Most bloggers are extremely hard pressed to leave politics out of all their posts, and their opinions usually creep into the conversation once in a while - some more often than others.
The interesting thing is that I'm reading blogs whose writers are from every side of the political spectrum. That guy's a hardcore fundamentalist christian conservative, that girl's a socialist, that dude's a fiscal conservative, that girl's a libertarian. All bright people, but divided on the most fundamental topics. All write brilliantly in their field of expertise, but they can't agree on even a starting point for how to balance a national budget.
To sound wise, people who want to make peace between the camps say things like, "it's a matter of perspective" or "they have different priorities". I think this is a terrible thing to say. Look at science.
Real science, done by real scientists, results in everything from vaccines to airplanes to search engines. If you put these scientists in a room together and have them talk, they'll have a hundred different priorities and perspectives. That scientist is a money-grubber. That one is trying to make the world a better place. That one is simply curious. That one wants to fund his own "super-think-tank". Blah blah blah.
But these scientists don't disagree on fundamental issues in science. Excepting, of course, the <1% "crazed loon insisting he's a scientist".
Sure, they disagree on lesser issues (that may seem like core issues to the people involved). They can even disagree on the stability and importance of a given core issue. But you won't hear one of them saying, "well, I think it's most critical to take gravity into account when building a jet" and another saying "no, you're totally wrong, it's all about the atmosphere." They both know that both need to be taken into account.
In defending the massive variety of opinions in the political arena, you can say, "it's a burgeoning field, not as well known as other sciences" or similar. But even in a burgeoning field, there are obvious lines of discussion, even if there are disagreements as to the best simulation. Economics is a burgeoning field, and there are many opinions as to what the algorithm really is, and what the best approach is. But the people aren't arguing over whether money is something economics should be concerned about...
Of course, the best argument is "it's not a science!"
It's also the worst argument.
You're telling me that our political decisions shouldn't take science into consideration? Science has extended lives, connected billions of people, brought us into outer space, and given us digital watches. It has proven itself to be the most effective source for stable, reliable improvements in every industry and even in many religions and communities.
What else would you rather use? What else has a higher success rate? What else is more efficient?
Every time I see four people I respect posting from four radically differing political views, and seeing the comments field fill with people who deeply hate one side or another, I get angry. Political parties are more a matter of convenience than anything else, and the idea that someone's worthiness can be identified by their affiliation is a flawed idea.
It just stuns me that people who are good people, brilliant people, can hate each other because of a political affiliation. It stuns me just as much that these people have such radically differing political affiliations.
It's not just where they want our limited resources to go first: it's that they want them applied in literally the opposite way. They can't even agree that something is worth spending any money or laws on.
This seems bizarre to me. Really, deeply bizarre.
We have data. We have tools of analysis. But we don't use them. We refuse to acknowledge serious long-term problems with our favorite political decisions. Sure, the data is sometimes rough and sometimes flat out unreliable. Sure, you can't reproduce experiments or isolate variables. But in many situations, these bright people back decisions which have been flat out proven wrong.
I can see the general public backing asinine choices... but these are brilliant people. Scientists. Skeptics.