Saturday, May 23, 2009

Does Ignorance Breed The Kind Of Weak Mind That Easily Falls Prey To Right Wing Demagoguery?


In this morning's NY Times Charles Blow cites a great many statistics to show why people in the Northeast aren't taken in by the right-wing's siren songs any longer-- and why the GOP now has a minor and shrinking presence in that region. He asserts that "Northeasterners are not so easily duped. Voters there tend to be wealthier, better educated, less religious and more progressive than those in other regions."

Of course there's a correlation between all of these factors-- better educated people tend to be less superstitious, more successful financially, more open to new ideas, etc. College graduates, for example, tend to make more money and are far less likely to allow their lives to be driven by primordial fears and primitive religious dogma. They are less likely to take Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Sean Hannity seriously and less likely to vote for a political party whose philosophy starts and ends with selfishness and greed.

Across the country, 27.5% of Americans have graduated from four year colleges. Let's compare the half dozen states with the smallest percentage of college graduates with the half dozen states with the greatest percentage-- in terms of how they voted in the 2008 presidential election. (The final figure, in the parenthesis is the median household income of each state.)

West Virginia- 17.3% McCain-56%/Obama- 43% ($35,059)
Mississippi- 18.9% McCain-56%/Obama- 43% ($34,473)
Arkansas- 19.3% McCain-59%/Obama- 39% ($36,599)
Kentucky- 20.0% McCain-58%/Obama- 41% ($39,372)
Louisiana- 20.4% McCain-59%/Obama- 40% (39,337)
Alabama- 21.4% McCain-61%/Obama- 39% ($38,783)

Massachusetts- 37.9% Obama- 62%/McCain- 36% ($59,963)
Maryland- 35.2% Obama- 62%/McCain- 37% (65,144)
Colorado- 35.0% Obama- 54%/McCain- 45% ($52,015)
Connecticut- 34.7% Obama- 61%/McCain- 38% ($63,422)
New Jersey- 33.9% Obama- 57%/McCain- 42% ($64,470)
Vermont- 33.6% Obama- 68%/McCain- 31% ($47,665)

This morning's Washington Post reports that Colin Powell, probably the most admired living man still claiming to be a Republican-- who is being driven out of the GOP by the likes of detested and divisive political figures like Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh-- will be answering his narrow-minded, extremist critics tomorrow morning on Face The Nation. Not all Republicans agree with Limbaugh and Cheney that mainstream conservatives like Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Wayne Gilchrest and Colin Powell should be "cleansed" from the GOP to make way for some kind of small, narrow, regionally-based party that considers itself "pure" but can only win in states with populations who get all their information from Fox, from Hate Talk radio or from the Buy Bull and where few people are educated or living a middle class lifestyle. Even an extreme right-winger like South Dakota's John Thune is starting to worry. Powell, he told the Times is "one of the greatest leaders of our generation, and he is at heart a Republican." I guess that means Thune's going to have to do penance in front of a Limbaugh alter next week.

UPDATE: So What Do We Do About It?

Morgaine Swann sent me a more clinical-- and more facsinating-- look at this, Attention Liberals: There's No Reasoning With A Reptile. And she isn't referring to Republicans are snakes and lizards, any more than the rest of us. Like many of us, she's looking for an answer. Understanding the problems-- in this case, the way the brain functions-- is a crucial first step.
We need to move Left in this country. We need single payer health insurance, but its proponents are not even allowed a seat at the table. We have evidence of war crimes but it looks as if this administration won't pursue legal redress even though failing to do so violates national and international law. Billions of dollars are still being funneled to private interests with no benefit to the taxpayer. People are still denying the right to marry to an entire segment of the population based on the incorrect assumption that marriage has anything to do with monotheist religion. Women's bodies are still subject to control by the state. It's time for us to live up to the Jeffersonian ideal.

Now, the problem we face is this: How do you pull a majority of the population into a higher level of moral and ethical development? Reason won't work with someone stuck at Level 2. They don't have critical thinking skills and they aren't open concepts or cultures in conflict with the one they're born into. Now that the Republican party is facing its own loss of power and prestige, a threat to its survival, they have completely regressed to Level 1 functioning. Reptiles lack empathy, logic, and are based in rage and fear. It's no coincidence that I just described Dick Cheney's recent media blitz, telling us all we're going to die if we don't torture people in violation of international law even though torture doesn't work.

There is also the additional problem that the leaders of the Right have financial interests in keeping the status quo, and they understand these levels of functioning. They are extremely adept at manipulating people with good intentions but poor educations. The only solution I see to moving us Leftward is education, but we know our schools aren't up to the task right now and we can't wait several generations for change. The only way to reach most people is through the popular media. Short of strapping everyone down and making them watch Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, I don't know how we reach them. I only know that it has to be done.

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At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like Colin Powell so much, why doesn't your party take him? He's a fucking commy socialist anyway.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous dt said...

Join us, Colin - leave the American Taliban!

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Search for "The Authoritarians" by Bob Altmeyer, a university professor who researched exactly how people become Republicans. It is free online in PDF format. You'll have all of the answers and more.

Seriously -- read even just the opening if you're not convinced. The matter has been looked into and completely explained, but Bob's obviously got a hard time getting the word out. (Not affiliated, just a fan)

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...


Powell's no great catch.

His history suggests he's no more or less than any other ambitious army officer. His loyalties aren't to the Country but to the Corps.

He apparently knew the truth about the pretexts for the invasion oand conquest of Iraq and, instead of resigning in protest, as any normally honorable person might have done, he stuck to the Regime.

Y'all guys, you pukes, do with him whacha wanna, "we" don't need 'im; we got our own lying, asshole opportunistic fucknozzles...

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Jacqrat said...

As evidenced by our first commenter to this thread, "YES".

This has been another installment of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Celestite said...

The Paranoid Press does not appeal to people who question and analyze.
Or even recognize contradictions from paragraph to paragraph.
Why do you think some of those southern governors don't want to spend a dime on education? They LIKE being the king of a backward fiefdom.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Pug said...

If you like Colin Powell so much, why doesn't your party take him? He's a fucking commy socialist anyway.Learn a few epithets to hurl at those you dislike, well hate really, and you don't need any facts or evidence.

Powell should, and will be, welcomed to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party will soon have no one left except hate spewing nuts like the first commenter. Oh yeah, and Southerners who tend to be hate spewing nuts anyway.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

I'm surprised that the republicans don't love Colin Powell. If it wasn't for his lies before the UN, they might never have gotten their beloved war started. And don't forget his attempted cover up of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Powell is republican through and through.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Dameocrat said...

Perhaps these people still have conservative tendencies, since the Democratic party is much more conservative than it was. That is why conservatives like colin Powell and Arlen Specter are being encouraged to join.

We liberals still have no party.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it mildly amusing how ignorant and uneducated most liberals are, especially those that choose to post on these blogs... First and foremost 99% of you have absolutely no knowledge of history, neither US or World history to be specific. Furthermore you are incapable of forming rational thoughts nor are you able to debate on the issues because you know absolutely zero factual information. Liberals only defense is to attempt to demonize the opposing view simply because...again...your view is not based on facts but the majority of the time based on simple unfounded conjecture. Let me give you just a little some don't Google it...actually do some research and get the real again...liberal CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, CNN, etc do not give the facts either...they instead twist everything out of context to meet their idealogical means. A simple look at history will tell you all you need to know, base your research on borders, language and culture and how it has caused nations and societies to fail throughout history...without exception... You see, the USA owes no one in this world an apology, instead we need to, by any means necessary close our borders to all to include removal all all illegal aliens by any means necessary; we need to institute the one language...American other is acceptable or used; and American culture is what is accepted, not the garbage of Islam or any other crap from outside this great nation...only what was here since our founding...and if those who are here legally/citizens do not like it they are free to leave at anytime...however it is a one way ticket... You see it's simple and very concise, there is no need for PC crap, we have no need to please others...this is my nation...I gave 22 years in service to this country and the fascist pricks trying to destroy it will not succeed so long as I am still want to challenge me? Bring it on you POS...

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think that liberals need to understand that this country was founded on the basis of individual liberty. That is each American's birthright.

Every time the government oversteps its constitutional authority, the country suffers.

So, you think that liberals are better thinkers?

Let's start with an easy one -

Cite the section of the US Constitution that empowers the Federal Government to institute any kind of public healthcare.

I contend that the Federal Government has no authority to do that whatsoever. Consequently, the issue should not even arise, if we are at all serious about following the law. If only our elected officials would obey the Constitution, then we'd be a FREE country again.

Weak minded indeed! Go for it, you ad hominem hippies! Try giving a serious, on-point answer to the question.

Also, don't forget that Colin Powell supported Obama; Republicans are right to disown him, just as he disowned the party candidate. I will point out that Democrats did pretty much the same to Joe Lieberman.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why is it that we continue to segregate ourselves into a left or right view. They're both stupid by themselves. The nation is doomed to fall apart if either had their way. But so long as people keep buying this political snake-oil, siding between right or left does about as much good as voting for Coke or Pepsi.
I hate to say it but people in general are just dumb. And its a cultural thing. Weak ideals perpetuate weak minds. Its fucked up that our education is in the shitter, but its perfect for making people more malleable and easier to manipulate. If you keep people operating on the reptilian brain you have a specific type of demographic that operates in predictable patterns. You can pass any argument in this nation so long as that argument caters to audiences ego and entertains their illusionary ideals or values. People like to feel important, and as long as you give something self-affirming that makes them feel involved or threatened they just fall in line like sheep.

I only think this way because I've caught myself victimized to the same tactics.


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