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"When people are unaware that convictions can seem principled while actually being blind, they are helpless in the face of the conviction machine," writes Michael Patrick Lynch.
Lynch is a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut.
There is nothing wrong with strong opinions. They are healthy in a democracy – an apathetic electorate is an ineffective electorate.
But a curious fact about American society's supercharged political culture is that even the most humble debates (think: Which fried chicken sandwiches are best?) turn a tweet into matters of conviction.
The result is that many of us come to see criticism as intolerable and disagreement with our opinions as a mark of moral inferiority.
That's a problem not just because it can lead to incivility; it's a problem because it can lead to dogmatism, and when it comes to matters like climate change or immigration, even violent fanaticism.