Lord Rother wrote:Hmm, that seems like a very simple answer to what I thought was a very difficult question but it does indeed make a helluva lot of sense.
it is more complicated, yeah, racism's a big chunk of the maga crowd. look at the types involved with the capitol insurrection. look at trump. the republicans. which voters they wanna disenfranchise, which votes they tried to get overturned, which neo-nazis and whitebread, dickless gun thugs they swoon over.
racism has always been a force in america. no need to write that novel here.
a few (heh) other thoughts.
i'll repeat some of what i said in my opening FB post, the one that set wayne off.
i saw the shift in real time when the whole notion of logical debate~~of engaging with the other side~~started to disintegrate. i was hyper-aware of it at the time, cuz i was deep in teaching debate (among other things) at the uni level. all the great speeches we could call up from history had a mix of reason and passion. i was watching the reason side get dropped out. people started thinking that all they had to do was ramp up the volume on passion, amp up the emotional register, and they would win the day.
you could see it on news shows, talk shows, when folk would just shout over each other, dig their heels in harder, ignore the points being made. they weren't trying to convince or gain converts. they were preaching to their own choir on an emotional, psychological level. these things aren't new in american history, but the momentum and exponential swing at that time were blatant. palpable.
it all got exacerbated by social media. don't get me wrong. we all know the pros on this subject: the ability to connect with folk all over the world; to be enriched from it; to have access to information instantly; to get people to band together for the right causes, charities, kids with cancer, world-wide needs.
the cons: simultaneously, it encouraged that shift away from developed thought or reasoned back-up. cue soundbites, short attention span theater. complex issyew? just spit out one-liners and click "like". throw in a bunch of exclamation points. hit the caplock key. emotional register makes "right".
another con: if you are an idjut who has forsaken reason, you can connect with thousands of other like-minded idjuts in a flash. you can get yerself stroked, encouraged, reinforced in yer idiocy. you bubble yerself off from people who think differently or who challenge you. those bubble boundaries turn into cement. people you used to have connections with but who don't fall in line become the enemy.
at the core, it's cultism. the psychological need behind it is pretty constant, whatever the cult. there's an urgent need to feel special, to feel part of some bigger purpose that makes one superior, the others, excluded. the others are inferior, more stupid, blinded from the blazing "truth" of the cult, brainwashed sheep, etc. talk about irony. the cheapest, most non-logical way to feel superior is to knock down someone else as inferior. it's a fallacy, but we aren't in the land of reason anyway.
it's easy to see how this lines up with conspiracy theory types.
why do people need to feel superior, to a deranged level, a cult level? many ways to answer, but i think it's rooted in an equally urgent fear deep down that they are anything but superior. they NEED to be validated, and they will take whatever fake prop they can find. not hard to see how qanon gained hold. trump and his ilk empowered it all, poured fuel on it all, used it... trump as the spokesman at the top for conspiracy theories, bigotry, anti-science, anti-logic swill. white evangelicals flocked to his side. neo-nazis. upper middle class entitled types who fly in private jets to a lil insurrection or who care about their 401ks more than they do babes in cages. all of em who use irrational swill as justification for their cult-like "thinking".
there's a distinction to be made between deranged and evil. many of the people who stormed the capitol were garden-variety deranged and culty. some were evil, out to brutalize and kill others they saw as the enemy. there are those who know exactly what evil they are manipulating and encouraging for their own money and power. some, like trump, are both deranged and evil.
but if you are desperate enough on some inner level to go full cult or conspiracy, if you need that crutch so much, it isn't but a few steps away to use that crutch not just as a psychological weapon but as a real one. that voltaire quote has been flying around since the insurrection: "those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." i think raskin quoted it during the impeachment trial.
i often think about rep. jackie speier, who took five bullets when she went to jonestown with the people trying to stop jim jones. when the mob hit the capitol, she was hiding for her life, as the other congressfolk were. afterwords, she compared it to how she felt at jonestown. the crazies have breached reality, this time for their dear leader, trump.
in any case, once you go allll in on propping yerself up as superior and anyone not in yer group as the enemy, you don't need empathy or actual connection anymore. all of those ironies come to the playground in the form of rampant gaslighting. the ones who tag themselves as great thinkers couldn't spot a logical fallacy to save their lives. they traffic in fallacy. in contradiction. in confirmation bias. in goal-post shifting. name yer fallacy. they're all at the party. reason isn't the point. self-serving, self-boosting swill is. it becomes the primary need that wipes out everything else other than itself. connection. compassion. things that would bond you with others, past experiences, music, any of it. that blazing need never turns off. the tape keeps running, the only soundtrack.
we've all seen it happen here, online. and there's always the question of whether someone who's deranged and blustering out crazy crap is only that way behind the protection of a keyboard. i've known wayne for 40 years. when he was trolling me, i was curious about that. he's been to my house many times in the past. so i invited him to come over and tell me and chi chi to our faces that we are stupid and brainwashed. i wasn't spoiling for a fight. i genuinely wanted to know if he would act that way in the flesh. he ignored the invitation entirely and kept running his swill tape, so i blocked him.
one thing's for sure: those people at the capitol took it from online to offline without a problem. strength (and lunacy) in numbers. every one of em convinced they are the "it" crowd, the real americans, god and country, the true believers in america... storming the fucquin capitol building. batshit is a word that doesn't cover it.
i'll probably run into wayne around town at some point. i'm not afraid of him in the least. i guess i'll find out how he is in reality. but honestly, if someone can change so radically into that cult-think, if that person's need is so powerful when he gets older (throw in some fear of mortality along with that fear of inferiority), if all he is able to do is spout that swill, do you think you can trust that person in the flesh? "caring friend" has vanished completely, replaced with third-grade insults. no, i don't wanna have a beer with him for old time's sake. he can stay in his bubble world of online friends and internet groups consisting of nothing but mindless, blithering propaganda and ickitude.
something has gone wrong with these people's brains. trump didn't start it, but he turbo-charged it, and when it comes to brain power and empathy, he finished it.
we just hafta make sure they stay in the minority.
oh, and we need to get rid of the filibuster and expand the courts, mwhahaha.