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Fri Nov 27, 2020, 12:37 AM

from George Lakoff, Nov. 27, 2018

Fear. It's the emotion at the heart of Trump and the GOP. Fear of immigrants. Fear of people of color. Fear of equality for women and LGBT people. Fear of religions other than Christianity. Fear of non-existent conspiracies. Fear of the media. Fear of social progress. Ever wonder why?

Republicans understand that fear activates conservative attitudes in the brain. So, they stoke fear.

John Bargh is a hero of mine and he wrote this in the Washington Post:

"Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.
Until we did."

I encourage you to read this piece and discuss it with your friends and family. We all need to be aware of how fear is being used to manipulate our politics. And what is the antidote to fear? How do we counteract the politics of fear in challenging and dark times?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../at-yale-we.../...

UPDATE: For those who aren't Post subscribers or can't access the link, here's a direct link to the study: http://theramshuddle.com/.../yale-study-turning.../...

'At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results say a lot about our political divisions.

When my daughter was growing up, she often wanted to rush off to do fun things with her friends — get into the water at the beach, ride off on her bike — without taking the proper safety precautions first. I’d have to stop her in her tracks to first put on the sunscreen, or her bike helmet and knee pads, with her standing there impatiently. “Safety first, fun second,” was my mantra.

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm is perhaps our strongest human motivation, deeply embedded in our very DNA. It is so deep and important that it influences much of what we think and do, maybe more than we might expect. For example, over a decade now of research in political psychology consistently shows that how physically threatened or fearful a person feels is a key factor — although clearly not the only one — in whether he or she holds conservative or liberal attitudes.

Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later. Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.

Until we did.

In a new study to appear in a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology, my colleagues Jaime Napier, Julie Huang and Andy Vonasch and I asked 300 U.S. residents in an online survey their opinions on several contemporary issues such as gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration, as well as social change in general. The group was two-thirds female, about three-quarters white, with an average age of 35. Thirty-percent of the participants self-identified as Republican, and the rest as Democrat.

But before they answered the survey questions, we had them engage in an intense imagination exercise. They were asked to close their eyes and richly imagine being visited by a genie who granted them a superpower. For half of our participants, this superpower was to be able to fly, under one’s own power. For the other half, it was to be completely physically safe, invulnerable to any harm.

If they had just imagined being able to fly, their responses to the social attitude survey showed the usual clear difference between Republicans and Democrats — the former endorsed more conservative positions on social issues and were also more resistant to social change in general.

But if they had instead just imagined being completely physically safe, the Republicans became significantly more liberal — their positions on social attitudes were much more like the Democratic respondents. And on the issue of social change in general, the Republicans’ attitudes were now indistinguishable from the Democrats. Imagining being completely safe from physical harm had done what no experiment had done before — it had turned conservatives into liberals.

In both instances, we had manipulated a deeper underlying reason for political attitudes, the strength of the basic motivation of safety and survival. The boiling water of our social and political attitudes, it seems, can be turned up or down by changing how physically safe we feel.'>>>

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/22/at-yale-we-conducted-an-experiment-to-turn-conservatives-into-liberals-the-results-say-a-lot-about-our-political-divisions/?

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Reply from George Lakoff, Nov. 27, 2018 (Original post)
elleng Nov 27 OP
yonder Nov 27 #1
elleng Nov 27 #2
ms liberty Nov 27 #3
appalachiablue Nov 27 #4
elleng Nov 27 #5
Nitram Nov 27 #6
rurallib Nov 27 #7
Nitram Nov 27 #8

Response to elleng (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 12:48 AM

1. Thanks. I'll read anything from George Lakoff.

Bookmarked for later.

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Response to yonder (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 12:59 AM

2. Ditto

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Response to yonder (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 07:02 AM

3. +1 - We all should! n/t

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 08:17 AM

4. Four Freedoms Speech, FDR, Jan. 6, 1941.

The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:

Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear

Roosevelt delivered his speech 11 months before the surprise Japanese attack on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that caused the United States to declare war on Japan, December 8, 1941. The State of the Union speech before Congress was largely about the national security of the United States and the threat to other democracies from world war that was being waged across the continents in the eastern hemisphere. In the speech, he made a break with the tradition of United States non-interventionism that had long been held in the United States. He outlined the U.S. role in helping allies already engaged in warfare.

In that context, he summarized the values of democracy behind the bipartisan consensus on international involvement that existed at the time. A famous quote from the speech prefaces those values: "As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone." In the second half of the speech, he lists the benefits of democracy, which include economic opportunity, employment, social security, and the promise of "adequate health care".

The first two freedoms, of speech and religion, are protected by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional Constitutional values protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Roosevelt endorsed a broader human right to economic security and anticipated what would become known decades later as the "human security" paradigm in social science and economic development.

He also included the "freedom from fear" against national aggression and took it to the new United Nations he was setting up...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 12:23 PM

5. Thanks for this, a'blue.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 12:53 PM

6. The role of Fear in the conservative way of thinking, and the conservative strategy for winning

elections, has been clear for decades. I might date its inception from Nixon's presidency, and the use of hysterical fear of race and of communism to divide the nation and win votes. Reagan and Dubya carried the baton and furthered the strategy to great effect. Trump was the logical and inevitable next step in this progression (or should I say "degeneration".

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Response to Nitram (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 07:44 PM

7. I would say it long predates Nixon

there was plenty of use of race hate and of communism in the 20s.
Nixon helped consolidate it all under the Republican brand with his own whipping up of hate for communism and his Southern strategy.

Having the religious right join the fun in the 70s and 80s were just the right ingredients for the whole menu of fears from before birth to way beyond the grave.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 27, 2020, 09:42 PM

8. True, anti-immigrant, anti-Jew, and purely racist issue were certainly used earlier. But I think it

become a great deal more powerful with the advent of TV and then the internet.

It is interesting that the abortion issue was invented solely to serve as a wedge issue when the GOP needed evangelical votes..

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