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So is today the end of the world? No - depending on how you define "world," anyway. For the ancients and even some of the moderns, "the end of the world" means the literal end of the literal, factual, physical world - and for many of our apocalypse-minded friends, this is what they anticipated happening today. Whether that end of the world was through nuclear war, an asteroid hitting the earth, or some other sudden event, they thought it meant the end of the physical world.

We have other worlds, however, that are not physical. We have worlds based around all kinds of social institutions - the economic worlds of business and the First/Third World divide; the world of the ivory tower in higher education; the political worlds that are sometimes defined by their physical locations (the Beltway, for example). All of these are what we might call "social worlds."

Many of our social worlds are based around a worldview more than a physical world. We call these worldviews "ideologies." Ideologies can be fact- or fantasy-based, but they serve a particular purpose for human beings - they give explanations for what would otherwise be a chaotic, unpredictable environment. Here's the kicker: Those explanations do not have to be factual, they just have to be emotionally satisfying (as shown repeatedly by studies in what psychologists and social psychologists call "attribution theory" and its related offshoots). Occasionally they are both, but there's no requirement that any explanation for why something happens or why people are the way they are be a factual explanation.

What happens when the ideological explanation gets confronted with contradictory facts?

Well, you could say it's the end of the world as we know it.

The battle between progressives and non-progressives has always centered on ideology. Lakoff's examination of the "Strict Father" and "Nurturant Parent" models, or frames, of the world is just an example of the ideologies that separate us. Conservatives want every single person to be completely individually responsible for everything he or she does and obligated to the authorities in his or her life; progressives see the world as a network of interlinkages that we choose to be part of but that we are also obligated to simply by being born into it.

One can easily see how this is comforting to the conservative: if you're completely responsible for everything you do, then you're also completely responsible for your successes as well as your failures. Nobody "built that" for you - you did it yourself. Progressives draw equal comfort from the idea that we're not alone, that we can find support where we need it and when we need it because we're all in this together.

Notice how these worldviews clash? We use these as basic explanations for why things happen and why people do what they do, but many times our ideologies produce radically opposing answers for the same phenomenon, because what comforts us does not comfort them, and vice versa.

Conservatives will insist that the gunman had total responsibility for what happened at Sandy Hook and that the answer is to give everyone else personal empowerment by arming them. Progressives will recognize that the gunman was embedded in a network structure of social pressures that made it impossible for us to blame him alone. It's the culture, stupid.

Conservatives say that progressives don't live in reality; progressives say the same thing about conservatives. But when push comes to shove, it appears that progressives are probably correct, because our worldview (as ideological as it can be sometimes) seems to be more based in reality and in facts than the conservative worldview, and thus less prone to disruption when the facts rear their ugly heads.

Conservatives believe strongly in personal responsibility, authority figures, and the use of force. But some facts in the last few weeks seem to be getting in the way of that worldview's survival.

For example, (probably soon-to-be-ex-) Speaker Boehner demonstrated to the country - and the globe - last night that he has totally lost control of his caucus and it's been taken over by the Batshit Crazy wing of the party. This loss of authority will not go over well with any conservative, because it demonstrates that Boehner's party is operating in an alternate reality, and they haven't quite grasped that yet. The idea that Cantor could be the next Speaker just demonstrates how unready they are to give up their comforting explanation that a strong male authority figure will fix everything, by force if necessary.

This morning, the NRA demonstrated to the world that they have lost all grip on reality by doubling down on their call for more guns, more guns, more guns. The last thing that most people want to hear right now, when confronted with the facts of Sandy Hook, is that we should dress our children in Kevlar and post armed guards in every classroom. This fact is escaping conservatives, but it's also undermining their worldview.

Last week, the Pope accused gays of living in an alternate reality - and he's right. We do. We live in the real reality, the one based in facts, rather than fairy tales and fantasies. Look, I admit to having real hostility towards religion, but my main reason for that hostility is the belief system's departure from facts on a regular basis and the way in which that departure is so often used as a justification for violence (physical, economic, social, cultural, and symbolic) against people who aren't the "right kind" of people for the church in question.

So, is it the end of the world as we know it? Probably not. But I think that conservatives and theocrats have a nasty surprise on the way, even if it doesn't crystallize today. A lot of what they've been doing in the last twenty or thirty years is finally coming home to roost, and the comforting fantasy-based explanations they've been giving themselves for why people do what they do just aren't working, even for many members of their own political group, any more. The fact that 53 percent of all people polled think that the GOP is going to be responsible for the coming recession if we drop off the fiscal curb on the 31st demonstrates that their worldview is no longer working for the majority of Americans.

It's the end of their world as they know it - and I feel fine.

Originally posted to Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unfortunately (6+ / 0-)

    It's same as it ever was...
    John McCain, that one female senator filling in for Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey chanting Benghazi for the press.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:55:51 AM PST

  •  No we will end it more slowly as we (5+ / 0-)

    ignore what we are doing to foul our nest.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:00:35 AM PST

    •  How are we ignoring it? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, Fireshadow, oceanview

      The GOP is fouling it, sure, but the more they foul it the more noticeable it becomes to the population.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:07:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You must be kidding? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch

        Noticeable?  you have noticed
        Poisoning the water
        Ruining the soil
        Producing substandard poisoned food
        Depleting resources
        Decaying infrastructure
        Gun violence
        Killing kids with drones
        Climate change
        Exploitation of workers
        Degradadation of the quality of education
        and plenty more

        So we will all watch as the world ends?  It surely will be even more noticeable as it goes on.

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:53:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was talking about gun violence, primarily. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fireshadow, oceanview

          And yes, you're right. Those are things we need to address as well, because their deny-the-truth worldview is a large part of the problem. But that wasn't clear to me from your original response, and it's a wider scope than I'm prepared to deal with in this diary.

          "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

          by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:20:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  For the people you describe, their apocalyptic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Killer of Sacred Cows

          moment still awaits them;  until then, they CAN'T SEE IT..

          But the REST OF US CAN, so it's up to us.  We need to stop trying to talk them out of their entrenchment and GET BUSY.

          Sorry about all the caps...I get worked up....

          "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney
          "[S]omeone needs to tell Boehner that he isn't King" - lawstudent922

          by chmood on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:30:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's hard to steer the vehicle... (5+ / 0-)

      when you're CONSTANTLY fighting an angry drunk for CONTROL of the vehicle....

      "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney
      "[S]omeone needs to tell Boehner that he isn't King" - lawstudent922

      by chmood on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:52:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Day The Earth Stood Still or how Cantor, (4+ / 0-)

    Boener and the tea bagger zealots continue to try and warp space and time and thus avoid the fatal fiscal quark collision which would fabricate a giant black hole in the center of their non universe..Weeerd stufff going on in DC, better check the water for hallucinigins

    "Round up the usual suspects"

    by NanaoKnows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:21:51 AM PST

  •  End of their worldview (4+ / 0-)

    Was in 1932 when FDR was elected. Since then we've been witnessing the death throes of a dinosaur.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:00:12 PM PST

  •  The 'conservative' worldview (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows, chmood

    will never die off. There appear to be dispositions that are naturally 'progressive' or 'conservative', to use some very nebulous and not exactly apt terms.

    Oh, and one thing that you missed - there's nothing inconsistent with Boehner loosing his grip on the House and the 'conservative' worldview. Another will step up and take his place, confirming, in their mind, that the better man has taken over.

    •  True, but that will fail again and again (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chmood, oceanview

      as their "best man for the job" keeps failing to bring the caucus together. At some point, some of them start to realize that it's a problem with the worldview, not the people, and they abandon the worldview. We've seen new posters here at Kos admitting they used to be Republicans until something so egregiously out of touch from the GOP pushed them out of that party.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:08:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who says that the next one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Killer of Sacred Cows

        won't bring the caucus together again but in a direction we find odious?

        I have no doubt that there are many Democrats that have been pushed out our party because of Obama's election. Anyway, the ones that 'have been pushed out' aren't in the House. The ones remaining are the least likely to abandon their world view. And they still have the upper hand there. We may say that we have a mandate because we won the Presidency but that doesn't mean the Republican House must roll over. I didn't expect Pelosi to do that in 2006 and I have no doubt that Cantor et. al. have no intention either.

        47 is the new 51!

        by nickrud on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:38:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  True, but failure is not a negative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Killer of Sacred Cows

        in the conservative world view. It just means things weren't conservative enough.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:42:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They did it to themselves, in the most literal way (11+ / 0-)

    possible.

    The insane focus on gerrymandering as many House districts to be solidly Republican as possible while cramming Dems into as few districts as possible is the exact reason why so many main stream Republicans were successfully challenged from the right and pushed out the door.  

    They were the ones who thought it would be a good idea to create what they thought of as 'safe' districts, but they were only 'safe' from Democrats.  They actually allowed far more radical candidates to run, and voters were able to vote them in, safe in the knowledge that they could go as crazy as they wanted, and no Dem could knock their nutsoid candidate out in the general, thanks to the incredible gerrymandering.

  •  "It's the end of their world as we know it and I (6+ / 0-)

    feel fineeeee"

    Photobucket

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:57:45 PM PST

  •  it seems as though the only (0+ / 0-)

    thing certain about neo conservatives is their ability to lie to one's face. They certainly have no moral ground to stand on. The republicans have become a party of ideologues and are now a party in disgrace.

    Speaker Boehner demonstrated to the country - and the globe - last night that he has totally lost control of his caucus
    boehner lost control of the republican "caca" in the house, and spewed crap over everything.
    For example, (probably soon-to-be-ex-) Speaker Boehner demonstrated to the country - and the globe - last night that he has totally lost control of his caucus and it's been taken over by the Batshit Crazy wing of the party. This loss of authority will not go over well with any conservative, because it demonstrates that Boehner's party is operating in an alternate reality, and they haven't quite grasped that yet. The idea that Cantor could be the next Speaker just demonstrates how unready they are to give up their comforting explanation that a strong male authority figure will fix everything, by force if necessary.

    The Democrats now own everything from the center right to the far left. the republicans and the filthy robberbarons occupy the extreme right fringe.

    by longtimelurker on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:12:27 PM PST

  •  End of the GOP World(view) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows, wasatch

    Hi KoSC! Really enjoyed your diary. I hope that you're right. I totally agree that we're on the cusp of something. The stuff is going to hit the fan . . . I just hope it doesn't make a big mess . . .

    Earlier this month, I wrote a diary here at DKos titled "Authoritarians at the Gate." It was on this topic, but what spurred me to write it was that I'd recently read a book by two psychologists, "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics." I'd been plugged into this part of the world for a while . . . I'd finally gotten fed up to here with all the BS coming out of the Republican presidential primaries and started digging around to see if I could figure out what was going on. I hit on Chris Mooney's latest book on the Republican denial of science and started following my nose from there. I came across a lot of information that helped me make sense of what was going on . . . it scared the bejeezus out of me too. If you are concerned about this, I included a reference section at the end. If you see anything there that you haven't run across yet, check it/them out. They really helped me connect some dots . . .

    The short URL is http://bit.ly/...

    If you find anything there that rings your chimes, I'd be interested in hearing about it. I'm always interested in talking with people who are interested in this topic.

    Cheers

    "The water won't clear up 'til we get the hogs out of the creek." -- Jim Hightower

    by lartwielder on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:23:35 PM PST

    •  I actually used Altemeyer's work in my (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lartwielder, wasatch

      master's thesis and my dissertation, at some length, so I'm familiar with that literature. And they're absolutely correct.

      It should scare the bejesus out of you. I wish it'd scare more people - we might get motion on some of the more egregious problems created by authoritarians.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:35:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: I actually used Altemeyer's work . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Killer of Sacred Cows, mkor7

        Hola KoSC -

        It's really great to bump into someone who is familiar with the literature. I had been personally fuming and internally railing against "the authoritarians" all of my adult life. Never could understand the hypocrisy I saw around me).

        My formal training is in psychology - but it was in the mid- late '70s, and I came out of the experimental analysis of behavior/comparative/ethological/neuro-bio-physio-blah-blah world. Apparently, that research was more or less getting it's feet under it, though the Milgram experiments featured strongly in the "lore." Our focus at that point was what one might call "the econometrics of behavior." The authoritarianism phenomenon wasn't on our radar. I wish it had been . . . I would have loved to have made a career of studying it. Having said that, it's probably just as well. I get the idea from what I've read of Altemeyer's work that he pretty much self-funded his research. One possibility is that, at the time he was doing it, there was about as much interest on the part of the major funding bodies in his research as there would have been in mine . . . :)

        WRT authoritarians/ism scaring the bejeezus out of more people . . . to me that's the saddest part of this whole thing . . . I grew up in the rural South and that was the way the world was. I knew that I was appalled by the hypocrisy and cynicism I saw, but I was the odd man out. I knew I didn't fit in, and I rejected what I saw, but, as far as I knew, I was the one with the problem . . . It wasn't until I had one of those "life-changing experiences" that I was able to discount out of hand everything that I'd been "taught." And, it wasn't until I stumbled upon Altemeyer, Haidt and Hetherington and Weiler that I've realized that those people are not part of a larger community and deserve my respect. They are not. They live in a closed, rigid, uncompromising, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, hypocritical world in which if one is not one of "them" and doesn't believe the way they think, doesn't have the right skin color, doesn't go to the right church (or even worse, doesn't go to church at all), their mission in life is to correct the problem. It took me a looonng time to realize that I was not in the minority.

        Do we have a long way to go? Yes. But I'm working on that. The only reason that the inmates are running the asylum is that we're letting them. That's our fault. That's gotta change. I'm coming up on my second "Howard Beale Moment." . . .

        Cheers

        "The water won't clear up 'til we get the hogs out of the creek." -- Jim Hightower

        by lartwielder on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:28:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm confused. (0+ / 0-)

    It ain't free speech if it takes cash money.

    by Uncle Igor on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:28:06 PM PST

  •  I'm still confused. (8+ / 0-)

    So Wave LaPenee and the NRA want armed guards in every school in America?  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the guy who was all a-skeered of "jackbooted government thugs" overrunning our communities?

    So John Boehner says the President and the Democrats have to take responsibility for the fiscal cliff now that he's proven himself impotent in dealing with it?  If I recall correctly, wasn't this whole "sequestration" scenario the Republicans' idea, as a condition of extending the debt ceiling?

    So all the conservative pundits are screaming that if we take the plunge on January 1st, the nation will be plunged into a new recession?  I am just a simple caveman, but isn't that what we on the left have been trying to tell them all along about their austerity fetish?

    It ain't free speech if it takes cash money.

    by Uncle Igor on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:40:29 PM PST

    •  Aye, but it's amazing how much they can ignore it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      urnumbersix

      when it conflicts with something else they want - like guns, or low taxes for rich people.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:45:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But now, what they want (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkor7, Killer of Sacred Cows

        Is glaringly obvious, and totally at odds with what they've been saying for the last 30 yrs.

        They really are operating at the level of a 12 yr old boy. They come up with an idea, you tell them it doesn't make sense and won't work, and that's all they can insist on. Give them an out, they won't take it. Everything has to be their way.

        And when that thing they wanted so bad goes exactly the way you said it would, they're mad at YOU because you didn't stop them from doing it.

        The GOP really needs to grow up.

        •  Conservatism is the curse of people who are (0+ / 0-)

          stuck in the "concrete operational" stage, according to work done on Piaget's model. And you're not wrong, not at all. It's no surprise that Norquist's anti-tax pledge was something he came up with in junior high school - that's the mentality of the common or garden conservative in the US these days.

          "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

          by Killer of Sacred Cows on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:05:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Science and reason vs fear and ignorance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    It's THAT simple, really. I decided on science and reason. It's wonderful.

    It's your call, America.

  •  It's us MODERN peasants who believe in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mkor7, Killer of Sacred Cows

    PHYSICAL destruction of the PHYSICAL planet, and that's entirely the result of the 2,000 years of pre-meditated brainwashing & 're-education', systematic suppression, and intimidation-thru-annihilation we like to call Christianity...or did you think something had happened just recently to make people act stupid?

    Seriously, 'apocalypse ' is another example of a perfectly good word, savagely misused (hell, the Book itself translates 'apocalypse' as 'revelation' - as in "The Book of....");  coming from Greek, it means most simply 'to uncover', but is actively used in theater from those times, to indicate the Dramatic Moment - the Big Reveal - the Rending of the Veil - to see things as They Truly Are(tm).

    In short, it occurs to me that the (ahem) Christian world has the same trouble with 'apocalypse' that it has with language in general.

    "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney
    "[S]omeone needs to tell Boehner that he isn't King" - lawstudent922

    by chmood on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:27:47 AM PST

  •  That question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    This is an important question:

    What happens when the ideological explanation gets confronted with contradictory facts?
    I think Orwell gave a better answer than I could:
    “The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
    -George Orwell, In Front Of Your Nose
    Well here are some examples:
    Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

    Professor Michael Mann v. NRO

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