Perceptions of Fairness Based on Team Affiliation in Sports and Politics.

I recently read comments on twitter about the story of the Speaker of the House firing the House’s chaplain. Apparently because the chaplain prayed against the recent tax bill. Or something.

It’s interesting to watch the perspective of the commenters. Assuming none of them were Russian trolls or George Soros paid actors, the perception of the appropriateness of the action clearly aligned with their political affiliation. This reminds me of people watching a professional sports game. Two spectators with roughly the same understanding of the game will interpret the actions of a referee/umpire/official very differently, based on which team he or she supports. An action against the opponent is reasonable and just, and an action against “their” team is unfair, or the result of malice or plain incompetence on the part of the official.

That’s really concerning to me. While the chaplain episode may not have much consequence in the larger scheme of things, applying this irrational reasoning to the political system will result in deeper divisions between parties and a willingness to “look the other way” by wrongdoing of the home team.

The political system appears to me to be built on the assumption that people are rational, but we are not.

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