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    • Why I’m Not Worked Up About “Fake News” And Why I Am
      So, there’s a lot of BS about fake news. Trump claims that most stories about him are lies (most of it isn’t, some of it is), the media claims that Russians are spreading fake news (yes, like everyone else) and so on. And, I mean, this is bad. But I find it hard to get […]
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Thursday: Nice Girls (don’t do Trump)

A Thursday rock pick-me-up:

********************************

Hell may have just frozen over. I’m posting something from Fox News.

Voters’ Mood Sours: 56% Say Trump Tearing Country Apart

That shift is not, as is often the case, tied to the economy. Positive views on the economy are higher than in more than a decade: 36 percent say it is in either “excellent” (6 percent) or “good” (30 percent) shape. The last time conditions were rated this positively was August 2004.

The same isn’t true for Trump. His job ratings are increasingly negative — and 56 percent feel Trump’s “tearing the country apart,” versus 33 percent who say he’s “drawing the country together.”

Dang, it’s always that stubborn 33%. Who are these people??

We have the answer. It’s from Bob Altemeyer at the University of Manitoba who spent 40 years doing research on what drives people to support dictators and put obedience to authority above the inner voice of conscience. He wrote a spookily prescient piece about Trump and his supporters in July 2016. It’s a fascinating read. Here are some of the highlights about what a typical Trump supporter might be like:

They are highly ethnocentric, highly inclined to see the world as their in-group versus everyone else. Because they are so committed to their in-group, they are very zealous in its cause. They will trust their leaders no matter what they say, and distrust whomever the leader says to distrust.

They are highly fearful of a dangerous world. Their parents taught them, more than parents usually do, that the world is dangerous. They may also be genetically predisposed to experience stronger fear than people skilled at “keeping their heads while others are losing theirs.”

They are highly self-righteous. They believe they are the “good people” and this unlocks a lot of hostile impulses against those they consider bad.

They are aggressive. Given the chance to attack someone with the approval of an authority, they will lower the boom.

They are highly prejudiced against racial and ethnic minorities, non-heterosexuals, and women in general.

They will support their authorities, and even help them, persecute almost any identifiable group in the country.

Their beliefs are a mass of contradictions. They have highly compartmentalized minds, in which opposite beliefs live independent lives in separate boxes. As a result, their thinking is full of double-standards.

They reason poorly. If they like the conclusion of an argument, they don’t pay much attention to whether the evidence is valid or the argument is consistent. They especially have trouble realizing a conclusion is invalid.

They are highly dogmatic. Because they have mainly gotten their beliefs from the authorities in their lives, rather than think things out for themselves, they have no real defense when facts or events indicate they are wrong. So they just dig in their heels and refuse to change.

They are very dependent on social reinforcement of their beliefs. They think they are right because almost everyone they know and listen to tells them they are. That happens because they screen out sources that will suggest that they are wrong.

Because they severely limit their exposure to different people and ideas, they vastly overestimate the extent to which other people agree with them. And thinking they are “the moral majority” supports their attacks on the “evil minorities” they see in the country.

They believe strongly in group cohesiveness, and being loyal. They are highly energized when surrounded by a crowd of fellow-believers because it makes them feel powerful and supports their belief that “all the good people” agree with them.

They are easily duped by manipulators who pretend to espouse their causes when all the con-artists really want is personal gain.

They are largely blind to themselves. They have little self-understanding and insight into why they think and do what they do. They are heavily into denial.

Altemeyer correctly predicts that it is extremely difficult to change their minds. Challenging their authority figure will only make them dig in their heels.

Go read the whole thing. Then find some xanax.

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