You can go on and on telling lies, and the most palpable lies at that, and even if they are not actually believed, there is no strong revulsion either. We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has an axe to grind, I feel the intellectual honesty and balanced judgment have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends…. But is there no one who has both firm opinions and a balanced outlook? Actually there are plenty, but they are powerless. All power is in the hands of paranoiacs.
The human mind is simply terrible at politics. Although we think we make political decisions based upon the facts, the reality is much more sordid. We are affiliation machines, editing the world to confirm our partisan ideologies.
— Jonah Lehrer
A helpful if unsurprising explanation of a question that vexes liberals: why do ordinary working people consistently seem to vote against their own interests by voting for Republicans? At the Edge, psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains:
… the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats “just don’t get it,” this is the “it” to which they refer.
Check out the discussion of Haidt’s ideas as well.
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
We now live in a country in which the bottom 40 percent (120 million people) owns just 0.3 percent of the wealth. Data of this kind make one feel that one is participating in a vast psychological experiment: Just how much inequality can free people endure? Have you seen Ralph Lauren’s car collection? Yes, it is beautiful. It also cost hundreds of millions of dollars. “So what?” many people will say. “It’s his money. He earned it. He should be able to do whatever he wants with it.” In conservative circles, expressing any doubt on this point has long been synonymous with Marxism.
And yet over one million American children are now homeless. People on Medicare are being denied life-saving organ transplants that were routinely covered before the recession. Over one quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient. When might be a convenient time to ask the richest Americans to help solve problems of this kind? How about now?
Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz on Glenn Beck: “Glenn Beck is trying to give [viewers] a version of American history that is supposedly hidden. Supposedly, all we historians — left, right and center — have been doing for the past hundred years is to keep true American history from you. And that true American history is what Glenn Beck is teaching.… It’s a version of history that is beyond skewed. … But of course, that’s what Beck expects us to say. He lives in a kind of Alice in Wonderland world, where if people who actually know the history say what he’s teaching is junk, he says, ‘That’s because you’re trying to hide the truth.’”