Doubling Down

I have often been frustrated by the willful ignorance and obstructionism of conservatives. I can understand defending one's point of view. I can even understand becoming emotionally invested in it. But I can't understand people, especially politicians, who are elected to serve this nation and it's people, who will lie as a method of simply winning.

Why don't these people reconsider their positions when presented with clear evidence that they are wrong?

Some of it has to do with the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. We've all met them. People who are convinced that they are surrounded by a world full of idiots, or the lazy, or the immoral. But that doesn't answer everything. People have a comfort zone, and change of any kind annoys some, and terrifies others. But that's still not the whole answer.

I'm going to posit a very loose theory attached to an example. People who believe in, say, proclamations of doomsday prophecy, instead of rejecting those notions when the day never comes, often dive deeper into those beliefs. Why is that?

Certainly, the Dunning-Kruger effect is one answer, but another lies in power relationships. When people are presented with evidence that suggests they have lost the game, what options do they have? They can reconsider, repent, and change to the winning side, effectively negating their previous existence--a total loss of power. Or, they can begin creating conditions in which the game is not over, the rules have changed, and/or the game might be subverted. I use the term "create" because that's what it is, a fiction crafted of the mind to protect one's power.

When it looks like there are no moves left on the chessboard, what is the only move left? You kick over the table. Or, you create a third dimension of movement  for pieces. Or, you challenge the legitimacy of your opponent's moves (facts).

Because of the postmodern age's focus on "relativistic truth', this seems like a fair and very effective maneuver to some. The losing party can remain alive forever in a constant stream of subversion, which, unfortunately, guarantees the halt of any possible progress.

They lie. They know they're lying. They know that we know they're lying. They don't care. I find this morally reprehensible.

1 comment:

Joe Pereira said...

Great post Michael - you described perfectly conservative politicians attitudes,but you could just as well have been referring to the Intelligent Design proclaimers and god followers. Very interesting stuff :)