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...But we certainly will keep trying!  It's one of those things that many people are so frustrated with: the sheer intransigence of the far-right and the religious right.  There is a lot of overlap with these folks, but one is not always the same as the other.

Now, there may be evidence that there may actually be a physiological reason for their beliefs.

Hop over the cheese-doodle to see what's on the other side!

...And it may entirely prevent any of us from getting through to folks who are so resistant to change, facts, and science.

I'm an atheist, occasionally rather arrogant about it (sorry), and I often find it difficult not to open my loud mouth and say something potentially objectionable.  What's worse, I seem to have this need that amounts to a full-on compulsion to "educate" these poor souls, since it's "obvious" to me that they only lack the information to make their own decisions because they've been lied to for so long.

HA!  I'm the naive and uneducated one, apparently.  At least, that's how I feel when I encounter interesting knowledge like what's discussed in that study I linked to above.

See what I mean about my arrogance?  Sheesh.  Don't worry, I'm working to delete that particular carbuncle on the posterior of my beliefs (sorry, I had to edit out a wrong word usage).

Such a big wrinkle to unfold, to get at the basic reasons for why so many Conservatives seem completely immune to reason.  Add in another study that apparently has discovered a correlation between intelligence and religion.

Great, just f#@%$ing wonderful.  So, this brick wall we've been talking to is based on possible differences in our brains?  Wait.  What?

But, I read further because the articles were interesting reads and the data they were presenting was intriguing to me.  I mean, it's all fine and good (I suppose) to make claims that the Far-Right, the Teahadists and the Christian version of Sharia Law believers are well, frankly, idiots, or mentally ill when we're being "kind" (note the quotes--we aren't being kind).  But, to actually have science to possibly back you up?  Wow.  And here I just thought we were calling names like school-yard bullies at "obviously" deluded people who are really only missing the facts we keep trying to give them.

Actually, it's hard for me to believe that the Far-Right has not, in some time-frame, at some point, come into contact with at least a few real facts while they've been so routinely lied to in order to keep them voting for planet-raping, Civil-Rights denying, privacy-invading, job-destroying, poor-bashing, let's blame it on the brown people distractions and keeping the super-rich as their lords and masters.  It's just that they've been convinced that we're the ones actually doing the lying.

I read more and learned something I had believed since I was a child: so much of what we do is based upon what we're afraid of.  It's fear.  Fear is at the base of virtually all of the things these articles were discussing.

The need for control, for certainty, for distinct boundaries (what is mine, what is yours, what is right, what is wrong, etc), security/safety, and a desire for over-arching authority to protect them, whether government or God, seemed to be a strong part of the belief-structures of the people in the studies.  And so much of it was based on what they perceived as a threat to the needs mentioned above.

For me, the logic sort of breaks down here: We all have things we perceive as threats.  It's part of being alive and wanting to stay that way.  Conservatives might not actually be pre-disposed toward being part of ugly little groups like the Tea-Party or the Far Religious Right, if their fears hadn't been tampered with.  What if it were us Progressives, with our needs for certainty, security, control, distinct boundaries and our fears of things like a compromised environment, worries about Climate Change, etc, who had gotten to those Proto-Conservatives first?  What might they be like?  If the leaders of our political groups--and I mean you guys on both sides of the aisle--hadn't been such social vultures, preying on those very fears these people hold, would we be having more rational discussions?

Logic is hard, even for folks who are good at it and enjoy using it (unlike me--I try, but it's not my forte), and I know there are flaws in my conclusions, but I was always a hopeful individual, and I will continue to be hopeful that people, Conservative or not, will eventually listen to reason, if we learn not to insult their closest-held beliefs: their fears.  Don't appeal to their fears, but don't deride them, either.  It's counter-productive in the long run.  When we attack what they fear, they tend to push back even harder and close ranks, as it were, trying to defend the indefensible.  We become the embodiment of those fears and they will do their best to chase us off.

We all do that.  It's in our nature to protect what we most deeply believe, whether faced with facts countering it or not.

So work with them, learn what the Conservative you're talking to needs and offer them that.  So far, we've too often attacked their beliefs instead of searching for commonalities that we share.  We've torn things down when we've been trying to portray ourselves as the builders of good things and that makes us look like hypocrites.  We've become the fear they hold, and they will resist us.

Let's become their security, instead.

Stubbornness is a good survival-trait, and the possibility that the fears these people are leaning on might be a hold-over from our days in the Pleistocene when we were trying to survive against a hostile environment is interesting to think about.  How many other hold-overs do we harbour in our psyches and physiology?  Where will our evolution take us, and how can we use those traits to our advantage as a species?  Can we use those survival-traits to better ends than running into our caves and hiding from the sabre-tooth?  How can we keep them from undermining our efforts to survive when we keep unknowingly using them to distract and fight with each other?  A proactive use of our survival-traits, from a base of full knowledge of what we are and who we are, could be an interesting place to go...

I've noticed the increase of atheism and a decrease in religious-adherence (at least, in the West), despite all the noise the Evangelicals are making, and it seems to be pushing the fear-button on the more rabid groups.  People leaving religion scare them because it seems inconceivable to them that they're going anywhere good--they must be going to the "Enemy", whoever or whatever that may be.

But, it was interesting to note that the study on intelligence vs religion wasn't slagging religion, far from it: it showed that people relied on religion for mental/emotional security, companionship and as comfort when hurt.  These are all aspects of Community that we all share.  The so-called "intelligent" people and the atheists made their own situations that offered comfort in times of pain, built their own relationships instead of relying on faith to be the glue that binds people together and found ways to feel secure in their emotional lives without making wishes for a better life in the form of prayers.

One group was self-reliant, and the other was "other"-reliant.

Here's a quote from an Animé I rather like that seems oddly appropriate here:

"God is a crutch for those with nothing else to hold onto..."
Humanity is still changing, and we have a long way to go before fear-based ideologies are left behind, religious or otherwise.  But then, we might need to keep that fear-based part of our brains in the changing world we've created through our over-use of fossil-fuels and other damages we've committed over the the last two or three centuries (did you think our environmental impact is only from the late 1800's?).

Lastly, people forget that scientific studies discover possibilities, not necessarily a pure, unadulterated fact, and we have to use what we find to learn more.  Simply being complacent in our conclusions is a bad way to order our lives.

From the ArsTechnica article:

There are some complications to the explanations too. For example, the non-conformist theory of atheism cannot apply to societies where the majority are atheists, such as Scandinavian countries. The possible explanations are also currently just that—possible. They need to be empirically studied.

Finally, not all studies reviewed are of equal quality, and some of them have been criticized by other researchers. But that is exactly why meta-analyses are performed. They help overcome limitations of sample size, poor data, and questionable analyses of individual studies.

As always, the word “correlation” is important. It hasn’t been shown that higher intelligence causes someone to be less religious. So, it wouldn’t be right to call someone a dimwit just because of their religious beliefs. Unless, of course, you are an ancient playwright looking to provoke your audience (a reference to the beginning of the article that described Euripides, calling believers "fools").

Learn who you are and maybe you can more strongly influence your conversations/arguments with the next Conservative spouting Faux News talking points who wanders into your path.  They are you, with many of the same fears and many of the same needs, only expressed in different ways.  <3

Originally posted to TheProgressiveAlien on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 11:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    If we acknowledge our fears, then we must also acknowledge the consequences of our actions when we react to those fears. Hate is based on fear, fear comes from a lack of understanding. When you understand, it is more difficult to hate.

    by TheProgressiveAlien on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 11:04:52 AM PDT

  •  Republished to Street Prophets. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSC on the Plateau, howabout
  •  it may be much less inevitable 'human nature' (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, enhydra lutris, Chi, k9disc

    than something very simple sex education could fix.

    on a general political spectrum cons and authoritarians have a greater need for certainty, or as the psych studies would put it, a need to avoid uncertainty- so there's more fear

    the talk radio monopoly fits perfectly in this model because it's a perfect vehicle to sell lies with certitude- the gods are seldom challenged on air and they don't have to look into a camera. they can be very certain. and certainty can be more import an than truth in a scary complicated uncertain universe.

    methinks it all changed when human populations started delaying reproduction without the appropriate sex education- the kind of sex education that the organized religions and other authoritarian power structures have evolved to suppress.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 12:39:38 PM PDT

  •  The right has a terrible problem. Belief in God... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rageagnstmach, rostar, New Rule, anon004

    The right has a terrible problem. Belief in God reinforces hierarchies, and belief that there is one right answer, if it doesn't work for you the solution is to change yourself to obtain the promised benefits. God is not going to change the rules of the universe to accommodate your new idea of appropriate lifestyles. Ford does not care if you think it would be better to run cars on sugar, they use gas or they stay parked.

    This makes them receptive to ideas that blame peoples' personal choices for society's problems. The "operating manual" worked 100 years ago and God hasn't changed. The equipment must need a tune-up.

    Given those assumptions, you can show that the leaders were "false prophets". Trickle down promised rising wages, wages held steady since the 70's. We tried what they said, we made the necessary sacrifices. Buisiness profits increased, productivity increased, but nobody got a raise and jobs went overseas.

    Since they were wrong, let's go back to where we were before trickling started. Stronger unions demanded their share of profits, and businesses were taxed to provide for workers that weree educated, well fed and healthy. Social services helped care for the unemployed, the old and the disabled, while welfare gave the unsuccessful a second chance at learning how to take care of themselves while making sure their children were able to eat and go to school. You don't have to admire the poor to see that assisting them is cheaper and more likely to change them than jailing them and paying someone else to raise their children. In fact, with better schooling and extra support for school-age children you can reduce the level of useless people.

    Since God made so many of them there must be a way to arrange society to allow them the maximum amount of success. Look at the changes in caring for low I.Q. children. Mainstreaming instead of institutional care, a bit more for special-ed in the schools, Supervised independent living in adulthood. If we were able to improve the lives of people with Downs syndrome, why couldn't we do even better with teenage girls raising toddlers? There is more potential for success with them. Even better to intervene at 8 or 9, when they are young enough to still respond to authority and too young to get pregnant.

    Pointing out that you can see how some publica

    •  Sorry for break, typing on phone. Saying that y... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, penguins4peace, rostar

      Sorry for break, typing on phone.

      Saying that you can see how some Republican dream would be nice if it worked, but that we have no power to get business to keep their side of the bargaim. It works because it doesn't argue against the perfection of an idea, but introduces the existence of sin and deception in the corporate world. Obviously they need to repent and make restitution. The government needs to restrict their ability to harm people in exchange for letting them stay in the group. Discipline, then shunning until repentance, then forgiveness and restoration of fellowship. Maybe the bankers made mistakes, maybe they commited crimes, either way churches know how to address the problem. Sin is sin, even if you were unaware of the impact the sin was having on others. Hate the sin, love the sinner means regulate banks, punish the guilty based on intention and hold no grudges after a true repentance, honest confession and full restitution, taking full responsibility for the care of those you harmed.

      Most church-goers agree that stolen or swindled money be retuned to the victim, that to steal and just say "My bad, won't do it again" is not enough, and to sin the same way after being given a second chance is horrible.

      They don't have to change their beliefs, they have to apply them more broadly. Let them run point on ferreting out sin and encouraging repentance. They're Javier's at heart. Love is paying attention to all sin, even minor ones because even small sins can start you down the wrong path.

      Most of all acknowledge the honest sincerity of their beliefs. Cheating the poor and stupid is evil, telling someone no is not hatred, holding someone to an ideal is better than saying "sure it was wrong but others were worse, so my conduct doesn't matter".

      They really can be helpful when they aren't accused of being superstitious idiots who believe nonsense. My son converted to a "people and dinosaurs at the same time" religion, and he has an I.Q. of 145 and was exposed to progressive values and science his entire life. He was troubled by a complicated society, and unhappy about people not acknowledging new information when presented with the truth. So he climbed back into the play pen, where friends are supervised by authority, and he is kept safe. A lot of conservatives are pulling in the boundaries as if they have an anxiety disorder, and this way is better than washing your hands a dozen times a day.

    •  So (0+ / 0-)

      what does cause societies problems if not personal choices?  

  •  There are other factors (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, Yonit, Chi, chrisculpepper

    It's hard to change minds when you can't even agree on what the problems are.

    example: ask any conservative if healthcare is a human right, they will likely say no.

    •  I think you have to ask the question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Is healthcare a human right in the US?" Most of the world's population does not have access to first world healthcare so it's hard to argue that it is a worldwide human right. There aren't enough trained clinicians to provide healthcare to every human in the world.

      The question of is healthcare a human right in the United States is an interesting one. It's very clear that it is not a human right legally, so the question becomes a moral or ethical one. Conservatives and libertarians do not believe that government should provide healthcare to US residents, with very few exceptions.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 03:43:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly, I think that this is somethign a lot of (5+ / 0-)

        progressives seem to have a terrible problem understanding.

        A lot of research has been done about how people make up their minds in general, and a couple simple observations can be made from this.

        First of all, it has been proven with evidence that people have a tendency to believe the first person they speak to. If an argument happens, whichever side they hear from second is less likely to be believed.

        Second of all, critical reasoning really is something you teach to people, and our schools actually don't spend any time on it, partly because we've been increasing class size for thirty years. Fewer teachers, teaching more students, means that just getting through the basics is difficult.

        The whole point of having Fox is that they want to make sure that they explain their side first. Years later, a liberal shows up and tries to explain global warming to someone, and they've already been listening to Fox for years.

        Finally, everything we learn is a building block for other things we will learn later. A well-developed sense of intuition usually comes from being good at something. When you've taken the time to learn something complex, you begin to recognize problems you encountered in the past, and you get hunches based on that.

        When you watch Fox News and listen to them drown on about liberal conspiracies and every reason they can come up with why the world is not warming, they learn the wrong thing. As the years go by, they make statements based upon that knowledge, and take more and more actions based on that.

        Admitting you were wrong about something yesterday is difficult. But convincing someone who has been a climate denier for twenty years they are wrong is virtually impossible, because they will have to admit to themelves all the hundreds of mistakes they have made....

        Honestly, I don't think it is a good idea to try to convince the hard-core cultists of the right any more. What we should be doing is trying to convince everyone else, because they are already unreachable.

        Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

        by martianexpatriate on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:58:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Until the Heritage Foundation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, New Rule, wasatch

      tells them otherwise. It seems to me many on the Right want reassurance. They are afraid, and the likes of the Kock brothers prey on that fear. They stoke that fear. They manufacture that fear. They focus group that fear. Fear is a commodity with a bottom line profit.  

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 04:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am sorry stubborness is not a good... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, Desert Scientist

    survival trait. Written history is full of examples where people have ignored the warning signs of impending disaster based on stubbornly clinging to closely held beliefs and died, while those with more open minds survived. Why would you think that unrecorded history would be any different?

    One only has to look at the current Ebola epidemic in Western Africa as proof. Efforts to contain the outbreak have been greatly hampered by stubbornly held beliefs and traditions. Communities have hidden patients from the medical personal trying to help them and broken others out of quarantine as a result of ignorance and stupidity encouraged by irrational fears stirred by superstitious nonsense. In spite of warnings that the disease is spread by contact, relatives of the victims still continue to expose themselves by following traditional burial practices which call for washing the body of the deceased and caring for the ill without adequate protection. Whole villages have been wiped out by the disease as a result.

    Another example would be the people who year to year refuse to evacuate when the hurricane warnings come in and insist on trying to ride out the storms in their homes. Many deaths and unnecessary rescues have resulted from that stubbornness.  

    •  Expansion of the Definition (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dancing Frog
      Stubbornness is a good survival-trait, and the possibility that the fears these people are leaning on might be a hold-over from our days in the Pleistocene when we were trying to survive against a hostile environment is interesting to think about. Where will our evolution take us, and how can we use those traits to our advantage as a species?
      I am sorry stubborness is not a good...survival trait.
      I have to agree: most all of our current deeply held psychological fears 'evolved' on the African savannas, and stubbornness in, say, ignoring a predator-in-the-area threat to get that extra fruit in a certain tree would often have led to the termination of your ability to add to the ongoing genetic pool.

      As to, "...where will our evolution take us..." evolution is not some automatic process that takes place without the death of those who's traits - risky behavior, inability to find a mate, predisposition to fatal or debilitating illness, and others - lead to that death prior to reproduction. Given that we now save the lives - rightfully - of many who otherwise would not have survived on the savannas where we became human, human evolution as we know evolution to be is essentially not occurring.

      For survival-of-the-fittest evolution, the only actual Darwinian evolution there is, to occur, we would have to re-enter some savage, anarchic and merciless world-wide culture, including the total collapse of any other than strictly local, more likely tribal, economies.

      I do, myself, believe in a real and loving God, just not one whom the worship of or devotion to requires or involves the narrowing of the definition of who is invited to the party.

      God's preference is for more people to be included, (not excluded through doctrine),...whenever the circle is shrinking, where people are being excluded or disliked, God is not served. -Rev. Alice Connor

      by paz3 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 09:34:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would hypothesize that... (0+ / 0-)

        while Darwinian Evolution in the truest sense may no longer apply to human being as individuals, it may still apply to humans as a super organism. The competition between rivals for the limited resources to survive environmental pressures just has been moved up the organizational chart. It is not we who are evolving as a species, but the ever enlarging competing groups of individuals that make up humanity that are. The penalties for the losers are still the same as they ever were at that level. Extinction for the group and possibly death for the individual.

  •  God and Nature are two names for the same reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Spinoza said something like that I think.

    Invoking God is a way for people with an agenda to end all argument. God is the finally arbitrator of all truth. It is the Godwin of all discussions. :)

    But the T.V. in the background ensures me that sometimes God is waiting for me to make the first move, and I should give my money to

    I kind of like Ringo Star's quote about playing drums for John Lennon's song God.

    "For me I played drums, and if he wants to search, I'll play with you."

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 04:09:39 PM PDT

    •  My old boss Herman had a lawn customer (0+ / 0-)

      out in the country, and one day driving there coming out of a grove of trees onto the sunlight summer valley he said,

      "Now how can you look at that and say there's no God?"

      I said, I think sometimes people have different words for the same experiences. But seeing this, do I want to argue there's no God, no! I don't want that job!

  •  Fascinating stuff! But here's the caveat (6+ / 0-)

    There seems to be an implicit underlying assumption in this research that people are born with brains that are genetically programmed to (not) develop a negativity bias, which then fates them to become conservatives (or liberals/lefties). But a lot of recent research has emphasized the plasticity of our brains. We sort of unwittingly rewire our own brains as we specialize in particular behaviors. This means that for all we know, the negativity bias, or the lack thereof, may very well be the result of individual people's adaptation over time to behaviors that are encouraged by their ideological world view. In other words, yes, Righties and Lefties clearly think differently. But no, it's not so obvious that these differences are genetic. One piece of evidence suggested that they are not is the frequency of conversions: conservatives who become staunch progressives and vice versa. That's pretty hard to reconcile with genetic encoding of the negativity bias.

    "I understand, Mr. Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."

    by brainwave on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 05:58:39 PM PDT

    •  Exactly! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brainwave, chrisculpepper

      I get a bit tired about "hard-wired" traits in human behavior, which I think is a nice way to excuse bad behavior, bad theology or bad science.

      I am reminded of a seminar I went to at the University of Arizona when I was an undergraduate.  The researcher had used fruit flies to try and find out if he could alter the normally positive phototactic (going toward the light) activity by selecting the few individuals who were negatively phototactic and breeding them together for about ten generations.  At the end he hoped to demonstrate that there was a gene controlling the behavior of whether the flies went toward or away from the light.  The last generation was tested and almost exactly as many were positively phototactic as at the start.  The speaker was so riveting in his presentation that the members of the audience where literally on the edge of their seats expecting a grand scientific breakthrough!  The speaker was Theodosius Dobzhansky!  It seems appropriate in some way that he was Ukrainian.

      I have difficulty with science finding answers to ultimate questions, even though I am an agnostic and pretty close to an atheist.  I agree with several who have said that our minds may not be able to handle ultimate reality and so I leave in the remote chance that there is a god or gods or goddesses, or something else that in involved.  Beside extreme fundamentalists in Christianity, Islam or Judaism are not the only religions. Our current dominant religion appears to be the worship of money in any case.    

  •  This is very intriguing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, blackhand

    ...and there's nothing like "knowing your audience" when it comes to more effectively communicating, that's for sure.

    On the other hand, while certain types of "tendencies" may be more predominant certain categories of people (i.e. conservatives vs. liberals), we need to keep in mind that, like with all groups, these are still generalizations about an entire group of people, generalizations which will not always be true for each member of said group.

    So...there may still be conservatives who are influenced by logic, reason and compassion, even if the tendency as a whole it not to be.

    One ongoing experiment by me is that, when discussing things on my local hometown newspaper's online political forum page, it's been an ongoing practices of mine to be sure to not only response to a particular poster, such as a conservative, but to post a response that is more designed to persuade those who may be reading said post, as well. In order to try to be most persuasive, that means never allowing myself to get sucked in to many conservative games (name-calling, emotional baiting, etc.).

    What's been discovered by me is that, even with the most shamelessly asinine conservative posters, if care is taken to remain factual, objective, mature and rational, not matter how nonsensical, subjective, error-prone and irrational the other person might has a tendency to make the poster respond more and more in kind.

    Whether that means that there's influence and persuasion going on...who knows. But, just in the approach taken to these folks, it seems that some kind of communication of some sort can be made....

    •  I too often post for the same reason (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, starduster

      I have no delusions about changing the opinion of the one whom I am interacting with.  That is not the point.  The point is to present a counter argument that will be read by someone else.  One tactic that I see used in media, especially RW media, is the false dichotomy coupled with the you're either with us or your singular in your opposition.  It is a psychological play that is undoubtedly effective in broadcast media where the recipient is singular while perceiving themselves to be part of an invisible collective.

      "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

      by blackhand on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:01:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Changing minds isn't really the issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Rule

    The inflexible people on the right don't think really and are not likely to be influenced by any sort of logic.  Forget it.

    The target is Democratic voters who are too depressed to vote.

    Those people have excuses for why they are protecting themselves from the probable pain of involvement.  They don't like being on the losing end and are afraid of being seen taking a stand in any public way, even voting.

    You see this in various demographic groups that might be associated with liberal leaning thought or interests.   Some of them might actually be local Democratic Party groups.

    The problem is to increase the number of these people who feel like voting.  

    Screw the intractable right wing delusionals.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:09:29 PM PDT

  •  From the Buddhist perspective (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, k9disc

    they, the intransigent RWers, are suffering from deluded perceptions. Buddhists don't believe in a creator God, but we do recognize how the mind works. The mind creates a delusional web of concepts called "my self," or ego, which actually doesn't exist. Intransigent RWers are very arrogant that their self is the right self, and all other selfs are wrong. And it is that very dichotomy, us versus them, which holds in place the fiction of the ego.

    The Republican brand is totally bankrupt.

    by vlyons on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:50:56 PM PDT

  •  Emotional addictions and investment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Rule, starduster

    People get addicted to fear and to hatred, which is why McCain and Hannity are shrieking, "It's all Obama's fault," even when any rational person can see how ridiculous their argument is.

    How to break these addictions is not an easy matter.  Obama actually made some progress in 2008 when he did the yes we can and the hope campaigns (if I'm mixing up the dates, sorry).

    On a one-on-one basis, I have sometimes found it useful to ask, "What exactly are you afraid of?"  When they have trouble articulating this, you can sometimes make progress.

    Furthermore, these people are often part of groups that reinforce these beliefs.  We're not going to get Hannity to see the light; he's paid to spew stupid and mean nonsense.  And people belong to churches and to families where all this stuff keeps getting reinforced.

    However, once the exposure drops, the fear and hatred drop as well.  One of the reasons Hillary polls so well is because the right-wing memes stopped when Obama won the primary and instead the RW actually promoted her and a sense of nostalgia for her husband.

    How to do it?  Rationality won't work until you take away some of the RW exposure and distract them with something else.

    by chloris creator on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 10:18:42 PM PDT

    •  Classical Conditioning. Skinner Rocks, but Pavlov (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chloris creator


      Great post that brings to mind the classically conditioned state that Conservatives put themselves in on a daily basis.

      All the outrage, the anger, coursing not just through their limbic system and fed via a diet of continuous outrage media.

      This creates a state of being that is incompatible with rational thought, or to put it another way, this state of being limits the range of responses, and often these responses are not at all logical or likely to be successful.

      The person who runs the wrong way home in a horror film? I think it's kind of likely to happen in the state of being you would be in if you stumbled across a dead buddy and a dude with an axe jumped out of the bushes.

      Skinner is awesome when it comes to behavior, but operant conditioning, while it rocks and is cool, is a complete subset of Pavlov - the classically conditioned state dominates the realm of accepted choices and behavior.

      The first thing that needs to happen is we need to alter the Conservative's classically conditioned state. Not sure how to do that, but that is a key to changing their behavior.

      I was checking out the other day, and it really hit me how depressing it was. It was a constant litany of crap - it changed my state of being, just reading the headlines - this place does it to with the front page - stuff meant to make us feel an emotion to set the stage for the operant response.

      I am fairly sure this is a feature of the corporate sponsored political and information markets that is a stand in for an enlightened and self governing citizenry. It's good for keeping the common people at each other's throats.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting writing and topic (0+ / 0-)

    Much of what you describe applies in a broader sense.  It isn't just RW vs LW thought patterns and religious vs non religious.

    The same principles can be seen in the microcosm of DK.  Simply look at some of the polarized groups that have formed around various topics, e.g. feminism, gun rights, I/P, illegal immigration, etc.  

    As I said above, oftentimes, I post, not because I have any notion of persuading someone who is voicing a different opinion, but rather to influence the silent participants as well as to show that isn't complete consensus on issues.

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:05:27 AM PDT

  •  Religion and god belief pushes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rostar, leema

    many of the right buttons in the brain. Being self aware puts us in the position of having a very hard time with the idea the we have an absolute end to our "self" and our consciousness.  And yet we see it all the time with conditions like Alzheimer's.

    Religions offer eternal life for a reason.  It's the biggest "gotcha" going. And no one makes you prove it exists.

    I heard a man on NPR call in and say that he lost all his former sense of religiosity and spirituality when he had a stroke in a certain area of his brain. He remembered that he felt that way, but couldn't FEEL it anymore. That to me was a big clue about the nature of the true source of religious feelings.

    Our brains are it. And when the organ dies, so do we.  This is one of the hardest facts to face. And so most of us choose to accept the fairytales and the comfort blankets.

    However, the growth of atheism and non-belief in the US and the fact that is has become so dominant in Europe gives me hope that mankind will truly at some point move to a more enlightened part of their brains.

    That is if we don't kill ourselves and our planet first.

  •  Using (0+ / 0-)

    actually and possibly in one sentence pretty much defeated your argument.

    "But, to actually have science to possibly back you up?"

  •  I think I wrote this diary (0+ / 0-)

    Everything good a man can be, a dog already is. - pajoly

    by pajoly on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:11:18 AM PDT

  •  I bet they think they could get to you if you (0+ / 0-)

    just had a bit more faith...

    "Fear Itself" is going to be a choice phrase of mine in the near term.

    I think it's super powerful and harkens back to when Americans were not bed wetters pointing their guns at everyone who isn't their little tribe or at anyone who perhaps doesn't share their worldview.

    I think it can at once shame the cowardly and foster courage in taking on today's scary socio-political landscape.

    Another thing that is important, I think, is not trying to change "their" minds, but instead speaking with them in public and changing the minds of the "jury" that is within earshot.

    When you talk to someone like that you are not trying to best them or change their minds, you are speaking to the jury of people within earshot.

    Change the minds of the jury and you weaken the Wingers. This is how TV "news" works, this is how you change the worldview of a society.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:21:24 AM PDT

  •  Throw in the power of socialization. (0+ / 0-)

    I recently took my first sociology class, and I was fascinated with the power of socialization. On the question of nature vs. nurture we watched a movie on feral children. I came away from that wondering if there really was such a thing as "me," or if I was just a unique recipe of brain chemicals and socialization.

    I am not 100% fatalistic about our capacity to escape or see through the socialization to which we've each been subjected, but it appears to be extremely difficult--it's as if we each come from our own unique cult, and will require years of painful deprogramming to change. Right wing religious ideology is a very powerful and seductive cult. It's insular, oppositional, and bullying. As a result, it is difficult for adherents to see the humanity in their "enemies," and they don't want to become victims themselves.

  •  Religion fosters distrust of others (0+ / 0-)

    In order to get people to depend on the religion to support them.

    It drives a wedge between men and women, for instance, by telling everyone that men should rule over  women, making the women not trust the men and the men think they should be able to force their ideas and bodies on women.

    It casts disdain on the premise of equality for all, instead promoting hierarchy, leading to distrust of those "above" and "below" by making everyone think they have to try to climb "up," or don't deserve to be "above" anyone.

    Women create the entire labor force.
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 11:05:12 AM PDT

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