We May Be Doomed No Matter What
When people place an ideology or person above their self-interest, and prize dogma more than fact, then they have essentially joined a religious cult and are therefore beyond reasonable thinking. Is there any doubt that the Fox News faithful, much of the Big Media, many of the Teabaggers, and the Republican Party have now devolved to this point?
“The same idiots who have been seduced by cigarette-money-sized tax cuts for themselves, used to justify a massive slashing of the burden once carried by the rich, are now bitching as government services implode. The New York Times is reporting that citizens of Arizona one of the most regressive states in the union are now unhappy because their highway rest stops have been eliminated due to the states fiscal crisis. I just want to grab these people and shake them by the shoulders, politely suggesting to them that next time they have to pull over in the desert sands between Tucson and Phoenix and squat by the side of the road, they might want to give a thought or two to all the money they pissed away in another desert, this one in Mesopotamia. Likewise, people are now also starting to whine about schools closing and prisoners being released from jail, also because of budget slashing. And I just want to ask those bright folks whether they still think all those tax cuts for the already outrageously wealthy plutocracy were such a good idea in retrospect, after all.
“This is just the tip of the spear. American government is in the process of imploding, and it wont be long until the pathetically minuscule social safety net that we have will be shredded as well. Stupid voters who turn to the Republican Party in the next two election cycles will be outraged at the GOP if it does what it says it will do and slashes social spending. And, of course, they will be equally outraged if the Republicans dont. It just doesnt seem to occur to these folks that you have to pay for government services. And why should it, really? The GOP have been selling the magic of free government since Ronald Reagan brought voodoo economics to the national stage in 1980, nearly quadrupling the national debt in the process.”
— David Alan Green, “To Hell in a Handbasket,” CommonDreams.org, March 7, 2010.
“Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration’s prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation — the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration’s claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.
“A similar ‘backfire effect’ also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue.
” Nyhan, a PhD student at Duke University, and Reifler, at Georgia State University, suggest that Republicans might be especially prone to the backfire effect because conservatives may have more rigid views than liberals: Upon hearing a refutation, conservatives might ‘argue back’ against the refutation in their minds, thereby strengthening their belief in the misinformation. Nyhan and Reifler did not see the same ‘backfire effect’ when liberals were given misinformation and a refutation about the Bush administration’s stance on stem cell research.”
— Shankar Vendatam, “The Power of Political Misinformation,” Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2008.