Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Next Time You're Talking Til You're Blue in the Face...

...trying to talk sense to some toe-the-line red stater. Keep this article in mind (I hate to excerpt so much, but so much is so good):
Everybody exhibits what Altemeyer calls Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) characteristics: a deference to established authorities, a willingness to agress on the behalf of established authorities, and a high degree of "conventionalism" (the idea that we ought to all be "normal"). During times of national crisis (e.g., 9/11) our RWA traits are enhanced, which I'm sure many recall at that time ("country coming together", etc.). However, there is a subset of the population which exhibits a high degree of RWA traits at all times. Perhaps unsurprisingly, empirically this group is very strongly correlated with Conservatives, and much more strongly with religious fundamentalists, which are empirically indistinguishable from evangelicals, who make up the Religious Right. These people, high-RWAs, are very submissive, hard working, easily organized...

Worse, by their very nature, their reasoning process is badly malformed. They parrot what their leaders say, rarely pausing to thinking carefully about what they are saying. This is directly responsible for what we perceive as "hypocrisy". They don't even recognize the two competing ideas (e.g., Bristol Palin's pregnancy and Jamie-Lynn Spear's pregnancy) are related. A by product of their broken reasoning is their desire to reason by conclusion. That is, they will believe anything that ends in something they "know to be true". For example, Sarah Palin must be a fiscal conservative because they know that she is a Republican, and Republican's are responsible with the public's money. While we can supply numerous counter examples (well documented!), the high-RWAs require only a fig-leaf of assurance from their "authorities" to believe. Because they want to believe. There is literally nothing you can say to the high-RWAs that could convince them otherwise, since you are not a recognized "authority". (Should Dobson denounce Palin, that might be another story.) For this reason, they are remarkably forgiving. At least when it comes to people in their group. They are also very dangerous since they vote....

But the real bastards are the "double-highs", that tiny group that are both high-RWAs and high-Social Dominators. These take the worst attributes from each group: they are amoral power seekers who hold the prejudices and failed thinking of the high-RWAs. They are usually overtly religious, though frequently not privately so (like Delay or Bush Jr.), and as such can easily ape the religious leaders that enjoy such authority with the high-RWAs that make up the Religious Right. Sarah Palin is a classic "double-high". She is Cheney's equal on duplicity, but she vastly surpasses his ability to identify and mobilize the "troops"...

And they will lie. All the time. Easily discredited lies. Obvious lies. Laughable lies. And those lies will work with the "base". Every time. By their very nature, the "base" is programmed to believe them.