Our toxic social and political environment

The longer I go on, the more reluctant I am to discuss social and political issues. I’ll give couple of examples of why.

Many years ago, I participated in a letter writing campaign which was designed to point out that our sitting state representative voted against a bill that would make it easier to vote early.
I got some phone calls about it, and some were pleasant..including one who supported the representative. But not all.

One person asked me what I did for a living. I told her that I was a college professor and she just KNEW that I taught communism and hatred of America. I chuckled and said that I was a mathematics professor and there was no anti-American way of solving a differential equation. Needless to say, she didn’t appreciate my response.

The point: based on her “priors”; she just KNEW what I did. KNEW.

And, “our” side is just a bad in that regard.

There was an incident in the Army Navy game where the Cadets and Midshipmen made circles with their hands. Of COURSE, internet liberals just KNEW those were “white power” signs (given that some white power people do use that sign) and of course, any official probe was going to be a “cover up.” And me…well those that know me just KNOW that I am defensive about the service academies since I graduated from one. KNOW.

And yes, from time to time, administrations lie. But mostly not; it may come as a shock, but they really don’t want blatant racists in the ranks. Oh yes, there is racism in the military, and yes, there was in the academy when I was there, but it was usually more subtle than that. Overt “white power” types were looked down on as being crude and uncouth, at least at the service academies.

But that is a digression. The bottom line is that zealots put too much faith in their priors and no amount of evidence will cause them to change their minds, so talking to them is a useless exercise. Hence I make liberal use of the “mute” button.