It turns out the positions of political partisans aren’t that rigid when there’s money on the line.
I’m with Alex Tabarrok:
Overall, I am for betting because I am against bullshit. Bullshit is polluting our discourse and drowning the facts. A bet costs the bullshitter more than the non-bullshitter so the willingness to bet signals honest belief. A bet is a tax on bullshit; and it is a just tax, tribute paid by the bullshitters to those with genuine knowledge.
Now there’s research to back this up. The article “Partisan Bias in Factual Beliefs about Politics” by Bullock, Gerber, Hill and Huber measured the answers of partisans to get a sense of the magnitude of their differences. Then they asked new questions, giving out prizes for being correct about the facts.
And lo … most of the differences went away: up to 80%!
This suggests that politics is a game that is played for the sake of winning, not for the sake of being right. That is a bad foundation for a democracy.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: people running for election need to post performance bonds … apparently so do the people who vote for them. There just isn’t enough riding on the outcomes of elections for voters to take them seriously.