In a recent article a neurology study has examined brain activity during discussions about American politics. Committed Republicans and Democrats were both tested to see their cognitive and emotional reactions to quotes from the presidential candidates they supported in which each of the candidates were quoted contradicting a position they previously professed.
The results basically showed that there was little to no actual cognitive reasoning that took place in response to the stimuli. Rather, participants in the study had strong emotional reactions with little or no brain activity in the “cold reasoning” center of the brain. They made excuses for their own candidate, while condemning the other.
I hope to write on Radical Democracy at a later point this year, a position toward which many who share my radical ecclesiology are very receptive. I’d like to be as well, but studies like this, just seem to illustrate so clearly how eroded are the very conditions that would be necessary for any kind of public dialogue to take place. Instead all we have is partisan politics that are ruled by vitriolic rhetoric and reactionary fear-mongering on all sides of the party line, where wolves snap at any scraps of power that might come their way. And this is the democracy that we want to export to Iraq. All I can say is, damn.