My appreciation of his words is heightened by the fact that I (sort of) know Don, though we’ve never met in person. Since we’re both academics and health policy bloggers I also sort of (think) I know a little about how he thinks and writes, what blogging means to him, just extrapolating from my own experience.
His piece, which is about how we judge and misjudge what we take to be those in political opposition, caused me to think about my interaction with “those other folks,” people with opposing views and interpretations. It’s mostly been via blogging. And it has changed how I think.
Some who comment here may not believe it, but I do listen to other people’s ideas. They do have an effect. When I’m virtually screamed at for citing this or posting that or chastised by a subject-matter expert for missing some facts, I take notice. I bristle at the occasional rudeness. (No that does not help your case!) And then I get over it and reflect. It doesn’t mean I assume I’m wrong and they’re right, or vice versa, but I double check my thinking. I question my own assumptions. In some instances, I’ve determined I was wrong or that I did miss something important (the possible existence of Medicare Advantage spillovers is one example).
These are not things I did that much before blogging. My circle was too small. I didn’t state my views publicly. If you think you know something about something I encourage you to try posting it. You’ll get an earful, I assure you. But if you’re really honest, if you’re really evidence-based, you’ll not assume those other folks are full of it. You’ll listen. Sometimes you’ll change, not because they said so, but because they, in fact, are not always wrong. And you’re not always right. Me neither.
We’re human. Deal with it.