Friday, September 27, 2013

Are You An Idiot?

A couple of years ago a co-worker shared with me this quote:

President Barack Obama speaking about America's veterans : "Look, it's an all volunteer force. Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesn't compute."

"I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country," Obama continued. "I wasn't asking for blood, just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, I'd have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nation's deficit. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans."

He then asked me what I thought.

I was driving, we were an hour from our destination. I spent most of that hour telling him he was a complete fucking moron.

I'm not sure if this problem is more endemic to conservatives than it is to liberals, but it sure seems to be. How many instances have we seen where an article from The Onion gets cited as real news? How many times has the moron citing The Onion been a Republican? The willingness to believe anything derogatory about a political opponent shows their bullshit detectors are either non-existent or non-functional.

When facts don't fit their prior beliefs they don't change their priors, they discount or disparage the facts. There's no way to put it politely, this is insanity. Consider a public opinion survey conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland 10 years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center:
-38% believe that we have clear evidence Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda
- 31% believe that Iraq gave substantial support to Al Qaeda but was not involved with the September attacks
- 15% believe that Iraq was directly involved in carrying out the September 11 attacks.
- 16% believe that WMDs were found in Iraq.

How much rationalization, self-delusion, and/or belief in conspiracy does it take to generate these results?

Unfortunately, it now permeates just about every important policy domain; global warming, macro-economics, healthcare - you name it and there's a sizeable portion of our populace that is, frankly, bonkers.

Update 10-2-2013 from TalkingPointsMemo
According to the findings from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, a large majority of Republicans — 62 percent — said they believe that the Obama administration is "secretly trying to take everyone's guns away..."

A poll in May showed that 44 percent of Republicans believe that an armed rebellion "might be necessary."

PPP's survey also showed that 42 percent of Republicans believe that Muslims are secretly implementing Sharia Law in the U.S. judicial system...

and from The Hill back in 2012
...Republicans are particularly likely to believe that the polls are unfair, reporting by a 71-13 percent margin that polls are biased against their candidate. Members of the Tea Party suspect intentional skewing by a remarkable 84-5 percent margin.

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