'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby doogles on January 12th, 2021, 6:25 am 

Thanks for the response Serpent, but I must admit that reading a dozen or more books on politics wasn't exactly what I had in mind. If you believe that any of them contain an analysis of what motivated 70 million people to vote for Donald Trump, I would be pleased to get a copy of that book to read that section.

I had in mind a self-administered questionnaire conducted by a scientist skilled in selecting a cross-section of people proclaiming support for Trump and cross section of voters who were anti-Trump. The questions would need to be framed on Donald Trump's proposed policies pre-2016 elections and on the degree to which he seemed to attempt to deliver those policies. I used the term 'skilled' scientist, expecting that they would know the policies, and would know how to phrase questions in multiple ways to check on spurious answers.

In short, like Forest_Dump I think that knowing why 70 million supported Trump so fervently should be of relevance to any politician in understanding what voters want.

Mossling, I haven't heard the term Hegel's Rational Pessimism before. I did a quick Google check, but couldn't find a ready reference associating Hegel with pessimism. I'm not doubting its existence at all; it's just that finding it would have taken some time. So I'm guessing he means something like there are times when it's sensible not to put too high an expectation on some things. That makes sense to me. Would it be fair to say that rational pessimism is the equivalent is being realistic about expectations in some circumstances?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on January 12th, 2021, 7:55 am 

doogles » January 12th, 2021, 7:25 pm wrote:Mossling, I haven't heard the term Hegel's Rational Pessimism before. I did a quick Google check, but couldn't find a ready reference associating Hegel with pessimism. I'm not doubting its existence at all; it's just that finding it would have taken some time. So I'm guessing he means something like there are times when it's sensible not to put too high an expectation on some things. That makes sense to me. Would it be fair to say that rational pessimism is the equivalent is being realistic about expectations in some circumstances?

I said Hegelian rational 'pessimism' in quote marks, because in fact Hegel is presented as a counter to the formal philosophical pessimism of the likes of Schopenhauer, but I see Hegel as a pessimist (at least in the context of the world as we've always known it and how it seems not likely to change much into the future) according to the following quotes from the Hegelian philosophy wiki page:

"War, Hegel suggests, can never be ruled out, as one can never know when or if one will occur [...] Historical happenings are, therefore, to be understood as the stern, reluctant working of reason towards the fulfillment of itself in perfect freedom. Consequently, history must be interpreted in rational terms and the succession of events must be put into logical categories."

Elsewhere on this forum I have discussed the apparent 'truth' of what the Enlightenment and its championing of (and grand hopes for!) rationality were, and a couple of hundred years later we now find Brexit, increasing far right sympathies in the 'Enlightened' West, and a Trump character in the most powerful position on the planet.

Hegel had the idealist notion that humans were moving towards something more free than this situation, but until that freedom arrives, if it ever does, then there's going to be all this very poor service, conflict, war, etc., and it is not rational to expect anything better... So that's the 'pessimism' I was referring to. It is not a formal kind of philosophical pessimism, but it is also not really optimistic in my view, because Hegel didn't really provide such a good argument for how his ideal of a rational world could actually exist.

I mean what motivation is there for someone like Trump - born into wealth, who only needs to know the sentence, "pay educated people to invest and protect your money, in order to make it grow, and allow them to take their salary as a small portion of that growth (profit)" - to actually see any value in a rational world - beyond clever people being mere workers in the 'money factory' that he inherited?

And so, all of the other people born into his situation, who also inherit that key sentence about how to run a money factory whilst just sitting at home holding a piece of paper that says "The money factory belongs to you, enjoy all the money", similarly see no practical reason to expand their minds, or champion exercising or indulging rationality - AND THEY ARE OFTEN THE PEOPLE WITH ALL THE POWER TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENT POLICY VIA SPECIAL INTEREST, LOBBYING, DONATIONS, etc.

I'm not sure how Hegel could even expect human societies to go beyond this setting, and thus the philosophical/scientific Truth is kind of doomed - as it was in ancient Greece. Hence, Plato/Socrates stated in Republic that those people who love the wisdom of the Truth should just build a small wall to shelter behind and let the messy, crazy world continue on as it always has.

That doesn't diminish their potency as wise philosophers, of course - the wall shelters them, and they can get on with their lives promoting the truth for the minority who care about it and recognise its profound value.

As already mentioned here on this thread, the role of scientific truth - its POWER to save lives and provide solutions to severe problems, during this epidemic seems a welcome reminder of Plato's messages, however - so the appreciation of scientific truth seems to come in waves - as and when it is needed.

British innovation during the World Wars was also a credit to the exercising of great rational abilities - with the invention of the tank, for example, to end trench warfare, and the computation technology that deciphered German codes.

Perhaps it just takes these tragedies for the scientific truth's value to be appreciated by the more visceral, often irrational masses and money factory heirs... and yet, outside of wars, epidemics, etc. - outside of URGENT STATE-LEVEL PROBLEMS NEEDING SOLVING, the Truth can be an ass to kick, it seems...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on January 12th, 2021, 11:39 am 

Briefly....

Living at Ground Zero (the heart of Trump country) I can tell you that the main driver of devotion in people in the main Trump demographic (white, rural, over 35) is fear. The fears that Trump played on (the short list) :

Immigrants -- dangerous brown people who will steal your jobs, and gradually usurp white culture, and some are anti-Christian. They also bring drugs, crime, and disease.

Irrelevance - urban liberal elites have forgotten middle America, you have no voice in DC (the latest brand of "populism")

Socialism -- evil; a distant soulless government will control all aspects of your life, throttle business, and turn into Stalinists.

Guns: they are going to steal yours. Rural America will be weak, castrated, and defenseless when marauders arrive.

Alternative energy will turn out to not be feasible, and we will be sitting in the dark, shivering.

Education -- public education will teach your children to be open minded and tolerant of new ideas and cultural diversity. IOW the world will end!

Hope that helps.

-- Paul, your Red State correspondent
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 12th, 2021, 12:22 pm 

doogles » January 12th, 2021, 5:25 am wrote:Thanks for the response Serpent, but I must admit that reading a dozen or more books on politics wasn't exactly what I had in mind. If you believe that any of them contain an analysis of what motivated 70 million people to vote for Donald Trump, I would be pleased to get a copy of that book to read that section.

I believe the subject has been adequately researched. I do not believe that any single book contains a simple point-form list (such as the above ^^^) of why a complex historical phenomenon, which took 400 years to evolve, came to this particular crux at this particular time.

I had in mind a self-administered questionnaire conducted by a scientist skilled in selecting a cross-section of people proclaiming support for Trump and cross section of voters who were anti-Trump.

Trump voters don't believe in science. They might, however, offer grievous bodily harm to the skilled scientist in retaliation for their own failure to understand the questions.

Polls were conducted - are always being conducted. Results are always published and readily available.
https://www.pewresearch.org/search/trump+voters+2020


The questions would need to be framed on Donald Trump's proposed policies pre-2016 elections and on the degree to which he seemed to attempt to deliver those policies.

He said he would improve the economy and then took credit for any improvements and blamed democrats (notably Obama) for whatever went wrong. He said he would drain the swamp (and they didn't care that he drained it into his own family coffers). He said he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, and he built a wall (howbeit not a very good one, at enormous cost to American taxpayers, but most of them don't know this) He said he wouldn't let Democrats take away their guns, trucks and cattle, and indeed, nobody took away their guns, trucks and cattle. (Of course, nobody was planning to, but they didn't hear that part.) He promised to save them from the Muslims and Mexicans, then took credit for no no Muslims and Mexicans doing them harm (and they didn't notice that Muslims and Mexicans had never been any danger to them). He promised to protect their religious rights (which nobody threatened) and expand their power to impose their religious rules on other people, which was an easy promise to keep, since the state governments were already doing it. He promised to protect their white heritage, and encouraged the KKK-affiliates to carry out that work. (That hasn't ended yet.) He convinced them that the Democrats are 'radical socialists' and they had already primed - since the early 1900's! - to fear socialism and equate it with Satan himself, so it was no very long step to calling his political opponents the devil.
You can't understand any of this without counting in the power of The Big Lie. Trump laid it out in 'his' first book: just keep repeating the same lie. It had worked for his conservative predecessors - on the very same voter base: the audience was primed. He kept reinforcing their artificial grievances, while ignoring their actual needs. This particular Big Lie had the giant megaphones of Twitter and Right-wing broadcasting, as well as continuing his campaign throughout what should have been a presidency.
You probably also shouldn't discount all those loyal Republicans who wouldn't dream of voting for the other party, no matter how hard they have hold their nose against the stench from a republican candidate. Some of them, however, were siphoned off by libertarians and local fringes.

I used the term 'skilled' scientist, expecting that they would know the policies, and would know how to phrase questions in multiple ways to check on spurious answers.

There are no 'spurious' answers. The Trump voter simply repeats a Trump slogan in response to everything.

Edited to correct omission.
Last edited by Serpent on January 12th, 2021, 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 12th, 2021, 1:36 pm 

I see Trump is disclaiming any responsibility for the effect of his speeches. It's a witch hunt (the biggest EVER in the whole history of the universe, naturally). He's innocent. Again.

He's obviously never heard of a Performative Utterance.

(See, I know my stuff :-))
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 12th, 2021, 1:49 pm 

And then there's Giuliani's 'Trial By Combat' speech...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 12th, 2021, 2:31 pm 

Doogles -

If you believe that any of them contain an analysis of what motivated 70 million people to vote for Donald Trump, I would be pleased to get a copy of that book to read that section.


You don't need to read a book. Identifying with a leader gives a sense of power and being someone important. It may be crazy but that doesn't matter, it gives them what they want.

And the leader, of course, can't get enough of it so they mutually destroy each other. That's what's happening.

What's unusual at the moment is the scale of it. 70 million is a lot, but that's Trump for you. And why he simply shouldn't be there.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 12th, 2021, 3:13 pm 

And the leader, of course, can't get enough of it so they mutually destroy each other. That's what's happening.

First he says whatever they cheer; later, they cheer whatever he says.
(And it's nowhere near 70 million votes for Trump; it's 70 million Republican votes. We can't tell how many of those active Trump supporters; how many passive; how many reluctant; how many nose-holders.)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on January 12th, 2021, 4:27 pm 

This writer's book may address Doogle's question....

Is Donald Trump an aberration or a symptom of a deeper US malady?

-- Joseph Stiglitz



https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... -joe-biden



Trump is the product of multiple forces. For at least a quarter century, the Republican party has understood that it could represent the interests of business elites only by embracing anti-democratic measures (including voter suppression and gerrymandering) and allies, including the religious fundamentalists, white supremacists and nationalist populists.

Of course, populism implied policies that were antithetical to business elites. But many business leaders spent decades mastering the ability to deceive the public. Big Tobacco spent lavishly on lawyers and bogus science to deny their products’ adverse health effects. Big Oil did likewise to deny fossil fuels’ contribution to the climate crisis. They recognised that Trump was one of their own.

Then, advances in technology provided a tool for rapid dissemination of dis/misinformation and America’s political system, where money reigns supreme, allowed the emerging tech companies freedom from accountability. This political system did one other thing: it generated a set of policies (sometimes referred to as neoliberalism) that delivered massive income and wealth gains to those at the top, but near-stagnation everywhere elsewhere. Soon, a country on the cutting edge of scientific progress was marked by declining life expectancy and increasing health disparities.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 12th, 2021, 7:03 pm 

I'd love to believe being psychotic was that complex!

The reason he can stand there and swear blind with unflinching sincerity that he's just the innocent victim of an appalling witch-hunt is because he really believes it. Because he's bananas.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 12th, 2021, 7:11 pm 

charon » January 12th, 2021, 6:03 pm wrote:I'd love to believe being psychotic was that complex!

The reason he can stand there and swear blind with unflinching sincerity that he's just the innocent victim of an appalling witch-hunt is because he really believes it. Because he's bananas.

It's quite common to be the evil, psychotic product of a bad, crazy-making system. But he's perfectly capable of lying with 'unflinching sincerity' about anything. He actually begins to believe his own lies only after someone else echoes them back at him - which someone invariably does.
The question was never what Trump is, but what confluence of events and conspiracy of dunces [requiesce in pace, JK Toole] put him into his present position.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on January 12th, 2021, 11:57 pm 

The question was never what Trump is, but what confluence of events and conspiracy of dunces [requiesce in pace, JK Toole] put him into his present position.

He was born into laziness and decadence, and thus it seems it was really not 'his fault.' He was a 'victim' of circumstance, and is telling that story through his actions - victimizing those around him in the process.

Why make an effort to practice a healthy marriage when you are surrounded by hot gold-diggers and you can pay for a new hot hooker as often as you want?

Why make an effort to practice being polite and curbing your anger when you are celebrated by millions as being the "you're fired!" big boss guy?

As the proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and there is always a 'chain of accountability' in any case of large state-involved transgression - as Tony Blair cleverly pointed out in order to escape punishment over the illegal Iraq invasion, for example.

It is sophistry, but it holds water in terms of pure logic.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 13th, 2021, 12:59 am 

That goes some way - not really a very long way, though - toward explaining what he is.
It goes no way at all toward explaining why America, at this critical moment in its history, decided to carry this piece of seriously damaged goods on its head for four years.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 13th, 2021, 3:47 am 

Serpent » January 13th, 2021, 12:11 am wrote: what confluence of events and conspiracy of dunces [requiesce in pace, JK Toole] put him into his present position.


No idea. Why can't we all stop talking about him? Because it's magnetic, even though we know it's all deeply flawed. It's illusory, deceptive, and we're fascinated.

But people like illusion and deception, that's why they do religion. Maybe all those who follow him believe the deception, or can't see it. It gives them something they want. That's the usual reason.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby doogles on January 13th, 2021, 6:14 am 

TheVat -- Thanks for your opinion on the 'fear' aspect of Trump's apparent attraction to so many voters some posts back. You could be correct of course, and you obviously feel that you are, that it was an instilled collective fear of unfounded problems with Immigrants, Irrelevancy, Socialism, Guns, Alternative Energy and Education that motivated them. You may be on the money, but it would have been interesting to elicit the basis of such support from voters themselves.

Serpent and Charon -- you've both told me the reasons why you would not have supported Trump if you had been American voters. I imagine that what you both posted would be the crux of the answers you would provide on self-administered questionnaires, if you had been part of a study.

Collectively, these responses indicate that the Americans who supported Trump are intellectually blind and stupid. Admittedly, a large percentage would be hereditary Republican supporters, but that still leaves millions who were fervent about Trump.

In order to keep the subject in perspective, I'll copy and paste the passage in a previous post that prompted me to suggest a study. "Forest_Dump -- I liked your overview of the situation and your observation that -- "... Trump might be an exception in some ways, there was something about that exception that appealed to over 70 million voters. Unless that is addressed ... ". And Serpent -- " ... It can only be 'addressed' by a sincere and profound self-examination - something for which Americans have shown little appetite." And JohnD -- "... Obviously, there is a groundswell of opinion that has been wanting change and is willing to vote for someone like Trump."

The above responses suggest that you were on track Serpent, when you said words to the effect of "Americans have shown little appetite for sincere and profound self-examination."

I would still like to see a 'sincere and profound self-examination' (Serpent), to throw more light on this 'something ... that appealed to 70 million voters' (Forest_Dump), and a 'groundswell of opinion that has been wanting change' (JohnD).

My suggestion was to conduct a study using self-administered questionnaires to samples from both sides of the fence.

I believe in the maxim that there are at least two sides to every story. I still think it could be enlightening to hear, in their own words, why so many became fervent Trump supporters. As a totally independent person, it sounds to me as if members of this forum would rather maintain their own opinions than conduct a study that might further our understanding of human behaviour.

I can see that such a project would not get much support in the USA. Everyone seems to know all of the answers already.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby doogles on January 13th, 2021, 6:28 am 

Thank you Mossling for that clarification about Hegel -- "Hegel had the idealist notion that humans were moving towards something more free than this situation, but until that freedom arrives, if it ever does, then there's going to be all this very poor service, conflict, war, etc., and it is not rational to expect anything better... So that's the 'pessimism' I was referring to. It is not a formal kind of philosophical pessimism, but it is also not really optimistic in my view, because Hegel didn't really provide such a good argument for how his ideal of a rational world could actually exist." You are correct in that it paints a picture of my attitude to some extent.

I have a strong drive to understand human behaviour better. And that's the reason why I'm curious about the thinking of those who found Trump's leadership appealing.

In the context of this thread, I've cited Richard Alexander who seemed to be 'spot on' about our separateness, self-interest (my comment -- which includes our opinions on all matters), and our innate capacity for deception. In fact he suggested that we have "... created a social milieu in which, paradoxically, the only way we can actually maximise our own self-interest and deceive successfully ...". I have given this notion a fair bit of thought over the years, and concluded that we have done this, in western countries at least, and that we live with it and we condone it.

In my opinion, it is the reason why we sense a collapse of information integrity. Moreover it permeates all of our everyday lives and certainly does not apply just to politics. In fact, I would go so far as to say that deceitfulness is so common that we no longer notice it.

In 1988, Patrick White, a Nobel Prize winner, had an edited version of a speech to La Trobe University reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on page 13 on 27th July. In short, he said “ … for all our rationalising and material progress, we more or less take it for granted that our behaviour shall be sustained by lies. It starts early in childhood, where the child may be taught it is wrong to lie, yet any intelligent child can see that the parents are in many cases lying to each other – that they also see fit to lie to their children when it suits them – sometimes in all good faith to protect them from the realities of life. So the trivial childhood lies develop naturally enough into the poisonous political and national lies of adulthood.”

You have only to look at our language to see how we cultivate words with double meanings and nuances. If you look at the way we spell words, and the variety of pronunciations of the various combinations of letters, you would have to question our logic, but if, as children we do not accept this nonsense we do not pass our exams and we become 'failures' in life. Many inconsistencies in our language alone train us to accept nonsense as a part of life.

I need say nothing about commercial advertising. We not only tolerate the exaggerations and false associations inherent in the way most of it is presented, it but we condone it by buying advertised products.

As I said, lying and deceitfulness appear to be so common and pervasive in our culture that we no longer notice it.

Where do we really find information integrity these days?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 13th, 2021, 7:16 am 

these responses indicate that the Americans who supported Trump are intellectually blind and stupid.


I didn't say that. I think they were deceived. What politicians say before they're elected is one thing, what happens after that is often not the same. Trump, as is in his character, probably promised them heaven on earth and appealed to their Republican sense of 'America' first and all that so naturally they went for it.

What's interesting now, although he still seems to have a following among extremists, is that, given they've now not elected him again, the light seems to have dawned somewhat. So they can't be all that stupid. Hopefully.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 13th, 2021, 7:28 am 

lying and deceitfulness appear to be so common and pervasive in our culture that we no longer notice it.


Quite right. Cynicism seems to have become the norm and it's pervasive and insidious. Thankfully, I think I can still differentiate between that and some normalcy even after four years of complete nonsense coming out of America.

Is anyone aware of the film 'The Comey Rule'?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc8XsWQMcs8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfMr04aAaa0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkvt2WeQ_Qw

I saw Comey being interviewed about it and he said he was astounded about how accurate it was, and that the portrayal of Trump's threatening 'mob boss' approach wasn't exaggerated.

Which is not only very scary but obviously what most of his fans never saw at all. But we knew, didn't we?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 13th, 2021, 10:09 am 

doogles » January 13th, 2021, 5:14 am wrote:
Collectively, these responses indicate that the Americans who supported Trump are intellectually blind and stupid.

That's as accurate a description of Trump supporters as you can get. Add 'mean' and 'violent' to get a fervent Trump supporter.
https://www.salon.com/2020/05/30/anti-intellectualism-is-back--because-it-never-went-away-and-its-killing-americans/
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/582067.Anti_Intellectualism_in_American_Life
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/immigrants-conspiracies-and-secret-society-launched-american-nativism-180961915/

My suggestion was to conduct a study using self-administered questionnaires to samples from both sides of the fence. I believe in the maxim that there are at least two sides to every story. I still think it could be enlightening to hear, in their own words, why so many became fervent Trump supporters.

A hundred studies have been done; I cited two dozen. It's hardly a neglected topic!
But you can always add more. If you want the "other side of the story" , you can certainly get it directly from the millions of voters - they're not reluctant to voice their opinion. Should that prove impractical, there is no dearth of literature, interviews, videos and op-ed pieces - they're also not lacking platforms or spokesmen!
As a totally independent person, it sounds to me as if members of this forum would rather maintain their own opinions than conduct a study that might further our understanding of human behaviour.

It seems to me that you would rather redo a great deal of work that's already been done than follow the links to the information and reasoning behind those opinions.

In tracing the roots of the present situation, you might also factor in the history of capitalism and evangelism in America, to assess the source and purpose of the propaganda.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on January 13th, 2021, 2:33 pm 

doogles » January 13th, 2021, 3:14 am wrote:TheVat -- Thanks for your opinion on the 'fear' aspect of Trump's apparent attraction to so many voters some posts back. You could be correct of course, and you obviously feel that you are, that it was an instilled collective fear of unfounded problems with Immigrants, Irrelevancy, Socialism, Guns, Alternative Energy and Education that motivated them. You may be on the money, but it would have been interesting to elicit the basis of such support from voters themselves.



I'm curious if you looked for opinion polls. Organizations like Gallup, Pew Research, Quinnipiac, Harris, Marist Institute, 538, et al do conduct polling of voter attitudes and their opinions on specific social and economic issues. It's possible we've had threads in the past few years where such polls are cited. I'm sorry I don't have more time to delve into this - it's an interesting area of research.

My (admittedly anecdotal) results from interactions at US-based political forums is that perceived threats from immigration and from economic policies loomed large for many conservative voters here in the States. Their response was to a narrative of threat, not the reality of immigration or government programs. One example of this was that, once the xenophobia was elicited, it became so entrenched that factual information like, for example, immigrants actually have a lower crime rate than native-born Americans, simply bounced off voters whose minds were already made up.

My impression is that once a piece of propaganda seizes a person's mind, especially in the fear-mediating amygdala, the only possible reversal of a false or distorted narrative is some form of cult deprogramming, akin to what the Allies had to institute in post-WW2 Germany.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby toucana on January 13th, 2021, 2:56 pm 

There is an interesting new article in Scientific American published just two days ago which addresses the shared pyschosis between Trump and his supporters.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-shared-psychosis-of-donald-trump-and-his-loyalists/

Forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee who is president of the World Health Coalition led a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists who questioned Trump’s mental fitness for office in a book that she edited called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

She recently wrote Profile of a Nation: Trump’s Mind, America’s Soul, a psychological assessment of the president against the backdrop of his supporters and the country as a whole. On January 9 Lee and her colleagues at the World Mental Health Coalition put out a statement calling for Trump’s immediate removal from office.

Part of the SA interview transcript:

What attracts people to Trump? What is their animus or driving force?

The reasons are multiple and varied, but in my recent public-service book, Profile of a Nation, I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship.

“Shared psychosis”—which is also called “folie à millions” [“madness for millions”] when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions”—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure…


I would recommend reading the entire article.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby doogles on January 14th, 2021, 6:05 am 

Serpent, you say "It seems to me that you would rather redo a great deal of work that's already been done than follow the links to the information and reasoning behind those opinions." It's this 'great deal of work that's already been done', and which you refer to, that I can't find. I've looked at all of the references you've provided so far and failed to find anything resembling a study of why so many people voted for Trump wherein interviewees gave their own answers.

I have been searching independently though and did find one limited reference that may interest forum members. The findings may be hard to accept because they seem somewhat contrary to some of the opinions in past posts that were not based on polls.

It was a website called 'Axios/Survey Monkey Polls' that gave a summary of a poll on the motivation of Trump voters (Website - Axios|SurveyMonkey poll: Trump voters and protests). The original study had a paywall. But the summary by a Jon Cohen claimed that "Fully 50% of Trump voters single out jobs and the economy as the most critical set of issues right now, more than double the proportion of Biden voters so focused on these concerns. For Trump voters, no other issue reaches into double-digits."

So there's part of the story. It seems a genuine motive and could explain the antipathy to migration as a perceived fear of migrants taking jobs.

As a comment on Serpent's claim that "That's as accurate a description of Trump supporters as you can get (Intellectually blind and stupid). Add 'mean' and 'violent' to get a fervent Trump supporter.", this partial summary reported that "Trump voters overwhelmingly oppose the protests and demonstrations that continue around the country, and do so strongly: by a factor of 10x, more say they “strongly oppose” than “strongly support” those expressions and actions (50% to 5%). They largely see the police as using not enough rather than too much force in dealing with looting and vandalizing businesses (77% say “not enough” vs. just 4% who say “too much”). While 78% of Biden voters perceive the police as using too much force on the protests more generally, just 12% of Trump agree with that assessment." This suggests anti-violence to me.

As I said, there are several sides to every story, and this limited study is the only one I've seen so far. The following finding could be interpreted several ways, but one of them indicates that Trump supporters generally like law and order -- "The drive to “defund police” also meets widespread opposition among Trump voters. Overall, 87% oppose reducing funding for police in favor of more funding social services like housing and mental health, including 77% who strongly oppose the idea."

I would have liked to see a more comprehensive study, but the above is the only reference I've seen so far.

It seems to provide a slightly different story from the opinionated ones I've been receiving from forum members in this thread. But then again, with the widespread collapse of information integrity, I'm not in a position to judge whether this poll information is genuine.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby doogles on January 14th, 2021, 6:09 am 

Toucana, thank you for the reference. The excerpt you posted that spoke about narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis could have had some bearing on why some people were attracted to Trump, but again they are only opinions. Granted, 27 people who work in 'mind matters' gave that opinion. I found it interesting though because as I was reading the excerpt, my thinking associated it with Hitler and his 'Brownshirts', in the 1930s.

I think that the percentage of voters who would be influenced by such conditions could be expected to equate to the percentage of those types of mental illnesses in our cultures.

Without consulting figures on the prevalence of mental illness, my opinion is that it would not be significant overall. I could research it, but I've done enough researching of general polls for one day.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 14th, 2021, 7:28 am 

Serpent on January 13th, 2021, 3:09 pm

doogles » January 13th, 2021, 5:14 am wrote:

Collectively, these responses indicate that the Americans who supported Trump are intellectually blind and stupid.


That's as accurate a description of Trump supporters as you can get.


I disagree. It's far too generalised and sweeping a statement. Have a look at this from the BBC re. the impeachment. They're not 'blind and stupid' any more than we are, they merely have differing points of view.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55656995

Incidentally, I'm not happy about the impeachment. He may have been fiery and used words like 'fight' but at no point did he suggest violent action. In fact, the contrary is true.

He actually said:

    "I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.

    Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.

    I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."

(My bold)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 87030.html

For them to impeach him twice and acquit him twice will make him seem persecuted, which he will relish and won't stop capitalising on.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 14th, 2021, 7:47 am 

You know I'm no fan of Trump but fair is fair.

You may not like this but if you can accuse his followers of being stupid enough to fall for his propaganda then you have to ask yourself if you've not also fallen for the current rhetoric that's saying Trump incited the violent storming of the Capitol building.

I'm afraid he didn't. It's not what he said at all. He was certainly supporting and encouraging a protest but not the actions that followed.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 14th, 2021, 10:08 am 

So, you parse this one speech and conclude that it doesn't explicitly call for violence. Did you parse his utterances throughout the preceding rally? How about his multitude of tweets in the preceding weeks and months? How about the threatening phonecalls to governors? Still nothing indictable?
OK then, Have you listened to any of Trump's speeches over the last five years and found nothing objectionable in any of them?
That's certainly a different point of view - one that is, unfortunately, shared by those very fine people who bring fire extinguishers, bombs and steel pipes to a peaceful lynching. They're very special and Trump loves them, even after they bashed in the Capitol windows and terrorized everyone inside.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 14th, 2021, 11:25 am 

Don't get upset. The question is whether the Impeachment hearing will only parse one speech, right?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on January 14th, 2021, 11:32 am 

Before we discuss further, some rally speech excerpts may be useful in assessing what if any violence was implied ot suggested....


“Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder. …

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”


"We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. …

“You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen. These are the facts that you won’t hear from the fake news media. It’s all part of the suppression effort. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it. …

“We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”


Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you. … We are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote, but we are going to try — give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

Personally, I think the focus of Congress right now and for the first months of the Biden administration should be on getting a new cabinet, legislation, stopping covid, healing damaged foreign alliances, and getting relief to the massive ranks of unemployed and facing rental eviction. Trump will be out, and facing at least half a dozen civil and criminal actions in various jurisdictions, and is no longer a viable candidate for dogcatcher let alone POTUS 2024.

If there is an impeachment trial later, it would also look at his tweets and other speeches which do call for violence in very thinly veiled language.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on January 14th, 2021, 12:09 pm 

charon » January 14th, 2021, 10:25 am wrote:Don't get upset. The question is whether the Impeachment hearing will only parse one speech, right?

If I shouldn't get upset about a nazi insurrection next door, what should I save it for?
And the above comments were not a question. You expressed the opinion that that speech did not merit impeachment. That single speech - quite apart from the fact that he convened an angry mob at the same time and place the votes were to be announced - might not have. But incitement to rampage is not about a single speech, is it? He took years to build up that very special, intelligent and well-informed mob.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby charon on January 14th, 2021, 12:26 pm 

This is from a BBC report and quotes the Impeachment article. It only refers to the speech of Jan. 6:

    'The president was accused by the House of inciting the storming of the Capitol - the seat of the US Congress - with a speech on 6 January to supporters outside the White House.'

    "The article of impeachment stated that Mr Trump "repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted".

    It says he then repeated these claims and "wilfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol", leading to violence and loss of life.

    "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coequal branch of government."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55658517

You see my point, maybe. He's saying 'peacefully and patriotically' and they say he was encouraging lawless action resulting in violence and loss of life. I'm saying there's a disconnect there, that's all.
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