Big Sort

suburbia order fabric

Political partisan-ship in the US no longer simply defines ideas and voting patterns.

Americans are increasingly choosing to live among politically and socially like-minded neighbours, further entrenching the growing political and intellectual divides in the nation. This ability to self-isolate is, of course, best exercised in suburbia. Cities, by nature diverse, encourage constructive confrontation with vast swaths of humanity.

As Americans enclave and isolate themselves, they limit their exposure to ideas that differ from their own. And ironically, it is the wealthy and educated, who are more mobile and have the greatest ability to choose where they live, who are most likely to exercise this right to seek out ‘their own’.

The vast choices in news sources, both on television and the internet, further filter how individuals receive information. Home schooling begins this filtering of information and ideas from a very young age.

“We now live in a giant feedback loop” says Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort: Why Clustering of the Like-Minded America is Tearing us Apart”. Perhaps it is time to tune in to another channel.

via the Economist June 21, 2008.

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