Donald Trump's win in the U.S. presidential election earlier this week has been, among other things, described as a backlash against everything from globalization to racial diversity.
But what else is at play here? As the Nieman Journalism Lab points out, "filter bubbles" - where you see only material that you agree with online on social media, have turned Facebook into a kind of cesspool of misinformation. There is no inherent fact-checking within Facebook, it is up to the user to fact-check, and most people are not willing to do the work. Moreover, our own inherent tendency towards confirmation bias means that people in general tend to search for, and believe, information that supports our own preconceived notions.
It now appears that there is a backlash among those who value science and facts. A new political party, The Party of Reason and Progress (PORP), is rising up in the wake of Donald Trump's victory. This is the description from their Facebook group:
"This is a group for volunteers of the Party of Reason and Progress (PORP). Founded in 2010, PORP helps educate voters and elect reasonable candidates for various offices. We started after the Tea Party was formed, and re-launched after Donald Trump's victory!"
As of this writing the group is nearing 4,800 members, most of which have joined within the last 24-48 hours. They are still in the very early stages of mobilizing themselves and deciding on their goals and strategy. Whatever comes of this though, now more than ever we need initiatives like this to promote the advancement of reason and science over the kind of dangerous ideas demagogues like Donald Trump promote. Ideas that too many people get emotionally drawn into and then spread themselves.
Buckle up, the next four years are going to be an exhausting ride. But we cannot give in to anti-intellectualism. We have come too far for that now and too much is on the line.