Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tailgating Car Crash Illustrates Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives


This video appeared in our local Fox News network. It showed a woman (and her cat) tailgating a red pickup. A mattress sticking out in the highway caused the woman to swerve, overreacting to highway speeds, whereupon she lost control of her car, hit the truck on the right, then flipped her car over.

The driver (and the cat) were OK.

What interested me about this video were the hundreds of people's comments debating the cause of the crash. There were two major factions of interpretation.

On the one hand, a lot of people argued that the crash was the fault of the pickup truck driver, who didn't let the woman pass (while he was trying to pass the slower truck on the right). Many accused the pickup driver of deliberately slowing down. Many thought he broke the law by not moving over into the "slow lane." They spewed ad hominem attacks against the pickup driver, calling him stupid and spiteful.

Another group of people argued that the woman who tailgated the pickup was to blame for her own misfortune. She had clearly broken the law and had the misfortune to discover why tailgating is a bad idea.

Here are some observations: The red pickup was in the left-hand lane, driving at highway speed, slowly overtaking the truck on the right. The car drove up to the back of the pickup, then applied brakes in order to avoid hitting the pickup. The car maintained a very close distance, that you can see in this video, for several minutes, all the while applying the brakes. The pickup never applied the brakes and didn't seem to slow down. Rather, the truck on the right seemed to gain speed so the pickup driver couldn't pass so quickly. The pickup driver saw the mattress in the road and gently swerved out of its way. The car driver, saw the mattress at the last minute, overcorrected and lost control of her car.

Two items of note. 1) There is no law in Arizona designating a fast lane or a slow lane. 2) Tailgating is an illegal form of aggressive driving in Arizona.

Here's what I noticed. The two factions of interpretations in the comments section seemed to split along the lines of political ideology. Progressives tended to blame the driver of the pickup. Conservatives tended to blame the car driver for her own crash and for breaking the law.

This is a perfect illustration of a major difference between the two factions that inhabit our country. Progressives blame everyone but the obvious person when misfortune happens. Even if every decision progressives make is 180 degrees wrong, they will blame the person in front of them for getting in the way. When the inevitable crash happens, it's then the fault of the guy who got in the way.

Conservatives look at the evidence, look at the law, then conclude that poor ideas and practices caused the crash. They note that the woman driver did indeed break the law then suffered the consequences. They understand that all actions have consequences. While we can control our actions, we cannot control the consequences. They also note that any other interpretation of the crash seems foolish and off point.

The two factions of our country see the world in vastly different ways. As the commentary from this car crash illustrated, the ideological divide seeps into the interpretation of the very world around us.

It is also obvious to some, that the ability of progressives to accurately assess the world around them is quite a skewed vision of reality.