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One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with dittoheads is the way they casually dismiss facts that are counter to their worldview.  Case in point:  There are no WMDs in Iraq.  There haven't been any there since 1998.  They didn't go to Syria or Iran or North Korea.  They did not exist.  The administration has admitted this publicly.  Yet an overwhelming majority of dittoheads still believe Iraq had WMDs.  How is this possible?

Some will say it's because this administration does such a good job of lying.  Others will blame Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.  But trust me, it's bigger than that.  Focusing our rage on Fox News or right-wing talk radio is about as effective as the Pro-Life crowd wanting to stop abortion by banning the procedure.  We're treating the symptom, not the disease.

The right-wing mindset is a pretty deep rabbit hole.  It's been carefully programmed over the last decade to respond predictably to various stimuli.  From an organizational perspective they've been practicing parade marches while we've been milling about.  During election season it's our angry mob versus their disciplined troops.  Historically the mob hasn't faired so well under those circumstances.

Like the analogy of the closed fist, the `disciplined troops' of the right didn't happen overnight.  It took a long time to get otherwise intelligent people to turn their backs on reason and embrace ideology at all costs.  Don't make the mistake of assuming that all Republicans are stupid.  They're not.  They're just serially misinformed and have a mental `truth-detecting missile shield' fully deployed with 100% accuracy.

It's a process not entirely unlike brainwashing.  The `drinking the kool-aid' analogy is chillingly more accurate than I'd like to admit.  I'm going to try to take you inside the Republican mind so you can see what it looks like.  It's what the inside of my own mind looked like just 18 months ago.  I saved it to the internet a few months ago so I could show it off when I needed to.  It's also my `backup' brain should I experience primary brain failure.  I'll warn you, it's not pretty.  It's dark, it drips this hate-filled, oil-like substance, and inexplicably it smells like day-old Papa Johns pizza.

So, I've got two pills here--a red one and a blue one.  One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small...Take the one that makes you small.  If you take the `big' one you're not going to fit inside my head.

[Your imagination is going to have to supply the appropriate `Going Inside Someone's Head' imagery]

So here it is!  The Republican mind!  See what I mean about the pizza smell?  I think it has more to do with the fact that this was my `college' brain.  Though some might argue that feeding my brain a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh is analogous to feeding it junk food.  

You may be tempted to think that the sizzling sound you're hearing is an indication that my mind is on drugs.  That's a common mistake.  What you're hearing is the seething hatred I had for Bill Clinton, and that viscous black substance is the manifestation of that hatred.  Careful!  It's slippery!

The first thing you might notice is that this particular brain isn't the size of a walnut.  That's a mistake we make a lot.  We assume that the Republican detachment from reality is due to some form of functional mental retardation.  But as you can see it's a perfectly average sized brain.  It should be able to function normally.  If you look closely you'll see some wiring that's not `factory original.'  That's the elective surgery performed by the right-wing media.  I'll get to that in a moment.  

Wait a minute...where'd amprather go?  Kids, we have got to stick together in here.  This is a dangerous place!  Some of you are running around like this a playground.  It's a museum.  Quit acting the fool.  TrueBlueMajority, that's a corpus callosum, not a Slip-n-Slide TM.  Maryscott, you put down my medulla oblongata this instant!  Okay, that's it, everyone out of my head!  OUT!  Honestly, I can't take you kids anywhere.  And I'd better not find any of you still holding on to pieces of my brain.  Remember when you're inside someone's head take only photographs, and leave only footprints.  

[And...scene.]

That wiring you saw was all part of the `right-wing reasoning chip,' which surrounds the `worldview' portion of the Republican brain.  Its primary purpose is to apply a pass/fail test to any incoming information. This is important because, as any neurosurgeon will tell you, the `worldview' portion is upstream from the `critical thinking' portion of the brain.  If information can't get past `worldview' then it has to take a long and perilous journey through the `soul search' mountains to get to `critical thinking.'  Rarely does information survive such a journey.  The secondary function of the chip is to project a negative image of itself on those who disagree with it.  For example, "I think the sky is blue, therefore liberals think the sky is red."  

I won't bore you with my staggering knowledge of neurochemistry.  Suffice it to say I'm something of an expert in the field.  Let me break it down and show you how it works.  Let's say you, a liberal, tell your dittohead friend that we haven't found any WMDs in Iraq.  That information moves along the brain until it hits the `right-wing reasoning chip.'  It checks the brain's worldview to see if it matches.  Worldview = no.  Therefore the information must be faulty.  The chip then sends a reply to the mouth, "Where'd you hear that?"  There are three possible answers to this question.  All three will satisfy the chips need for denial.

Answer #1:  "I heard it on the news."

Chip's Response:  "You can't trust anything the liberal media says.  Information = False"

Answer #2:  "It was in the Duelfer Report."

Chip's Response:  "Rush said the Duelfer Report justified the war in Iraq.  The liberal media is lying about the information in the report.  Information = False"

Answer #3:  "Bush said it last night on TV"

Chip's Response:  "You're talking to a liberal.  I tell the truth therefore liberals lie.  Information = False"

Trust me when I say that there is literally an answer for everything.  But you'll notice in any right-wing debate the first question they ask is "Where are you getting that?  Where does that information come from?"  If it comes from an `unfriendly' source, it can be immediately dismissed.  

It gets a bit trickier when the information comes from some other source, like the administration itself.  Take the Duelfer report for example.  Here's what the report said.  It's my summary, but I believe it's based on information that both side have accepted.  No one is questioning what I'm saying in this summary.  Okay, here goes...

Iraq had no WMDs when we invaded.  In fact, Iraq hasn't had a stockpile of WMDs since 1998.  The only things we've been able to find are bits and pieces of his old program.  Saddam hoped to revive his program one day in the future, but wasn't going to do so for as long as there were sanctions in place.

A rational person would look at those findings quickly draw one conclusion: The sanctions were working.  We could have used the international community as leverage, and likely could have forced changes without resorting to `go it alone' violence.  There was no immediate danger, therefore the rush (as in `hurry', not `chubby addict') to war was completely unnecessary.  

Even the `right-wing reasoning chip' might have come to that conclusion if it didn't receive some emergency reprogramming.  The day the Duelfer report came out Rush was on the air saying "this totally justifies our going to war with Iraq!  It confirms everything we knew to be true before we invaded!"  The rest of the right-wing media followed suit.  The chip was appeased.  After all, the Duelfer report is over 1,000 pages long!  Who's got time to read that!?  "I'll just accept what Rush says, because I'm not going to read the report, and it's exactly what I want to hear."

So here's how the chip worked out all the cognitive dissonance:  Saddam planned to start up his weapons program once sanctions were lifted.  Since liberals were opposed to war, they had to be for the lifting of sanctions.  Therefore if liberals had their way, Saddam would have resumed his WMD programs.  Therefore thank God Bush invaded Iraq when he did, or liberals would have given him the bomb just like they did with China (Don't...ask.  It's a whole other thing).  The liberal media's interpretation of the Duelfer report is obviously a pathetic attempt to cover up the fact that they were wrong.  Just like they always do.

See how effortless that was?  Step 1-Project the opposite of my worldview on the liberal.  I believe in going to war, so liberals must believe in lifting sanctions.  Step 2-Find anything in the report that agrees with your worldview, and make that the central point of the report.  Step 3-Chalk up any cognitive dissonance to `liberal bias.'  And voila, an impenetrable wall has been erected between the `worldview' and `critical thought.'  "Nothing I disagree with is getting by here!" the chip says, and then proceeds to do a little trick, stick a landing, and shout "Ta-da!"  

"Well whoppity-do, isn't that great," Grandma Jo would say, "but how does that help US!?!?"  Maybe I can provide an answer to that question this time.  One of the easiest ways to get a shot past the chip is to craft arguments using only "trusted" sources.  You can't effectively outflank the `right-wing reasoning' chip, but you can overload it.  Kind of like Mudd's women.  If enough contradictory information gets in there at one time, sometimes you can blow out the chip for brief periods.  If you can make your entire argument out of numbers from Republican-controlled government agencies, the chip is helpless.

As an example I'll use a conversation I had with one of my dittohead friends.  She is Pro-Life.  I asked how she felt about abstinence-only education.  She supported it, of course.  I asked how she felt about the abortion rate steadily increasing under Bush while it decreased to historic lows under Clinton.  "Don't be silly," she replied, "everyone knows abortions are at all-time lows under Bush."  I asked where she was getting her information.  She said, "it's just common knowledge!"  

This is a common defense for Fox News viewers.  It stems from Fox's ultimate source of journalistic authority--the nebulous `they.'  "They say that Bush's abstinence-only program is really working, Brit," or "People are saying that Bush's strategy in Iraq was the right one."  It's not even "sources," it's literally the stone-throned, toga-wearing, grey-bearded "They" of "They say."  You know, They say that They live in the sky!

I asked if she knew that the government quit releasing numbers on abortion in 2000.  She did not.  I asked if she could think of a reason why the government would quit releasing that information if the news was good.  She could not.  I asked if she would be surprised to learn that the U.S. led the industrialized world in teen pregnancies.  She was.  I asked if she knew that information collected by various agencies indicated that abortion was at an all-time high in 16 states.  She did not.  "Where are you getting that information from?"  Ah, I knew that chip would sound off sooner or later.  Remember, no matter what answer you give, the chip will find sufficient reason to dismiss it.

Rather than take the bait I made her a deal.  We would both find information that supported our particular view of the situation.  We'd send it to each other in an email.  I forwarded her the fabulous information found in this Daily Kos diary (the links, not the diary...the words `Daily Kos' in the link would have been enough to satisfy the chip's need for denial).  After a while she still hadn't sent me anything.  I asked what she thought about the info I provided.  She said "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree."  Now the chip is getting desperate.  This is its last line of defense.  You may be tempted to stop here and declare victory.  Don't.

"Tut, tut, tut," I replied.  "We're all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts!  It's put up or shut up time."  See, the `agree to disagree' argument is intended to `muddy the waters.'  If there's enough of a grey area then the chip can rationalize the dissonance away by saying, "well, who knows which side is right."

She replied that she really didn't have time to find out where her information came from, but she knew it was true.  One could imagine smoke pouring out of the chip as it tried to fend off this assault.  Luckily for me, this particular friend is a professor.  I asked if that line of reasoning would hold up in her classroom.  She said it would not.  Begrudgingly she admitted that it was possible that President Bush's abstinence-only program might not be working...but she was still glad Bush won the election.  

Man those `shields' snap back up pretty quick.  But that didn't matter.  What mattered was that the `abstinence-only education isn't working' information got past the chip, and into the `critical thinking' portion of the brain.  Once it gets in there, it's in there for good.  If I can land two or three more shots like that, she'll be well on her way to writing her own diary on Daily Kos.  

If you want to be successful with a dittohead, you've got to be ready to force-feed him the red pill.  He'll kick and scream and holler and scratch the dickens out of you if you're not careful.  Use the Republican's own numbers to grab him by the scruff, force the pill into the corner of his mouth, hold his jaw shut, and blow on his nose until he swallows.  

That's the key to victory. We've got to put together as many of these `chip-busting' arguments as we can.  The beauty of it is that there's enough information provided by the CBO and the NIH and even the CIA to do it.  That's how you blow out the chip for good...that or it'll cause them to have a massive brain hemorrhage.  Well, you know, six of one half-dozen of the other.

Originally posted to advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:04 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is so good (4.00)
    What you did with your friend.  I need to have the patience to do that.  It's so hard.

    The truth is that if you can get contradictory information in there, even if a person is screaming at you that you're wrong. . . they're invested now... it's floating around in there.  

    People might not admit to you that you're right, but they'll think about it, it will shape their view and over time they subtly change, without ever even necessarily saying that they have or realizing that they have.

    •  So good (3.83)
      I think this is the most important diary in this series.  advisorjim actually tells us how to get through to a conservative.  I've dealt with this many times and had similar results.  I've had all evidence dismissed because of "liberal bias."

      I also think point #1 about how the conservative brain works is important - you believe the opposite of me.  I can't tell how many times I've heard that I "just love Saddam."  Never mind how illogical it is they believe it (I was arguing against the Taliban before conservatives ever found a new-found love of women's rights).  I've found it useful to either laugh off or destroy those strawmen.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:18:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  His diaries are convincing me (3.00)
        that no deprogramming is possible. It takes too long, and too much money is stacked against it, including the government's money, the media's money, and the treasuries of the malefactors of great wealth.

        I'm increasingly beginning to suspect this will all end one of two ways:

        1. Another civil war.

        2. Armageddon, economic or otherwise. Goebbels said that the Great Lie works only until it clearly leads to unmistakeable catastrophe.
        •  My fear & the reason for my fear. (none)
          I, too, fear an ugly fight for our democracy that I am not convinced people are ready to fight for.

          Yes, it will be a fight, brought to our doorstep, on our land, in our homes.

          Why have I lost so much faith in those of like mind?

          Just look at the title of the comment I'm responding to... and the tone. More and more of this has been creeping into dKos.

          We're beginning to accept the growing fascism rather than prepare for an ugly fight - mentally, politically, or 'otherwise'.

          "I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

          by zeitshabba on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:53:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you... (none)
          Something really really big has to happen for people to end this nightmare.  We have a narrow window left to avert the nightmare.  Waking people up is a good start.

          Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

          by ultrageek on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:47:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great Diary, Great Series (none)
        I can't believe someone gave you less than a 4.

        This diary goes in my archived collection of the best of the best.

        Thanks advisorjim for writing it, and for living it.

        "Pedro offers you his protection."

        by Ten Buddhas on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:23:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  patience (none)
      Back when I went to a fundie-type church, a guest evangelist once said that it takes an average of seven encounters where you plant the seed before someone finally accepts it and becomes a believer. I wonder if that same average would hold true for converting a neocon or dittohead to the reality-based world as well? It wouldn't surprise me if it did, because of the inner workings of the brain. So no one give up until you've introduced at least seven facts that make their brain junctions sizzle!

      Great diary! Your colorful writing always makes it extremely easy to read the important points you make.

      •  Yes (none)
        Seven is also a number bandied about in marketing - you generally need around 7 contacts to make a sale.
      •  Except that assumes (none)
        That there's no competing contacts being made.  When every time you plant the seed, Rush comes along and uproots it, 7 ain't the magic number.

        A world where the everyday is inspirational, and the inspirational is everyday.

        by mkrell on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 04:46:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  7 Shuffles (none)
          It also takes 7 shuffles to "completely" shuffle a deck of cards.  whatever that means...  Awesome diary, we must try to convert people...  It can be done.  Every relationship turns into an adversarial power-struggle unless people make an effort to speak calmly and rationally and with an open mind right?  And you have to do these things even if you "know" you're right and you think the other person doesn't deserve your time.  Let's change the world one dittohead at a time...
  •  A very elegant strategy (none)
    and one I shall attempt to emulate in future conversations with dittoheads.
  •  Very clever (none)

    "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" (Hillel was a liberal)

    by 4jkb4ia on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:13:10 PM PST

  •  Another great diary (4.00)
    On the other hand, I have had rethugs eating out of my hand, agreeing that nearly every fucking thing Bush did was truly moronic, and STILL they voted for Bush. I had to trick them into admitting they did it, but there it was.

    I'm not sure they can be deprogrammed, although I am sure there are rare exceptions like yourself.

    Please keep up the good work, if it's possible to deprogram a few dittiots, you'll be the one to do it.

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:13:19 PM PST

    •  Even David Brooks (none)
      before the election was arguing you could call it incompetence, but vote for Bush anyway!  They don't even understand why they support Bush, they just know they do (and Kerry looks French).

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:19:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They do too know why they support (none)
        Bush. It is because they are Republicans and do it out of blind loyalty. No amount of facts or contridiction will sway most of them. The ones that think about both sides can maybe be swayed but the blind ones I doubt it.
    •  Konswervatism (none)
      seems to be a secular form of the popular (and tenacious) meme, Christianity. The anti-faith-busting mechanisms are built-in.
    •  I've had exactly the same experience (none)
      Its so f***g bizarre and depressing for a reality based person.
      But great diary, thanks!
      •  Yep, it's amazing how dead on this is. (none)
        After the election, I commented to a Bush supporter that it was interesting that people felt that Bush was more religious than Kerry, even though Kerry goes to church much more often than Bush.

        The answer?  "Where did you hear that?" And of course, the answer is the liberal press.  He didn't believe John Kerry attended church, and who was I to claim otherwise?

  •  True Believer (none)
    by Eric Hoffer from 1951 describes how to recruit and indoctrinate people. Jim Jones used it (ala Drink the Koolaid) and so do the right wing extremists.
    •  Sage quote from said book (none)
      "Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope."
      •  "Extravagant hope" (none)
        That's the money quote.

        Jim describes the mechanism by which they guard the hope from the cruel light of day.  But what I want to know,

        Why is it that they wish so fervently to believe in their odd reality in the first place?  Can you answer us that, Jim?

        •  comfort (none)
          simple comfort.

          It's got to be good knowing that everything you have ever said and ever will say has been is and will be right and true.  That everyone you have supported is was and will be the right choice.

          You and I live in a complex world where things can be good, bad or a mix of the two.

          Republicons are conservative in only one thing...they love black and white.

          They hate shades of grey (and thus mixed marriages).

        •  The key to electing the next Democratic president (none)
          Our candidate in '08 has to be able to kindle and fan hope for a different world.  
  •  Another aspect to this (none)
    It seems to me that the right-wing mind (someone should play off of Russell Kirk's title and write a book on this) is more focused on preserving trust in its favorite sources (other people, persons of authority in certain positions, and of course "common knowledge) than in forming a fact-based worldview.

    Shorter version: Liberals trust because they believe; conservatives believe because they trust.

    Does that sound like it makes sense?

    •  I neither believe nor trust (none)
      and there are conservative counterparts who feel the same way.

      I think belief and trust have more to do with a sense of dependency, those who have more indepdent minds and form their own opinions have little more than a vague trust in humanity as a whole...that is often damaged in light of events.

      I would certainly trust a dem preznit over a repub; but "belief" is a bit strong when it comes to politics for me.

      Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

      by peeder on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:50:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because they wanna believe it (none)
      Try arguing facts with that
      •  The X-Files Theory (none)
        "I WANT TO BELIEVE," that poster on Mulder's office wall, says so much about conservatives to me.

        Bush is their hero precisely because he offers that sense of a leader who is implacable; whose word is final; who lets everyone know where he stands; whose arouses in his questions.

        They need that. They crave that. I often suspect that since modern conservatism is far more conducive to offering that experience to them than liberalism, they gravitate to conservatism mainly for that and the ideology is sort of secondary.

        That's why they respond so negatively to criticism or facts that counter their opinion of Bush ... it upsets their trust in him, and they need that.

        Slavoj Žižek, the Slovenian philosopher, once recounted a similar example of how Communist propaganda works. Yes, you could criticize the reality of communism as falling far short of the ideal, but the workers you see are what those workers back in the last century were dreaming of being, dreaming of living in a socialist paradise, and you must not disturb their dream. I see something similar in the Bushies.

        •  This would also explain why (none)
          they're so stuck in the 50's. Back then everything was black and white, the press conspired to hide the dirty laundry of the leaders of the day (J. Edgar Hoover's cross-dressing, Roosevelt and Ike and JFK's affairs and health problems, etc) and also to make out the dirty pinko commies as the ultimate in evil. Men were men because gays weren't allowed out of the closet. Women were women because they belonged in the kitchen and everyone knew it and accepted it. Stereotypes worked because by gum, we could force people into them!

          That's how it was, and no pointing out of facts will change their minds about how idealistic it was back then and how gone to crap we are now save for the power of teh Dub.

    •  Preserving trust (none)
      Good observation--since a key part of the conservative mindset is "change is bad," a corollary would be "don't introduce any new information--I want to preserve my trust in all my usual sources of information so that they can keep telling me the same stuff they always have."

      A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law. -Benjamin Franklin

      by Leslie in CA on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:27:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's broader than that (none)
        Well, I see it as "don't set me to distrusting my preferred sources of information because then my sense that I have a pretty good idea how the world as a whole works would be shaken and I wouldn't know what to think or believe about anything and I might fall apart and go insane."

        Consider a quote from G.K. Chesterton conservatives have always been fond of: "When men have stopped believing in God; they will not believe in nothing, they will believe in anything."

        To us that could be debatable (as Christopher Hitchens once said in his more lucid days, isn't belief in God already basically believing in anything to begin with?); to Bush conservatives that pretty much goes without being said.

        "Belief" to conservatives is not a means to a greater end. It is an end in itself.

        •  "Victory of Faith" (none)
          Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will [Triumph des Willens]", about the 1934 Nazi Party rally, was a sequel to her "Victory of Faith [Sieg des Glaubens]", about the 1933 rally.
    •  Excellent example I forgot about (4.00)
      And it involves Bush himself.

      Remember that New York Times Magazine story about Bush and faith? The one that created the "reality-based community" meme in the first place?

      It began with an anecdote in which a Democratic congressman (can't remember who) recalled discussing prewar diplomatic strategy in a meeting with the president and some other members.

      Bush took exception to something involving Sweden, saying you couldn't bring the Swedes in because they were neutrals.

      Actually, this congressman gently corrected Bush, it's Switzerland that's neutral.

      Bush stayed silent for a few moments, and then said gently, no, it's Sweden.

      More to himself than anyone else present, I would bet. He was, in true dry-drunk fashion, warding off a challenge to his understanding of the world. What the congressman didn't know, but Bush subconsciously does, is that if he accepted the correction, Bush would then begin to question so many things he thinks he knows that cascading system failure would result, and he'd be heading off to the nearest bar for a couple of dozen double martinis.

      (I think that's how the story goes).

      •  Yeah, that was scary as shit (none)
        I think of it as the paradigm as idiot Bush as the perfect front man for the evil puppetmasters.  He is not only dumb as a post, but he has come to believe in his own divinity.  Whatever his handlers have put in his head to enact, is therefore divine providence
        •  That's more about Bush than his handlers (none)
          No, his handlers, and most of us, know better than that. That confusion of Sweden and Switzerland is one that a lot of people make but not usually Andover/Yale/Harvard graduates who become president. It's also rather inconsequential. Bush was protecting himself from acknolwedging error.

          I cannot too highly recommend Bush on the Couch. Sometimes it gets a little silly, but on the whole it does an excellent job showing how Bush's mind works. You'd understand, if you read it, that Bush is at the point in his life where he cannot allow himself to admit error or shortcoming: if he lets the recognition of one in past the defenses, he lets them all in. He needs to feel invulnerable because then all the pain of being a seven-year-old boy whose parents (to him) let his sister die on him and didn't even tell him she was sick until after she died will come back.

          •  The sister's death was that pivotal? (none)
            Personally, I always thought the underlying neurosis was a huge honking Oedipal complex.  For example, as a friend pointed out, at the RNC convention, Bush babbled on and on about his mother, about Reagan, and nothing about a certain other republican president, his father?

            It explains not only his personality but his policy.

  •  What a great diary (none)
    I love the imagery of our trip into your brain and I thank you for letting us in.  Very interesting perspective you've shared.  Much appreciated!
  •  Deprogramming? (none)
    It would be interesting to see how this compares to deprogramming of cultists, say Jehova's Witnesses or Scientology.
    •  Yes. (4.00)
      I often thought that the Kerry campaign needed to hire someone with cult deprogramming experience on their staff. I have a feeling that many of the same principles apply.
      •  the two I know are (4.00)
        (for cult deprogramming):
        • keep the lines of communication open. The cult member needs access to someone in reality. To further isolate the cult member is to strengthen their commitment to the cult.
        • use the Socratic methos. Instead of negating something they say as "hogwash" or "ridiculous" ask them questions about their statement.
  •  You are dead on (none)
    My brother, a seemingly educated and intelligent individual continually does the "where did you read that" to me and Dittoheadism (is that a word?) being what it is, unless Bush, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly or Faux says it, I am getting it from the "Liberal Media".

    My own father tried to tell me that both Snopes and Factcheck were partisan and biased.  There is really little chance of getting around the echo chamber.  Even when one of their own tells a different story, it doesn't change their mind, it just starts a feeding frenzy as they tear him or her to bloody chunklets.

    There are bagels in the fridge

    by Sychotic1 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:23:06 PM PST

    •  It gets better.. (4.00)
      The best is when they don´t trust your sources (CNN or the NYT), but then expect you to believe their side of the story from some inane source:

      Me: You know, in the NYT it says <blahblah>

      Con: pfft.  Typical liberal media bias!  On FreedomPowerAmericaFuckYea.com, there was a total refutation of <blahblah>

      In Afghanistan, they call them the Taliban. Here, we call them Republicans

      by ragnark on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:38:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fox (none)
        It's hard to compete with O'Reilly.
      •  Yuppers... (none)
        This is exactly like my mom and dad too.

        My mother had the gall to tell me CNN was liberally biased.

        "Um, mom? YOU DON'T HAVE CABLE AND NEVER WATCH IT!!! How the hell do YOU know??"

        Gahhh!

        The funny thing is, they don't listen to Rush et al either. I don't even think most of NH HAS those talk shows...OK if they did, I didn't know about it. But my mom, she listens only to Oldies stations, and my dad to classical, so...

        •  "Liberal" CNN (none)
          I email a guy I met on a Kidney Message Board. He proudly told me how he gets BOTH sides of the news every day, by watching CNN every morning and FOX every evening.

          Ummm ... he thinks CNN is the liberal side.

          I haven't challenged him on it. I am trying to tread slowly and gently, so as not to alienate him. I bombard him with facts in hopes of breaking through. I think I may have started a tiny fissure.

          •  If he's willing to watch CNN (none)
            or anything other than Faux - perhaps you can slyly suggest Keith Olbermann? He's also much funnier than Wolf.

            As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

            by sidnora on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:44:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  MSNBC's future (?) (none)
              Word is that NBC's parent and Microsoft are talking about NBC buying out MSNBC from GatesCo. If it does, whether NBC would then want to keep dumping money down that distant-third-place hole will determine whether we even still have Keith Olbermann in the future. (Of course, one can argue the other way: "Hey, that screws Tweety, Tucker, 'Congressman Joe,' etc., too. Hah!" True. But I surely would hate to see KO's nightly dose of reality go away.)
          •  You might try... (none)
            Referencing the memo from Frank Luntz, top Republican strategist, in which he essentially claims that Fox and CNN both represent the gold standard for Republican propoganda.  I don't have a link, but I think Talking Points had it.
        •  heh, oh yea they do... (none)
          96.9 (if I remember right).. serving Southern NH with all the juiciest right-wing spin all day long!

          (I think the stations in Manchester, so it should reach most of the state)

          Used to listen to it on my way into work just to get into the proper bad mood for the day :P

          In Afghanistan, they call them the Taliban. Here, we call them Republicans

          by ragnark on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:41:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your right-wing blog name (none)
        is just about perfect - a 4 for that laugh!

        As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:41:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ha. (none)
        You should totally register that domain.  Conservatives would flock there and you could put up a sneaky fake webstie with secretly liberal ideas hidden in it.

        How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

        by furryjester on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:11:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh... (none)
      My mother-in-law told me she only watches FOX news, because ALL of the other news stations lie.
      •  So... (4.00)
        ...how will she know when Fox starts lying to her?  Surely she should compare them with the others for telltale leftward leanings...

        Rubus Eradicandus Est.

        by Randomfactor on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:13:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, yeah,,, (4.00)
        Another mother-in-law story:

        I was talking to her about the 45 million uninsured people in the US. She replied, "There aren't ANY uninsured people, they can just get Medicaid." I tried to explain that if they HAD Medicaid, then they wouldn't be uninsured. She replied, "I don't like to think about FACTS, I make my decisions based on EMOTION."

        Aaaaargh!!!

        •  Right (none)
          Everyone has medicaid, no one ever goes hungry because they can get food stamps, and no one needs to sleep outside because there are shelters.  See?  Everything is just fine!
        •  aargh indeed (none)
          That's gonna make MY head explode.
        •  OT but reminds me (none)
          of my husband's boss, talking to a coworker at the time, who was a DBA and programmer, about a database project.

          He said, "I trust my intuition more than my expertise." Oooookaaaaay...

          Gotta forgive him though, he's a rabid liberal. ;)

        •  She replied, "I don't like to think ... (4.00)
          This guy has done some great work on this problem:

          Cognition and Emotion: Cognitive and Emotional Constraints on Judgment and Decision Making
          http://www.psychsystems.net/lab/type24.cfm?id=200&section=1&source=200&source2=1#200007
          Using political data, we have begun testing a model of inference under conditions of ambiguity and emotional significance that integrates connectionist models in cognitive science, models of conflict and compromise in psychodynamic psychology, and models of cognitive dissonance in social psychology. This model proposes that inference about emotionally meaningful events reflects a process of parallel constraint satisfaction, in which the mind equilibrates on a solution that compromises two sets of constraints processed simultaneously: cognitive constraints (data) and emotional constraints (feelings, emotion-laden attitudes, and motives). We tested this model with three studies of people's inferences during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of 1998, and found that people's political judgments at every point in the scandal bore minimal relation to their knowledge of relevant data but were strongly predicted by their feelings about Democrats and Republicans, Clinton and high-status philandering "alpha males," feminism, and infidelity. We replicated these findings during the contested election of 2000, this time using an experimental design, and similarly found that cognitive and emotional constraints interacted to predict political and legal judgments, but that emotional constraints accounted for most of the variance in people's beliefs about the relative validity of manual versus machine ballot counting.

          Download Relevent Articles:
          > Westen, 1998
          > Westen, 1999

        •  Reminds me of the debate spin (none)
          After Kerry wiped the floor with W, a pundit intoned that we were seeing a debate between a candidate with a lot of intellect, and one with heart.  Well, jeez, how could you not love Bush--compared to that hearless French Kerry
          •  "Heart" is a key term in evangelical... (4.00)
            discourse, and its use of actually predates fundamentalism. (It was their heart and not their brain that told most Americans that slavery as wrong.) Putting the "heart" over the "brain" is what the Second Great Awakening which preceded the Civil War was based on, and evangelical writers said so themselves. So this kind of thing is not new at all, but is merely a main feature of America's unique anti-intellectual form of Christianity.

            What is new is that people who think this way have seized control of power at the national level, as well as many channels of mass communication. Educated people had thought that America was a modern nation like any other industrialized country, with rational citizens, but actually, this kind of thinking was always there, but simply keeping a low profile while liberalism was in ascendancy.

            To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel
            modern times

            by Alexander on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 11:41:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Answer: God gave us both a heart and a brain (none)
              and intended that we use them both in governing our thoughts and actions.  [Think of "heart" as "values" and it may make a little more sense.]
              •  not quite (none)
                I'm all for values, but heart and values are two different things. You have reason versus emotion on the one hand, and facts versus values on the other. Wingnuts determine both their "facts" and "values" with reason, whereas rational people determine both with their reason.

                And nineteenth-century evangelicals definitely meant emotion being privileged over the intellect when they spoke about the heart being over the brain. That is what the revivals were all about: coming to God thorough an emotional frenzy.

                To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel
                modern times

                by Alexander on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:06:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  It wasn't just a religious thing (none)
              Putting the "heart" over the "brain" is what the Second Great Awakening which preceded the Civil War was based on

              Well, that was also a key tenet of Romanticism, which is somewhat contemporaneous to the Second Great Awakening, but was more of an artistic movement than a religious one.

              •  A very good point (none)
                that hadn't occurred to me, but should have. Romanticism however is an intellectual/aesthetic movement. So when artists or intellectuals take a romantic position, they are in effect slumming it: take this position reflecting on what they are doing, and being familiar and comfortable in the rationalist alternative: they are familiar with what they rejecting. Romantics were not ignorant. The doctrine of heart over mind in American evangelicalism, and especially for today's fundamentalists, in contrast is simply a justification for ignorance.

                To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel
                modern times

                by Alexander on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 10:41:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Me too (none)
          Ahhhhh, I had the same effect. A nice argument stretched out and I got the same exact response. The response "You argue with facts, I guess I just argue with emotion."

          I simply shook my head in frustration, I mean what can you do? This diary might be a good starting point though, an interesting way to circumvent it although somehow I doubt it. Definitely worth a shot though.  

          •  racism etc (none)
            Look this is about heart. what this post and the comments prove is that facts dont' work. I do anti-racism stuff at my church and facts about racism (such and such group has X% of wealth) bounce off people's heads like a nerf ball. And these are generally liberal folks. What really gets them is hearing personal stories and listening to their own personal stories. When they can hear a person of color talk about how at the local movie theater they were denied butter on their popcorn or something like that- their world starts to move. you can't debate these people with national level facts. talk about emotional everyday things that you know. happened to you. like how your WW2 vet grandpa can't afford his medicine or something like that.

            Then listen to them. they have lots of stories of f-d up things happening to them. how rich people screwed them. listen and affirm!

            One easy sure-fire thing to do is ask them when they noticed racism in their everyday lives. listen as they tell a story that is cutting to the heart of their social darwin worldview.

            the facts will always bouce off. these people are emotional tied to a worldview that puts them a bit ahead of some others people lower on the ladder. they feel good about being a bit ahead. so our job is to get them to see how f-d up that is and welcome them when they want to start thinking.

            as an aside, my good-liberal anti-war mom grew as a kid up in belgium when they were killing people colonizing the congo. i asked her about it and she remembers how they were "civilizing" the congo and building schools. how good she was told the whole thing was. well after she said all that stupidity she thought about what she just said (and had assumed for most of her life) and then you could see her processing this info for the first time and realizing it was crap. i smiled and gave her a hug. awwww....

            there that is a personal story to back up my theory. it even included a mom hug.

            try this- it works!

      •  Canadian TV had a guy w. a microphone (none)
        interviewing Iowans the day before the pres. election. He asked an older Bush supporting mom if she'd seen Fahrenheit 911 and she said no. He asked why and she said "because then I might have to change my mind!"
    •  Tell your father... (none)
      Dick Cheney directed viewers to Factcheck during the vice presidential debate.
      •  factcheck (none)
        Dick Cheney directed viewers to Factcheck during the vice presidential debate.

        In a lovely bit of irony, Cheney didn't even get the truth right about that. His reference to "FactCheck.com" was an attempt to dismiss Edward's remarks about Cheney and Halliburton as "false charges", but according to FactCheck.ORG:

        Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong.

        Proud member of the reality-based minority

        by Bearpaw on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:46:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Liberal media (none)
      I think this is by far the most brilliant strategy the Republicans have employed.  It allows them to dismiss inconvenient facts regularly.  Great brainwashing device!

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:23:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, yes... (4.00)
        That one's very commonly used. What conservatives don't like to hear is that it's an old anti-Jewish smear - rich Jewish intellectuals and Commies and liberals supposedly control our press and indoctrinate our pure Christian society. This kind of stuff was published in pamphlets circulated by the Nazis and they just go around repeating it, not even knowing or caring where it came from.

        And conservatives are even small-minded enough to believe this when it's the media themselves broadcasting this myth. You know, because the media had some "moment of clarity" where they realized how liberal they are.

        Horrifying, really.

  •  I used to have conversations like that (4.00)
    all the time with my relatives.  They really do ask, "Where are yoiu getting that."  My favorite source for making the chip start smoking is whitehouse.gov, congressional record, or almost any government source.  Now my relatives simply refuse to discuss politics with me.  Cell phones have a tendencey to go dead.
  •  A dittohead professor? (none)
    Seems oxymoronic. Is she a professor of military science? Maybe she teaches at Bob Jones University.

    There goes my faith in the liberal professoriat!

    •  Watch out Dude (none)
      This is your left wing reality filter chip going off, and its a plant.  Once you get used to letting it filter reality for you it flips its tuning and turns you into a ditto head.

      The only international crime is losing a war

      by Luam on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:57:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought the same thing . . . (4.00)
      I work with (English) professors, and needless to say, they are a liberal lot--putting the liberal in liberal arts.  (Couldn't resist that one.)

      But then again, my fiance works with IS, Econ, and business profs, and those folks are pretty evenly split.  So I Republican (even a dittohead) professor is not too surprising.

      But the thing that gets me about Jim's story is that the professor never applies critical thinking.   I know a lot of educators on dKos have said it, but teaching critical thinking to young people is one of the best ways we can get them into the reality-based community.

      And if we teach them compassion, they might just become progressive.

      •  How to get compassion by all the anger & hate? (none)
        What seems weird to me is how their concept of Christianity excludes everyone but the unborn and those who agree with them.  What advisorjim said about the hate and anger really rings true.  It would be great if he could go more into where that is coming from and how it might be countered, from an emotional standpoint as well as with facts.
    •  only somewhat facetious (none)
      Gotta be an econ prof.

      It ain't just the liberal arts.  Even in the Biomedical Sciences, right wingers are extremely rare.

  •  Another great installment of the Confession series (none)
    I'll volunteer my google-monkey abilities to gather "trusted" information.  I'm working on my dad & uncle; they've downed a punch bowl of kool aid, and I would love to be able to slip past their chips more often.  

    Thanks advisorjim!  

    "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy." ~Roger Baldwin

    by spyral on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:29:08 PM PST

  •  I have actually heard (none)
    "Well, each side has their own facts."

    Um, no.  Facts are the immutables.  It's opinions people have, but the facts are the same for both parties.

    I'm going to be reading these with even more interest, as my husband and I prepare to move to the red areas of a purple state...

    Florida in 2006!  Go Dems!

    We were marching for the children, we were marching for the poor. Now we're marching for self-interest-- we'll march forevermore.

    by andlorr on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:32:31 PM PST

    •  Facts (none)
      Six people witness an automobile accident.  There are six different versions of what occurred.  All of the witnesses are telling the truth "as they perceived it."  Who is telling the truth?  What are facts?  
      •  Fact: (none)
        One car hit another car.

        Many righties will attempt to prevent you from getting that far, and that's the big problem.

        The professor Jim was talking to didn't even know how many abortions really go on in this country but claimed they were declining. That is a terrifying abdication of reason and very irresponsible.

        Hence the importance of facts.

        Sure, perception clouds things, and we are all fallible and gullible to our own mental constructs.

        But with your example, the rightie response would be to even deny one car hit another. Imagine this applied to a national/international political situation.

        •  Not new (none)
          Remember here after the election where some woman wrote about a mailing list she was on with some fellow new moms who were wingnuts and one who voted for Bush because her pastor said to and thought that Bush could basically make abortion illegal if he wanted to?

          That's the mentality this professor has. "Because Bush is president, what I believe to be good things are happening, whatever the liberal media says to the contrary."

        •  Here's What a Fact Is (none)
          Quick and dirty, but works.

          A fact is something known with certainty, something either objectively verifiable or demonstrable; facts cannot be disproved.

          Example of fact:  The sun rises in the east.
          Example of interptetation:  Because the closer to sunrise a person gets up means she will have more hours in her day; therefore, she will accomplish more than the person who gets up later.

          (Imagine Teletubbies w/ Pretzelhead Bush) Stay the course -- stick with inbreeding.

          by Limelite on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:27:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You can say that with a straight face (none)
      on the hundredth anniversary of Einstein's special theory of relativity? (Of course, Professor E. was only talking about time and motion; these are truly relative).  I guess we need a new Einstein to explain how the WMD can be there and not there at the same time?  A kind of WMD quantum mechanics.  I'm not sure this is what the ditto-head had in mind, though.
  •  Eeewwww. (none)
    I think one of your synapses fired on me.

    I've seen your diaries before on the recommended list, but haven't really read one until now. I regret that. Great diary.

    I can't wait to go back and read how you broke your mind free.

    hinky dink

  •  The real missile defense system (none)
    They're just serially misinformed and have a mental `truth-detecting missile shield' fully deployed with 100% accuracy.

    I love this line.  It is the exact opposite of the device possessed by Isaac Asimov, to the chagrin of a person who tried to pull a fast one on him:  The "bullshit detector".  Good to see that you've definitely acquired one of those.

    Recommended.

    You will see light in the darkness. You will make some sense of this.

    by ColoRambler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:34:32 PM PST

  •  AND... (4.00)
    ...if even one of BushCo's lies is exposed...and then recorded as a Lie by the brain...stand by.

    ...Elmore Leonard has a great Line in one of his books that is: "wonderful things can happen when you plant the seeds of doubt in a garden of Assholes."

    ...Lets water those seeds people!

    "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything" - Joseph Stalin

    by Blue Shark on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:36:12 PM PST

  •  Some chips are better than others (4.00)
    I had this EXACT same conversation with my dad.  Unfortunately, his chip did an end-run around this line of reasoning.

    When I made the point that under Bush's policies, abortions had gone up, my dad did not dispute the numbers.

    "Well, that just goes to show that America as a nation is becoming more immoral," he said. "It's not Bush's fault."

    "But doesn't this show that the abstinence-only programs aren't working and that Republicans really don't stop abortions?" I asked.

    "No.  Just think if the abstinence-only program wasn't in place.  There would be MORE abortions.  The fact that abortions are increasing just means that now, more than ever, we need to return to the morals of the Bible."

    Doh!  It's the same as when I pointed out to my mother that the deficit had risen dramatically under Bush.  

    "Well, all politicians become spenders once they're in office," she replied.  (The "grey area" response).

    "But the budget was balanced in the 90s," I said.

    "Well, ultimately, it's all just little pieces of paper," she replied.  I could have actually pressed the point here and overloaded the chip, but she got off the phone in a hurry.

    Sheesh.

    IndianaDemocrat.blogspot.com - Fighting for a Progressive Indiana

    by ShadowRunning on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:38:41 PM PST

    •  its like trying to pick up mercury (3.91)
      with a pair of tweezers ain't it?

      i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

      by rasbobbo on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:53:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I forgot about that one... (4.00)
      and it's always fascinated me.  I'd like to see the time-frame nailed down a bit.  Like the WTC bombing was Clinton's fault even though it happened in the first month of his Presidency, but 9-11 wasn't Bush's fault because he'd only been there for 9 months.

      I think a little clarifiction is in order.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:08:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've had very similar conversations... (none)
      with my mother.  She always ends up resorting to the "Both sides are just as bad as the other" sort of argument when her chip hits overload.  Ugh, how frustrating!
      •  I hear that all the time (4.00)
        and I call them on it.  My response is that saying everybody does it is an abdication of judgment.  They're saying that everybody's wrong so nobody's right - thusly even though I grant that you've got the facts on your side I do not grant that you win.  It's the equivalent of taking your ball and going home before you lose.  It's just a huge cop out.  There are differences, gradations of true and false and right and wrong, and they can be enumerated and they should be judged.  
        •  I like that phrase (none)
          It parallels "abdication of responsibility", which is something conservatives worry about a lot.
          •  But not always (none)
            Except when it's conservatives themselves who have to be held responsible (DeLay, Limbaugh, Gannon/Guckert etc.) Then it's a liberal attempt to get them no matter how indsputable the facts are (I actually remember reading Freepers arguing that the whole doctor-shopping statute under which it is becoming increasingly likely Limbaugh will be charged was passed by the Florida legislature -- yes, the same body controlled by Republicans that threatened to short-circuit the recount in 2000 and declare the state for Bush -- just to make it possible to get Rush on something).
      •  ha! same experience (4.00)
        when talking with a co-worker who is also a friend.

        He: (seeing my Kerry sticker on car) - How could you vote for that coward

        Me: I have never faced enemy fire, and I know you havent either. And I dont see how either of us has the right to call anyone a coward who served our country in combat.

        He: Kerry was only there 4 months.

        Me: ok, so you think Bush is so much more courageous? Tell me one thing Bush has ever done which showed personal courage.. willingness to risk his own life for this country.

        He:  welll... all politicians are cowards...

        Me: huh?

    •  Yeah, but try this on for size: (4.00)
      What about the fact that it's the BLUE states that have fewer teenage pregnancies?  That would throw the chip for a loop, no?

      But... wait!   New York... is a den of sin!  How... can it have fewer teenage pregancies per capita... than Oklahoma?  Does... not... compute... [fzzzt]  

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:45:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Makes me feel "normal" (3.75)
      To see so many people here with so many similar experiences with their parents. My mom almost won't discuss politics with me anymore, and this diary explains a lot. Her chip has very weak front layers of defense, but that back line is brutal.  I really can almost get her to where she's saying, "La la la la I can't hear you" but that chip has infiltrated itself so far in that it's just inconceivable for her to give in to it.

      I guess that's the flip side of my not having any relatives who voted for Kerry.  It means the ones like my mom who possibly could be persuaded if I were persistent enough to overload the chip would be left with nobody around to confide in.  She's not so good with the internets, and I can see how maybe somewhere in the back of her mind she thinks it would be awfully lonely to shed all those scales from her eyes.

      Great diary, these just keep getting better!

      •  I was actually told (none)
        by my Mother, 'the rest of the family gets it, why don't you?'

        And, no, I can't talk to her about politics and still have a good relationship with her.  She degenerates into the same crap others on here have mentioned.

        I've started writing her, though.  Haven't given it to her yet.  I think that's a way maybe I can communicate with her about this stuff.  That way, she can act like she didn't even read it if she wants and never have to discuss it.

        I did have a LTE on SS that was upgraded to a special 'My View' column a couple of weeks ago.  She told me that she agreed with some parts but disagreed with other parts.  She didn't expand on that any further, though.

        It's a challenge.  I have running dialogs with her in my head all the time.

        Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

        by TracieLynn on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:00:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  don't overload by kind- listen (none)
        trying to overload the chip doesn't work. it just makes them more set in their worldview.

        try listeing to her about stories that destroy the social darwin worldview. an easy way to do this is to ask "what is a memory where you noticed racism in your everyday life". then smile and listen. repeat over and over. this is a long-term strategy that works.

    •  want the chip to short? (4.00)
      show your dad the numbers under clinton, when abstinence and birth control were taught.

      that would seem to run counter to his "if we were teaching birth control and not just abstinence, there'd be MORE abortions" line of "reasoning".

      there are plenty of numbers like this, on basically every issue.  progressives = correct more often than not.  much more often.  keep pressing.

      in other news, i had a debate with my mom about how iraq was doing.  she said "it's going well, they just had elections".  i told her that south vietnam also had elections, before the war was over.  my dad, a vietnam vet, immediately said "hmmm.  yeah.  he's right" and my mom was flabbergasted.  her chip had been overrun.  it's still really tough, though.  my parents aren't deep red (more of a pinkish tint) and it's still difficult to effect a change.  persistence is key, backed up by factual evidence.

      "Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." - Ambrose Bierce

      by lightlytoasted on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:22:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (none)
      "No.  Just think if the abstinence-only program wasn't in place.  There would be MORE abortions.  The fact that abortions are increasing just means that now, more than ever, we need to return to the morals of the Bible."

      I love it when conservatives pull out their magical crystal balls, like they do with those "demographic projections" which absolutely prove that Social Security will go bankrupt soon even if they're totally hypothetical.

      How would he know there would have been more abortions? Has he been traveling to alternate universes when you're not around? :)

      To the first part, answer that kids who take part in abstinence-only programs are still being sexually active (often not using condoms because they're taught they'll just break anyway).

      And why were there FEWER abortions when we did not have the programs?

      He's your father and all so I'm not mocking him or anything, but going after the assumptions behind their statements is a good way to refute them.

  •  my brain (4.00)
    hearts the trip inside your brain.  Walt Whitman said something about the rest of us having to carry the weight of all the docile dough-faces....which I equate to the dittoheads as you so aptly call them, and their continual denial of factual information.

    Oh, God...the weight of all those docile dough faces.

    How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

    by getmeoutofdixie on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:38:55 PM PST

  •  Conservative Personality Disorder (4.00)
    I've got a theory for how conservatives think the way they do.  Let me know what you think of it:

    Most conservative followers are drawn to the fold because of a trait they're not particularly proud of:  greed, hate, insecurity, misplaced loyalty to a church or a relative.  It's hard to admit to themselves that these undesirable emotions are operating, or that the God or daddy you revere may have steered you wrong.  Hence the need to cover up the error of your ways.  A specific psychological defense mechanism comes into play.

    We've all remarked ad nauseam about the hypocrisy, resistance to fact, and utter denial of conservatives.  I think these are necessary to believe in the conservative credo.  Specifically, it takes a combination of outrageous hypocrisy and impenetrable denial to comfortably hold all the beliefs conservatives must.  Only by brazening out the manifold inconsistencies and inaccuracies of their faith can they continue to hold it.

    You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:39:25 PM PST

    •  There is such a personality "disorder" (none)
      It's called the Authoritarian Personality - from the late 40s, -1950 Book by Adorno:

      http://www.gossamer-wings.com/soc/Notes/race/tsld007.htm

      •  Good find (none)
        Thanks for the link to this.  It's made my 'to research' list ... :)
      •  What I've been thinking (none)
        albeit without any research to back it up, lazy philosopher that I am.

        The hypothesis generally forming in my head is that there is great a appeal to a philosophy and a social order that allows you to hate and feel superior to a group which (conveniently) is also weaker, so you can feel powerful.  

        Your identity is defined by having group(s) to feel superior to.  (And those groups multiply--immoral sluts, fags, lazy welfare queens, elite trial lawyers, french, and of course, libruls)

        It is on the one hand ironic that this should be an authoritarian mindset--this is an individual who happily subscribes to a rigid social order, where he accepts heirarchy and control over himself.  I guess the tradeoff is the certainty that this social order gives him someone else to kick.

        •  I think (none)
          you have just described A BULLY!
          •  they feel bad (none)
            I agree in many ways with this but while they are hate-filled like any bully there is really a soft mushy little inner child just waiting to be hugged.

            seriously these people just feel so bad about themselves they will use any excuse to laud their mediocre place on the social ladder. they are mostly concerned with being ahead of other people. that is what gets them happy. they don't care if the world collapses as long as they can feel good about being ahead of group X.

    •  Exactly the question (none)
      Why the dogged, passionate, determined will to believe as they do?

      As noted by the other poster who answered you, in my collecting thoughts about this, authoritarianism is a big piece of the puzzle

    •  I've thought a lot about this (4.00)
      I have a colleague -- for more than 30 years now, who was once a mainline Democrat -- he raised money for the party and was active in Democrats abroad.  A guy from a middle west working class family, who got to college and got a good job as a professor.  He was always rhetorically over the top, and had certain opinions or at least things he said -- that made me want to take a shower after having a conversation with him.  But on the whole, he was o.k.

      When Reagan was elected he tipped all the way over to the far reactionary right -- I mean stuff like, it doesn't matter if we blow up the whole world and die from it: let freedom ring!  And he kept a picture of that old fart in his office like some icon. When I asked him what he liked about a guy who wanted to undo everything that made his life possible, he replied: he makes people like me feel better.

      I always wondered what exactly that meant.  I knew that it meant to him what Hitler meant to a lot of Germans, and I called him on it.  But I didn't know exactly what the content of that meaning was.  What exactly was the mix of insecurity, rage, wanting to hit back, that turned a plausibly decent person into an ideological monster?  Vietnam had something to do with it.  He couldn't understand how these rich kids at U Wisconsin could demonstrate against THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT.  It was too much for this poor Catholic kid to assimilate.  But he stayed Democrat.  

      I think perhaps it was the Iran hostage-taking that was the tipping point, and I suspect it is for a lot of people who don't remember what  turned them into virtual fascists.  The rage was palpable; the helplessness even more so.  And Reagan -- the father figure said -- I can make it better.  Now, what he actually did was simply SAY that he could make it better.  But isn't that what fathers do?  They hold your hand when you're  hurt and sick and insecure.  And so he held their hand.

      Americans are deeply insecure.  It shows on a number of axes.  I hope Jerome in Paris is reading this, so he can understand where all this hatred comes from.  My friend is a failure.  He couldn't stand up to the real world, and so like millions of compatriots, he simply tuned out.  It's safer that way.

      •  Thanks (none)
        You wrote a very perceptive point - more people should read it.
      •  "deeply insecure" (4.00)
        I swear, when Hunter had his framing contest the other day, I was like.. security begins at home.  We wouldn't be so damned insecure if more than half the country wasn't struggling to provide absolutely everything for themselves - job security, retirement, health insurance!  If you don't expect the government to play any role in making any of these things possible for all Americans, well, the only role of government is war and defense, and then your right-wing brain chip gets programmed quite easily to support the government 100% in everything it does.  

        Here's my question.  It's a serious question.  Do Bush's supporters (I'm talking Joe Dittohead, not the millionaires and CEOs) think he even has a domestic policy, aside from cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes?  Do they care?  

    •  If they were "conservatives" (none)
      then they'd be conserving something --

      Like, say, constitutionality, civil liberties, the natural environment, long-established social programs, America's tradition of progress...

      Real conservatives have been pushed aside and their name stolen. If this were better understood, many Republicans would jump ship. A few percent shift would make a big difference.

      Consider decentralist solutions -- more choice, stronger communities, less dangerous power.

      by technopolitical on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:52:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I don't get is how this happened. (none)
    My relatives were perfectly reasonably until about a year ago.
  •  ot: Abstinence-only Economics (none)
    Okay, I'm whoring slightly, but since advisorjim brings up repug abstinence-only programs and he's a financial advisor, I thought he might be interested in a look at my little diary yesterday called Abstinence-only Economics. I wrote it in response to the sense of economic siege many here are feeling and what appears a self-defeating response to it.

    As to this diary, getting a solid fact load into the brain is important, and why we obsess over how the press presents things. But we have to also understand how rare rationality is in the general public. Jim's professor friend is anomalous simply by being a professor and winger at the same time. The majority of Americans don't align themselves via a rational process; they are more concerned with simple biological urges like security and propagating their genes (i.e. race).

    Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

    by peeder on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:43:18 PM PST

    •  My 'required reading' list grows... (4.00)
      I'll have to check it out!

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:58:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just a note (none)
        to say thanks for another terrific read - I've been reading most of your diaries a bit "stale" (saving them to my hotlist for leisurely perusal) because I haven't had enough time to read them while the thread is fresh, so I haven't commented on them - but all are much appreciated, both for the insights and for the laughs that often accompany.

        As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:55:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A Bunch Of Diaries (none)
    Quite a few recent diaries have struck on the similarity of deprogramming and the approaches required to even hold a civil conversation about current events with people, let alone trying alter their perception of reality.  Their "chip" gets in the way too often and makes even simple conversation veer off into non-reality-based weirdness.  

    I really hope not, but I suspect some of our more faithful in this part of the country are already praying directly to Bush.  Those halo pictures in USA Today did it, and they are off in Jonestown (figuratively speaking).

    Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

    by FLDemJax on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:44:20 PM PST

  •  Superb stuff (4.00)
    Instructive, useful, and witty to boot. Thank you!

    Yeah, the source-questioning impulse is as automatic as the blinking reflex and as strong as the survival instinct in every self-respecting Rovebot. Once, on Freak Republic, I was arguing with a gentleman about the 'UN oil-for-food scandal,' pointing out that the  members of the SC were supposed to provide oversight of the contracts. When he called this a 'lie,' I linked to an article by a highly respected scholar of International Relations which confirmed the fact. But since this article was posted on a UN site, it was summarily dismissed as pure deceit.

    I then dug up to the very SC resolution where the rules for the program were originally set out, and asked sarcastically if he would dismiss that too, since it derived from a UN source.

    The freeper said yes.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

    by Sirocco on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:47:49 PM PST

  •  Wow! (none)
    AdvisorJim, you've done it again!  This is brilliant.  I laughed so hard because, you see, I have a repug friend.  I've had these "discussions" with her.  I e-mail her links, we says she reads them but she never has any links for me, because "she's too busy."  Ha!  She's 79 and retired -- a life long repug, do you think there's any hope for her?  
  •  Jim, you so rock the house! (4.00)
    And at risk of repeating greatest hits from my "broken record" collection, a couple of things for anybody who's serious about changing minds:

    1. If you haven't read the monkeysphere article, read it now.  Think about it.  It's important.  The chip only works with people who are outside the monkeysphere.  

    2. If you want to understand cog-dis learn the details of the Festinger Carlsmith experiment and the whole areas of research that it opened up.  Brainwashing is totally different from simple Skinnerian reinforcement.  It works better with abuse, and inadequate rewards and uncertainty about whether a reward will be given at all.  

    Know these things!  Understand them and learn how to deprogram people who have been brainwashed, because it is not much of an exaggeration to say that your life and liberty depend on your ability to perform that task.  

    The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. --MLK Jr.

    by radish on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:50:01 PM PST

  •  Thank YOU! (none)
    Finally some way to put the facts through to my Dittiot of a Dad....

    Seriously.. I argue facts and he pulls the amorphous "they" card on me all the time.  I need to start checking his sleeves to figure out where he hides them.

    Now if you could just help me out with my 401k you'd be my hero.  ;P

  •  I can't believe the (4.00)
    all encompassing, never-fail, right-wing excuse for Bush's failues hasn't been mentioned yet!

    Their all-time, all-encompassing shield guarding their red chip from the barrage of logic is:

    "Don't blame Bush, he inherited this mess from Clinton".

    Would someone please let me know when the statute of limitations runs out on that one?

  •  Eggsellent! (none)
    Once the facts are shattered at their feet they will only have their enormous arsenal of PR men, tasers, armed militia, corrupt judges, amoral politicians, and nuclear weaponry to fall back upon...oh, wait a sec...

    There is a certain providence in the fall of a sparrow

    by mrblifil on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:54:42 PM PST

  •  Reminds me (none)
    A couple of days ago the subject of climate change came up in a comversation with a relative who is a "moderate" Repug.  He is a middle aged CPA and quite rational on many issues.  When a friend spoke about an article he read on Global Warming, my relative's response was "I don't believe in that bullsh*t!"  End of discussion, period.  Notice no rational discussion, no debate, it just doesn't fit comfortably into his worldview and therefore it just can't be true.
  •  very true (3.66)

    This stuff called "thought stoppers" in the cult deprogramming business.  You can actually see the historical developmental sequence in your description:

    occultic group -> "cults" -> Christian Right -> Republican Party

    Just run backwards, of course, in your discussion. It begins with The Party Line As I've Heard It (RP), when challenged the response goes to Good People And The Good Book Say So (CR).  On refutation of the general truth they go to That's Not From Authorities That Are True (cultic), and then when they have to admit the facts they have to choose between worldview according primacy to the claims of reality (aka sobriety) or worldview according to desires held minimally in check by reality (aka primacy of Willpower).

    Willpower is a cardinal tenet of occultisms, of course.  And once you develop an ability to identify the three major tenets of occultisms, and the dozen or two dozen remarkably common kinds out there, your estimation of your fellow citizens and residual respectibility you accord the Right is going to nosedive far beyond where it is now.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:55:44 PM PST

    •  I'm confused..... (4.00)
      by many things in your short post. We can start with the assumption that cults derive from occultisms, or perhaps the use of technical language ("occultisms") in what appears to be a natural-language discourse. Indeed, I can't accurately tell whether you are conflating "occultisms" with "esoteric groups".

      I'm confused about whether you are using "cult" as a technical term from the sociology of religion, or in its more common usage as "a relatively small religious group we consider perjoratively". The Christian Right technically is of course a related cluster of schisms. And in either usage, it's not strictly correct to derive cults from occultisms, since cults are more likely to derive from the impact of a charismatic leader on a conventional population under stress.

      And then there is your assertion that "willpower is a cardinal tenet of occultisms". Will and willpower are different things, and confusing them leads to some rather fundamental misunderstandings, particularly regarding modern western occultism. Likewise, the conflation of will with "the imposition of desire upon reality" betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what "will" means in source texts, particularly those of Crowley.

      While I think your examples of sequential responses may well be accurate, the theoretical scaffolding seems to be a tad bit shaky.
      </academicsnark>

      •  asdf (none)
        he made perfect sense to me.  then again, i don't need things spelled out in their atomic totality for me to understand it.
        •  oh, that's always a critique (none)

          Every time I mention something of the sort on Web boards there are occult believers who claim some sort of misrepresentation worth commenting upon exists.

          For one thing, the radical Right doesn't really bother with any distinctions or even the theory, it only cares about the effect.  If you watched Bush's speech at the Republican Convention, that was the perfect illustration.

          I suppose a distinction between "white" and "black" methods is important enough to mention.  Death being the name of God- such as is believed in, anyway- of the second kind.

          Beyond that, I leave the academic distinctions worth making to Evelyn Underhill:
          http://www.ccel.org/u/underhill/mysticism/mysticism1.0-MYSTICIS-6.html

          Renewal, not mere Reform.

          by killjoy on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 02:29:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  uh huh. (none)

        Cult leaders use occultic methods, in good part figure them out on their own, precisely because they yield control over other people.  I have no idea about the semantics of 'cult', but the term has technical uses- mystery cult, fertility cult, etc- in the social sciences that seems to precede the popular usage in the present.  Furthermore, there are organizations that are clearly cults but not strictly religious.  The LaRouchians are considered a political cult, Amway an economic/business cult.  If you stretch things a little more, Creationism and supply side economics can actually be made to fit formal criteria for cult groups and secularist occultisms.

        A lot of it has to do with occultists doing a lot of semantic shifting of terminology historically, which is why bickering about technical specifics is so much trouble- Crowley and OTO famously did their share of it.  Which is why I don't think there is a coherent argument about semantics to be made about key terms like 'willpower'.   It amounts to choosing between authorities, these not necessarily being reliable in the first place.

        I had no idea there were modern western occultisms.  Well, at least I would imagine that 'modern' and 'occultism' are more or less oxymoronic, with an Enlightenment theism stage between the two.  'Contemporary' I would happily admit- one of my unfortunate relatives is into theosophy.  And the Church of Christ, Scientist has a pretty large presence in my hometown, which also happens to have given rise to the Boston Church of Christ- a cult I have some firsthand knowledge of- as well as being the location of the home of the Ponzi fellow that gave rise to the concept of 'Ponzi scheme'.

        I have no idea about the distinction Crowley draws between will and willpower- I imagine it amounts to a distinction in degree of initiation and learning to 'focus'.  I see willpower and will as concepts on the order of 'centrifugal force'- it seems very obvious that they exist, until you work out the reduction to simpler forces, at which they become obvious composites.   Nietzsche's late writings are a lot of belaboring of exactly that subject, not that he seems to reach any particularly worthwhile conclusion for any wannabe Ubermensch to draw.

        Renewal, not mere Reform.

        by killjoy on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:17:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All Right (none)
          I should mention that I'm not a "believer in occultism" - I'm someone who has spent some time studying the history and sociology of religion.

          And I should reiterate that your string of responses a dittohead might give upon being pressed are, it appears to me, accurate. The theoretical descriptors for the process are, however, shaky.

          But no matter, really, unless you believe that theory should be as congruent as possible with observable reality. Thought experiments - imagining - can be extremely valuable, as Einstein demonstrated. It just helps when what you imagine bears some relationship to what's actually going on.

          Since you've already said you're not interested in theory here, we can just leave it alone.

        •  Occult = hidden from view (none)
           As I'm sure you already know, occult simply means that which is hidden from the view of most people.  Hence the 16th century Rosicrucians were occultists in the sense that they had to hide their philosophy from the (potentially lethal) persecution of religious authority.  But that hidden flower bloomed, under sunnier conditions, into the full rose of 17th and 18th century Enlightenment.

          Today's RP could certainly be called an occult group, since their true purposes and motivations are so carefully concealed from public scrutiny.  Occultism is a measure of openness vs. concealment, not a measure of scientific vs. superstitious, nor of modern vs. ancient.

  •  I had the exact same pattern of exchange... (4.00)
    with a co-worker. I mean, exactly. All the way from "Where'd you get that?" to "Let's just agree to disagree." I got derailed at that point because the issue was the projected budget for 2005 and my source was a U.S. gov site. I kinda screamed back, "But, facts are facts. These are friggin' numbers -- there's no margin for opinion here!" She then dismissed me for being an angry, Bush-hating liberal.

    It all started because she said she hated the majority of her tax dollars going to welfare mothers. I mean, the majority. I was the first one to ask, "Where'd you get that idea?" To which she replied, "Everyone knows that." By the way, she also believes Saddam's WMD got shipped to Syria.

    In the end, after being told I was "just a Bush hater" I narrowed my eyes and said, "Do you agree that I'm intelligent?" "Well, yes," she admitted. "Do you agree that I pay more attention to the news than you do?" "Um, yes, I don't have the time." "So," I spoke softly, "I'm smart and more informed than you are so when we agree to disagree you do accept that my opinion is...

    WORTH MORE THAN YOURS IS?!" Her face turned bright red and I left the room before her head exploded. I don't hate Bush nearly as much as I hate willful ignorance.

    •  Make sure she doesn't come back (none)
      armed and dangerous.

      There is a certain providence in the fall of a sparrow

      by mrblifil on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:58:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  LOL (none)
      Sounds like my conversations. I'm about as subtle as  brick wall, and generally end up frothing at the mouth.  My friend has asked me several times, "Is there anything that Bush could do that you would approve of?"  Her favorite defense to my dire predictions is, "Well, we'll see.  Our county has been through many hard times before and we always come out on top."  
      •  My response to her would be... (none)
        he could resign.  Now that would make me VERY happy.  

        Of course, he'd have to implicate the rest of his cohorts in the plea bargain.  The only thing that would be better about Cheney than Bush is that nobody can stand Cheney, so nobody would let him lead them to their political doom.  SS piritization, bankruptcy ripoffs, overtime debacles, unhealthy forests and opaque skies.  All gone in an instant.  Ahh...

    •  I do... (none)
      Much more. Willful ignorance like hers can be overcome by a smart guy like you, but Bush will always be an evil SOB, and he will still help control people like her if we don't stop him. On my B-day 2000, my wife got me a punching bag, one of those big heavy ones with sand, and had Bush's picture put on a T-shirt, which we put on the bag. I've punched it thousands of times. It's ripped, barely hanging anymore, and covered in Bird shit. I won't clean it. I really hate Bush.

      "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

      by supak on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:27:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where did you get that? (none)
      I was the first one to ask, "Where'd you get that idea?"

      Even in Jim's story, he "asked where she was getting her information" well before the professor asked him , "Where are you getting that information from?"

      At first, I wrote it off as a dying gasp of Jim's Reasoning Chip. When he wrote, "I knew that chip would sound off sooner or later." he didn't seem to realize that he had already asked the same question.

      Upon further reflection, I decided that it's fair to ask someone to back up their statements with references. Even if it's something you heard on Al Franken or read on Daily Kos, credible supporting evidence is just one link away. Things said on Fox News are often backed up with nothing more than a "some people say..." or an argument that has been discredited by Media Matters.

  •  "Kind of like Mudd's women" (none)
    That gets you a 4 right there.  First the B5 references in an earlier diary and now classic Trek.  Very cool.

    Oh, and BTW, an excellent, well-reasoned article as always.  Are you sure you used to be a dittohead?

    Only in the George W. Bush White House would the term "media whore" be taken literally.

    by mlharges on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:57:55 PM PST

    •  Hey, where's your tip jar? (none)
      Can't give you the four you deserve with out it.

      Only in the George W. Bush White House would the term "media whore" be taken literally.

      by mlharges on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:00:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah advisorjim, what's up with the sci fi? (none)
      So, you were into U2 and were a huge TV sci fi freak (at least)....  And of course television sci fi tended to model a community-based approach to exploration and growth.

      Just how in hell were you a dittohead?

      And if you ever tell us that you read Heinlein's complete works, again, I'll ask, how the hell were you a dittohead?

      Viva la revolucion!

      by spacekitty on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:22:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  excellent work as usual (none)
    recommended of course.
    thanks for the view inside the wingnut nut. are you sure they aren't just stupid?

    i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

    by rasbobbo on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:58:08 PM PST

  •  Jim it's now officially time to talk (4.00)
    to all these DNC people.
    The amount of times i've seen their arguments being weak and not tear repub talking points to shreds has been considerable.
  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    Dammit!  I never remember to do that!  

    Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

    by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:01:53 PM PST

  •  Cognitive science and evidence of Lakoff (none)
    Hey there,

    I really REALLY enjoyed your analysis of why ditto-heads think the way they do.  It actually reminded me a lot of George Lakoff's work (Moral Politics, Don't Think of an Elephant).  

  •  You are absolutely right on! (none)
    After I Ronald Reagon died this past year I was talking with my kool-aid drinking dad about how much hoopla was being made of it. I state to him that Ronnie wasn't all that he was cracked up to be. He seemed puzzled and I mentioned the Iran-Contra affair and he said I quote "well some of us do not believe that". My word there was an investigation and trial and Ollie North all of it and he still did not want to believe what I said.

    Chips, you got it! They just do not want to believe they are wrong, period!

  •  So true. (none)
    I recognize the pattern from "discussions" I had with a rightwinger. The "where did you get that?" line always came out pretty fast. He always wanted me to back up everything I said with links (ok, fair enough), but then dismissed my sources and happily quoted anonymous "they" sources, or things like NewsMax.

    I want to read up on cult deprogramming, several people on this thread already made that connection. Does anyone have suggestions on what to read for someone who doesn't know much about psychology?

    •  Notice (none)
      How much harder we have to work?  We have to back up everything with links, which they dismiss anyway as part of the "liberal media," yet they just "know so."  It makes me sick.  I have to reming my colleagues again and again that Republicans run things so all problems are traced to them.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:38:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cult Deprogramming (none)
      Check out the Rick Ross for a great database on cults and info on deprogramming.  There are plenty of other good sites - try google.  

      But also note that at least in one case, the Scientology cult as taken over and 'reformed' a public awareness organization to eliminate some sources of criticism and information.  The formerly useful Cult Awareness Network is now a Scientology business unit.

      Pay special attention to the structure of the Moonie empire and you'll find a great prototype for the Republican Cult - one with many business and political interests that feeds growth by luring, leveraging, befriending, and eventually superseding religions in your back yard.

  •  One Technique (4.00)
    I got into a pre-election argument with a winger who brought up all of their greatest hits, including "Kerry testified that he saw our soldiers commit atrocities!!"

    I simply said "No, he didn't."

    HIM:  "Yes, he did!!"
    ME:  "No, he didn't."
    HIM:  "Yes he did! I've read the transcript!!"
    ME:  "So have I. He never said that. You've been watching too many Republican cartoons."
    HIM:  "Yes he did!!" I'll look it up!! I'll look it up and send it to you!!"
    ME:  "You do that."
    HIM:  "Really, I will!! I'm going to send you the quotes!!"
    ME:  "Please do."
    HIM:  "I'm serious!! I'm going to send you the quotes!!"
    ME:  "Do it. Seriously, do it. I'll be waiting."
    HIM:  "Oh I will..."

    I'm sure he went a-Googlin' that very night... hell, probably as soon as he got back to his desk. But, I let him contemplate his coming humiliation for a full week before I sidled over to deliver it. I guess to spare himself the pain of being asked where his promised e-mail was, the first words out of his mouth were "You're right, Kerry never said that."

    From that very satisfying experience, I've learned to reply to wingers spouting made-up facts with a simple, repetitive "No, he didn't" or "No, it's not" -- whatever fits the case. If you can lure a winger into trying to prove his "facts," instead of trying to disprove them yourself, you might be treated to a delightful display of what they do with enough rope.

    •  Ropa -dope does seem the game (none)
      That seemed to be exactly A-Jim's counsel:  Instead of constantly playing an unwinnable game of defense (every argument or fact you cite is dismissed), you have to make them come off the safety of the ropes and prove their own case.
    •  Co-opting Coulter: We'll never get back to you... (none)
      Why that's Ann's most employed tactic.

      See this enlightening clip at CBC, where she educates a Canadian citizen about his country's involvement in Vietnam. It's really educational and is a great insight into the intellectual side of Ann Coulter (the non-existent one).


      From Sticks and Stones on the CBC

      http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/sticksandstones.html

      or

      http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2663937?htv=12

      For the bandwidth impaired:

      http://www.jossip.com/dailyj/2005/01/31/ann_coulter_gets_schooled_by_canada.php

       The conservative talking head was being interviewed by Bob McKeown on Fifth Estate on Canada's CBC in that low droning voice we're huge fans of when she got her facts terribly, terribly wrong about the Vietnam war.

      Coulter: "Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends and vice-versa. I mean Canada sent troops to Vietnam - was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?"

      McKeown interrupts: "Canada didn't send troops to Vietnam."

      Coulter: "I don't think that's right."

      McKeown: "Canada did not send troops to Vietnam."

      Coulter (looking desperate): "Indochina?"

      McKeown: "Uh no. Canada ...second World War of course. Korea. Yes. Vietnam No."

      Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

      McKeown: "No, took a pass on Vietnam."

      Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

      McKeown: "No, Australia was there, not Canada."

      Coulter: "I think Canada sent troops."

      McKeown: "No."

      Coulter: "Well. I'll get back to you on that."

      McKeown tags out in script: "Coulter never got back to us -- but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam."

      The full video is available on Crooks and Liars.

      Cheers

      Pogo

      " Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. " George Orwell

      by pogo possum on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:32:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right Brain Mind Set (none)
     This is not only clever it's insightful. But what I'd REALLY like to know is how did you become a FORMER dittohead?  
    •  Or put another way, "Who is John Galt?" (none)
      The more I think about it, the more the question fills me with a sense of hopelessness and despair.  But I think I can put together enough `chip-busters' to give you some idea.  Just stay tuned.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:33:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  John Galt (none)
        Tease!  ;>
        •  For the reference (none)
          "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." -- John Galt Atlas Shrugged

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:03:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm impressed... (none)
            with both of you!  Ayn Rand is supposed to be the exclusive domain of Objectivists and Libertarians.

            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

            by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:09:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Former Rockfeller GOP (none)
              was dissenting form the party for years because of the Religious-Wrong in the 80s, and flirted with libertarianism back then... but finally parted company with the Fright-WingTM et al officially in the run up to the 2000 elections.

              Now I am a hard-core Liberal/Democrat (kinda like an ex-smoker being inundated by 2nd hand smoke you might say)

              cheers,

              Mitch Gore

              Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

              by Lestatdelc on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:12:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Pardon my stupidity... (none)
              When/why can't a Libertarian be a Democrat?

              Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

              by Truckle on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:50:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They can (none)
                When/why can't a Libertarian be a Democrat?

                Speaking as a mostly-ex-libertarian:

                While many small-l libertarians and most big-L Libertarians (small-l is the philosophy, big-l is the party) tend to lean toward what's considered "the right" in the US, there are various flavors of libertarianism. My perception is that righty-libertarians focus on the negatives of government power and think of the current economic system as a free market, albeit an imperfect one because of government interference. But lefty-libertarians are more focused on the negatives of corporate power and believe (as I do) that the negatives of gov't are mostly at the behest of corporations, who hide behind a lip-service for a free market that most of them wouldn't really want. (This is all a vast over-simplification, of course.)

                Hell, Noam Chomsky identifies as a libertarian socialist. Somehow I can't see him voting Republican, though he might not vote Democratic, either.

                Proud member of the reality-based minority

                by Bearpaw on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:20:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I also got through Atlas Shrugged (none)
              I thought it was a very good read, but Rand is clearly delusional. On the other hand, even if what she wanted could be done, the ethics and morality required by her system is seriously lacking. George Bush and the rest of the powers that be look at Ken Lay and see Hank Reardon, when he looks an awful lot like Bertram Scudder. Do you have any insight as to why she wrote it? It's a 1000 page rant, but when she wrote it, she had a system that was fairly close to what she wanted. Not perfect, but close. Matbe another Confession for some future diary.

              Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

              by corwin on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:59:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rand's major mistake (4.00)
                She tried something which she thought, correctly I think, had not been attempted before: defend capitalism on not just practical grounds but metaphysical ones.

                She therefore tried to derive an ethics of capitalism from the actual practice of capitalism itself as she imagined it to be.

                But capitalism cannot be moralized, even with a morality that friendly to it. It cannot accept any voluntary constraints on the pursuit of profit. In trying to provide capitalism with an ideology, she failed to see that the cart does indeed come before the horse here, that capitalism has a lot more to do with capital than with ism. Capital provides whatever ideology is most convenient to its purposes at the moment.

                Rand's capitalism would require that capitalists pass up opportunities to profit by dealing with Communist countries, that they refuse to deal in captive markets, oppose all trade restrictions even when they would benefit and refuse any breaks from the government. As we've seen, and as Rand herself decried in real life, capitalists were always willing to do all these things, for the very simple reason that they made money doing them.

    •  asdf (none)
      (go back and check out AdvisorJim's diaries by clicking on his name at the top ...)

      vote early - vote often

      by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:17:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mmmmm ... Day-old Papa Johns pizza ... (none)
    < ... Drool ... >

    Great diary - and spot on.  I wish I had a pizza (ahem, dime) for every argument I've lost by letting it end with "we'll just agree to disagree".

    Time to put an end to it ...

    Now excuse me, the I think the pizza guy just knocked on my door.

    •  Save some for me... (none)
      I don't get to eat it anymore because my wife doesn't want me to die.  She's SO selfish!

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:34:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd suggest the response (3.50)
      "...you agree to disagree; I'm publicly claiming victory on this one and dancing a little dance. Again."

      Actually, I have a friend who gets most of his information via FoxNews and his veterans' support group.  I'd NEVER push that hard with him, 'cause the hurt it would cause him wouldn't be justified with the good.  It pisses him off enough that I converted my girlfriend from (pale) red to (fairly deep) blue.  She listens.

      Rubus Eradicandus Est.

      by Randomfactor on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:02:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Get the low hanging fruit. (4.00)
        Unfortunately there's very little we could do to convert a Rick Santorum.  In his case we'll just have to be satisfied with his biproduct namesake.

        You use this to get the Olympia Snows and John McCains.  Maybe even the Joe Liebermans if you're lucky!

        Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

        by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:12:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kudos (and a shameless plug) (none)
    I'm pretty new to this DailyKos thing, but already your work stands out, advisorjim. Your writing is informative and entertaining.

    I wrote a similar diary a few days ago.

    Good job and good day to you.

    -Jim

    "The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians." - H.L Mencken

    by herooftheday on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:35:17 PM PST

  •  One thing that I have (3.85)
    found effective is when they quote Rush as a source I say "you are getting your information from a drug addict!". This pretty much makes their head explode.

    On 11/2/04 59 million americans had a brain fart-Mr. Ga6thDem

    by Ga6thDem on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:36:19 PM PST

    •  I rattled a good one with this... (none)
      and watched the circuits fry, but I didn't stop there. I went on to say that I agreed with the ACLU that Rush's medical records shouldn't be made public. This NRAsshole was so happy to be able to actually agree with me, but so confused that a liberal would defend the principle of privacy over the chance to see what Rush is ingesting! We must show them that we are not wimps, we are not all the same, we are not stupid, and we are not out to destroy America. Hillary sure seems ready to make the practical abortion argument her husband made: Safe, Legal, Rare... I'm so glad I started hangin out at the KOS more often. It makes me feel better.

      "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

      by supak on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  bt yr corpus callosum *looks* like a slip-n-slide! (4.00)
    I'm so honored to have been invited by name into your now-deprogrammed brain!

    this diary makes sense out of many similarly circular conversations I've tried to have with wingnuts.  The Rush era was bad enough; but when The Washington Times started being taken as seriously as the Wall Street Journal, and Faux News added its echo chamber, then suddenly those became their only trusted sources of news.  All the other wrongwing talk shows, periodicals and websites take their lead from these; and since they have already agreed to agree, no other facts can get in.  Reasoning ability and research skills are not taught in their schools, so they have no way to get information for themselves.  Many can only read as well as their president, so primary sources are beyond them.  they actually have very little access or exposure to facts, and when one does slip through it is immediately discredited because it does not compute or they go into brainfreeze.

    this is the biggest and most frustrating source of cognitive dissonance for those of us in the reality based world: wingnuts can just choose not to accept facts as facts.  that freaks us out--we can't get our minds around that. so we keep throwing facts at them, and when they simply bounce off with no effect we erroneously assume that more facts are needed, but those bounce off too, and then we don't know what to do.  since facts are the only weapon in our arsenal we are doomed to failure.  Our last two presidential candidates were a perfect example of this.

    By the way, this explains why you can never win when you call a wingnut talk show.  They won't (can't--the show is only three hours long!) give you enough time to lead anyone step by step down the path of genuine reasoning.  at best they cut you off at the "agree to disagree" stage but more likely they cut you off at "you're not entitled to your own facts" (all the while insisting that they are entitled to their own facts!).

    But in real life, engaging someone with whom you already have a connection, when you are willing to be persistent and gently insistent, every once in a while you can break through as advisorjim did here.

    advisorjim's whole series gives me hope that this is where the victory will be won.  one person at a time, one conversion at a time.  that is why we cannot give up trying to stay in relationship with Rpug friends and relatives so long as there is any chance that we can set them on the road to deprogramming.

    another great diary, but then they're all great!  I'm praying every day for your book deal to happen soon.

    P.S.  just when I think you cannot get any cooler, you slip in a reference to Harry Mudd!  But if you are referring to the ep where Kirk and Spock confuse the perfectly logical androids that was "I, Mudd" not "Mudd's Women."  </nitpicking>

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:44:18 PM PST

    •  I have already misquoted a B5 ep... (none)
      But I was going for a more subtle 'geek-chic' with the reference to Mudd's women.  That's why I didn't put it in quotation marks like I did with "What Wrong with Grey 17" (which, as we all know, is properly titled..something else...that I still don't remember...)

      As to the appearance, don't mention it.  Just consider it payback for previous email you sent me.

      !8)

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:06:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wingnut talk shows.. (none)
      What about a little rhetorical bomb-throwing?  Get on the air and just let it fly..

      Hannity: You're a great American. I'm a great American!  Listen, all you great Americans, liberal traitors hate America!    

      You: Hello, Mr. Hannity!  You're a great American!

      Hannity: Why, you're a great American!  What's on your mind, my friend?

      You: Well, Sean, I just wanted to ask.. do you know anything about anything?  Because, see, I've been listening to your show a long time, Sean, and I don't believe that you know things.  Could you just prove to me that you know something about something?  Anything?  Do you tie your own shoes, Sean?  Do you know how to do that?

  •  what do you say.. (none)
    to the retort "every story has two sides and somewhere in between is the truth" comment that I always get from my Republican brothers?  Any suggestions?
    •  How 'bout: (3.75)
      "Then you agree that the truth lies more in my direction than you're admitting.  Why not research it and find how how much more right I am than you, and get back to me."

      They won't, of course, but it puts you one-up, in my opinion.  Any self-sought education is better than one we provide, because it makes the next one much easier.

      Rubus Eradicandus Est.

      by Randomfactor on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:05:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about this (none)

       "If Bill Clinton said one thing and Rush Limbaugh said it wasn't true, would the truth be halfway between them?"

       "No?"

       "Then some people's statements are closer to the truth than others."

      One hand forward with a flower, one hand behind with the dagger.

      by Predator Saint on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:13:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's test this theory ... (none)
      Here's the story:

      There is a breaking news report regarding the composition of the moon.  Most of the MSM that covered the story said that the moon was made of granite, basalt and other rocks.  However, FOX news reported that the moon was made of green cheese.

      We have have a story, and we clearly have two sides.  Is the truth somewhere between?  No, it only one one side.

      Yes, this is an extreme example - but substitute some 6-year olds for the news media and it's not.

      It's bullshit theory that allows them to claim that they might be correct when they are clearly not.

  •  HEY (none)
    How do I get this crap off of my shoes?

    Oh well, I guess the ending was worth a pair of shoes.  just don't ask me to go into Dr Laura's brain.  I think I would suffocate in there.  

  •  Best Confession Yet (none)
    Even better than the love note to your wife.

    The cerebral tour was a hoot.

  •  How did Limbaugh's defense of torture (none)
    not cause cognitive dissonance?
    •  One word (3.50)
      "Inoxycontinance."

      Rubus Eradicandus Est.

      by Randomfactor on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:06:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All is fair in love and war (4.00)
      "They were all terrorists bent on beheading our poor private Ryan!"

      or my favorite, being chain mailed around the internet right now...

      Did you know this ?

      Instead of showing our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at presidential motorcades

      What photos of flag burning at Abu Ghraib ? If we saw anything "burning" at Abu Ghraib it was the spirit of US Constitution and US' reputation on the human righs field...

      But the "frame" is very powerful: Flag burners HATE America and ARE Americans most of the time. Photos of flag burning = photos displaying hate for America by Americans.

      And you can bet they are NOT talking about Liddie England. They are talking about the whistleblowers who brought he torture pictures to light

      In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
      The truth? Complacency was easier

      by lawnorder on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:30:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No trusted right wing source disagreed (none)
        Limbaugh's statement was not condemned by any source of information trusted by right-wingers.

        What right-wingers believe is not about being based on facts, they believe what they are told by people they trust.

        Right-wingers, generally speaking, do not trust their own capacity for critical thinking.  They seek-out other people to place their faith in and implicitly trust whatever that person says.

        A right-winger will not usually not provide facts, because they do not feel it is needed.  What matters is that they found a source more knowledgeable than themself, and follows that person's advice.

        In this way of thinking, facts and figures are only as trustworthy as the source itself.  If it comes from a person they trust, it'll be accepted without question.  From someone they perceive to be untrustworthy, nothing will be accepted.

        Better stop there...wandering into territory that Advisorjim has already covered better than I ever could.      

      One hand forward with a flower, one hand behind with the dagger.

      by Predator Saint on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good rightie, bad rightie (none)
      There's a phenomenon I've observed with the handling of 'bad news.'  Abu Grhaib is one good example.  The admin is not able to keep information--info that works on mainstream news--photos, not a boring Red Cross report that you have to read--about the torture under wraps.  The Pres goes on tv and solemnly intones that we abhor, abhor! torture, it is completely unamerican, bad apples blah blah.  The offical line

      Then Rush goes on the air and says what they really all believe--fuckin' A, they had it coming, are troops were blowing off steam, liberal weenies whining about a little hazing.

      Cognitive dissonance?  Please.  It's what they actually believe.  They got no problem with it.

      Another great example is WH media manipulation.  Again, the prez, caught red-handed, solemnly intones that he abhors, abhors! manipulation of the media, an independent press is the cornerstone of democracy, blah blah.

      Then Rush takes over.  Liberals whining because they can't stand to hear a conservative voice, liberals can't stand to hear the truth, etc

      It's what they want to believe.  The rightwing noise machine just supplies them lies, arguments and other crap to justify it

  •  two rules to live/write/speak by (none)
    Cite sources, and define the terms.

    Every child in elementary learns the difference between fact and opinion. (At least the NY state regents requires it.)  

    That means that facts must be bolstered by source, and opinions are easily recognizable.

  •  You can't deal with dittoheads (none)
    I applaud your success with the professor but don't know if it would work with the large number of zombies of the republican noise machine.  they have converted politics to religion so their views have been narrowed to just having faith in George Bush.  After all, God did want him to be president, didn't he?  I speak with tongue in cheek but unfortunately, it's gospel in the minds of the dittoheads.
  •  Testing the Chip (4.00)
    I keep a wingnut chip wired into the brain of my philodendron.  Let's see what it thinks of advisorjim's post:

    "Alert!  Alert!  Everybody knows that all professors are liberal, therefore the pro-Bush professor in the anecdote must be a fabrication, therefore advisorjim is a fraud, therefore all liberals must be stupid, therefore all conservatives must be on the side of the angels, therefore war is the ultimate good and W  is the one true God. QED."

    Purty powerful hardware, eh?

  •  I'm glad you liked it (4.00)
    Curiously enough I gathered all this info while "chip busting" some pro-life friends of mine...

    I've learned something with my dittohead friends. As you say, it's all about sources! You can say the sky is blue, but if it came from the NYT, forget it! If it comes from Bush is 100% correct even when he lies.

    He said there are no WMDs ? He only said that to stop the cry-baby liberals from whining about it. But he is still looking, LGF told me so...

    Bush is being nice to Europe, to UN ? Liberal appeasing. If only you cry babies would shut up he could govern the way he REALLY wanted to and the Iraq war would be over already...

    How do you argue with that "logic" ?

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:18:30 PM PST

  •  This stuff absolutely needs to be in a book. (none)
    Preferably a book with a cover picture of Ann Coulter being triumphantly refuted.
  •  Gosh this is well-written! (none)
    Apologies for an earlier post of mine complaining about the length.
  •  Jim... (none)
    You have got to write a book.
  •  Denial and Group Think (none)
    Great analysis.  I often encounter the denial of the truth of adverse information.

    This comment of yours caught my eye:

    Kind of like Mudd's women.

    I love it!  Very funny.

  •  Minor quibble... (none)
    I think you meant to reference "Norman" from the classic Trek episode of "I, Mudd"... not "Mudd's Women".

    But as always, a great diary and welcome insights, not to mention damn fine writing.

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:45:17 PM PST

  •  Good post, but one other comment ... (none)
    I've crossed posted a response on my blog, but I think a crucial element here is fear and anger that masks the fear.

    Conservatives are also, I think, very afraid.

    That's what makes them conservatives.

    Some- like Bush- are not, and they use fear to exploit others.

    But you have to get past the fear.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:53:49 PM PST

    •  Quite right (none)
      I think you've hit the nail on the head.  Fear (and admit it, the world is looking pretty scary of late) is a big part of what motivates the more extreme right-wingers.  Fear of change.  Fear of foreigners.  Fear of "difference."  Fear, in a word, of the world.

      This really does explain a lot.  The religious extremism and the "end times" business.  The near-deification of leaders like Bush.  The "we're being persecuted" attitude.  And so on.

      Maybe this notion could be incorporated better into the liberal argument.  Something like:

      "The right-wingers are scared of the world.  They think everybody is out to get 'people like us.'  So they want the world to stop so they can get off.  Well, we progressives see a country with big problems, but also with vast intellectual, human, natural, economic, and, yes, military resources.  We look forward to the future rather than yearning for a return to the past because we're not afraid.  We believe in America and think the best is yet to come.  Isn't that more patriotic than running away from the world?"

      Okay, that's not expressed real well.  But I do think the general idea has merit.

  •  Once again a job well done (4.00)
    And what you write supports my feeling about the use of the phrase "reality-based community."

    Reality and facts are not the same.  We tend to work and create our arguments based on facts as thay are available.  We may tend to ignore reality.

    What you are describing is the reality of the world, especially as it relates to dittoheads.  Reality is that they do not want to hear facts that do not correspond with their "world-view" and it takes a lot of effort to get facts past the barriers where the facts may actually have an impact.

    Deep seated beliefs will always put up a battle against actuality.  And I am not sure there are any deeper seated beliefs than those of the far right wing.

    Reality is that we can not go into battle merely armed with facts, but with specialized skills in breaking through the barrier.

    And the deepest belief is that all liberals are evil, communist loving traitors.  This has been carefully nurtured for the past few decades.

    The fact that Clinton did more for the military than either his Republican predecessors or the current administration is irrelevat.  He was a weak, namby-pamby liberal.

    All to often we forget the real reality.  We are a fact based community.  We need on an individual basis to slowly create a world-view which live with facts.

    In many ways, as enlightening as your diary is, it is also somewhat depressing as it shows just how difficult this process will be.  But you also are living proof it can be done.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:57:08 PM PST

    •  japa21 (none)
      I'm genuinely curious.. how did Clinton do more for the military than either Bush I or Reagan??  

      (I'm a liberal in need of some facts to back that statement up ;)

      "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society" -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

      by wintersnowman on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:40:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He supported (none)
        increased pay, better housing, better health care benefits.

        He knew there was more to the military than just guns and planes.  He realized there were actually people in those uniforms.

        Don't have the specifics handy, but my son, who is military has told me that many of the military grudgingly give him respect even though he never served and was a Democrat.

        Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

        by JAPA21 on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:54:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  good diary but (none)
    it really doesnt matter. Theyll still believe despite proof positive that they are wrong.

    Ive debated with right wingers for years, it never ends. Never. They will always believe their own side. No matter how many times Ive pinned them and wouldnt allow them up, they still think how they think.

     Oh youll get an occasional bone but big deal.

    Ive become rather burnt on the constant arguments with wingnutz. Its like beatin your head against a wall.

    •  Outside the Wall (none)
      All alone, or in two's,
      The ones who really love you
      Walk up and down outside the wall.
      Some hand in hand
      And some gathered together in bands.
      The bleeding hearts and artists
      Make their stand.

      And when they've given you their all
      Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
      Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall.

      "Isn't this where...."

      I hear ya... but we must carry on

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:05:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I heard that differently (none)
        I thought that last bit before the tape cut off is "So let's go".
        •  The album comes full circle (none)
          with the closing, "Isn't this where..." which wraps perfectly with the quick, quiet, "...we came in?" that precedes the opener, "In The Flesh?" Nice one, that.
          •  Yep... (none)
            if you have the album as MP3 in an album playlist set to repeat... it is completely cyclical when it repeats, which was a conscious choice by Roger Waters. The Wall is a deep exploration in the cyclical nature of abuse, repression, alienation, isolation and the manifestations in anti-social behavior that results, to the point of whole societies succumbing to it (i.e. fascism).

            Waters talks about it in length in the retrospective documentaries in the DVD of the Wall.

            BTW, if anyone has not watched this movie  (or listened to the album at length), it is truly a masterwork and a must see piece.

            cheers,

            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 04:10:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not always.... (4.00)
      I worked on my neighbor (Rethuglican signs in his yard) for 6 months.  The week before the election he caved--and voted for Nader!
  •  Been there... (4.00)
    Trying to argue with a conservative can be brutal, especially when they're a friend.

    I've done things similar to what you did, advisorjim. You know, we need a site with some one-page "talking point" type summaries with links to sites like government stats websites, etc, to show to conservatives when you argue with them. Like you said, it might only take a few incidents to crack their faith to convert many of those dittoheads away from the Dark Side.  

  •  My repub friend, (4.00)
    who is astounded that I have changed from repub to Democrat, sent me an email last week after I said that Catholicism and torture do not mix (he is very religious.)  He told me not to send him anymore emails unless they were about the kids, or something pleasant, and he would not respond to any political emails or information.

    I refuse to be a friend with that kind of close-minded person anymore.  Maybe the next time he wants a free weekend skiing, and I tell him my new liberal friends are all coming up, he will think about what a schmuck he is.  

    •  Same thing (none)
      I just got a similar message from my brother, including don't ever insult him again by referring to myself as progressive (who knew the radical right had absconded with the term and that he thinks of himself as a progressive).

      I agree with your decision to not waste time trying to maintain a "friendship" with people like that and have concluded that I'm no longer willing to make an exception for my brother simply because we share the same parents.

      •  Cut 'em off (none)
        I hear a lot of this. I, too, have cut off communication with family members or old friends who are too butt headed to admit their wrong.

        "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

        by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 06:44:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So Jim, (none)
    your friend is an academic?

    What's her position on David Horowitz and his whole campaign against 'liberal academia' and academic freedom?

    •  I'm ashamed to say (none)
      she finds it to be necessary in an otherwise 'liberal hostile' environment.

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:17:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It being academic freedom? (none)
        or the slanted stuff that Horowitz puts out?

        Y'know? I find it strange that he makes these blanket statments without really actually addressing the real make-up of the university community.

        Of course there are going to be liberals on campus. But there are many Republicans and libertarians there as well. Does he meander his way out of the humanities departments? When I was teaching at a large state university we had some pretty big named libertarian scholars on campus. The B-school was pretty heavy on the R side. I think the law school was down the middle. And for some reason the political leanings in the Sciences never seem to be part of the equations.

        I've had Republican professors and Democratic professors. Frankly, it didn't matter...so long as their teaching style was effective.

      •  Have you seen this? (none)
        That liberal fiend can't be found
        Friday, March 04, 2005
        Mano Singham

        Remember when we were discouraged from being helpful to drivers who had forgotten to turn on their lights at night? We were told that ruthless gang initiations required that prospective members kill drivers who flash their headlights at them.

        ...

        Well then, what about the college professor who asked his class to write a mid-term essay on "Why George Bush is a war criminal," and then gave an "F" to a student who had been offended by the assignment and had instead turned in an essay on "Why Saddam Hussein is a war criminal"?

        Heard that story yet? Maybe you read it in last Sunday's letters to the editor. The story is spreading rapidly because this professor has become the poster child for the nationwide movement that argues that college faculty are
        liberal ideologues who will go to any lengths to stifle opposing (i.e., conservative) views and thus indoctrinate students to think like them.

  •  You are so good with words (none)
    I have to confess that I am not good at getting past all the sheilds because I never can remember all the sources and all the places I've read and seen material.  I can pretty much say I saw it on Dkos, but finding it again might be tough.

    But my sonn-in-law is finally coming around.  I am happy about that.

    He wasn't a total dittohead, but he was one of those who hates the entitlement programs.  But he dislikes the Christian element more than the entitlement programs.

  •  Great Analysis, as Usual (none)
    But there's an even simpler one.  Any convincing argument is met inevitably by one or all of the following:

    Cinton!   France!  Hollywood!

  •  Chip upgrade alert (4.00)
    The newer chips have this cool new feature. When Bush devotees are called out on anything, let's say not finding any WMD, the upgrades allow them to carpet bomb with GOP talking points in the hopes that it will deflect any real debate before it begins. It's the "thousand points of light chip." You might be making a cogent point about not finding WDM and suddenly you are confronted with a barrage of topics unrelated to the subject at hand.

    If you can manage to navigate through the debris field and successfully remain focused on the central topic they will simply dismiss you. This is an actual quote I received from a wingnut who recently got the upgrade:

    "There's no use in wasting my time on you with facts, because you are so jaded in your view you refuse to even look."

    Notice what is accomplished here. My view is "jaded" and their view is not. Their view is rooted in "facts" and we disagree, therefor, my view can't possibly be based on facts (never mind that I've presented them with empirical  evidence, quotes, facts and figures at this point). And finally, they are dismissing me because their time is too valuable to waste.

    And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall -- Dylan

    by Rp on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:23:22 PM PST

  •  Tell me, A-jim.... (none)
    Is there a pied piper we can hire to take all of these rats away into some hole in a mountain or out to sea...?

    I am sure that unlike that sorry town who hired him last, we would pay dearly and clearly for that kind of service....

    The Moral Majority - all those Christian conservatives left on Earth AFTER the Rapture....

    by sp0t on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:42:13 PM PST

  •  I tried this (4.00)
    with my brother last summer. We live on opposite coasts and hadn't seen each other since before 9/11, so I had no idea he had fallen to the dark side. When he showed up at the family reunion wearing a Bush/Cheney sticker, we sat down and had a marathon discussion. You are absolutely right, he had an answer for everything I brought up. I knew his numbers were and versions of the way things transpired were completely bunk, but we were at a park with no internet access. I made mental notes, and we agreed to look up the info and send each other sources. I sent him email after email after email, all from neutral or conservative sources debunking all the BS he had been regurgitating at me. He didn't send me a single article, nor did he respond to any of my emails.

    Eventually, I gave up. Two months later, I got an email from him. It was a photo from his birthday party complete with his George Bush cake.

    I chalk it up to the fact that my brother is a macho, jock, homophobe, and W's cowboyism appeals to him. He knew people who died on 9/11, and wanted revenge. It's just so frustrating that someone so smart is so deluded.

    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

    by mrboma on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:49:59 PM PST

    •  i hear ya on the macho, jock, homophobe (none)
      My friend voted Bush despite the fact that his mother, sister and dead father, whom he idolizes, are all liberal Dem's.  His mother is even the HeadStart coordinator for three counties and is good friends with the #2 Dem leader in the House-- Steny Hoyer!!

      Despite all of this background, he's a tried-and-true Republican and Iraq-war supporter.  And as near as I can tell, it's only because he's a former frat-boy, macho, homophobe.  He gets off on Bush's macho, swaggering, let's blow them all to hell persona.  And this is coming from an extremely intelligent person.  

      He's no moron... and I caution any liberal from characterizing right-wingers as morons or generally unintelligent.  This is certainly not the case as we can see with advisorjim (formerly) and I see with my conservative friends.  Heaping loads of cognitive dissonance, but they're not stupid.

      "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society" -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

      by wintersnowman on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:50:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fabulous (none)
    My brother-in-law is a ditto-head.  He's a long distance truck-driver who listens to Rush (he also listens to Howard, but Rush is on more).  What you say exactly maps his mind, and he is a smart guy.  I like him a lot.  But he does have the ditto-head answer for everything.  Thanks for some good leads.
  •  i've got some convos with dittoheads in print (none)
    I am just as frustrated as everyone else.  I had to quit talking to two people who just refused, no matter what, to believe what I was saying.  I have the PM sessions archived for posterity...comments like:

    fubar_52727 (11:27:29 PM): he gave a tax cut to the people earning th emost money
    rallen3453186 (11:27:38 PM): more people can affoed homes
    fubar_52727 (11:27:43 PM): which cut federal funding to communities
    rallen3453186 (11:29:50 PM): and whats kerrys answers to all this?
    rallen3453186 (11:29:59 PM): anyone can state the obvious
    fubar_52727 (11:30:08 PM): raise the taxes on the people earning $200,000 or more
    fubar_52727 (11:30:12 PM): back to what it was under clinton
    rallen3453186 (11:30:16 PM): a fucking monkey could point the shit out
    rallen3453186 (11:30:25 PM): whats he going to do about it?????????????
    fubar_52727 (11:30:28 PM): put that tax money back into the economy
    rallen3453186 (11:30:29 PM): NOTHING
    fubar_52727 (11:30:32 PM): i'm telling you
    fubar_52727 (11:30:39 PM): but as i expected you're not listening
    rallen3453186 (11:30:45 PM): oh good lets cut homeland security
    fubar_52727 (11:30:53 PM): he's not cutting homeland security
    fubar_52727 (11:30:59 PM): BUSH is planning on cutting homeland security
    rallen3453186 (11:31:10 PM): not true
    fubar_52727 (11:31:13 PM): you had any local firehouses close because of lack of funding?
    fubar_52727 (11:31:17 PM): we have here
    fubar_52727 (11:31:20 PM): two of them
    fubar_52727 (11:31:27 PM): and about 30 firefighters laid off
    rallen3453186 (11:31:31 PM): why dont demacrats see past the tip of their noses?????
    fubar_52727 (11:31:32 PM): yes he is
    rallen3453186 (11:31:36 PM): why
    rallen3453186 (11:31:44 PM): the geat question
    fubar_52727 (11:31:51 PM): if bush is reelected, his budget proposals call for cutting funding to homeland security
    fubar_52727 (11:31:56 PM): his 2005 budget details it
    fubar_52727 (11:32:02 PM): he's also going to cut funding to medicare
    fubar_52727 (11:32:07 PM): and veteran benefits
    fubar_52727 (11:34:46 PM): he already cut combat pay to troops deployed to iraq
    fubar_52727 (11:34:56 PM): even as he applauds himself as this great wartime president
    fubar_52727 (11:38:08 PM): http://www.bushbudget.com/
    fubar_52727 (11:38:34 PM): What impact will the Bush 2005 budget have on America's communities? On September 11th, 2003, 100 community and labor leaders in Philadelphia issued a call to "Strengthen America" by fighting for jobs, health care, education, and a renewed commitment to building strong communities throughout the United States.
    fubar_52727 (11:38:45 PM): The 2005 budget that George Bush presents to America, however, poses the gravest threat to our cities and communities since the Reagan era. It includes more tax cuts for the rich despite the overwhelming cost of the War on Terrorism at home and abroad. It proposes to wipe out dozens of federal programs that have been the lifeblood of America's communities for years.
    fubar_52727 (11:38:56 PM): It seems that it's an honor to die for your country but an imposition to pay for it.
    fubar_52727 (11:39:15 PM): Ten Reasons for Community Activists to Fight the Bush Budget 1. Neighborhood Security-COPS Program Ended; Anti-Violence Funds Cut 2. Unemployment-No Support for Unemployment Compensation Extension 3. Education-"No Child Left Behind" Program Underfunded by $9.4 Billion. 4. Kids- Support for child care frozen. 550,000 kids are still on waiting lists. 5. Housing-250,000 Housing Vouchers cut. Funding reduced by $1.6 Billion. 6. Health Care-Significant Cuts in Medicaid over the next ten years. 7. Senior Citizens-Programs for the elderly frozen at 2002 levels. 8. Pollution-EPA Water Pollution Funding cut by 30%--$822 million. 9. State and City Services-Funding for States and Cities drops by $6 Billion. 10. The Future-Bush plans even more cuts over the next ten years...

    Notice how my 'friend' went silent after I started posting hard info -- from a non partisan source.  Chip overload, I guess.  I have other 'friends' who overloaded when talking to me.  They were even worse, because they think they're open minded.

    •  open-minded (none)
      They were even worse, because they think they're open minded.

      ... and they probably think that you're obviously not open-minded, because you won't admit that they're right.

      Proud member of the reality-based minority

      by Bearpaw on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:31:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Changing minds (4.00)
    My husband fell for Bush's "good ole boy" routine and after 9/11 thought he could do no wrong.  I, on the other hand, knew what Gov. Bush was and told everyone who would listen that if he got elected his mouth would get the US into a war and he'd bankrupt this country and leave it in a mess like he left Texas.

    I spent a couple of years trying to argue some sense into my husband, to no avail.  I read a lot of foreign online newspapers and began to see a pattern in the US News coverage of Iraq and their feel good stories vs. the our allies coverage of the war.  

    I watch C-Span daily and would listen to speechs from Congress and Press briefings.  Afterward, I would check out the foreign press stories to read their take on events.  I began to print out a couple of these stories once or twice a week.  I always printed out 2 foreign sources and then would print out our local paper or the Fox News take on the subject.  Since we live next to Ft. Hood, our paper is big on troop and war stories.  I'd put the 3 stories in my husbands lunch bag for him to read at work.

    Sometimes he'd bring up a story and sometimes not.  I kept this up for 6 weeks.  One night he came home and told me enough was enough.  He got the picture.  From that day on he began to ask me questions about a story he read that day or something someone had told him at work.  The day I knew he had really reformed was when he watched the first Pres. debate and told me that Kerry blew Bush away.  He said anyone with half a brain could tell Bush was a liar and an idiot.  We haven't had a political fight since then.

    My husband and I are both native Texans.  He drives a pickup, owns guns and loves Nascar but  9/11 sucked him in and turned him deaf to hearing the truth.  He did have doubts about Iraq but with all the Vets and GI's living here it's hard to protest.  That has since changed.  Stories are being told by the guys who have been to Iraq and they are not pretty.  My husband says it's beginning to look and sound like the days when the vets began returning form Viet Nam.

  •  Old-fashioned conservatives (none)
    I know quite a few old-fashioned conservatives that manage to get by without the chip, which makes them far harder to reason with.
    The chip has the ability to overload, or at least reduce your least favorite relative to a sputtering mess (entertainment value can't be overrated).  The folks I deal with hold George Bush and our wacky senators and reps in high regard for that one most important thing. They can be reasonable about every issue I can possibly bring up, then wholeheartedly support someone who they don't particularly like just because of their stand on guns, abortion, gays, or any of the other litmus test issues.
    What can you say to somebody who says "Yeah, George Bush is a douchebag, but at least he won't take my guns away"?  
    Reasoning doesn't work because SOMEBODY is going to take his guns away, kill babies in the womb, surrender to the terrorists, etc, and it's not his guy.  
    •  asdf (none)
      That's just propaganda. Abortion rate went up under Bush. Michael Moore owns guns and hunts. Bush has cut $$ to first responders.
      •  propaganda is made to be believed (none)
        Unfortunately, wedge issues are created with an entirely for or against trick to them.  Whoever throws down about say guns, simply has to point out that their opponent supports some form of regulation, similarly with abortion, or any other wedge.  There's no need to prove the accuser's stance because it's assumed to be diametrically opposite.  Any failure of the conservatives policies are blamed on "the government" or "the liberals" or some other ethereal opposition.
  •  Another viewpoint (4.00)
    First of all, fair warning - I am a conservative.  Normally I do not post, but I do so now, because I see an opportunity to perhaps reach some common ground that may be constructive.

    Is it possible that this "chip" referred to by advisorjim is not implanted just in the brains of conservatives, but is an inherent personality trait of most humans?  Or are liberals somehow immune from the process by which information is filtered through their ideology?  Is there any scientific basis for this assertion?  Or is the argument that liberals have no ideology -- they are utterly rational and are at all times open to having their minds changed by new information?  Therefore they never suffer from cognitive dissonance?

    Does anyone else see any hypocrisy at all in the following two quotes that both appear in this diary?

    "But you'll notice in any right-wing debate the first question they ask is `Where are you getting that?  Where does that information come from?'"

    "I asked where she was getting her information."

    By the way, the assertion that abortions are up under the Bush presidency is subject to considerable dispute by those who are in a position to know.  See, for example, here.

    Can we open our minds to the possibility that cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that applies across the board to all groups of people, including liberals as well as conservatives?  If not, may I suggest that your inability to do so is itself strong evidence that you are suffering from the same affliction?

    •  Damn (none)
      Goes back to my post about six witnesses seeing the same accident and having six different realities -- all of them real.  Yep, I'll give you that. But our invasion of Iraq is not open to debate with me.  No WMD.  An illegal war, period.  This is as bad as Vietman.  I don't give a damn that Iraq had an election -- that was not the argument given for golint to war. Our governemtn (Bush) lied to us.    Torture, also not debatable.  The US is supposedly on the higher moral ground.  Not when it comes to torture.  
    •  And your viewpoint is very welcome... (4.00)
      But you may have missed the point.  When I answered her question about abortion, I said my information came from the NIH, as well as sources that identify themselves as being pro-life.  When she answered my question she said 'because everyone knows it.'  That's not a source, it's an opinion.  I find many such arugments from the right that are not based in facts, but based in opinion.

      As to your link, it would do more to debunk my point if it came from a pro-choice site. Not that a pro-choice site naturally has more validity, but my source is also Pro-Life. To make a fair comparison you should find someone from the other side of the isle who supports your argument.  

      It's curious, though, that you chose to use a source that doesn't argue an increase in the abortion rate.  It just says it's not Bush's fault.  But in a macro sense, abortions went up under Reagan and Bush 41, but down under Clinton, and now back up under Bush 43.  Odd, no?  I mean, it seems the difference is 'Just Say No' versus 'Let's be realistic.'  Maybe I'm mistaken.  If you can prove me wrong I'll happily admit it.  I'm not some blind idealogue.

      But you should be forewarned, personally I don't choose to identify the National Right-to-Life organization as "in the position to know."  I think OBGyn's are in a position to know.  I think the NIH is in a position to know.  I think R-t-L is in a position to tell me something to get me to give them money (I hold Pro-Choice organizations to the same standard).

      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

      by advisorjim on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:15:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for your polite reply (none)
        However, I think it is you that has missed the point here.

        The main point of your diary, entertaining though it is, is that there is a "`right-wing reasoning chip,' which surrounds the `worldview' portion of the Republican brain."

        My post gently suggests that the psychological phenomenon of cognitive dissonance is found in liberals as well as conservatives.  That is the main point of my post.

        You have not responded to the main point in my post.  Instead you have focused on the anecdotal conversation that you had with your conservative friend, and you have attempted to draw a distinction between your asking her for her source of information (which, according to your summary of events, she was unable to provide) and conservatives asking liberals for their sources of information (which, I guess the theory goes, liberals are always able to provide).

        Meanwhile, I provided you a link to a source, and you dismissed it in exactly the same way that you accuse conservatives of dismissing sources of information:

        "But you'll notice in any right-wing debate the first question they ask is "Where are you getting that?  Where does that information come from?"  If it comes from an `unfriendly' source, it can be immediately dismissed."

        However, all of this discussion about your conversation with your conservative friend sidesteps the main point of my post, which you have not addressed -- the fact that cognitive dissonance applies as much to liberals as to conservatives.

        Liberals see the world through their own worldview, and they tend to disbelieve information that conflicts with that worldview.  Perhaps the most obvious example of this phenomenon is the reelection of President Bush.  That fact did not compute in the liberal mindset.  Liberals believe so strongly that Bush=evil and "Repugs"=evil and Bush had lied about everything and Bush had sunk the economy and Kerry was a war hero and Bush was a deserter and Democrats are for the people and "Repugs" are only for the rich, that it was impossible for many liberals to accept the fact that a majority of Americans voted to give Bush a second term.  This site was filled with dozens, maybe hundreds of diaries with the theme that Bush "stole" the election, that the voting machines were rigged, etc.  The diarists and the many, many posters who supported these theories just couldn't accept that it could possibly be the case that most Americans approve of Bush's policies and therefore voted for him.

        This is classic cognitive dissonance.  Yet I would never argue that it is the result of a
        "`left-wing reasoning chip,' which surrounds the `worldview' portion of the Democrat brain."  Instead, it is a universal (or nearly universal) psychological phenomenon that exists in the human mind, whether that human is male, female, white, black, tall, short, skinny, fat, "Repug" or Democrat.  Wouldn't you agree?

        •  I'll grant that (4.00)
          many of us frail humans are inclined to prefer information that fits our existing worldview.   That is very common.

            I was astonished and profoundly disappointed when Bush was elected (I do not believe he won his first term).  I firmly believe that a signifigant number of the no-paper-trail voting machines were ready to be tweaked for the repubs.  Some may have been - we will never know.  (there is no reasonable person who would design avoting machine without a permanent record without sinister intent (and running windows!!!))

          However, I can believe a majority of voting Americans chose Bush.  I just can't respect it.  I have noted that there are still strong polling numbers for WMD in Iraq, Saddam in 9/11 and other totally absurd (looking at the facts) tickets.

          I suggest that liberal/left/progressive thinking more closely follows the scientific method in which a reasonable hypothesis is a "candidate" for fact until MORE proveable information refines or contradicts it.

          I find the "conservative"/right thinking tends more towards faith even in secular matters.  Facts are secondary for these people.  I have heard a few right wing voices that might be able to make me question my opinions and beliefs but in my experience the vast majority are spitting out talking points monotonously or angrily spitting hate.

          •  Scientific method? (none)
            You say that liberal/left/progressive thinking more closely follows the scientific method.  Is there a shred of scientific evidence for this hypothesis?  All that you cite as support for this statement is your own personal experiences, which are anecdotal at best, and definitely colored by your own admitted bias as a "frail human."

            Your assertion that liberals tend to be more scientific than conservatives is itself utterly unscientific.

            Look, I think advisorjim is right -- there is a "chip" in the brains of conservatives that causes them to reject information that does not fit with their worldview.  My point is simply that the same "chip" is firmly implanted in the brains of liberals.  It is human nature.

            And a corollary is that liberals will of course recognize this "chip" in the brains of conservatives, while being unable to see it in their own brains.  Meanwhile, conservatives can easily see the "chip" in the brains of their liberal friends, while often not recognizing it so well in their own brains.

            •  You're trying to get me to say... (4.00)
              "let's agree to disagree", aren't you? !8)

              I believe the point you are trying to make is one made best of all by Christ...

              "Matt 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

              I don't think I can successfully argue that the Democrats are 'mote'-less.  But I do think the Democrats have the mote, and the Republicans are stuck with the beam.  Or to answer your question more precisely, I don't think the chip analogy applies equally to Democrats as it does to Republicans.  That's a common Republican strategy to muddy the waters enough so that people can rationalize it away as "ah, who knows where the truth lies really."

              But I don't think it's anecdotal.  In fact I think it's demonstrable.  As evidence I offer one of the most frequently quoted pieces of information you'll probably find on Daily Kos...the PIPA study.

              As I'm sure you know, the study showed a vast majority of Bush supporters (72%) thought Saddam Hussein had either WMDs or "A Major Program" to develop them.  This belief persisted despite the fact that David Kay and Charles Duelfer (appointed by the President, mind you) both concluded in months prior that both assertions were demonstrably false.

              You could argue that this is forgivable.  It could just be the way the question was phrased.  Republicans were probably aware of the Duelfer report, but chose to continue to believe Iraq had WMDs.  There's no harm in that.

              Except the study also asked the following question: "As you may know, Charles Duelfer, the chief weapons inspector selected by the Bush administration to investigate whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, has just presented his final report to Congress.  Is it your impression that he concluded that, just before the war, Iraq had WMD or a Major WMD Program."  57% of Bush supporters said yes, that is what the report concluded.

              That is a demonstrable case of cognitive dissonance.  There's no wiggle room here.  The report concluded the opposite.  It concluded that Iraq could have resumed a program once sanctions were lifted, and we can debate whether or not that was sufficient justification for war.  But we can't debate the report's conclusion, that Iraq had no WMDs or existing programs.  This is just one of many cases (that I intend to start documenting, so don't worry.  You'll have a chance to pick them apart as I bring them up, and I encourage you to do so) where conservatives used false information as a basis for justifying their worldview.  I don't see equal evidence of Democrats doing the same thing.  Perhaps you can enlighten me.

              At a minimum I think that the widespread acknowledgement here of the like-mindedness of Republican arguments, and their subsequent basis in potentially demonstrable, non-factual information speaks very poorly of the worldview of the party.  It's not a trait I see at all equally predominant in Democrats, but I'm more than happy to hear your well-reasoned arguments to the contrary.

              Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

              by advisorjim on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:16:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK, here are some examples (none)
                of liberal congnitive dissonance:

                JFK Assassination Conspiracy

                OJ Was Framed Conspiracy

                Bush Knew About 9/11 in Advance and Knowingly Allowed it to Happen Conspiracy

                CBS Forged TANG Documents Were Really Planted by Karl Rove Conspiracy

                US Soldiers Murdered Italian Journalist's Husband in Attempt to Murder Journalist Conspiracy

                Blood for Oil Conspiracy

                The Voting Machines Were Secretly Rigged to Favor Bush Conspiracy

                and of course, Hillary Clinton's famous Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

                Some of these liberal conspiracies are mentioned here

                All of them are counterfactual.  The true facts that liberals refused to accept, because they did not fit in liberal's world-views, were

                1. JFK was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, as the Warren Commission concluded.

                2. OJ killed Nicole and Ron Goldman, as the jury in the civil case concluded.

                3. Bush did not intentionally allow 9/11 to happen.  There is absolutely no evidence that he did, and it is an outrageous and preposterous accusation.

                4. There is no evidence that the forged TANG documents were planted by Karl Rove.  In order for this theory to be true, Rove would have had to anticipate that the badly forged documents would be forwarded to CBS, that they would be recognized to be forged by document experts, but that CBS would decide to run with the hit piece based on the documents anyway.  Can we agree that that is quite a stretch of speculation, given that there is absolutely no evidence of any involvement by Rove?

                5. There is no evidence that US soldiers tried to murder the Italian journalist.  Again, an outrageous accusation of murder, with no evidence whatsoever to support it.

                6. The Blood for Oil theory makes no sense, because if the U.S. were in it for the oil, why haven't we confiscated any Iraqi oil -- or for that matter, Kuwaiti oil?  If we were in it for the money, why didn't we keep the millions of dollars in cash found in sheds in the back yards of Saddam's friends?

                7.  There is no evidence that the voting machines were rigged to favor Bush.

                and finally,

                8.  Bill Clinton really did "have sexual relations with that woman -- Miss Lewinsky" and then lie about it under oath.  It was not an invention of the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy."

                All of these facts were inconvenient to liberals, because they did not fit with the preconceptions of liberals.

                Now I know that you can come up with conservative conspiracy theories, too.  I don't dispute that.  I am not the one claiming that cognitive dissonance is an affliction affecting only one side of the political spectrum.  I readily admit that it affects conservatives.  I am just pointing out that it seems to affect liberals just the same.

                •  You confirmed what Jim said. (none)
                  There are conspiracy theorists on the liberal side. But are these, as with the PIPA study about the Duelfer report, supported by 57% or even 72% of liberals? I didn't think so.

                  Currently, cognitive dissonance is simply more widespread on the conservative side.

                  Also, some of your examples are false. For example, "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" does not refer to Clinton's lie, it refers to the Arkansas Project, where there was an organized effort to dig up or even invent dirt, to get Clinton in any way possible. This happened, and has been documented by several sources, some of whom even participated in it.

                  Most of these aren't even typically "liberal" conspiracy theories, you're just trying to pin them on liberals because it's convenient.

                  •  What he said. (none)
                    And what I said below.  I'm glad someone else caught the 'participation rate.'  This is a good conversation, because it's starting to show what I've been talking about.  But this is the first time I've had this conversation and been the source under attack.

                    Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                    by advisorjim on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 12:32:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Your use of "conspiracy" is interesting (none)
                  I was just thinking about this the other day, how Scott McClellan and other Republicans have been using the term "conspiracy theory" to dismiss an issue when they don't have a good rebuttal. Did you think your argument wouldn't have been as strong if you hadn't used "conspiracy" 11 times?

                  A conspiracy is just a group of people plotting in secret for some nefarious purpose. Conspiracies really, actually do happen. Watergate was a conspiracy. 9/11 was a conspiracy. Enron's price-jacking was a conspiracy. "Conspiracy" doesn't automatically equal "loony idea." Why did you feel the need to label each of these things a conspiracy instead of merely a false belief (as advisorjim has been doing with the Repubs)?

                  "If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that only one of them is doing the thinking." --LBJ

                  by Utah for Dean on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 12:25:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  'it seems to affect liberals just the same.' (none)
                  That's where I disagree. You mention several 'conspiracy theories,' but you left out an important component that I covered in my response.  Can you illustrate what percentage of Democrats (or liberals or Kerry voters) believe the theories you've named?  If you can illustrate for me how 57%-72% of Democrats not only believe these theories, but in fact based their votes for President on these theories as I did in my previous example...well then, my friend, you'll have me.  But as it is you're trying to ascribe the 'factually inaccurate' beliefs of a few to the whole.  What I did was illustrate the factually inaccurate beliefs of the whole (or at least the majority).  I think that makes one worse than the other, don't you?

                  Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                  by advisorjim on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 12:29:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Not to pile on, but... (none)
                  You accuse me of saying that cognitive dissonance is only afflicting conservatives.  But I did acknowledge in my response that there are liberals with a 'mote' in their eye.  As noted upthread, I believe it has a much more harmful effect on Republicans as a whole.  And I'm not willing to concede that it effects 'both sides the same' without evidence. Again, not to cover info already upthread, but I'm looking for something that's factually inaccurate, but believed by a majority to supermajority of Democrats.  Then we have a parallel for your argument that it's the same on both sides.

                  It's been a very civil discussion, and I'd like it to stay that way.  I very much appreciate that you're not arguing my point, and I hope you don't think I'm being disrespectful by denying the point you're trying to make in return.  Even thought I was born in Kansas I'm a 'show me' state guy at heart, I guess.

                  Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                  by advisorjim on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:51:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK, here is an example (none)
                    of a majority of Democrats clinging to a belief that was simply contrary to the facts.

                    These are results of an August 18-19, 1998 LA Times poll which asked: "Do you think it is true or untrue that Bill Clinton encouraged her [Monica Lewinsky] to lie under oath?"

                    Democrats:  29% true, 52% untrue
                    Republicans:  69% true, 21% untrue

                    Of course, it was true

                    Sorry for the delay in responding.  I have had to work today.

                    •  Was this intentional or accidental? (none)
                      Your implication is that Democrats had clear evidence that Clinton lied, but chose to ignore it.  Yet the LA Times poll you cited is from August 1998.  Ken Starr's report (which you provide as evidence to the contrary) wasn't submitted to congress until September of 1998. That doesn't seem like a fair comparison, does it?  But hey, listen, I didn't ask for a perfect parallel, right?  I just asked you to find something that a majority of Democrats believed that turned out to be untrue.  Kudos to you for doing so!

                      But before you start hanging the `Mission Accomplished' banner...it sure would shoot a mighty big hole in your argument if a poll came out after the Starr report was released indicating that Democrats had changed their minds.  Submitted for your approval, LA Times survey #417, from September 1998 which contained the following question and answer:

                      30. Do you believe that President Clinton committed perjury, or not?

                      Democrats: 53% yes, 32% no

                      When confronted with reality, the Democrat worldview adjusts accordingly--even when the source of the information is 'unfriendly.'

                      I realize that some of what I posted above may sound `snarky,' so I wanted to take the time to give you the praise you deserve.  This is a hostile environment, and I am very impressed with the depth of your convictions to choose to defend them here.  I don't think you were intentionally trying to be misleading.  I honestly do believe that you found something that you thought supported your argument, and you went with it.  Look, I'm self-employed and have all kinds of time to do this.  But you're at work.  I remember those days.  You don't have time for stuff like this, but I sincerely do admire the fact that you're making time for it.  

                      Don't worry about rushing to respond.  I spend a lot of time going over my old diaries and responding to new comments.  Take your time.  It's not like I'm going to wait 24 hours and jump out and say "HA!  No response, eh!  I win!"  That kind of attitude doesn't help anybody.  I'm happy to continue this conversation at a pace you're comfortable with.  Thank you.

                      Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                      by advisorjim on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 07:45:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Take another look at the September poll you linked (none)
                        Thank you for your kind words.  I have enjoyed this civil discussion and I respect your point of view.  For the record, I am aware that this can be a hostile environment, and that is why I have made a special effort to not appear combative or argumentative.  As I see it, this is a liberal blog and is not here for the purpose of conservatives starting arguments with liberals.  That is why I don't usually post any comments.  However, in this instance, I posted because I thought I saw an opportunity to reach some common ground that would potentially be beneficial in promoting understanding between Left and Right.

                        However, I must say once again I disagree with your post.

                        In citing to the September LA Times poll, you have changed the question to whether Clinton committed perjury.  That is almost inarguable.  It is not surprising that a majority of Democrats believed he committed perjury.  He had admitted on national TV that he had intentionally given misleading responses in the deposition.  The question in the August poll that I was focusing on was whether Clinton had encouraged Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath - which would constitute obstruction of justice - a serious felony that would ultimately constitute grounds for impeachment.  

                        Fortunately for me, the September poll that you linked is much stronger evidence for my side of the argument (if you can call this an argument).  The September poll, which came out after the Starr report was issued, showed that not just a majority but a supermajority of Democrats continued to hold beliefs that were contrary to the findings of the report.

                        Look at questions 31 and 32 in the September poll you linked.

                        They are:

                        31.  Do you believe that he [Clinton] attempted to obstruct justice or not?

                        Democrats    Yes 22%    No 65%
                        Republicans    Yes 70%    No 24%

                        32.  Do you believe that President Clinton tampered with witnesses or not?

                        Democrats    Yes 20%    No 63%
                        Republicans    Yes 66%    No 20%

                        Of course, the Starr report had concluded that Clinton had attempted to obstruct justice and had tampered with witnesses.

                        The results of the poll showed that Republicans were much more "reality-based" than Democrats on these issues.

                        I believe that the evidence shows that when facts are presented that are contrary to the conservative world-view, conservatives are more apt to reject the facts and exhibit cognitive dissonance.  Conversely, when facts are presented that are contrary to the liberal world-view, liberals are more apt to reject the facts and exhibit cognitive dissonance.  Thus, conservatives hold beliefs contrary to the conclusions of the Duelfer Report and liberals hold beliefs contrary to the conclusions of the Starr Report.

                        •  It's not really much of an 'argument' (none)
                          We'd have to start typing in all caps for this to get to that level.

                          Don't read too much into this because I'm about to give this one to you, but I still think there's a difference here.  The question they are being asked is "do you think he did it."  What would be a better parallel would be to find a poll that asks "is it your impression that the Starr report concluded that Clinton obstructed justice," and most Democrats said "no it didn't conclude that."  But at this point I'm splitting hairs.

                          This does a much better job of paralleling my original WMD argument, and for that I have to say well done.  Clearly, both sides do it, which I freely admit I appear to be arguing in my previous post.  Somehow you got me to argue that Democrat's poop doesn't stink. That was silly.  But my primary (and only) objection to your original point remains--that `both sides do it the same.'  I think it's demonstrable that Republicans do it more.  That'll take longer, and more space, but I'm game if you are?

                          You have graciously conceded WMDs and Iraq as an example of cognitive dissonance.  Next in line on the PIPA study is the following:

                          "Is it your impression that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 or Gave al-Qaeda substantial support:

                          Bush Supporters:  75% yes"

                          Again, this is just supporting your guy.  Nothing especially wrong with that.  However:

                          "Was this the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission's report on Iraq?

                          Bush Supporters:  56% yes"

                          Of course we all know it wasn't.  That's the opposite of what the study concluded.  And this is different from the original point, because now we're talking about the bi-partisan Senate report, not the Duelfer report.  Separate entities, separate reports, separate subjects.  Furthermore:

                          "If, before the war, US intelligence services had concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, and was not providing substantial support to al-Qaeda do you think the US should not have gone to war?

                          Bush Supporters:  56% we should not have gone to war."

                          That strikes me as a whole other level of cognitive dissonance.  Republicans in this study not only believed that Iraq had WMD and gave substantial support to al-Qaeda, but they further believed that if those things weren't true then we shouldn't have invaded.  And those points were demonstrably false and verified by administration sources.

                          But it goes further.

                          "Do you think Bush Supports:

                          Labor and environmental standards in trade agreements    74% yes he supports it.
                          Participation in Land mines treaty    72% yes he supports it.
                          Participation in a treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons    69% yes he supports it.
                          Participation in the International Criminal Court    54% yes he supports it.
                          Participation in Kyoto agreement on global warming    51% yes he supports it."

                          But President Bush has clearly and publicly opposed all five of these issues.

                          "Thinking about how all the people in the world feel about the us having gone to war with Iraq do you think:

                          A Majority Favors or Are Evenly Divided:  68% Republicans"

                          Again, the reality is that a supermajority of countries feel worse about America as a result of Iraq (32 out of 35).  Even when asked a softball question like "Do Islamic countries favor the US-led efforts to fight terrorism," a majority of Republicans (51%) said `yes.'  The Pew Research Center conducted a number of polls between 2002 and 2004, and determined that majorities to supermajorities were opposed.  

                          So here's a list of questions to which Republicans have answers contrary to demonstrable facts:

                          1.    Did Saddam have WMDs or a Major Program to develop them just prior to the invasion?
                          2.    Did most experts believe Iraq had WMD just before the war?
                          3.    Did the Duelfer Report conclude that just before the war Iraq had WMDs or a major program to develop them?
                          4.    Was Iraq directly involved in 9/11 or give substantial support to al-Qaeda?
                          5.    Did the 9/11 commission conclude that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 or gave substantial support to al-Qaeda?
                          6.    Is the administration saying Iraq was directly involved in 9/11 or gave substantial support to al-Qaeda?
                          7.    Do most people in the world support our efforts in Iraq, or are they at least evenly divided?
                          8.    Does President Bush support labor and environmental standards in trade agreements?
                          9.    Does President Bush support participation in land mine treaties?
                          10.    Does President Bush support participation in a nuclear test ban treaty?
                          11.    Does President Bush support participation in the International Criminal Court?
                          12.    Does President Bush support participation in the Kyoto agreement on global warming?
                          13.    Do most countries around the world support the U.S. led war on terror?
                          14.    Specifically, do most Islamic countries support the U.S. led war on terror?

                          And the answer given by most Republicans (by extremely large majorities in most cases) is counter to reality.  That covers everything from WMDs, to al-Qaeda, to the Duelfer report, to the 9-11 commission report, to public policy, to world opinion.  I don't think you're going to find that many wrong answers covering that broad a cross-section of policies in the LA Times survey.  To get to that level of cognitive dissonance with Democrats on the Clinton issue I think you'd have to have a majority of them saying (even after Clinton publicly admitted he did it), "He didn't do it, he didn't perjure himself, the Starr report proves it, and he shares my moral values."  I mean, at a minimum the fact that most Democrats thought Clinton perjured himself and didn't share their moral values shows less cognitive dissonance than Republicans on the above issues.  Agree?  I'm still not seeing a disconnect to the same extent.

                          Again, both sides do it.  I'll try to make sure I don't try to argue that point with you again (catch me if I do), but you still haven't made your larger point--that both sides to it the same.  I'm not gonna lie to ya, I don't think you can find polling data that a vast majority of Democrats were that wrong on that many issues in one place.  You may very well be able to prove your case, and as I think I've demonstrated I'll happily admit when I'm wrong.  Hopefully if you can't, then you'll do the same.

                          I'm looking forward to continuing our conversation.

                          Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                          by advisorjim on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 03:02:03 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's Monty... (none)
                            Did you notice that you're arguing with CM Burns? If you were to make a good point, he'd just push the big red button, the floor would disappear under your feet, and you'd wind up in China with the rest of the commies.

                            "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                            by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 06:27:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  [Steeples Fingers] (none)
                            Exxxxx-celent.

                            </burns voice>

                            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                            by advisorjim on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 07:06:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The Dead Have Risen (none)
                            ...and they're voting Republican! </bart voice> Nicely handled, BTW. I just went over the whole argument again, and it's amazing how well it illustrated what you're diary entry was talking about, even though this guy is smarter than your average ditto head.

                            "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                            by supak on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 10:14:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks. (none)
                            He certainly is smarter than your average elephant, isn't he?  That gives me hope.  If I saw the light, he can too.

                            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                            by advisorjim on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 12:22:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You and David Brock (none)
                            High profile defectors like Brock have really helped open some doors for me, and now you too. It's fun to see inside the brainwashed mind. I look forward to more posts with you, and I'll be starting my own diary next week, after my trial period is over.

                            I can already tell that keeping my cool and being polite is going to be the tough part. I get so liberally angry...

                            "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                            by supak on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 01:41:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Know what you mean (none)
                            Righteous indignation feels so good when it comes out, but it's the 'junk food' of political discourse.

                            I think I've made kind of a disgusting analogy.  I must be tired.

                            I'm looking forward to reading your diary!

                            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                            by advisorjim on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 07:41:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No mas! (none)
                            You are prolific with your research and tireless with your posts.  I have enjoyed the discussion, but I literally do not have time to try to dig up counterexamples.  So, congratulations!  I am forced to plead nolo contendere.

                            One thing I will point out, though is that all of your examples (though they admittedly do cover a wide spectrum of issues)seem to emanate from one poll.  I am not sure that you can draw sweeping generalizations about half the country on that basis.

                            By the way, as a conservative, I am interested in your diaries (maybe I am trying to understand how we lost you).  I find them entertaining and provocative.  Nor am I the least bit offended by your poking fun at conservatives.  Keep it up, I say!

                            Possibly I will offer my comments from time to time.  You have my assurance that I will always do so in the spirit of friendly debate, and never as a flamer or troublemaker.

                          •  Agreed...no mas! (none)
                            I'm glad you're enjoying the diaries.  If I'm very lucky maybe someday you'll see that I left for the right reasons. !8)

                            Likewise I am not the least bit offended at being called out when I've made a mistake.  Facts are what they are, and I don't have the slightest problem admitting when I'm on the wrong side of them.

                            I have very much enjoyed your comments, posts, and material.  As a conservative I made the mistake of never looking at the other side of the story (something which you have the courage to do, and I applaud you for that).  I don't want to make that same mistake as a liberal, so please do continue to offer feedback.

                            Dammit to hell...I guess we just have to agree to disagree, don't we?  ...for now at least.

                            Thanks again.  It has been immensely enjoyable.

                            !8)

                            Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

                            by advisorjim on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 07:05:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Wait, I want to be like them! (none)
                      Oh, wait, the link is to a American Politics, which has a distinctive limp of the right leg. Same old crap that tries to make the case that Monica was telling the truth! Isn't it plausible to argue in this case that both people could be lying? Monica may have had her own agenda - but maybe the idea was given to her by Linda. Point is, your proof that Clinton told her to lie is based on Monica's testimony to that fact. That's hardly proof, and it dind't hold up in court, er, the Senate, now did it?

                      What I find interesting is that you're a much smarter conservative than I usually run into. How far right are you, just out of curiosity. I've found a correlation between intellegence, and degrees of neo-connedness.

                      "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                      by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 06:21:14 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thank you, supak, (none)
                        for the compliment.  I am pretty darned conservative, I have to tell you.  Although I am not sinister, like my namesake.

                        The radio talk show hosts that I tend to agree with the most are Larry Elder and Dennis Prager.  I have several liberal relatives (including my Mom and Dad) and although I typically oppose liberal policies, I hold no animus toward liberals.

                        I do not hate gay people.  However, I think that homosexual activity is a sin.  On the other hand, I am a sinner, too, so I am in no position to accuse gays of sinning.

                        I am a nature lover.  However, I do not agree with radical environmentalism.  I don't think that the government or activists should be able to interfere to the extent they currently do with a person's use of his or her own property.  If property is worthy of preservation as wilderness, then the government, the activists, or whoever wants to preserve it should buy it and keep it pristine.

                        I am not a racist.  I don't think very many conservatives are.  See the current Cabinet as Exhibit A.

                        Stereotypes of conservatives as dumb trailer trash are obviously not valid generalizations.  Conservatives come in all levels of intelligence and unintelligence, just like liberals, in my view.

                        By the way, I did not really want to bring up the whole Lewinsky issue.  I was kinda forced into it by advisorjim's challenge.  Is it plausible that both people could be lying?  Of course!  But my point in bringing up the Starr report is just a counterpoint to advisorjim's reference to the Duelfer report or the 9/11 Commission report.  Whatever these reports conclude is not necessarily the Gospel truth.  But they concluded it.  And majorities of Republicans seemed not to believe the conclusions of the reports on 9/11 and Iraq, while majorities of Dems seemed not to believe the conclusions of the Starr report.  To me, that is a parallel.

                        •  Parallel, but the line thickness is much different (none)
                          I don't know if you saw this post of mine, but I think the parallel is weak, to say the least. The point of advisorjim's diary entry was that Ditto Heads have a big problem with reality. Do you think there were WMD? Do you think there still are? Do you think a "vast majority" of Bush's tax cuts went to the poor and middle class? Do you think that Clear Skies would have done anything to clear the skies?

                          It's one thing to argue that tax cuts for the rich are a good thing (I don't see any proof of that), but it's quite another to lie about it and say your tax cuts went to the poor. How can the voters make a choice when they're being lied to? And how can anyone ever have a reasoned debate with a Ditto Head, who is much worse than most liberals about believing the BS.

                          As I mentioned in this post, the point is that "There is no comparable documented serial liar on the left who has millions of flavored sugar water sharers." While all humans may be reluctant to accept information that clashes with the way they want things to be, the right wing machine has certainly taken advantage of that chip more than the left has.

                          Take the current laments by former members of the Bush administration that there is no debate, that everything runs through the political (read Karl Rove) side of things. Almost all past presidents had policy apparatus that was seperate from politics, where they debated what impacts various approaches to policy would have. Not these guys. That would require dealing with facts that might conflict with pre-conceived notions of How Things Should Be (as conceived by Ken Lay or Kristoff or the PNAC).

                          As I said in the first linked post above: "None of your examples even compare with starting a war based on lies and hype, but at least you did hit one of the points. You managed to work in Clinton's blow job."

                          "Bush: The majority of my tax cut goes to the poor and middle class. Now that's a blow job!"

                          "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                          by supak on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 10:08:34 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  shades of grey (none)
                  I would argue that liberals are more concerned with nuance and shades of grey.  We are generally not "with us or against us" people.  We are more apt to recognize that things may not always be as they seem and that authority should be questioned.

                  So I would say that... yes... liberals are also guilty of cognitive dissonance.  I can speak for myself and admit that if something doesn't match my worldview I'm more apt to dismiss it.  

                  But I would reject your hypothesis that cognitive dissonance is equal, or tends to be equal across all social groups.  I would argue that this phenomenon is more prevalent in certain groups.  Call it different shades of grey.

                  "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society" -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

                  by wintersnowman on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 02:37:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Bad Examples (none)
                  First of all, you offer no evidence that a large number of liberals believe these things you listed. There has been at least one poll showing that LARGE numbers of conservatives still believe in WMD and a Saddam connection to 9-11. Try to pick an example of something that large majorities of liberals believe.

                  How many liberals think OJ was framed? How many conservatives think someone else killed Kennedy?

                  Most liberals believe that Bush was operating "project ignore." Very few argue he knew 9-11 was coming on that day in that way. But if you read Richard Clark's book, you'll see that there were plenty of warnings and the Bush people DID NOTHING. And there are all those didacted pages from the reports, about Bandhar Bush and other Bush family friends in the Kingdom. And, there is that Clark memo to Rice...

                  Karl Rove has planted things before and blamed other people for it (bugs in his Texas office), so it's not a real big stretch there, but again, how many liberals actually hold that theory?

                  As for blood for oil, most people I know actually think it's about more than oil. It's about strategic position in an area where Democracy will mean business for American companies without having to break sanctions. And, many if not most iberals think that neo-cons actually believe they're doing something good.

                  Finally, none of your examples even compare with starting a war based on lies and hype, but at least you did hit one of the points. You managed to work in Clinton's blow job. Hah!

                  Bush: The majority of my tax cut goes to the poor and middle class. Now that's a blow job!

                  "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                  by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 06:08:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Not quite. (none)
          The reaction by some after the election was more one of denial induced by grief, and it passed as the process of acceptance progressed. As you'll note, the focus has shifted to "we lost, what can we do better" now.

          As for cognitive dissonance, sure I'd agree that this can happen to anyone, and to some extent we all are prone to reject news from sources that do not suit us. However, currently, it seems to be present more amongst supporters of the Bush administration.

          It's one thing to have a different political view than someone else; that's something we all can accept and discuss. It's another to see so many people voting for and supporting something despite evidence that it's not working out in their best interest.

          Once upon a time (like under Bush sr.), Republicans were the people who just had different political views. Now there is a feeling of bewilderment: "How on earth can they still believe what they are saying?"

        •  Your source says that abortion rates went up ... (none)
          From your link, notice that the headline states:

          President Bush's Economic Policy Did not Increase Abortions, Study Shows

          Whereas, in the middle of the story, there's this quote:
          In 2001, the jobless rate and abortion rate both increased, but in 2002, the unemployment rate increased and the number of abortions decreased. In addition, in 2003, the unemployment rate declined, but the abortion rate increased.

          So, can you explain how the assertion that abortion rates went up under Bush is being disputed when your own story quotes that abortion rates went up two years in three?

          And no, I'm not ignoring the last line of the story. Notice how they've provided selective data only for one year?

          Also, advisorjim did respond to your main point. Here it is again:

          It's curious, though, that you chose to use a source that doesn't argue an increase in the abortion rate.  It just says it's not Bush's fault.
    •  Re: (4.00)
      Does anyone else see any hypocrisy at all in the following two quotes that both appear in this diary?

      "But you'll notice in any right-wing debate the first question they ask is `Where are you getting that?  Where does that information come from?'"

      "I asked where she was getting her information."

      No. Jim gets asked to back up his claims (and, notice, he DOES SO) and asks the same thing of his conservative academic friend (who, you should have pointed out, didn't do so).

      It's perfectly fair if you ask me.

      Jim wasn't saying it's bad to be asked for backup on claims, it's bad to demand it of others, use that to discredit whatever they say, and then not do the same oneself. That is hypocrisy.

    •  Response (3.66)
      Cognitive dissonance isn't a conservative-only phenomenon.  All of us have some inherent biases and it is our jobs to try and overcome those and make our decisions based on the best available date.

      I had been a Republican most of my life.  I am now an independent.  I noticed, on average, that I had an easier time getting my liberal friends to think of a problem from a different angle and question their own assumptions than my conservative friends.

      •  My father is an engineer (none)
        and manager, highly intelligent, Yale-educated conservative, now aged 83. I always had him pegged as a Rockefeller Republican. He's been my intellectual hero for most of my life because of the depth of his deliberations and breadth of his knowledge. But he's been living in the south now for 35 years and he was full of glee when Bush won last fall. I spent a lot of time with him last year (nursing his dying wife) and we had some great, long talks. He would bring up politics, not me. I would see all the same deliberative care I knew so well -- but then at the end he would just... leap over his own conclusion to get back to his original position. "Kerry's a flip-flopper." "We need more tax cuts." "There are WMDs in Iraq." It makes me deeply sad. And it's not Alzheimer's, or grief, or mini-strokes, or anything other than willful suspension of disbelief. Okay for fairytales. Not okay in a dangerous world.

        Ignorance is on the march!

        by Alna Dem on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:07:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is one of the basic definitions (4.00)
        of being a liberal. They are more likely to consider a broader range of possibilities. Conservatives don't, they tend to be conservative in what they consider.

        definition of liberal

        definition of conservative

        These are the first definitions I found by Googling.

        People tend to self-sort themselves according to what group they feel most represents who and what they are.

        Since liberals are more likely to consider changing their minds if new facts present to them, by definition, they would have a better grasp of the scientific method, which is constantly questioning and adapting to new information.

    •  Good reply. (none)
      I, for one, am willing to concede that plenty of people on both sides have succumbed to some variant of these ideological blind-faith "chips".

      We'll wake up the ones on the right, you wake up the ones on the left, and both sides will be better off for it.

      Those who don't remember the future are doomed to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:00:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  bad stats. (none)
      cmburns
      I looked with a mind wide open and right away saw the flaws.
      First, your article is playing a rhetorical trick; it doesn't claim that abortions haven't gone up, just that there isn't a proven link between the economy and the abortion rate. Then it tries to link the abortion rate with other policies.
      As this article describes the debate, neither side (linking abortion with the economy, or parental notification laws) has a leg to stand on. Correlation is not causation. Just because 2 things happens at once does not mean that one causes the other.
      This is a bit disingenous though. The article I first read that linked abortion to the economy cited a study in which more women who had abortions listed poverty as the reason for their choice. Voila causality. and no I don't have the link, but you can google it fairly easily.
      This might be the difference between most liberals and most conservatives. I am always willing to entertain the notion that I might be wrong, and so are my liberal friends. The theory has to fit the facts. The conservatives I talk to start with the theory and then try to beat facts into the proper shape. That's the chip.
  •  My repug friend (none)
    Truth of the matter is that I will never reach my repug friend, her being 79 years and all. She and her husband introduced the Repug party to Georgia many years ago.  She called me tonight and said she hoped that the SS issue would not be resolved until after 06 because she felt it would hurt her party.  She also informed me that the Italian journalist was a communist --- need I go on?  Nope, never going to reach her.  Giving up on that one, but she does have two sons one is repug (the stupid one) -- I'm sorry I know this man he is very, very nice, but not very bright.  Her other son is a dem and so is his his son (her grandson).  Well, maybe I'm not totally giving up on her.  Maybe I'll try to employ advisorjim's tactics and see how it shakes out.  
  •  Take your medicine (none)
    ....that's a good Republican. Now swallow!

    People vote for sunshine, not for gloom and doom!

    by missliberties on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:35:05 PM PST

  •  I need an intensive that (none)
    can train me to be reasonable with Republicans.  I am so angry with GWB about the war, the economy, and the environment that I now have my own problem with reality. Maybe if I continue reading your diaries, I can gradually develop empathy for Dittoheads and can come to the belief that they may be retrained.

    Your diaries are wonderful!  Thank you.

    •  Respect (none)
      and a sharp ability to empathize are critical.  In a broad sense I share your view of the "right wing".  At the same time, I know many people who would count themselves as members of the conservative right who are fine people.  Committed to family, good neighbors and citizens, people who give of their time and prosperity to advantage those less fortunate - the key is really finding that common ground where you agree as people and then leading the discussion from there.  You will automatically garner more credibility because the person will see you as a person first and a liberal second.  That's absolutely critical.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

      by RenaRF on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:47:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trust (none)
        in addition, for information to be communicated it has to have a basis of trust.

        if you are giving information to a dittohead in order to "beat" him then no trust exists.

        if the dittohead can tell that you really like them as a person and are not just trying to win a political thing then they will trust you. the amount of trust rises in relation to how much they think you are a good person who cares about them.

  •   "no one knows which side is right" (4.00)
    It is funny how people are so assertive in the rightness of their facts and opinions until your facts seem more credible and/or trump theirs and then this oh-so-open-minded thought pops out of their mouth.  

    Also, I am made to think of so many people who act like whatever they are repeating must be so credible just because some authoritative-sounding RWCM head said it, then when you bring up a work that trumps and exposes everything they just said, then there is the line about "Well that's just one group's/reporter's/person's/ideology's perspective.  How do we know that what they/he/she said is true?"  

    Kind of like my bf's media-believing, more-moderate-than-thou uncle who got totally brainwashed by Bernard Goldberg's "Bias" book.  I told him about the many sources that had debunked it and his response was "well anybody can debunk anything" and something to the effect of the no-one-knows-who's-full-of-BS thing.  But wouldn't that also mean that everything he read (including Bias, which in effect tries to debunk the idea that the media is unbiased) is also just as unbelievable?  

    So many people are very blind to their own double standards.  I try to be conscious of this myself in my own thought patterns, but it only strengthens my convictions and sense of who to trust because my liberal sources and convictions do stand up to such scrutiny.  

    Check out my lte archive at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tomletters and feel free to use my ideas for your own lte's.

    by DemDachshund on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:04:08 PM PST

    •  Really excellent analysis (4.00)
      I do a variation on this when I get into conversations with kneee jerk Republicans by crafting a persona who is even more conservative then they -

      When they praise Ronald Reagan - I snort - "a dyed in the wool Hollywood liberal with a social climbing actress for a wife.  I'll take Eisnenhower any day. Now, he was a real Hero!"

      Or, if they have a fundie bent - "Sorry, I'm with Barry Goldwater on this one - 'Jerry Falwell deserves a good kick in the ass' - He's a huckster, a snake-oil merchant."

      If they praise Bush, I go real heartland -
      "He's a god damn yank - a profiteer - playing us for saps - thinks we're too stupid to see what he's up to - god, I'd give anything for a real conservative in the White House."

      I find this gets a good response and I've seen quite a few heads explode once I'm on a role.

      Lots of Bush supporters have a populist streak and somehow think he's "an ordinary guy", "a man of faith" - the best way to play the disconnect is to have some info at hand to help pit Bush against other heroes of the conservative cannon....

      Sometimes it's good to play their prejudices off them - when they say they're against abortion - I say "except for blacks of course - they're too many of them anyway" (that always confuses them since they're usually racists)

      Or, when they praise the Iraq war I say "Bush is controlled by the Jews and the banks - he does whatever that Ariel Sharon tells him to do"

      Since they're all anti-Semites beneath the surface this also starts sending smoke out of their ears.

      This works well on Gay issues, too.  "There are so many fags in the GOP leadership it's a wonder they don't call themselves the Gay Old Party.  Makes me sick. You mean, it doesn't bother you???"

      I don't care about converting them - having  long ago found that nearly impossible to do -  so I settle for sowing confusion among the faithful in the hopes that they can be diverted into tearing each other apart.

      By playing at being a bigger bigot/racist/homophobe/anti-semite you really can get them going.  Hell, I'd love to see Bush lose 20% of his base on the grounds that he's "too liberal" and see them running back off to the fringes of political discourse where they belong.

      I know many of my fellow kossacks would disapprove of this method but I pride myself on the sheer Rovian fun of it and it is fun - especially when they lean over and whisper "I know what you mean - but what can we do - we have to compromise a little"

      LOL

      Anyway.....not a game to play unless you can securely pass as one of them...(If cought they will beat you up - really). I like to think of it as infiltrating their movement....

      "the fools, the fools, they've left us our Fenian Dead" (Padraig Pearse - Gay Revolutionary)

      by padraig pearse on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:31:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Genius! (none)
        This is a version that I try too, when I can keep my poker face. We need to send the ones that will go there even further right. Eventually, they'll start electing the most facist wingers in primaries!

        "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

        by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 05:39:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  congrats (none)
    I may have won a few over but IMO the payoffs are few and far between.
  •  ...so, what happened 18 months ago? (none)
    What was the catalyst that precipitated the process? Why did your right-wing 'reasoning' chip malfunction and were you fully aware of what was going on?

    I'm hoping your answers might help me in my mission to de-program my ditto-head husband.

    Many thanks,

    IndigoBlue

  •  Bin Ladin Hates Freedom (4.00)
    Here's one guaranteed to drive 'em crazy.  

    Dittohead- Bin Ladin hates us because he hates freedom, our Constitution, and democracy.
      Your reply:  Did the Soviet Union have freedom, a great constitution and Bill of Rights like ours, and democracy?
    DH:  Of course not.  The USSR hated freedom, had a fake constitution, no civil rights, and was never ever a democracy.  They were evil and our opposites.
      Your reply:  Well, now I'm confused.  If that's the case, then why did Osama spend most of the 1980's fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan?  

    They can't cope with this argument.      

  •  asdf (none)
    Begrudgingly she admitted that it was possible that President Bush's abstinence-only program might not be working...but she was still glad Bush won the election.

    Her comments were posted on a Democratic site so now she can dismiss them as liberal bias.

    "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by sgilman on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:03:35 PM PST

  •  It all comes back to the "liberal media" (none)
    Whoever started the campaign that declared the media "liberal" was the most brilliant political strategist in history. It was so brilliantly spread that even most liberals think of the media as their ally (in spite of all evidence to the contrary).  The myth not only feeds the right wing inferiority/paranoia complex, it also insulates the right from media criticism while allowing them to lie blatantly to their supporters without fear of contradiction.  Meanwhile, liberals are not only not insulated against media criticism, they are more likely to be criticized by reporters who don't want to appear to be biased, and thus must slant everything to the right or reduce stories to "he said/she said" lists of accusations.  I have to admire the genius of this.  And I truly believe that until we can effectively spread the word that the media isn't liberal, we aren't going to win the political war.  Of course, that leads to the ultimate question: how can we spread this truth?  In the media?  
  •  Tactics (4.00)
    If you're just interested in swaying somebody on a topic (not, say, in holding an informative argument which both parties could benefit from, which of course would imply that both parties were coming to the table with similar expectations), then don't just sit down and argue with Conservative Carl.  In that situation, Carl isn't really interested in the ins and outs of the issue; he just figures that he's sat down for a game, and he likes to win.  He knows one sure tactic for, if not winning, at least not losing: never to admit he's wrong.  (Recall that Carl has the emotional and intellectual maturity of a seven-year-old.)

    Want to actually convert him?  Tag-team him.  If it's not one-on-one it ceases to be a duel and becomes, potentially, cooperation.  The dynamics of a discussion in which three or more people are involved are completely different from those involving only two.  Furthermore, in a one-on-one setting Carl can say "it's just your view, and you have yours and I have mine", but if he has to talk to two or more people, he's going to have to admit that the 'other view' is more than just a personal idiosyncrasy of his opposite number.

    Learn to divide up roles; one of you be the 'extremist', the other one be the 'moderate' who will adopt a 'sensible policy somewhere in the middle'.  One of you argue with facts, the other argue passionately with emotion.  Then switch off and change roles on another issue just to keep Carl confused.  And keep on the attack, constantly; if Carl's on the defensive all the time, he can never get to use his attack lines.  He may not openly break the first time -- after all, that would be admitting defeat, and he can't do that -- but he may admit that he has something to think about.  If he's willing to come back for another go round, he's practically begging to be converted.

    •  Isn't this called... (none)
      ... "Good cop, Bad cop"? ;)
    •  Carl (none)
      How funny.  My common right wing nemesis on another web site is named Carl.

      But even doing this doesn't necessarily work.  The lefties seem to outnumber him but he just answers us all with circular (and very aggravating) arguments.

      The less a politician amounts to, the more he loves the flag.

      by tryptamine on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:02:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There has to be (none)
        some assessment of the pliability of the person with whom you are arguing.  It's a classic concept of picking your battles.  I did this during the last election season (but obviously not enough) where I was a voracious consumer of facts as well as of how these same facts were reported in the RWM.  It worked, but only because the people I was talking to were themselves first and wingers second.  Bush got 51% of the vote - it doesn't take too many of the wingers I suggest to turn the tide.

        The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

        by RenaRF on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:41:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Action Is The Juice (none)
    This entry by Digby about the winger's joyful denial of reality is very insightful.  Digby argues that it's not about the facts.  It's about the fight.  

    I've also read that it's important to have one's faith challenged, to better size yourself up.

    I don't know that winger psychology can be completely explained.  But together these various facets, as described by advisorjim, Digby, Lakoff, Franks, others, make for a useful narrative.

    Torture is treason.

    by zappini on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 11:04:23 PM PST

    •  Of course not (none)
      I don't know that winger psychology can be completely explained.

      Well of course not. It's not like they're all stamped out of the same mold at Mattel, you know. Tens of millions of individuals, each with their own personality quirks, education, life history, etc. Just like us. Narratives like this can rough out some general attitudes that are fairly common, and some approaches that can sometimes be used to good effect, but anyone looking for a single magic Convert Switch is gonna be disappointed.

      Proud member of the reality-based minority

      by Bearpaw on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:42:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (none)
        This isn't a manual to convert Sean Hannity.  It's an attempt to point out how most Conservatives don't really know why they believe what they believe...to conservatives.

        Politics: It's all fun and games until somone dies.

        by advisorjim on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:50:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Emergency Programming (none)
    Even the `right-wing reasoning chip' might have come to that conclusion if it didn't receive some emergency reprogramming.

    This is exactly how I think the 2000 Bush Camp was able to keep otherwise rational people from agreeing that a Florida recount was the correct thing to do. As each recount resulted in a different set of results, increasingly in favor of Gore, we were barraged with "We counted once, and Bush won...Then we counted AGAIN and Bush won ... Bla Bla Bla". I was stunned that anyone bought into that. How could it be over if each recount resulted in different totals? Then I realized that it didn't matter what they were told... as long as they had SOMETHING to hold on to after each setback, they could remain angry and righteous and believe that Gore was just a selfish sore loser for not conceding sooner "for the good of the country."   Their highjacking of Democracy in 2000 was a travesty. Considering how much has happened since then, it's now just one travesty in a whole stack of travesties. Argh ... I wish someone would just wake me up when its over.

  •  One problem with this.... (none)
    Jim, I have to agree with the others when I say this is one of, if not the, definitive work in this multi-part essay of yours.  You lay out very clearly what the defense mechanisms are and why it is that some of us have intelligent friends who stand on the other side of the fence from us with what appears to be no hope of ever returning to the land of reason.

    However, the one problem I have with this is that I have tried your tactic, time and again, having figured out long ago that the only way to make a rightwing nutjob see reason was to make it come from a trusted source of their choosing.  

    Often I would bait my hook with a congenial "So what does the Right (often letting my accent make it sound somewhat like Reich) have to say about this?" and then follow that up quickly with "Oh yeah?  And who said that again?"  This way I knew which type of bait they would respond to.  

    The trouble is, though, that in the last ten years, the VRWC that everyone laughed about a few years back is starting to look like a reality and it is no longer about whether this person will take a nibble at worms or crawfish or flies.  They  don't seem to care if you dangle reality right in front of their face, even if its stamped home-grown, redneck, A-Grade "Troof".  

    No these people are now weaned on the super-duper neon-hummer2-yellow, polyurethane, truth-repellant, reality-stick-free, made-in-fucking-china, faux bait, better known as a synthetic lure, mass produced on that conveyor belt stamped with the word "freedom" with the corpritocracy's dime to protect every last red bloody penny from slipping free of their slimy grasp.

    So no matter what "trickery" we may try to put reality in front of their face - "But that dirtbag you love, Hannity actually said this himself and so did Rush!" - "Oh, you know they wouldn't say that or you took that out of context...you liberal commie freaks are just so quaint with your 'reality'...next thing you'll be telling us is that the Earth revolves around the sun and not around George Bush who is obviously the second coming incarnate"

    There is just too much of a disconnect from reality anymore... I mean, "Kerry is a flip flopper" is the best they could do in response to a child-murdering, coke-snorting, drunk-driving, bible-thumping-but-not-reading-GOD-forbid, chickenhawk, military-deserting, daddy-fearing, WORST-PRESIDENT-EVER, simp like George Dumbya and they still fucking voted for the guy.

    I wish there was hope for reason like this to work Jim, but I think you just got lucky with a intellectual that happened to live in a hostile environment for her (one of those commie-loving liberal colleges).  And as someone said the other day, these guys just seem to fuck up so often, that it almost seems intentional now, as in they are saying "go ahead and call us on all of this and look like whiners or try to get united when you all have your own pet things to hate us on".  Even though you won that one battle on abortion numbers, there are just so many other battles to be won before you can even win the war with one person.

    With all that said, I DO still believe it is worth the fight, even if the resistance is futile, and I thank Jim for sharing.  I truly think you are an asset to us Jim and sincerely hope you keep up this very important work.

    "But we have to stay angry and keep objecting. It's like staying awake in the freezing cold. If we sleep, we're dead." - Mary Julia (dKos poster)

    by I Want My American Pride Back on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:49:44 AM PST

    •  I agree (none)
      The world some of these people live in is anything but "reality-based." Arguing with them is like discussing baseball with a salamander. A useless waste of time.

      My epiphany came last fall when I was discussing politics with a right-winger co-worker. Here were a couple of his "facts:"

      On the economy: Bush has gotten things turned around after Clinton screwed things up so bad.

      On Iraq: Saddam not only was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he was also behind the Oklahoma City bombing. This, he said repeatedly, was "a known fact."

      On Terrorism: Terrorist activity has declined since our invasion of Iraq. When I showed him an article from the Chicago Tribune that stated the exact opposite, he waved it away as just another lie from the--wait for it--"liberal media."

      I gave up. I live in Indiana and am surrounded by these dittiots, and I must admit that I am very pessimistic about the future of this country simply because facts and the truth are meaningless to so many of these people. I keep thinking, "What would it take for these folks to change their minds? How bad do things have to be before they admit the country is headed in the wrong direction?" Short of Bush going on national TV (Fox News, of course) and eating a baby, while doing a line of coke and sodomizing Dick Cheney with a crucifix, I don't see them changing their worldview.

  •  asfdasdfkl (none)
    America the Cult: Why our punch is red.
  •  asdf (none)
    advisorjim,

    abstract this down a couple of levels and we'll have hammers to pass out to the masses.  seriously. this is the type of info chunking we need to do to empower the common American.  

  •  You make an assumption (4.00)
    that these right-wingers are intellectually curious. In fact, they are intellectually lazy and therefore rely on the 'facts' gleaned from their 'news' sources.

    there are none so blind as those who will not see...

    by penglish on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 04:29:03 AM PST

    •  Bingo! (none)
      I knew there was something missing in this discussion! The complete lack of intellectual curiosity is precisely what is missing. Providing sources, even ones that are "trustable" from their viewpoint is of no avail if they simply lack the curiosity to bother to read them and educate themselves on a subject, regardless of source.

      There are any number of subjects that I am truly uncertain of my views on because I don't know enough about the subject matter, and my response is invariably to seek out as many sources with as many facts as possible on the the subject before forming an opinion. That is simply a non-existent character trait in the Bush-beholden. Actually BOTH the traits of recognizing not knowing enough about a subject to form an opinion and having enough curiosity to educate oneself on the matter first are lacking. This lack of interest and curiosity (not to mention need for knowledge)leaves them equally unwilling to even participate in any of attempt of mine to provide reading materials for them. This is a defense mechanism that pretty well defeats any and all attempts to bypass the chip. Of course it should come as no surprise that their output would be garbage since the input is virtually non-existent to the proverbial garbage.

  •  Cognitive Dissonance as modus operandi (none)
    This is made necessary by the fact that the whole right-wing project is a gigantic lie. We all know that a majority of Bush voters voted for policies which will have a negative impact on themselves, but the cognitive dissonance chip allows them to continue.

    Unfortunately, as a pathology, the diagnosis is not   very comforting. The amount of dissonance will continue to increase until they are evicted from their houses, living on the street in a country so fascist no one dares to complain, faced with the prospect of acknowledging their error for years, or convincing themselves that they deserve to be in the ditch. Very few will take the former course, most will learn to love the ditch.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 05:36:58 AM PST

  •  You forgot to mention (none)
    "well you can prove anything you want with statistics".  You may not be entitled to your own facts, but you are entitled to your own opinion as to what constitutes a fact, and, moreover, what constitutes a salient fact.

    But that too depends on reasoning.

    Reasoning is a uniquely human skill - or almost uniquely.  Chimps can do it, although interestingly, they can reason better when they can't see the object of their desires.  If a chimp knows he will get a banana by pointing a box he knows doesn't have a banana in it (because he saw you put it in the other box), he can do it.  But he can't if he can see the banana.  Acting with your gut (pointing to the banana you can see) is a lot more powerful than acting with your reason (pointing to the empty box because you've figured out that that weird psychologist guy will only give you the banana if you point to the wrong box).

    Moral - don't show Republicans bananas.

    (This result was brought to you by statistics)

  •  The next logical step...right? (none)
    At least for all of us agreeing that your tactic might be helpful in SOME cases, doesn't it seem like the next appropriate step would be a dKos gathering place where we can ID issues and list links supporting our side (and refuting theirs) - links that come from "neutral" or even "right-wing" sites and sources.

    Any way that might be possible?  A centralized reference guide of sorts for those who want to try the "overload the chip" approach.

    Great diary, btw.

  •  how to win a battle and lose the war (none)
    Battling for individual republican brains is NOT the way to win this war. The war will be won or lost in the voting booth, which has been corrupted by the rat bastards (Diebold et al).

    No matter HOW many republicans get deprogrammed, if their votes are being fucked with like ours are, this battle isn't going to do us much good, will it? I guess maybe if someone turned one of the rat bastards, or one of their underlings?

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:22:19 AM PST

  •  We have to go wholesale (none)
    What I find disheartening is that these chips are installed & programmed wholesale, and we can only deprogram retail, one by one and with enormous effort. We cannot possibly win, or even stay level, with that kind of tradeoff.

    Air America is an attempt at wholesale counter-programming, of course, but I don't know if it has the visceral power to overcome the RWNM (Right Wing Noise Machine).

    If I can't dance, it's not my revolution. -- Emma Goldman.

    by DoctorScience on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:22:59 AM PST

  •  I have a general (4.00)
    observation.  The best way I can make it is by giving an example: one of the biggest issues I have with the current Administration is their posture of arrogance, this we-are-right-join-us-or-else attitude that is, by its nature, confrontational.  I see it as systemic and many of the issues we now face as a result of the Administration's decisions can be traced back to that.  I could provide numerous examples but that's not the point of my comment.

    I think those of us who are progressive or liberal or whatever label we embrace need to be very careful to temper our tone and our argument (both with individuals and in the general public) away from arrogance.  Our tendency to view all wingers as ignorant, country, John Deer-driving NASCAR-worshipping morons isn't doing us any favors.  I'm guilty of it and I have to put it in check constantly.  In a reply further down the thread, I made the point that when convincing, cajoling, respectfully arguing it is critical that you see the person first and that you see where you have something inc oommon with the person.  I believe in my heart that we have much more in common on the things that count than we have differences.  Focus first on what we value and frame the argument from there.  It's difficult to not listen to someone you like and for whom you have respect.

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

    by RenaRF on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:57:17 AM PST

  •  The brain chip (none)
    Excellent diary.
    A conservative poster (Mr. Burns) posted that this
    'chip' is a universal human trait, shared by liberals and conservatives. I agree to a point. The chip is a natural human flaw to fall back on when you are intellectually lazy or not passionate enough to do your own research.
    However, as another poster pointed out, this filtering chip is far more prevelant in conservatives than it is in liberals. By definition, a conservative personality type is far more prone to abhor individuality, and embrace group-think. Just look to the conservative news media for proof of this concept- individual thought that goes against the groupthink is flatly condemned and demonized. "You're either with us, or against us". Personality types that shun individuality and embrace cult-like thinking will naturally gravitate toward religion and the republican party.

    Liberals, on the other hand, celebrate and promote individuality, difference of opinion, scientific evidence, vigorous debate, and mult-faceted problem solving. Almost all progressives I know will welcome a challenge to their thinking, and if backed up by fact, usually even change their opinion after being proved wrong. Conservatives are quite a different story.

    Reading up on cult psychology is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to understand more about this. There are some basic tricks that can be used to exploit little psychological loopholes in the human psyche. Almost every single cult leader has used a slight variation of the same exact tactics in order to build a rabidly loyal following. After researching this stuff, you can easily see how leaders from Hitler to Nixon to Bush have exploited these very same psychological weaknesses in order to build a fanatical, cult-like following to the cause of conservatism. This whole deception has been necessary because, if seen for what it truly is- "corporatism", you would never be able to get the majority of the population to vote for it.
    Simple stuff, really.
    Of course, church leaders were the very first in human history to discover and exploit these psychological weaknesses that make people prone to group-think. Government simply immitated the tactics used by the church.

    One of the key tenets of cult psychology is that the group must always feel persecuted and attacked by the outside world. They must feel that opposing forces will use any deception necessary to discredit their trusted leaders. This allows that 'filtering chip' to work wonders. Anything said that opposes your view can be written off immediately.

    For a fascinating start, read about the cult "Children of God" or "The Family". Here's a link to an interesting site by survivors of this cult: http://www.movingon.org/

  •  If I take photos inside your brain, (none)
    may I use a flash?

    Thanks for another great diary. I have a question for you or anyone.

    I know a Republican who believes that there is always a four-year delay before we see the effect of government policies.  Unfortunately, we had business to discuss, so we had to table our impending political discussion and will probably return to it another time.  When we do get back to it, I fully expect to hear a lot of blame placed on Clinton, of course.

    Have you ever seen this? It seems like an attempt to deflect criticism of any policy by making a disconnect between cause and effect.  Very convenient to choose four years, the length of a presidential term.

    I'm thinking I'll ask for justification of this theory, and why it isn't three years, five years, eight years, or some other period.  If nothing else, I should be able get him to admit that things that happened in the last four years have been bad, and find some common ground, even if he denies the causes.

  •  This is so right on! (none)
    My sister's boyfriend is a dittohead. He is a white working class Gulf War infantry vet with 10 years in "this man's army". My sister is a big, black, outspoken feminist with a master's degree. I could not understand how they got along at all. Then I started arguing with him good-naturedly about politics.

    His responses were exactly as if he had a chip in his brain. I told him we are killing people in Iraq and making them into our sworn enemies. He gave me some BS about how we have to bomb the Middle East into democracy. Why can't they choose their own type of government? Because they would choose wrong.

    I brought up how we overthrew democratic Mossadeq in Iran in the 1950's, etc. He said if we had not overthrown all those democratic governments during the Cold War, the people would be slaves of the Soviets now.  And so on.

    I could not believe what I was hearing! None of this had any basis in reality. He had no facts to back up his assertions. Everytime I countered him with data, he would just come out with another piece of utter Limbaugh-style nonsense. He seemed to have a tape inside that just rolled on. It was almost like listening to an Air America parody of a right-winger.

    And he was otherwise a very nice, intelligent and thoughtful person. He cooked, he cleaned, he fought with the VA for his disability benefits (another weird contradiction-- his VA problems have nothing to do with the government currently running everything). My sister said that she just asks him to not turn on Rush when she's in the car....

    "Life forms.... You tiny little life forms..... You precious little life forms.... Where are you?" -- Data

    by terran on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 02:05:42 PM PST

  •  Talking to dittoheads (none)
    This is about dittoheads and how liberals should talk to them. There is no comparable documented serial liar on the left who has millions of flavored sugar water sharers. All of the arguments about the severity of the thing wrongly believed are interesting, but are addressing a larger point. The micro-point, if you will, here, is that this post has been very helpful to me in thinking about how to argue with people who blatantly get the facts wrong because of LIMBAUGH, and what we can do to make them realize how wrong they are. No matter what Monty Burns argues, he cannot produce a Lefty Limbaugh to really make the comparison work.

    "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

    by supak on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 06:39:40 PM PST

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