Tuesday, November 14, 2017

another gentle irony alert from authors published at Slate, on how in the era of Trump liberals are described as less likely to believe in lies when Slate contributors seemed pretty sure Trump couldn't possibly win

In light of pieces previously published at Slate such as
Donald Trump Could Have Been President
Let’s never forget what a terrifying thing we almost did.
 
Donald Trump is never going to be the president of the United States. As we sit and digest each successive leak of damaging material, each un-endorsement, each Trump threat to attack Hillary Clinton in the most personal terms imaginable, the fact remains that Trump has almost surely destroyed his chance of ever becoming the most powerful man on Earth. The discussion will now slowly shift to Republican hopes of shoring up down-ballot races and (just wait) the creation of Trump TV. But we cannot and should not forget: A couple days ago it was still fathomable that America could have voted into office the biggest threat to the country in decades.
 
previously mentioned here
 
There's something pitiably charming about a piece like this, in which a Slate author has an article leading with the headline that proposes why it is conservatives are more likely to believe in lies than liberals.
 
 
 
 
...
Although Freud is out of favor with many contemporary psychologists, modern cognitive psychology suggests that he was on the right track. The tenacity of many of the right’s beliefs in the face of evidence, rational arguments, and common sense suggest that these beliefs are not merely alternate interpretations of facts but are instead illusions rooted in unconscious wishes.
 
 
This is a very human thing to do. As popular writers such as Daniel Kahneman, Cass Sunstein, and Richard Thaler have pointed out, we often use shortcuts when we reason, shortcuts that enable us to make decisions quickly and with little expenditure of mental energy. But they also often lead us astray—we underestimate the risks of events that unfold slowly and whose consequences are felt only over the long term (think global warming) and overestimate the likelihood of events that unfold rapidly and have immediate consequences (think terrorist attacks).
 
 
Our reasoning is also influenced (motivated, psychologists would say) by our emotions and instincts. This manifests in all kinds of ways: We need to maintain a positive self-image, to stave off anxiety and guilt, and to preserve social relationships. We also seek to maintain consistency in our beliefs, meaning that when people simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values,
 
Twenty years ago when Bill Clinton was facing things like an impeachment process and allegations of sexual misconduct one of the arguments made in his favor was that how a man behaves as a private citizen should have no immediate bearing on consideration of whether he is fit for political office.  When people ask, almost always rhetorically, how conservatives got to a point where they were willing to endorse and vote for Trump despite his history with women the answer may turn out to be that red state voters just decided that they wanted a Bill Clinton of their own, what's good for the goose could be good for the gander.  It doesn't make either side "right" but the turnabout-is-fair-play gambit doesn't seem that hard to understand.  It just means that what I've been suggesting here about how the red state and blue state civic religions are ultimately observably the same cynical power-hungry realpolitik might be at least partly correct.
 
I still think that Trump and Clinton securing the nominations was an irremediable disaster for the United States but I've also seen how for the partisans who committed to those two candidates there's probably no point in attempting to reason with those teams. 

No comments: