technology politics

If you’ve read my “About” page, you’ll know that I live in Madison, WI. If you follow the news at all, you know Madison is in a bit of an uproar these days. It’s a pretty interesting situation for someone who try to remain an impartial observer as much as possible, and all the debating around town has gotten me thinking about the parallels between politics and tech.

In politics, both parties are extremely opinionated, vocal, and lack the capacity to understand one another. Sound familiar? I couldn’t say who i’ve seen spewing more virtual vitriol – commenters on Gizmodo or commenters on Politifact. The fact is, no one seems to be able to understand anyone on the other side. That lack of understanding only leads to name-calling and smear campaigns, helping nothing. I’m beginning to think that there’s something deep within the human brain capable of deep, unreasonable hatred for “the other.”

I’ve noticed that the main arguments used by these hardcore enthusiasts are often incomprehensible to the other side. Each chooses to ignore key points and presents totally incompatible arguments over and over. I think there’s a pretty useful definition for stupidity that applies here: repeating an action multiple times, while expecting a different result.

It should be obvious by now that Democrats will never agree to abortion bans and Republicans won’t go along with tax increases. They can’t even understand why the other party can think in such a way. Much like pc users don’t understand the “feel” and elegance of a mac, while mac users can’t comprehend how maximum customizability and raw power can trump user experience.

This fundamental incompatibility can apply equally well to any heated debate – but why don’t people just stop and agree on the common points? We all love democracy, and computers are pretty great. Is it really so hard to think alike?


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