What happens when Trump supporters realize how completely clueless the man is about … everything the President of the United States should know and/or understand? What will life be like for them when they realize their rabid support offers no shield against the incalculable damage a Trump Presidency would rain down on all of us—here and abroad? If one is making up facts or ratcheting up the levels of destructive and mindless hostilities to justify positions taken or policies offered, it is not difficult to contemplate the terrible outcomes when governing is actually required.
Post-election, the President is answering to a very different crowd than sycophants. When a know-nothing, bombastic narcissist is in charge, what outcomes should even the lowest of low-information voters be expecting when challenges arise from those not enamored with a platform consisting of bigotry, bullying, lies, and political/diplomatic ignorance?
There are tens of millions of Americans who, although personally lacking the self-confidence, ambition and leadership qualities of authoritarian dominators like [Newt] Gingrich or Sarah Palin, nevertheless empower the latter to achieve their goals while finding psychological fulfillment in subordination to a cause. [Robert] Altemeyer describes these persons as authoritarian followers. They are socially rigid, highly conventional and strongly intolerant personalities, who, absent any self-directed goals, seek achievement and satisfaction by losing themselves in a movement greater than themselves. One finds them overrepresented in reactionary political movements, fundamentalist sects and leader cults like scientology…. Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. [citing Altemeyer] They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result…. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.
It’s part of the sport of electoral politics that we want our side to win, and thus we each and all will do whatever we can to ensure victory. More often than not, “doing whatever” means facts, evidence, and reality are all taking a back seat to encouraged fears and reinforced beliefs which too often bear—at best—tenuous connections to the real world.
There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits hopefully at the base of almost every speech, every op-ed, every article, and every panel discussion….It’s what we might call the More Information Hypothesis: the belief that many of our most bitter political battles are mere misunderstandings. The cause of these misunderstandings? Too little information….If only the citizenry were more informed, the thinking goes, then there wouldn’t be all this fighting. It’s a seductive model. It suggests our fellow countrymen aren’t wrong so much as they’re misguided, or ignorant, or — most appealingly — misled by scoundrels from the other party. It holds that our debates are tractable and that the answers to our toughest problems aren’t very controversial at all…. But the More Information Hypothesis isn’t just wrong. It’s backwards. Cutting-edge research shows that the more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become.
I’d like to continue with more observations and commentary on the conservative principles described in the essay “The Essence of Conservatism” by conservative icon Russell Kirk. As I noted in the last post, current events make clear that Kirk’s understandings are still as valid today as they were decades ago when first shared.
In my last two posts, I’ve shared quotes/comments from the essay “The Essence of Conservatism” by conservative icon Russell Kirk. As previously noted, there are a number of additional explanations for and about the foundations of the conservative personality worth considering as well. Current events make clear that Kirk’s understandings are still as valid today as they were decades ago when first shared. [Quotes that follow are all from the referenced essay.]