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Metaphor For GOP Thinking

Andrew Sullivan posted this on The Daily Dish the other day.

From Sullivan and Wikipedia:

An ant mill is a phenomenon where a group of army ants separated from the main foraging party lose the pheromone track and begin to follow one another, forming a continuously rotating circle. The ants will eventually die of exhaustion. This has been reproduced in laboratories and the behaviour has also been produced in ant colony simulations.[1] This phenomenon is a side effect of the self-organizing structure of ant colonies. Each ant follows the ant in front of it, and this will work until something goes wrong and an ant mill forms.[2] An ant mill was first described by William Beebe who observed a mill 1,200 feet (365 m) in circumference. It took each ant 2.5 hours to make one revolution.[3] Similar phenomena have been noted in processionary caterpillars and fish.[4]

Sullivan remarks that this is a great metaphor for the long-term effects of “epistemic closure”.

The term, appropriated from philosophy, means (in terms of the political blogosphere) the tendency for conservative media to become untethered from reality — accepting no new ideas or entertaining or discussing in any meaningful way ideas which they disagree with.

Sounds about right.



September 20, 2010 - Posted by | Fox News, Humor, Politics, Republicans, Science | , , , , , , ,


  1. Wow – great clip! And very thought-provoking.. both as the gop implodes – and to the larger point of the short-comings of oversimplification.. it works fine for a while, and then complete breakdown.. and it’s tempting to apply this to evolutionary selection of tribes and civilizations..
    Thanks for posting this!

    Comment by talkandpolitics | September 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Yeah, it struck me as a perfect distillation of the current GOP.

      Comment by wcward57 | September 20, 2010 | Reply

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