So, the other day I overheard on the ferry this guy, older than me and by all outer appearances quite educated, go on about how he sincerely believed Barack Obama is a secret Muslim who is set on destroying America.
How does one have a reasonable conversation with someone who believes such nutty things? Short answer: you can’t. So I didn’t even try.
If someone is running that much on deeply-felt gut beliefs that he or she will buy into some loopy theory for which there is absolutely no hard factual evidence, that individual is obviously in a mental space where facts and logic basically don’t matter anymore when it comes to the subject that belief falls into. As such, no basis exists anymore for having a reasonable discussion with someone who has differing political opinions.
Now switch to Congress. How does one achieve compromise is one side is dominated by individuals like that? Same answer: you can’t. For basically the same reason.
And that is why “gridlock” exists.
No, loopy theories don’t exclusively lie on one side of the political fence. When I was volunteering at a radical bookstore in Portland, one guy in the collective believed in a conspiracy involving shape-shifting aliens and several believed that 9/11 was all a vast, planned conspiracy by the Bush Administration.
But such beliefs are not equally spread across the spectrum, and it’s not the Left where they predominate. As an example, consider which of the two parties has denial of ample scientific evidence for human-caused global warming as a core part of its platform.
The political moderates’ dictum that all sides have an equally valid amount of input to offer is simply not a valid one; it is not always true. If you have an argument between one person who claims that 2 + 2 = 4, and another who insists 2 + 2 = 5, one does not obtain a correct answer by concluding therefore 2 + 2 = 4.5.