Right now, the political right is so out of touch with reality that they resist taking easy, reasonable precautions against acquiring COVID-19 when their lives depend on it. So the question is: how did we get here?
The left feels that the right wing should quit reading right-wing news sources and just get all their information from nothing but the mainstream media. But we need to understand why that is unacceptable to many.
The mainstream media is not without fault. The perception of reality that it promotes is deeply flawed in some ways, and highly insulting to many Americans.
To begin with, it propagates a view of identity politics that has several flaws:
- All demographics are plotted on a continuum ranging from “victim” to “privileged”, and “victim” demographics are not allowed to be criticized, which is problematic in instances when those demographics are at fault.
- They ban all discussion of any reason for a difference in outcomes between demographics other than discrimination and injustice. Most demographics have deep cultural differences, and some may have intrinsic differences, but any mention of either is deemed “bigotry” and not allowed. They then talk about differences in outcomes all day long and come to a grossly exaggerated estimation of the influence of discrimination and injustice present.
- They tell individuals from “privileged” demographics that they, as individuals, bear an inescapable burden of guilt for past actions by their demographic, including for events that occured long before they were born and often far from where they’ve ever lived, and that redemption is impossible.
- They stress that the most salient aspect of a person’s identity is their demographic. This makes everybody more conscious of demographic differences than ever, making it harder to refrain from discriminating, consciously or subconsciously, and harder for everybody to get along.
So any discussion of identity politics that takes place in the mainstream media or among liberals has centrally relevant factors so aggressively censored from it that it becomes so far from reality that the whole conversation is just not worth having.
Add to that the fact that the mainstream media and the left are extremely eager to drag identity politics into everything, all the time.
The mainstream media is also factually inaccurate when covering anyone who questions the liberal consensus about identity politics. For example, when both Harvard President Larry Summers and then James Damore, a highly talented software engineer at Google, speculated on reasons other than discrimination for the under representation of women in STEM, nearly every news story in the mainstream media that covered either of them reported that they said that the average woman is less intelligent than the average man, when if you read what either of them said (follow the links) not only did they not say that, but they were obviously well-informed enough to realize it was not true. Psychology professor Jordan Peterson is also a critic of the left’s identity politics, and nearly all coverage of him in the mainstream media, including in supposedly “reputable” publications, are vicious hit jobs that put words in his mouth that he did not and would not say.
Liberals reading nothing but the mainstream media come to believe that privileged demographics are genuinely evil. At the same time, when someone from a privileged demographic reads the mainstream media, they find it loaded with content that is both personally vilifying and, at the same time, completely divorced from reality.
Religion is another factor. The left has become increasingly secular and contemptful of Christianity, which those on the right find highly offensive and threatening.
In my opinion, the mainstream media is completley worthless when talking about identity politics, but pretty good on most other things. Most educated people fall on the left side of the political divide (educated people from vilified demographics usually disavow any identification with their demographic — a requirement for membership in the intellectual elite) so the mainstream media does tend to be well-informed. The right-wing media is immature, unsophisticated, and unreliable.
So we wind up with these two poles in American society who find one another evil and threatening, despise one another, and are out to destroy each other.
Cue the entry of contrarianism. The two poles hate each other so much that if one side takes an opinion first, the other side will react against it. Any issue becomes completeley polarized, and the truth falls between the cracks.