (c)? Isn't that sort of pathetic? Here are some more thoughts: 
1. The default is (c). If you are not consciously trying to do (a) or (b), then you will almost surely do (c). 
2. Most of us, most of the time, do (c). 
3. Doing (c) 100 % of the time can earn you fame and fortune. Yes, you get criticized for it by people on the other side, but the positive reinforcement you get probably more than makes up for it. 
4. Try to think of folks who try to have a high proportion of (a) and (b). The first ones that I think of are David Brooks and Tyler Cowen. I wish I could think of more.
Me: One thing I liked about writing for FrumForum, when it was actively publishing, was its overt emphasis on (b) and its notable but more subtle capacity for (a).

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