Friday, September 12, 2008

Consider this...

"...Consider these facts. The right wing says it cares about groups, rather than individuals; and yet it favors the most rampant form of 'dog-eat-dog' capitalism. The left wing is suspicious of markets and wants to even the playing field across citizens. The right wing claims that its positions will reduce crime and strengthen the families. Yet it is the most left wing states that have the lowest crime rate and the strongest, most stable marriages. Happiness ratings are highest in the socialist societies, while lowest in right wing authoritarian societies. This list could be extended.

Why, then, do right wing partisans ignore this evidence and continue to support policies that are patently dysfunctional? I believe it is because, having stated a position, based on either their own family values or those dictated by their religion, they are loathe to change their minds and declare that they have been wrong. And so, following Festinger, the disconfirming evidence causes them (or at least many of them) to dig in their heels more deeply.

Another element operates as well. Right wing positions are more frequently associated with Protestant evangelicals and with traditional (Reagan) Catholics. Often the leaders of these groups (e.g. television evangelists, sinning priests) epitomize the opposite of the stated values. But both of these groups embrace forgiveness, absolution, being born again. Other groups—atheists, non-fundamentalist Jews and non-fundamentalist Protestants—do not have the option of absolution; they make firmer demands on themselves and are oppressed by their superegos. Note the 'pass' that non-combatants Bush and Cheney received, in comparison to Gore and Kerry who volunteered to serve during the Vietnam War. Note the forgiving attitude toward to Sarah Palin, with her sinning family, which would never be afforded a comparable Democrat. "What we profess is important—not what we have done"."

Howard Gardner


Charles Gramlich said...

I've thought about this quite a bit and I think there is definitely something to the "forgiveness" angle. But only forgive you're own, not another. It' always seemed vaguely seedy to me.

Rosie said...

It's so depressing everyday to see the Republicans deify Sarah Palin. Is it because she's a woman, we don't find anything wrong with choices she has made personally and politically that she's not called to account for them? Is the Republican media campaign is THAT much better?

Ms. Palin comes across as souless, heartless and disconnected.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

The greatest driving force is fear and fear has become socially conditioned. Until we see beyond our fear we will always make "blinkered" decisions.