Personal preference biases from the airwaves

I heard two good examples of the personal preference bias on the airwaves recently.

In the first example, the radio hosts were discussing companies in Austin, Texas paying homeless people to carry around wi-fi hotspots and wear t-shirts with the hotspot sponsors.

One radio host was disturbed by this.  She asked, “Don’t you think we can find better, less exploitative, jobs for these poor people?”

A caller pointed out that she is displaying a characteristic of a liberal. She’s more worried about how she feels about it (personal preference) than how the homeless people feel about it. Apparently the homeless people are fine with it, so why doesn’t she give any weight to their opinion?

In the second example, an author of a new book that exposes inconsistencies in the proclamations of Hollywood stars and their own behavior. He mentioned a time when the singer Sting was preaching that we need to reduce our carbon footprints. A reporter mentioned that Sting has a large carbon footprint.

Sting responded that it would be hard to do his job with his large carbon footprint. The author said, “Exactly! That’s our point. It’s hard to do any of our jobs without our carbon footprints.

Sting evaluated the benefits he receives from his carbon footprint, or the trade-offs, in his personal situation (person preference bias) and decided his carbon footprint was worth it, but assumed others had not made that same calculation.

6 thoughts on “Personal preference biases from the airwaves

  1. It’s not just liberals though. The GOP has in its midst, the same kind of people. They think they know better. It just so happens that a greater percentage of Liberals are of the “I know better.” variety than in the GOP. I think this is because most Libertarians and Libertarian minded people are in the GOP fold.

    • No doubt. Even the sex worker on the Stossel show arguing for legalizing sex work, didn’t think cocaine should be legalized. I thought that was funny.

    • Thanks Chris. That is a great response. But, it’s unfortunate we have to waste so much brainpower on arguing about what ‘exploited’ means.

      I’d also say Tucker’s argument applies to the ‘bootleggers’. Those who seek to ‘exploit’ the homeless for their own political gain.

      But, I also think there are ‘baptists’ out there who truly think it ought to be different. For them, I think it’s important for them to come to realize that they should at least consider that they really don’t know what’s best for everyone.

  2. Seth:

    “Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.” – Bertrand Russell, 1928

    You make a good point that if the world is not painted in the person’s own self image, then the picture is surely wrong. It’s the view that the painted picture is exactly correct with no exception. It’s a world based upon the proposition of “the way things ought to be”.


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