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December 12, 2006

You’re wrong; I’m right…Because-I-Said-So Politics

You ever sit there, listening to someone talk about politics or religion and think, “what a nut job!”? Have you ever been worried that someone else is thinking the same thing about you?


Around the beginning of this year I read a press release that has put me on edge with its implications. The release can be found here, and it basically says that once you firmly take a political stance, meaning that you have solidly aligned yourself with the Democrats, Republicans, or another political party, you’ll be too stupid to realize when you’re wrong.


More clearly, the article states that when you are presented with political information, specifically for or against a political candidate that you are inherently for or against, it is your emotional centers of the brain that do the work in making judgments about that information. And when you make a judgment that is inline with the party that you’re loyal to, you get “a blast of activation in circuits involved in reward -- similar to what addicts receive when they get their fix.”


For example, let’s say that you like candidate A and you’re against candidate B. B says that your candidate is a liar about something he or she said. In stead of thinking rationally about what candidate B is saying, your emotions decide for you. And your emotions will decide that candidate B is wrong and you’ll get a happy feeling from arriving at this decision. Then, when obvious factual evidence is presented to you, such as video tapes of your candidate lying exactly the way candidate B said, or documents written by your candidate in which he or she states that “we must lie to the public about this,” you will show “a pattern of emotionally biased reasoning: (where) partisans denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate that they had no difficulty detecting in the opposing candidate.”


Now, if your reward centers in your brain activate when you make a decision that reinforces your political stance, what would this indicate for any belief systems that you or anyone else holds? For any strongly held belief that you have, you become your own dealer and junky walking mad cow like through your own delusions.


But there are breaking points, there has to be. Given the sway of American politics, the ebb and flow from Republican to Democrat and back, it would seem to indicate that not everyone is receiving the same level of neuronic reward love. At some point, some new piece of information (which some would call facts, other calls misinterpretations, others lies), arises that changes the mind of some of the people.


So not all is lost in this quagmire of futile human endeavor as there still exists some room for the possibility of free will and rational thought so long as you first accept that deep down, on a fundamental basic level, you are the biggest idiot on the planet and attempt to work your way up from there and in doing so you’ll realize how everyone else is almost as big an idiot as yourself, which means that any information gained from any source is immediately moronic and stupid, like an Emory press releases relating how big of an idiot the human species is, with each individual being a greater idiot than the whole.