Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Thursday, July 28, 2016

False Consensus

Twice in the past week, I've gone out of my way to greet a neighbor at the community pool and say hello.  Twice I've wished I hadn't.

The first guy, who was there with his two young grandkids, replied to my generic, "What's new?" with bizarre rant about low sales taxes in other states, and his dislike of the gummint and that "goddam Muslim" running it.  "OK," I said, standing to walk away, "Sorry I asked."

"You're not a conservative, are you"? he said.

A few days later, I said hi to another guy.  He wanted to know if I'd received his email.  It was about supporting our local Issue 1 -- it would totally revamp our city council -- and he wanted me to forward it to the entire neighborhood.  I got it, but told him I wouldn't share it because our HOA Board doesn't get involved in politics.

"Really?  But it would give us real representation from this area" he said, "not some 26 year-old like Shannon Hardin.  The only reason he's on city council is he's black and gay."  Whatever, dude.  I'm still not forwarding your email.

My evidence is empirical, but it seems to me many conservatives are convinced that everyone shares their world view.  I see it all the time, not just from the preceding examples.  They can't keep their opinions to themselves (even the offensive ones).  They assume consensus, they assume everyone agrees with them, and are shocked to find out otherwise.

In psychology, this condition is called the "false consensus effect" or "naive realism."  In my experience, it's fairly prevalent among conservatives and relatively rare in liberals.

I wonder why that is.

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