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The dangerous toll of entrenched belief

By Ad astra

The world is redolent with danger. Even small children know the dangers in their playground: he knows he can fall from the monkey bars; she knows she can be injured by the seesaw if it gyrates unexpectedly. Every bulletin of news reminds us of dangers: on the road, at the seaside, on the ocean, at the workplace, even in the home. We can’t escape the reality that there are dangers everywhere. Aware of many of them, we are cautious. Yet how many of us are conscious of the powerful, and at times the lethal danger of entrenched belief? In my opinion, entrenched belief tops a forbidding list of existential threats to the social health of our society.

I won’t attempt an explanation of this phenomenon here. Instead, I refer you to a rather long piece published by TPS on 16 December 2017 titled We need to understand entrenched belief, which spells it out in detail.

Entrenched belief has been illustrated starkly by reactions to the results of the recent election for President of the US. Here are some samples, drawn from an opinion piece by Dean Obeidallah in CNN titled Why Republicans still refuse to accept Trump’s defeat.

According to one poll, 70% of Republicans say they don’t believe that the 2020 election was free or fair; according to another, 77% of Trump backers say President-elect Joe Biden won because of fraud, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 68% of Republicans said that they were concerned that the 2020 election was ’rigged’ and that only 29% believed that Biden had ‘rightfully won’. More than half of Republications said: ‘Trump “rightfully won” but the election was stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud that favoured Biden.

The Trump-requested recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia have been completed and failed to change the election results. Add to that, Trump’s own notoriously loyal Attorney General Bill Barr announced last week that the Department of Justice had not found election fraud “on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Yet on Saturday, The Washington Post reported that of the 249 Republicans in the House and the Senate, only 27 acknowledged Joe Biden won the election.

More alarmingly, when these same Republicans were asked if they would accept Biden as the “legitimate” winner of the election if (as expected) he’s awarded enough electoral votes to become the next President, only 32 said yes; 215 gave no answer or were non-committal. (One Republican Congressman, Arizona’s Paul A. Gosar, has said he would never accept Biden as the legitimately elected President.)

Obeidallah’s closing comment reads: ”This may be Donald Trump’s most enduring legacy: a nihilistic political culture, one that is tribalistic, distrustful, and sometimes delusional, swimming in conspiracy theories. The result is that Americans are disoriented and frustrated, fearful of and often enraged at one another.”

We agree!

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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10 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    I wonder what the quid pro quo is that encourages most of the MSM and all the right wing rags and religious hypocrites such license to spread the half baked conspiracy theories in the first place?

  2. wam

    Until opinions can be questioned, until slogans can be challenged, until religious beliefs are open, lies will be perpetuated as beliefs.
    I have no problem believing the rabbott reads no climate science or history because it might challenge his beliefs consequently aides like credlin read all reports and filtered out anything she thinks he doesn’t want to hear.
    For the rabbott and scummo prime ministerial experiences, their religious beliefs are the overarching influence on all decisions.
    Religious freedom hides with effort, favours with exposure and discriminates without discovery.
    Time to question beliefs.
    ps
    I believe the rabbott went to a lionel logue clone to learn to speak.
    pps
    pierre, the msm know there is sales and advertising revenue in bashing labor and believable lies.

  3. Andrew Smith

    Underpinned by both radical right libertarians using white nationalism i.e. the great replacement theory, to spook ‘white’ people into voting the right way for power, while endeavouring to also suppress potential threat of increasingly diverse centre to left voters who e.g. see a role for government, regulations, social services etc. funded by taxes.

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    The analysis presented here by Karen Kyle and Andrew Smith are absolutely spot on. It is the demographic change in America, the changing colours and different hues visible everywhere, in the streets, in the shopping centers, in the workplace, in the seats of government, in the bureacracy and the military, that is at the core of this white supremicist’s dislike of democracy and its values. To the dismay of these frightened people, clinging to their bigotry with religious fervour, which is code for white is the ruling class and everything else has to be suppressed or at their most generous, to be tolerated, but never to be acknowledged as equal or worthy of respect. The right wing media, with the connivance of the white religious leaders, have an unspoken alliance to repel and defeat any changing of the norms of society that they have lived with since the end of the civil war. Trump recognized this a long time ago, harnessed it and continues to nurture it. Is it any wonder that 72m voted for him and still support him. The republican party are scared shitless, and like cowards, choose not to lead but to follow the mob. So much for American democracy

  5. Ng kid jui

    Ah well, all the white people of the USA have to remember is USA is not really belong to white people, they belong to coloured native Americans!

  6. Kronomex

    It’s going to be interesting to see if the The Donald goes on a monumental sulk and\or melts the glass on his mobile twitterating (no such word but who cares) in a blind rage after the Texas farce was thrown out of the Supreme Court. I will be surprised if he doesn’t unload on Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett (who he thought were going to be grateful and compliant, very compliant) whose decision to put the country and constitution ahead of pleasing a narcissistic monster of a man-child who is terrified of being a “loser.”

  7. DrakeN

    Kronomex, the drumph and his family and associates are probably more afraid of being kept in preventative isolation while doing their time in prison.
    That, and the inevitable bankrupcy cases and demands for payment of debts and promises.

  8. Andrew Smith

    Intereresting comment from article:

    ‘“The Republican Party has adopted an attitude that if democracy helps them be in power, then, fine, they’re for democracy. If it blocks them from being in power, they’re against democracy,” said Stevens, whose book about the president’s takeover of the GOP is titled “It Was All a Lie.” “I don’t even think it’s that they are afraid of Trump. I think it’s that they think that this is going to further their ambitions.”

    That’s similar to what IPA almnus Ms. Downer said about one of the conservative’s big issues and events, gay marriage and plebiscite. Paraphrasing: If the vote is no then we must all go forward, if yes, then we need to discuss more…..

    What a surprise, similar tactics and/or paranoia about democracy and elections.

  9. Henry Rodrigues

    AdAstra…… Though I agree with the thrust of the article, in my mind, Trump is following the mob, those +72m who voted for him and who now vociferously insist he won. He knows where his strength is, it is with the mob and so he now sits back and watches with unbridled glee as they become his foot soldiers in overturning democracy. The Republicans have no morals or commitment to democracy either. As long as they are on the winning side, they believe in the constitution, otherwise it was all a big fraud.
    From a personal perspective, I have no respect for American democracy, because now, it is no better than the prevailing systems in ‘banana republics’ or African dictatorships or states where strongmen install themselves as presidents for life, or states where religious leaders claim divine approval to perpetuate tyranny.

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