they deal with questions that have no definite answers, so there's no back pressure on people's opinions. Since no one can be proven wrong, every opinion is equally valid, and sensing this, everyone lets fly with theirs.And one could include GW by replacing "definite" with "currently well-known from observation". But this doesn't quite satisfy him, since he observes the obvious, that other issues with unclear answers don't end up such a mess. Instead, he offers:
they become part of people's identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that's part of their identity. By definition they're partisan... you can have a fruitful discussion about a topic only if it doesn't engage the identities of any of the participants. What makes politics and religion such minefields is that they engage so many people's identities.I think that's correct; or at least part of the correct answer. PG deduces from this that:
If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.Because if you do that, you'll be able to think clearly about as many things as possible. Do you see where this is going now? Oh, good. Just in case you don't, I refer you to stuff like Rejecting Climate Change: Not Science Denial, but Regulation Phobia? where I've been criticising "my own side" and getting nothing but grief for it. To be fair, I've probably forgotten why I thought it was a good idea, but the PG post provides part of the answer: I'm complaining about people who have gone off and let too much GW into their identity.
You weren't expecting a fully formed coherent system of thought, were you?
* Dilbert 2017/10/25.