Monthly Archives: January 2012
I finally figured out why our politicians are so narrow in their point of view and why they continually fail to consider opinions other than their own. It turns out they are like the rest of us and are guilty of “confirmation bias.” This phenomenon is well-known to psychologists and outlined in the book, “Future Babble” by Don Gardner: “Once we form a belief for any reason, good or bad, rational or bonkers, we will eagerly seek out and accept information that supports it while not bothering to look for information that does not – and if we are unavoidably confronted with information that doesn’t fit, we will be hyper critical of it, looking for any excuse to dismiss it as worthless.” Apparently, even facts do not disturb this bias. Listen to any call-in talk show and you will get a perfect example of confirmation bias.
Published in The Journal Record
December 28, 2011
The smart ones among us do what our mothers ask. Besides the fact that our mothers often know best, it simply makes life easier if we comply with their instructions.
History was changed in 1920 because of a mother’s simple request. Suffragettes had been working for decades to obtain the vote for women. The 19th Amendment had been passed by Congress and ratified by enough states, save one, to secure passage. All that was needed was the Tennessee legislature to approve the Amendment and it would become law.
It appeared, however, the “no” votes would prevail and the Amendment would not be confirmed until a young legislator named Harry Burns switched his vote. The reason for the sudden change? His mother, Febb, sent him a note the day before that he should not “forget to be a good boy” and reconsider his vote. Being a dutiful son, Harry changed his vote and the 19th Amendment became law. Continue reading