Home > Political Ranting > How We Process What We Believe

How We Process What We Believe

October 7th, 2013
Have you noticed that liberals generally check to see if the latest news story about Republicans is actually satire, while conservatives tend not to check if the latest satire about Obama and Democrats is really news? Conservatives have been become so extreme, so breathtakingly bizarre in their actions, so ludicrously hypocritical in their statements, that it is hard to even do satire about them anymore. If you try, someone will quickly link to a news story where they actually did that thing. And they are so desperate to believe that Obama and liberals are corrupt and evil, so trusting of extremist political sources, that they will generally believe even the most laughably impossible claims about the left. Really, do you think more than a few nutty liberals would believe that Mitt Romney introduced death panels in his healthcare program in Massachusetts? That if the government shut down under Bush, that he would have had helicopters cover Mount Rushmore with a giant sheet? That a Republican president would actually have the FCC classify MSNBC as “satire” rather than a “news” source? 47% of Republicans believe that Obamacare “death panels” are true. 49% of Republicans believe that ACORN stole the 2012 election for Obama, despite the fact that ACORN shut down in 2010. Various polls show Republicans ranging between 25 and 65% believing Obama was not born in the U.S. 29% of Louisiana Republicans said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response. More than 85% of Alabama and Mississippi Republicans believe that Obama could be a Muslim—but the good news is that only 55 to 65% think that he is a Muslim. A lot of this comes down to critical thinking skills, and how willing you are to be honest about your own political bias. This is not to say that all liberals are smart or honest and all conservatives are dumb or obstinate—but the tendencies definitely seem to break that way. I had a conservative coworker once who, when asked, said that he honestly believed that the programming on the Fox News channel was not politically slanted. The question was not whether he believed what they were saying, but rather whether there was any political bias. He very honestly and steadfastly professed his belief that they presented information accurately. Now, I like watching shows like Rachel Maddow, and consume media much like that, in addition to more mainstream media outlets (I tend to use the Google News aggregator over any one source). But if you asked me if programs like Maddow or sites like The Huffington Post have a political bias, of course I will recognize that. If I am reading the New York Times or watching CNN, and I see a story praising an Obama program, explaining how Democrats in Congress are responsible, or otherwise stating something not fully objective, I will recognize it as opinion and not “news.” Even if I see something which is apparently factual and objective, I will not assume that I am receiving all the facts about it. When I hear a conservative make a claim I disagree with, I will do a search for the facts instead of simply dismissing or contradicting the statement, just in case I am wrong about my assumption, which happens more often than I like. That is my impression, at least, of how liberal culture tends to process information; we tend to be skeptics, we tend to respect critical thinking and objectivity. We like scientific methods, we are more willing to test our beliefs. Hardly all of us, but it is the tendency, the subcultural trend. It is hard to see how half of all Republicans could believe ACORN stole even a single vote in 2012 if this were the tendency on the conservative side. Their thought processes seem to be much more based in faith, which is considered a highly-respected attribute—and which transfers from their spiritual reflections into their political considerations. Unfortunately, faith in anything political—especially when it reinforces your biases, left or right—is tantamount to utter gullibility.

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  1. kensensei
    October 7th, 2013 at 14:27 | #1

    Great post, Luis.
    The claims coming from the Right (like the one linked below) are so ludicrous, they would be laughable if not so pathetic. Follow the link and scroll down to the fourth post titled: “An impressive list of firsts.”

    http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=18664

    OK, I have heard the claim that Obama was accepted to a university on a foreign student visa before. Who knows, maybe it actually happened. There may be some true accusations in that long list of garbage, but the real question is: “Who the hell cares?!”

    Even if ALL of them had merit (an extremely unlikely assumption given the “unknown source” at the end of the post), are you honestly making a moral comparison between this president and the previous one? Or even a moral comparison between Obama and his 2012 challenger, Mitt Romney?

    C’mon. I mean, you’re obviously joking, right?

    What kind of mentality does it take to draw a parallel between a man who fights for affordable health care and a man who personally profited from a needless, devastating war that caused the deaths of millions of innocent children? Are you really comparing Benghazi to that? Do you truly wanna go there? Are you actually making that comparison? Do I really need to get out a chart, a graph, a ruler, a history book, some kind of evidence to clarify the stupidity of that position?

    And yet, no amount of documentation, evidence or overwhelming logic makes even the slightest dent in their iron-clad belief system of fictitious lies…

    Are you all suffering from mass brain-washing? Maybe there is something in the drinking water… I honestly cannot explain it.

  2. kensensei
    October 7th, 2013 at 14:55 | #2

    One more rant about Benghazi:

    We have all heard the talking point; Obama “lied” about Benghazi by blaming the attack on a youtube video mocking Muslims.

    First of all, there is not such thing as a “lying” assumption. There are “correct” assumptions, and there are “incorrect” assumptions. That is the nature of an assumption; you work with one until it is either proven or disproven. Then you move on from there.

    Second, this is not the first attack on an American embassy. I found 30 (thirty) terrorist attacks on U.S embassies abroad between 1979 and the present; most notable the one in Kenya in 1998 under Bill Clinton’s watch. Where was the Right Wing finger-pointing machine when that attack took place? (In those days, an embassy was a universal sense of loss, not a means of political leverage.) Now we lose four in Benghazi and it’s time for a presidential impeachment.

    Impeachment? Seriously? Is that the best argument out there? A military accident? Hell, Bush killed at least that many American’s on his first day in Iraq…

    Third, we can all look back and wish we had had more security on that day. It was probably bad judgement on the president’s part. Regrettably, presidents are human, and humans make mistakes. But the real cause of increased int’l terrorism lies not with Obama, but with reckless leaders who exacerbate terrorism with wars based on cherry-picked facts and a general ignorance of the Muslim world.

    In short, U.S embassies represent a effigy for terrorists to tear down, but this is not the image Obama himself created. That image was created by leaders with poor judgment and short-sighted vision of the world. Let’s put the real blame for growing int’l terrorism where it is due: on those who projected that evil image of America in the eyes of Islamic terrorists.

    This was not Obama’s war. But he has inherited it along with massive debt, unemployment and a Congress that refuses to do anything about any of them.

  3. kensensei
    October 7th, 2013 at 14:56 | #3

    Link to support above rant on 30 U.S embassy attacks:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_on_diplomatic_missions

  4. Troy
    October 7th, 2013 at 15:35 | #4

    and all conservatives are dumb or obstinate—but the tendencies definitely seem to break that way.

    “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.” — JS Mill

    Plus you can fool “some of the people all of the time”.

    case in point with the fpp, my mom thinks Obama is a crypto muslim and one degree away from the antichrist.

    She forwarded me this:

    http://nationalreport.net/obama-uses-money-open-muslim-museum-amid-government-shutdown/

    and my first thought was, OK, who is “National Report”.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/fox-news-mistakenly-airs-parody-of-obama-offering-to-personally-fund-muslim-museum-233837793.html

    Epimestic closure indeed. If the US emerges with a weaker political balance after the current crisis, I don’t have much more faith in this place.

    The nuts are taking over the asylum and maybe the current crisis will get a helluva lot worse before it gets any better, too.

    Like Japan, the bottom line is that taxes have to double in this country, and last thing the 1% wants is that to come to pass, because they’d be on the hook for at least 20% of that tax burden, since they make 20% of the income.

    PPACA had a 3.8% tax that hit investment income like Romney’s. The pain! And that’s only a down payment . . . another 40% is in the cards (pushing Romney’s marginal tax burden to Sweden levels) if we don’t get our economic act together.

  5. Luis
    October 7th, 2013 at 16:54 | #5

    Ken:

    More to the point is Reagan in Lebanon in 1983. Even then, we knew that the Marines had no real mission, but Reagan kept them there because he was afraid of looking bad–we don’t “cut and run” was the idea. So our Marines were told to sit at an airport, a huge bull’s eye for a bombing attack.

    We later discovered that Caspar Weinberger had virtually begged Reagan to either pull them out, or at least put them in a more defensible position. Reagan declined, leading to the worst slaughter of U.S. Marines since Iwo Jima.

    So, what happened instead? The Marines died, and Reagan pulled a despicable act to save his sorry political ass. This was the event that actually awakened me politically. When reporters pointed out that Reagan had kept the Marines there senselessly, Reagan used the honor of the fallen men as a human shield. He browbeat a reporter for, as Reagan painted it, suggesting that the Marines died in vain–the same sniveling, cowardly, chicken-shit piss-ant dodge used by Dubya countless times, use the honor of fallen servicemen to cover your stupid political ass when your political agenda and cowardice put those men’s lives in danger in the first place. No more contemptibly gutless subterfuge than that can be imagined. However, it worked; Reagan escaped most blame, reports suddenly unwilling to face being blamed for disrespecting fallen soldiers.

    A few days later, Reagan invaded Grenada, without Congressional approval no less. The general consensus is that this was not done to distract media attention away from Lebanon; I will say nothing except that I find it at the very least suspicious that the green light was given after the Lebanon bombings, and that it was not necessary to invade at exactly that time.

    That said, consider the same thing happening with Obama. He sends Marines in on what at first seems like a worthwhile mission in the Middle East, but mission creep sets in, and eventually the Marines are there for no good purpose. Chuck Hagel begs Obama to pull the Marines out or given them a better position. Obama declines, and 241 Marines are killed in a suicide bombing. The next day, Obama deploys troops into Yemen without Congressional approval.

    What would the right wing’s reaction be? It’s pretty clear: their heads would explode, and they would not just threaten impeachment, they would charge full-steam ahead.

    But then, I guess it’s pretty clear by now that they’re raving hypocrites.

  6. Tim Kane
    October 7th, 2013 at 21:54 | #6

    I’m inclined to believe all of this is coming to a head.

    Whenever we get past this current political crisis, the Republican party will effectively be a dead man walking, if not actually dead.

    The Communist/Soviet party went out with a wimper, the Nazis went out with an uber self destructive, bang, complete with scorched earth policies.

    It’s looking like the Republicans are going with the latter.

    They may completely destroy the world’s economy, just to prove that they can, and to make the whole world suffer for them having been defeated. They will not let the collapse of the old confederacy stand alone: they will pump the pain they feel from it into ever living soul. The confederacy can’t come back, but they won’t be happy until every soul has something equivalently to mourn.

    But unless they establish one party dictatorship rule in the very short term, events are going to increasingly undermine the Republican brand.

    They have only one policy, concentration of wealth. Back in 1980 there policy might have had some efficacy. But it no longer carries any, as we’ve gone 15 years past the supply side saturation point, with ever more supply side wealth concentration.

    In 2008, global civilization nearly collapsed under the weight of their policies. Now, this time, they might actually achieve that destruction.

    Either way, their brand will be capoot. If we survive in reasonable form, people will now have health insurance and every single lie they told will exposed. In the not to distant future, being called a Republican will be equivalent to being called a doofus, a fool, a chump.

    I believe the country will go the way of California. Excessive republicanism devastated their economy. Now the Republicans there are a rump party. Politically, they are no more. California is on a very liberal track and they are recovering along with it. They are raising the minimum wage, they are working towards single payer, Vermont style, they have raised taxes and now have a revenue surplus and are investing in education and infrastructure. As California goes, so goes the country. There is no future there for the Republican party.

    With the exeception of Texas which is turning purple, and perhaps Florida, I’m sure the confederate states will keep themselves in a banana republic type of status. Businesses will thrive elsewhere and people will leave for better lives to live elsewhere, if they are able. The South will go back to being like they were before World War II, a backwards backwater.

    My prediction was that the Republicans would last in their current form until 2020, which would be the last unrepentant conservative election. Then they’d finally change to keep up with the demographic reality. I don’t think they’ll make it that long.

    Six weeks from now is going to be a totally new era. Even if we all and they survive, even if they back down from destroying everything, they’re brand will be permanently broken. They may still get some decent press, as if nothing has happened, if for no other reason than because they own the press and can buy the reports – most of the media darlings are in the 1% elite. They’ll get some votes because as Troy says, you can fool some of the people (between 23% and 33% it seems) all of the time. There are still many who emotively can’t cognitize the fact that they are already Democrats. For some Germans, it took their country being in a smoldering ruin, divided and occupied by their enemies and tens of millions dead for them to emotively embrace a left of center existence. They’re lucky that 70% of their country was occupied by New Dealist armies which made their current comfortable existence possible.

    But, we’ve obviously moved into the twilight of the movement conservative era, finally if for no other reason than their policies are totally inefficacious and it looks to be an ugly twilight, but twilight nonetheless. Their policies, that they insist upon, simply can’t work anymore. Not for ten minutes. It has to go bye bye. In the mean time, God, or whatever you may rely upon in the substitute for a deity, help us.

  7. Troy
    October 8th, 2013 at 05:45 | #7

    Third, we can all look back and wish we had had more security on that day. It was probably bad judgement on the president’s part. Regrettably, presidents are human, and humans make mistakes.

    This is the point of “Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi”.

    Get the administration playing defense. Every minute they have to defend their actions wrt what happened in Benghazi is a minute that the Democratic agenda isn’t being advanced.

    It wasn’t the embassy that got hit, it was a small consulate compound 600 miles away.

    This is not to say that egregious lapses or idiocy wasn’t present, but there are rational reasons things evolved like they did.

    Even Les Aspin had rational reasons for not allowing more armor for our new military ground presence in Somalia in 1993.

    I’m not even willing to admit mistakes were made with Benghazi. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to retrieve situations, even with a $1T+ national security apparatus behind you. The other side always gets a response too, unless we kill them all.

  8. kensensei
    October 8th, 2013 at 08:32 | #8

    California is on a very liberal track and … are working towards single payer, Vermont style…

    Is this true? I live in California and haven’t heard of this. That would be a real blessing to most Californians, and even better if the rest of the country followed suit.

    Please post a link that indicates a plan to move towards single payer health care.

    –kensensei

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