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Thu May 17, 2012, 11:04 AM

Why the Lies keep coming...

I posted this as a reply to another thread but I think it deserves its own thread and hopefully some creative and thoughtful suggestions. Here's the post:

I finished reading "The Republican Brain" and although I found the book incredibly shallow, it did capsulize all the current studies on how conservatives and progressives process information...and it's both frightening and disheartening...and explains why "say anything" and outrageous lies are prominent features of right wing advertising.

Repubs hold onto their beliefs in a defensive posture like they hold onto survival itself...in fact, their beliefs are their survival..sooooo...when confronted by facts, data, science etc., the engage in motivated reasoning and grasp onto anything to protect their beliefs...the "say anything" quotes and downright lies justify their beliefs and allow them to grasp more tightly to their positions.

What Walker is doing is giving them a proverbial "fig leaf" to cover their wrongness of their positions and it will work.

What Mooney's book failed miserably with was giving us a means to counter "the big lie"..just a cursory suggestion or two.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why the Lies keep coming... (Original post)
ewagner May 2012 OP
Jackpine Radical May 2012 #1
ewagner May 2012 #3
Jackpine Radical May 2012 #5
lutefisk May 2012 #2
ewagner May 2012 #4
lutefisk May 2012 #6

Response to ewagner (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2012, 11:15 AM

1. Well, Ed, if you're still in "reading mode," may I suggest a couple of my choices

on "motivated reasoning:"

(Commentaries from Amazon)

1) Drew Westen, The Political Brain

The Political Brain is a groundbreaking investigation into the role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation. For two decades Drew Westen, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University, has explored a theory of the mind that differs substantially from the more "dispassionate" notions held by most cognitive psychologists, political scientists, and economists—and Democratic campaign strategists. The idea of the mind as a cool calculator that makes decisions by weighing the evidence bears no relation to how the brain actually works. When political candidates assume voters dispassionately make decisions based on "the issues," they lose. That's why only one Democrat has been re-elected to the presidency since Franklin Roosevelt—and only one Republican has failed in that quest.
In politics, when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. Elections are decided in the marketplace of emotions, a marketplace filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory, in which logic plays only a supporting role. Westen shows, through a whistle-stop journey through the evolution of the passionate brain and a bravura tour through fifty years of American presidential and national elections, why campaigns succeed and fail. The evidence is overwhelming that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven't decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates' policy positions.

Westen turns conventional political analyses on their head, suggesting that the question for Democratic politics isn't so much about moving to the right or the left but about moving the electorate. He shows how it can be done through examples of what candidates have said—or could have said—in debates, speeches, and ads. Westen's discoveries could utterly transform electoral arithmetic, showing how a different view of the mind and brain leads to a different way of talking with voters about issues that have tied the tongues of Democrats for much of forty years—such as abortion, guns, taxes, and race. You can't change the structure of the brain. But you can change the way you appeal to it.

2) Daniel Kahneman, Thinking: Fast and Slow

Drawing on decades of research in psychology that resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman takes readers on an exploration of what influences thought example by example, sometimes with unlikely word pairs like "vomit and banana." System 1 and System 2, the fast and slow types of thinking, become characters that illustrate the psychology behind things we think we understand but really don't, such as intuition. Kahneman's transparent and careful treatment of his subject has the potential to change how we think, not just about thinking, but about how we live our lives. Thinking, Fast and Slow gives deep--and sometimes frightening--insight about what goes on inside our heads: the psychological basis for reactions, judgments, recognition, choices, conclusions, and much more. --JoVon Sotak

“A tour de force. . . Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing. He clearly shows that while we like to think of ourselves as rational in our decision making, the truth is we are subject to many biases. At least being aware of them will give you a better chance of avoiding them, or at least making fewer of them.”—Larry Swedroe, CBS News

“Daniel Kahneman demonstrates forcefully in his new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, how easy it is for humans to swerve away from rationality.”—Christopher Shea, The Washington Post

“An outstanding book, distinguished by beauty and clarity of detail, precision of presentation and gentleness of manner. Its truths are open to all those whose System 2 is not completely defunct. I have hardly touched on its richness.”— Galen Strawson, The Guardian

“Brilliant . . . It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Daniel Kahneman’s contribution to the understanding of the way we think and choose. He stands among the giants, a weaver of the threads of Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and Sigmund Freud. Arguably the most important psychologist in history, Kahneman has reshaped cognitive psychology, the analysis of rationality and reason, the understanding of risk and the study of happiness and well-being . . . A magisterial work, stunning in its ambition, infused with knowledge, laced with wisdom, informed by modesty and deeply humane. If you can read only one book this year, read this one.”— Janice Gross Stein, The Globe and Mail

“A sweeping, compelling tale of just how easily our brains are bamboozle...

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #1)

Thu May 17, 2012, 06:19 PM

3. "The Political Brain"

...just arrived by USPS yesterday....still in reading mode..trying to figure out how to:

1. Beat the Citizens United cash flood...
2. Deliver a message to conservatives that they will pay attention to.

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Response to ewagner (Reply #3)

Fri May 18, 2012, 12:01 PM

5. All this recent research suggests that ya gotta go for the gut.

However, there is a very new strain of research coming out of Germany's Max Planck Institute & Stanford that may lead to techniques for opening people to positive gut-level change.

To summarize in a very oversimplified way, these researchers distinguish between empathy and compassion, saying that the two are distinguishable as having different networks in the brain.

Go here & prepare to spend 1-1/2 hrs. watching a video

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Response to ewagner (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2012, 11:50 AM

2. How far will they go for their cult leaders?

Last edited Thu May 17, 2012, 01:30 PM - Edit history (1)

Are they willing to bring harm to their families - their children, their parents? I believe that if they are faced, on a personal level, with the destructiveness and absurdity of their cultish Fox News and hate radio fueled "ideology", a few just might begin to think about what is best for their families, state, and country.

Until human waste seeps into their well water because corrupt DNR leadership looks the other way, or their child has her pay and health care benefits for her family needlessly cut because the Right Wing is trying to privatize her state job, they can blissfully continue the self delusion that they are part of something good. Reason and talk won't work. When the Right wing policies hurt the ones they love, they might start to wonder if Walker, Ryan, the Kochs, Limbaugh, and the rest are really on their side.

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Response to lutefisk (Reply #2)

Thu May 17, 2012, 06:20 PM

4. I'd like to think you're right.

but then there is "What's the Matter With Kansas?"....they ARE hurting their families and they don't seem to care.

I'm getting discouraged.

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Response to ewagner (Reply #4)

Fri May 18, 2012, 01:58 PM

6. I have a family member who left the Republican party last year

And it was a direct result of seeing the damage done to loved ones by Walker as well as seeing the complete disconnect between what was happening "on the ground" in Wisconsin and how the Republican party and the media were dishonestly portraying the events. Unfortunately, that really is the exception rather than the rule...

I too am getting discouraged.

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