The title may seem like a low-blow, but according to a study done by political scientists at Yale, it appears to be the case. From the Washington post:
Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration’s prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation — the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration’s claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.
Broadly speaking (although not entirely true), arguing with a conservative just might double their chances of gripping onto what has been proven incorrect. Of course this has plenty riding on it as the US election ramps up to its close, and the Canadian election gets started. As Dan Sweeney at the Huffington Post said,
[W]hat’s a leftie to do?
I ain’t got the answers, ace, except to say this: When arguing with conservatives in front of on-the-fence independents, remember that you’re not trying to convince the conservative to actually buy into silly notions like facts and reason. You’re highlighting the differences between left and right for the outside observer. If the other guy insists on political views that belong only in Disney World’s Fantasyland, other folks will realize what’s happening.
I’m curious what, if any, are the physiological and environmental bases for such behaviour? Do any of you have an idea? Is this a field of active study – what factors lead to one’s politicization?