You Really Can’t Argue With Them

You really *can’t* argue with them.

—– Original Message —–

From: <A REALLY BRIGHT PROGRESSIVE>
To: ‘Leslie’ (not so bright)
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:02 AM
Subject: An interesting study, and my comments…

It’s tricky, talking with these poor brain-damaged souls. If it weren’t so normal, I’d call such mental misreasoning a disease.It’s easy to win a debate if someone is scoring based on fact, or the scorer is using reality-based reasoning. To win over a fascist – well, the conservatives are socialists now aren’t they, with the many government takeovers of large business? How do they rationalize that: George Bush, Socialist Reformer?

Anyway, if someone holds a belief very strongly, and uses that belief to reinforce their feeling of superiority – which is extremely normal behavior among all humans – then being told that belief is wrong, and being shown the plain irrefutable proof, isn’t felt as an attempt to inform: it’s felt as a direct attack on the ego, and requires a response of yelling, name-calling, argument, and denial: a counterattack.

Liberals may not react that way because they have ego and pride attachments to fact-based reasoning; they might be proud of their ability to change their views to fit the facts. This may be genetic.  It’s been long observed in psychology that there are two types of people. Each individual of each set would have a construct, or belief. When faced with something that invalidates the construct, one group seeks to change their construct to fit reality; the other group attempts to alter reality to fit their construct. In psychology, the term for that is ‘hostility.’ In politics, it’s ‘conservatism’.

In cognitive therapy, one way to get someone to change is to keep their ego – their sense of superiority – intact. Find out what their goals are. Conservative and liberal goals and actual values are incredibly close.

One can complement a conservatives value of life, or rejection of terror. We agree on those things. The question is, do they want to achieve those goals? Yes? My, what a good person. Good person, goooood person. Sit. Stay. Stay away from the voting booth.

The division is perception of reality, and efficaciousness. Conservatives need to be asked if their values are important enough to them that they’re willing to do what it takes to implement the values. Then, what if doing that it takes involves rejecting a plan that has the opposite effect, and trying something that has a proven track record? Is their conviction strong enough that they would be willing to examine the actual track records, the facts, and reassess what they would do, given the power?

This works on a small or large scale. People’s minds can clearly be changed, by several methods. Karl Rove has demonstrated this, using old-school propaganda methods. The democrats can do the same, and don’t need to resort to lying. Every point can be researched and evidenced. Cognitive dissonance is a fine political tool. The beliefs of Republicans are incredibly contradictory. Awareness of that creates dissonance.

Dissonance can make things explode, like their tiny little heads.

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