Burnard: Mining the minds of the fearful and uninformedWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
An interesting study made news lately that found that persons of lower general intelligence and who had lower cognitive abilities were less tolerant to groups that were different than them, and more susceptible to right-wing ideologies of prejudice, intolerance and racism.
This study was done adjusting for socioeconomic and educational backgrounds in both the U.K. and the U.S. by Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri of Brock University in Canada and was reported by the Association for Psychological Science. The article was titled “Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact.” This shines a light for me anyhow, on how so many voters who don’t seem to have much going for them on the economic front can be continually persuaded to vote against their own best interests. This doesn’t mean, of course, that all conservatives are stupid, or conversely, that all liberals are smart. And before you go off on the tirades that I’m sure are to follow this last paragraph, read the study. It is very well documented and takes into account most, if not all, factors that could have slanted such a study. It also helps to explain a lot of the character assassination and loopy factoids that seem to be readily believed by the guys and gals that wear the three cornered hats and carry the signs at rallies, and that carry the unread Constitutions in their pockets. The conservative dogma appeals to them because of its rigid adherence to the status quo and resistance to change and open-mindedness and tolerance of others. Conservative hucksters like Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, the Koch Brothers, Rush, Glenn and myriad Fox News talking heads have figured out how to mine the minds of these people who don’t care to or don’t have the wherewithal to find out the truth for themselves. They sell fear, of those unlike themselves, of change, and a medicine show flummery that if only the conservatives can take total control, they will be safe. Mitch Daniels gave a prime example in his GOP answer to the State of the Union address, when he said we are a nation of Haves and Soon to Haves. After 40 years of a growing disparity between the rich elite 1 percent and the rest of us, how could anyone believe that the rest of us are Soon to Haves? The GOP and their enablers have buffaloed a sizable portion of the population into believing that they’re looking out for your best interests, because your interests are the same as theirs! It hasn’t worked ever before in the history of this country, or in the world, for that matter, and it won’t work now.
Fortunately, this cognitive dissonance is not represented by a majority of the population in this country. The GOP has been overstepping in much of the country since their resurgence, under false pretenses, I might add, and has been playing a dangerous game politically, trying to keep all the balls in the air. They aren’t up to the task, as evident by their slate of presidential candidates. They’ve used the usual sleight of hand to push an agenda that bears no resemblance to the issues they ran on in 2010, and managed to honk off a lot of people, including a lot of their supporters in a ham-handed grab for power. David Frum, the Bushie who first coined the phrase Axis of Evil, said in a piece in the NY Times: “Backed by their own wing of the book publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.” Mike Lofgren, a former GOP Senate staffer and operative for 28 years also has been sounding the alarm. He said, “It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological, authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.” Like, fascism maybe? And these guys are both long-time GOP operatives, not some commie liberal bloggers. If they’re worried, don’t you think we all should be? The thing that worries me the most though is that the Democrats and independents who are worried and mad won’t bother to vote. Apathy could very well be the last gasp of democracy in this country before wealth takes total control.
Vote. No matter how bad you think things are now, they could be infinitely worse.
Tags: David Frum, Don Burnard, Gordon Hodson, intelligence, Michael A. Busseri, Mike Lofgren, racism, Republican Party, The Hot Corner, “Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact”