[33] 2017/11: Tribalism

Completion Date: 22 November 2017
Medium: Paint & ink on board
Dimensions: 30 X 40 inches

Watching the Roy Moore saga unfold, here’s an obvious question: Do Alabaman Republicans really believe a Republican paedophile is better than any Democrat? The answer for many, seems to be yes.

Tribalism seems to trump ethics or simple decency.

But, shocking as it may seem, we are all prone to doing this.

Political scientists have known for years that facts fail to sway our opinions, and that indeed, fact-checking can actually entrench our political biases (Brendan Nyhan & Jason Reifler 2010).

When we’re presented with unambiguous evidence contrary to the position we’re taking, we might actually dig our heels in deeper. This is what seems to be happening in Alabama this week (and of course has been happening across the US over the last several years).

As Trump’s divisiveness takes effect, US politics is becoming more polarised and more tribal. And it’s becoming self-fulfilling. We surround ourselves with like-minded people, then, as the situation becomes more toxic, we fine-tune our arguments and fight to protect our tribe.