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I've often heard it said that the people in the Republican base, who believe the patent falsehoods purveyed by their leaders, are "stupid." But I don't think that's how they're to be understood. I've known too many people who buy the almost transparent lies nonetheless show real intelligence in other areas of their lives.

Here's what I think we're looking at that may look like "stupidity."

A person's consciousness --- the form their awareness takes --- is not all of a piece, not identical in every situation. We tend to operate differently in different contexts, to have different capacities that get engaged in different aspects of our lives. We might think of people as having different "modules" of consciousness that kick in depending on what "programs" they've learned to apply in each realm of their lives.

With the people on the right, in our times, what I believe is that they've been taught over time to bring a far-from-best self into the specifically political realm.  Part of the teaching has been from the deep, long-established culture, which inculcates in those who grow up in it certain ways of dealing with issues of power and authority and rage and pain. But, most recently and most visibly, they've been systematically taught -- for a full generation now by skilled and completely unprincipled propagandists, like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Karl Rove -- how to be members in good standing in the right-wing political culture.

These propagandists have worked to get people to look at politics through a particular, warped lens. Feeding their fears and hatreds, and turning off their intelligence in the political realm.  Over the years, a module has been constructed in their minds for how to think and feel when the cross into the political world-- a module that gradually transferred a bunch of sane Republicans into a bunch of people who support the very opposite of what they think they're supporting.

Mistaking the evil for the good is surely a manifestation of profound brokenness. And the error is built upon brokenness.

Among the various components of that political module the right has cultivated -- rage, resentment, feelings of victimhood, compensatory feelings of superiority, etc. -- one essential component involves shutting off the kind of intelligence that they'd apply to other circumstances. Going into crazy, broken, destructive pictures of the world generally requires parking one's intelligence at the door. People can be taught to be stupid. (Indeed, a famous psychological work once defined neurosis as a form of "learned stupidity.")

The force that serves the Spirit of Brokenness constructs this module in order to open the way for that force to suck the power out of the people for the force's own use. Those who have been conned, who have been manipulated into being so governed by their well-fed fears and hatreds and resentments, are led by the lies into giving away their power to a force that will only do it ill.

Turning off their intelligence with the Political Module is necessary. They'd never be as easy to deceive and manipulate if they brought to their political decisions the kinds of intelligence they'd use in making their business decisions.

A certain amount of the division of consciousness in human life into different modules is probably natural and inevitable. But the more that brokenness is dominating the scene, the more pronounced this "modulization" of consciousness will be. And that's certainly true about the scene being enacted on the right today.

Two levels of brokenness are relevant here: 1) the brokenness that is at the heart of the spirit that animates the right; and 2) the brokenness that was already there in the psyche of those people who have been rendered, by their socialization, most vulnerable to being misled and misdirected by the Limbaughs etc. of the world.

Brokenness works through brokenness.

I've heard that sometimes people with Multiple Personality Disorder can be so split that it's possible for one of the personae of an "individual" to have an allergy that another of their personae does not. If that's true, then it should not be inconceivable that in people who are not that fractured, but who still have unsolved issues impeding real integration and integrity, there would be a consciousness module (a persona, if you prefer) that is intelligent, and another in which the faculty for intelligent critical thinking and the spotting of nonsense as been blocked.

Perhaps such an understanding of the problem -- smart people with their intelligence turned off, not stupid people -- will suggest more effective strategies for bringing our fellow Americans back into alignment with reality. Perhaps ways can be found to help them switch their intelligence back on for use in the political context.

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Comment Preferences

  •  An interesting take (15+ / 0-)

    Some time back I shifted from thinking of the Republican base as low-information voters to thinking of them as high-disinformation voters. This adds a layer.

    Whether or not the process you describe works as you've described it, it has certainly deprived us of an important part of our political discourse.

  •  Andy - I think there is a different reason (8+ / 0-)

    On the conservative side of the political spectrum there is a bell curve of intelligence that is likely very close to the progressive side. The most intelligent people I have every met have been conservatives, but that's a function of my career path. It pains me to see people write about how stupid conservatives are, some are, most aren't.

    There are ten of millions of people, from all income groups, who believe in a much more limited federal government, even when a more expansive federal government benefits them now, or would in the future. A limited federal government is a philosophy that dominated US politics until FDR, and still has millions of followers. Add to that the social conservatives, many of whom are economic liberals, and you have a political force. Embracing a philosophy of a limited federal government doesn't make anyone stupid.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:48:29 AM PST

    •  this isn't about "conservative" (8+ / 0-)

      The issue here isn't whether people have come to philosophical conclusions about how big or small the role of the federal government should be. It's about believing that a little critical thought would show do not hold water.

      As a candidate for Congress in the previous cycle in my overwhelmingly Republican district, one of my frequent lines was "This is not about liberal vs. conservative, it is about honest vs. dishonest, constructive vs. destructive."

      The force that's taken over the political right is not really conservative at all, as we can tell by the way it rides roughshod over our political traditions and norms.

    •  None of the most intelligent people I know (0+ / 0-)

      are conservative, despite my career path (technology in the defense industry). They are either liberal, moderate, leftist, or liberal-leaning libertarians. Most of the people I work with lean conservative or very conservative. That's not to say I don't work with intelligent people, as most of them are engineers and scientists. But most people I know are very intelligent, and those who are most intelligent are not conservative or Republican.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:10:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aaron - we all know, work with and meet (0+ / 0-)

        different people. I have no doubt that you have met many smart liberals. My experience has been different, but I have lived in a world where Darwinism is at its core.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:29:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lots of well educated and motivated people have (7+ / 0-)

    written about this.  There are lots of theories about how they became who they are and how to reach them.  Lakhoff is one of those people.  No matter what anyone says, it gets confusing and one ends up thinking it's pretty much hopeless.

    I do know one thing.  Conservatives who somehow get a royal screwing...ie, lose their wealth, health, face some personal trauma, etc., usually suddenly become more liberal.  They find out their conservative "friends" disappear when they need them.  They find that some gov't program they railed against actually helps them.  And so on...

    Most of the conservatives I know are impenetrable by fact, reason, or humanity...until karma shits on them.

     

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:13:53 AM PST

    •  That aligns with what I've seen drive change (2+ / 0-)

      in some other areas. Telling someone about hitting bottom is not even close to the change-driver that actually hitting bottom is.

      People aren't always open to driven-change, but for those who are, hitting bottom will most often make it happen.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:34:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)

    Regarding a comment below that I posted in another diary this morning, I am really quite flabbergasted at the disconnect of my Republican friends. It's as if their belief ie "I am a Republican" has completely skewed their reality and willingness to see the facts as truth. These are smart people who (want to) think Obama is blocking stem cell research, that Obamacare is something other than private insurance, that the economy is worse now than in 2008. These are smart people, they are professionals in the 50/60 year old range, with successful kids and a house in the burbs. Blows me away. My mother is the same (she's 80) - does not care if gay people marry, gives money and volunteers for causes very much aligned with the Democrats, believes everyone should have health care. But "I am a Republican" has been completely absorbed into her brain matter. Why?
    My comment:

    We were at dinner last night with what I'll call the country club set - the comments started with the anger about the government ban on funding stem cell research (hello, that was Bush) and went to going on the exchange and getting health insurance but it's not Obamacare because the policy is from a private company and I didn't get a subsidy because my income level is high (hello, that actually is Obamacare). WTF people. Just stop talking.
  •  Many, if not most of the population (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, hbk

    maintains a "don't care" attitude about the government until it infringes on their lives.

    The conservative big lie is easier to understand because it is being broadcast just about everywhere and it is simple ("government is evil"). So one spouts those lies believing they are true because "no one lies on the internet" (has anyone not seen the commerical with the "french model").

    The non-conservative (i.e., progressive, green, democratic, etc.) message is so fragmented and difficult to understand, most people tune out.

    I'm not saying we need to go to the big lie, but we need to have concise responses to those lies. What that might be I leave to much better wordsmiths than I. But we need to make people aware of how they are voting against their own best interests when they vote for anyone who is a Republican (at this stage - they are not the same ol' Republicans as during the days of Eisenhower or even Nixon).

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:01:51 PM PST

    •  Nixon and Eisenhower were not conservatives (4+ / 0-)

      The GOP had a big wing of northeastern liberals, just like the Dems had a big wing of southern conservatives. That's why it was much easier to have bipartisan legislation. There were members of the Democratic Party who were closer to elements of the Republican Party than their own southern Democrats. Both Ike and Dick are from that era and both favored an expansive federal government. The parties have become much more polarized with those in the middle, who otherwise might be a bridge to bipartisan legislation, scorned as DINOs or RINOs.

      I do agree with you that the GOP has better sound bites.

      Smaller government
      Lower taxes
      Strong defense

      Unfortunately the progressive positions are more nuanced and hard to put into two word themes.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:13:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on how you define "Conservative" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA

        If the sole definition of a conservative is limited federal government, then arguably Nixon was not a conservative.

        By that narrow definition George W. Bush was not a conservative - which is getting uncomfortably close to "No true Scotsman" territory.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:25:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  GWB wasn't a conservative (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, erush1345

          No conservative would have been an advocate for expanding Medicare to include drugs. As we can see the conservatives in Congress are trying hard to limit the cost of entitlement programs, not expand into new ones.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:39:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He had an authoritarian streak (6+ / 0-)

            as did Nixon. That's definitely a conservative trait.

            Both also favored a very aggressive foreign policy, which I would say is a conservative trait.

            Your definition of "conservative" is oh so narrow and seems to only count fiscal conservatives as "real" conservatives.

            In my point of view, conservatives don't mind "big government" as long as it's the parts they like.

            Big military.
            Big intelligence service.
            Big war on drugs.
            Big border patrol.
            Big support for evangelical Christianity.
            Big subsidies for oil and agribusiness.

            Your definition seems to be "Conservative" = "Libertarian" and I don't buy that.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:27:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Libertarians do not favor a worldwide military (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catesby, nextstep

              presence or many of the intelligence functions that have been expanded by Presidents of both parties. Conservatives favor a more robust military and a more muscular US world presence. But they also favor border security, a smaller federal government and lower income taxes. Real conservatives don't favor farm subsidies.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:51:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I bet I could find (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Buckeye54, Shawn87

                any number of "conservative" politicians from the farm belt who not only have supported farm subsidies but have received them.

                You're way into "No true Scotsman" territory here.

                If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                by Major Kong on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:44:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  He was a neo-conservative (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            and they place less importance on fiscal conservatism than other types of conservatives do.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:54:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Many of the older folk (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sajiocity, MKSinSA

        remember the republicans of Ike, Dick and even Ronnie. Remember how Ronnie made "liberal" a dirty word? And how he solely destroyed the USSR? And how he is the only one responsible for rescuing the hostages in Iran?

        Again, it has to do with messaging. The Dems have always been, and continue to be, truly lousy at messaging. Even with the best message and the best way to improve the economy, if we can't message that well, we are going to be painted by the Repugs brush as anti-American, socialists, blah, blah, blah. AND LOSE!

        I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

        by woolibaar on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:25:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Messages are easier if they fudge the truth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye54

          "Big government" is ok if you want to have someone save your ass after a hurricane or twister. (Or, as the Tbaggers signs used to say, "keep the gov't out of my medicare!")

          Lower taxes always resonate until you're told that the favorite things you wanted are no longer available because "lower taxes." (What no farm subsidies?)

          ""Strong defense" shows how powerful we are (even though it really can't stop attacks like 9/11)  How about some more tanks no one wants? Ooops, that was just a simple case of pork.  Nothing to see here, keep moving.

          Hard to get a message out in a 30 second sound bite that is nuanced, like much of what we have to deal with in life.  But that would require people to listen, think and make decisions, instead of having some blowhard tell him or her what to think and who to hate.  It would also take time from tweeting photos of your latest dump, and posting pictures on FB of your last drunken revelry.
          This is not about smart or not, conservative or liberal.  It's about people telling themselves lies and believing them.

          "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

          by sajiocity on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:44:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  woolibar - the challenge is that the progressive (0+ / 0-)

          positions aren't easy to reduce to soundbites. Once you are past four words, you have lost a concept as a catchy soundbite. However, I agree with you that we can and NEED to do better.

          The other issue is messaging. As an example for the 2014 midterms the Dems need to decide on two, at most three, themes and absolutely no more. Maybe it's the minimum wage (which can include income inequality) and immigration reform. Once you move past three items you have lost the ability to effectively message and nationalize the election.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:45:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We care (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Shawn87

        Better government

        Fairness

        Equality

        Human rights

        It isn't a lack of words. It has been bitter resentment by Angry White Guys of everybody else, expanding from hatred of Blacks and Yankees in the South to hatred of everybody including each other today. At the same time, the numbers in each group of haters have been shrinking. Reagan recruited northern workers into the Southern Strategy, and various money and influence men recruited the Tea Parties, but mainly it has come down to gerrymanders and other electoral shenanigans. There is nobody left whom Republicans are willing to recruit to their cause.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:44:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's a good list (0+ / 0-)

          But if that was on a bumper sticker, or a handout, would the reader understand what those words were trying to communicate and embrace them as a political philosophy? Don't know.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:25:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Polls show that the public is on the Democratic (0+ / 0-)

            side of every major issue, including all of the above and more.

            Gun safety

            Minimum wage

            Peace

            Renewable energy

            Tax pollution

            I can do this all day.

            As I said, it is only gerrymanders and other electoral shenanigans that maintain the Republican House majority. The answer to that is GOTV, which is happening.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:52:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's tribal (11+ / 0-)

    I think for a lot of people it's almost a more of a cultural identity.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:03:32 PM PST

    •  this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sajiocity

      Though there is movement between tribes, which is interesting. Both of my parents came from conservative families but "turned" liberal. That coincided with their moves to So California, so maybe they just joined another tribe...

      "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

      by quill on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:02:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  how does one come to one's beliefs? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho, jan4insight, AJayne

      I think the "tribal" element is very important, if by "tribal" one means that it is very important to people (especially the people in some subcultures) to hold the beliefs that the community to which they see themselves as belonging believe,

      For some people, taking climate science seriously and dealing with what the science says with anything like intellectual responsibility would put themselves at odds with their community. And that's something they've learned is not OK.

      One may come by one's beliefs by using evidence and logic. One can come by them by believing what one's "tribe" believes. The latter has a very long history, and what's going on in the Republican base these days is non-trivially a part of that history.

  •  Broken lenses or not, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, sajiocity

    when my arguments, backed with objective research from multiple sources, are met with unsubstantiated shibboleths like "socialist" and the gratuitous use of the president's childhood nickname, I reserve the right to classify them as, at best, unskilled in critical thinking.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:11:48 PM PST

  •  they're not stupid, they're malicious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, sajiocity

    They know exactly what they're voting for and agree with it.  We live in a democracy after all; isn't that what it's all about: people can vote for what they want and believe in and be reasonably assured of getting it?

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:30:32 PM PST

    •  Except I know some conservatives (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kangaroo, erush1345

      who are very concerned about the poor, and work daily to try and help them.

      They just disagree profoundly with me how best they can be helped, and they disagree genuinely.

    •  What you describe (0+ / 0-)
      people can vote for what they want and believe in and be reasonably assured of getting it?
      is not possible in a democracy. There you can vote, but at best you get some compromise that nobody is happy with, and frequently you get something that a majority likes and a minority detests.

      No, you are describing an aristocracy where everybody who is allowed to vote votes for keeping the aristocracy in charge.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:50:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  in other words what most people want (0+ / 0-)
        No, you are describing an aristocracy where everybody who is allowed to vote votes for keeping the aristocracy in charge.
        Which is to get what they want and everyone else needs to put up with it.

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:20:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It all started (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity, Kangaroo

    when the political arena became a welcoming environment for those who suffer personality disorders, the effects of childhood abuse, historical illiteracy, various feelings of inadequacy and are completely baffled by the complexities, challenges and frustrations of the real world.

    In most instances, that would be the GOP.

    Where else can a dullard receive a free pass to the head of the line and, if he's lucky and ambitious, get to legislate his own limitations and impose them on everyone?

  •  "stupid" is mostly meaningless anyway (0+ / 0-)

    Given that there appear to be multiple dimensions to intelligence, it only makes sense to call someone stupid in a deragatory, rather than descriptive sense.

    "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

    by quill on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 01:12:15 PM PST

  •  Lack of empathy (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, SuWho, Kangaroo, Buckeye54, Shawn87

    Not stupid - mean, petty, narrow-minded, self centered ...

  •  Once You Convince Someone To Believe In The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye54

    sky fairy, you can convince them of anything.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:50:24 PM PST

  •  I never thought they were stupid... (0+ / 0-)

    Which is why I don't let them off the hook for their bigotry and hate. And willful ignorance. If you're capable of understanding how evolution works, you have no excuse for denying it's true.  

  •  I think when it comes to characterizing others as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    stupid the feeling is mutual, very mutual. Isn't this how all people, in groups, feel about themselves in relation to others?

    It's trash talk. If any liberals really believe that tea party rightwingers are stupid, wouldn't they have to ask themselves where that formula leaves them? If people want to claim a superior intellect, they should have much better results getting what they want, than what I can see.

    It's not a progressive value either. It's like saying that people really aren't equal.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:28:58 PM PST

    •  People are all equal. Opinions are not all equal. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye54

      "Stand your ground" laws promote aggression rather than discretion."

      by Mayfly on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:40:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to advance your idea one step further. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mayfly

        Some things, like bigotry, are considered to be opinions by Americans. Reprehensible, but opinions.

        A few western countries don't count bigotry as an opinion, at all.

        So when you say "Opinions are not all equal," I wonder if you knew how unequal they really are. France is an example of a western country where society is accustomed to weighing opinions against each other.

        Most Americans have only one way of comparing opinions based on whether they agree with them or not. But opinions can be weighed and compared using the intellect, reason, and logic to determine whether they are sound or not. Their relative value doesn't come from personal preference or self interest. It comes from using ideas that can be demonstrated and proved.

        So bigotry is placed outside the realm of ideas and opinions by testing it to see if it makes intellectual sense.
        It's hard for Americans to get over this, but it's not disqualified from inclusion as a valid idea because we disagree with it. It's not excluded from the array of opinions because we wish to suppress views that are different from our own. To their own detriment, Americans fail to grasp the full extent of what you stated. Opinions are not all equal.

        Bigotry is placed outside the realm of ideas and opinions because there's no proof that justifies it. It was proven decades ago that there's no class of human that has inferior traits. We have societal and cultural differences created by humans but not innate to them. People may prefer the traits and characteristics adopted and valued by their own cohort and they may despise the customs of others, even though one is not demonstrably better than another.

        Bigotry is a failure to recognize that emotional response is separate from the intellectual process. Even Americans understand, to some degree, the source of bigotry is in emotions like fear, anger, and hate, when they use words like homophobia.

        Bigotry is also the process carried out by people who have a need or desire to act out the emotions they feel, and fail to control. In the most extreme cases, the emotions are compounded and run out of control. At no point in this psychodrama does the intellect ever intervene with anything that resembles an idea or coherent thought.

        So bigotry is the product of a complex intellectual dysfunction, and quite the opposite of opinions that are supposed to be the product of information, analysis, judgment, anticipation of future outcome, so that they're based on facts instead of bias.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:24:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Although some on the right call lefties stupid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye54

      I much more frequently see them describe us as evil. Of course, we get some of that on our side too.

      In the case of Global Warming, each side accuses the other of perpetrating a hoax on the public for profit and power. If you believe in sky fairies, then it is the scientists who are trying to destroy civilization, and if you understand evidence, it is the fossil carbon interests in alliance with the Creationists who deny the evidence of their own eyes.

      Economics is the worst, particularly on austerity vs. stimulus, but also on the "business cycle", the minimum wage, and so on. The patients long ago took over several of the leading asylums, most notably in Vienna and Chicago, with funding by the 1%.

      I don't see stupidity here. Venality, ignorance, and malice in spades, but not actual stupidity.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 01:01:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Labelling others isn't new. It's a trap and it can (0+ / 0-)

        be avoided.

        It might irk you but what Jesus taught is still presented in fastidiously secular settings as a foundation for enlightened humanist philosophy - sky fairies sold separately.

        It turns out that 'Judge not' has been misunderstood. 'Judge yourself' is the learning that seems to be lost in a society that seems to have an obsessive compulsion to define, label, and affirm the labels attached to others.  
        If you asked the individuals who participate in this process to define and label themselves, what response would you get. It's almost reflexively taken as an insult to suggest to anyone to look inward.

        Why do people become alienated and estranged from one another so that they ascribe traits like the ones you mentioned? When people judge themselves without flinching from their own faults they start to understand other people as they truly are, too.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:58:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are many churches that do insist on (0+ / 0-)

          self-examination. Most do not know how to teach their members how to do it effectively, and no church gets through to all of its members, but that does not take away from the accomplishments of the few that do know something about the matter.

          Buddhism does not depend on sky fairies, but we don't mind them at all. Our scriptures have them come to the Buddha for guidance, and not pretend to magic perfection. Buddhism insists on cause and effect in the material and mental world, which are not divided from each other, and also on evaluating religious teaching through observation and experiment. Thus Buddhism inherently does not conflict with science.

          We can discuss other specific cases, such as the original Pennsylvania Quakers and Rhode Island Baptists insisting on freedom of conscience, following the example of the Netherlands after it threw off the Inquisition.

          We can also discuss failures of Buddhism, such as racist Sinhalatva Buddhism in Sri Lanka and violence against Muslims in Myanmar.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:06:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Most people who lean right (0+ / 0-)

      Aren't stupid..lacking in intelligence. They're severely misinformed. It's much easier to be selfish than empathetic. So they look for info and opinions that justify the way they already feel. Don't we all though? Fox News and other rightwing media outlets don't exist to report the "news," they exist to comfort the self centered-frightened. Which are the same thing as far as I can tell. In my experience, people who are extremely self involved tend to be terrified most of the time.

      "Because we are all connected...."

      by Shawn87 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:12:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All I can suggest.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, Mayfly, Kangaroo, jan4insight

    if you want to understand the right - read The Authoritarians - its free on pdf here and is an insightful look into that mindset

    Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

    by fauxrs on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:35:50 PM PST

    •  Here is the other side (0+ / 0-)

      This book is sadly out of print, but is readily available used.

      Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator (Studies in Prejudice Series) by Leo and Norbert Guterman Lowenthal

      See also The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer, Conservatives Without Conscience, by John Dean, and

      The Theory of the Leisure Class
      , by Thorstein Veblen.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 01:06:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I could forgive stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, jan4insight

    They're willfully ignorant, and that I cannot forgive.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:41:39 PM PST

  •  Right--a person's opinions are not based on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    intelligence. They are based on experience.  And experience includes reception of right-wing radio,  etc.  

    However, regarding experience, there is that great remark:  ""Recession is when your neighbor is laid off.  Depression is when you are laid off."

    "Stand your ground" laws promote aggression rather than discretion."

    by Mayfly on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:35:16 PM PST

  •  There are many subspecies (0+ / 0-)

    of conservatives, liberals, and everything else.

    Two important subcategories of what today is called "conservatism" are the manipulated and the manipulators.

    The first could in some ways be called "LOW INFORMATION VOTERS".  

    The second includes those seeking power and control.  Among these of course are your Glen Becks, Karl Roves, etc.  But not just them.  Many persons who favor plutocracy see the political alliance of economic royalists and social reactionaries as a marriage of convenience.  I recall being told by one former County Child Welfare Board member's of her conversation with an acquaintance who became an aide to Texas' first Republican Governor in 100 years, Bill Clements, (now deceased) in 1978.  She, as was something one might expect of someone in her field of voluntarism, was concerned about Clements' alliance with the late religious right preacher Lester Roloff, who operated youth homes in which the residents were abused.  The aide let her know in no uncertain terms that the Governor would not in any way move toward further investigations of the Roloff Homes.  She said he made a mocking evangelicalistic gesture (I don't know, raised arms, or something) with a twinkle in his eye and said this was the party line among the Governor's staff.  I believe such things are somewhat typical.  Remember, Rove himself mocked the religious rihgt as "the nuts" and that is one reason they hate him so.  He revealed the secret strategy to other cleverly immoral people.  BTW, Rove ran Clements' campaigns.  

    Others favor Republican economic policies out of self-interest.  They recognize there aren't enough of los riches to swing elections so other means must be employed to gain those votes.  Among these are racism, classism, fear, Islamophobia, heterosexism, you name it.  It's all well and good to the manipulators.  

    I don't think we have an equivalent on the political left.  Kay Hagan, in her race in North Carolina against Elizabeth Dole, was supported by a group of atheists or nontheists or something.  Dole cut commercials deriding Hagan for their support.  Hagan courageously did not disavow their support, but one can be certain the campaign team may have debated doing that.  The fact they didn't was either due to unmitigated courage, or a studied realization this would do little damage to Hagan.   Perhaps the Hagan team simply realized the support of the nontheists would not damage her since Dole had the theocrat vote sewed up.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:18:11 PM PST

  •  Consider neurology and genetics? (0+ / 0-)

    Could there be an inheritable brain function vulnerability

    to certain characteristic thought processes? Then,

    exposure to certain themes reinforce or condition

    thought processes like distrust, threat perception, or

    the psychological comfort found in a feedback loop

    narrative of perceived persecution (comfort in the sense

    of maintenance of feelings serving as a raison d'etre,

    like the prop on the back of a picture frame?)

    ----outward manifestations of this mindset could be

    related to external factors such as social/financial

    status, education level, Etc.

    ???I don't know-- I am rambling

    A quote from a book I am reading, The Reactionary Mind:Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin by Corey Robin

    "For that is what conservatism is:

    a meditation on--and theoretical rendition of--the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back."

    "The devil can quote Scripture to serve his own purposes."

    by SpringHopeCarolina on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 05:22:08 AM PST

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