The Death Paneling of the American Body Politic


It’s funny because it is true!

ARI RABINHAVT of The Agenda fame (a radio show on SiriusXM) commissioned Public Policy Polling to survey the populace about the lies they believe. And holy Pinocchio’s Batman! Did he ever uncover a festering pit of stupid deep inside the id of the American psyche. Mother of God, read these findings and weep, mo’fo!

  • Seventy-four percent of REPUBLICANS either believe or think maybe it is possible that the ACA death panels America’s grandparents and malformed infants like common Nazis! Seventy fucking four percent! Thanks Quitter!
  • Now, hold on to your panties dear reader because 51% of DEMOCRATS – DEMOCRATS, DEMOCRATS for god’s sake – believe or suspect the same thing. How in god’s green earth and for all that is holy is this even possible? And why haven’t we crucified the Quitter for her contribution to the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid, yet?

Why do the deranged zombies that pass for members of the Republican Party nowadays believe this tripe? Explaining why the Democrats will is beyond the scope of any mortal article. Is there anyway that we can bring some semblance of rationality – returning sanity to the equation is beyond my ken – to this situation?

We are going to have to use some real psychological alchemy to turn this putrid festering cesspit of stupid into anything understandable at all. So, let’s dive right in!

Psychological Alchemy

First let us consider Henri Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory. You didn’t think you could really transmute this level of fatuity to something at least comprehensible without taking a dip into some pretty neat social psychology, did you? Lucky for you, we’re not going all Stanley Milgram on your butt!

So, Tajfel postulated that people were (a) social creatures, (b) sought group membership, and (c) derived an identity from their group memberships. This is really really important. When you become a group member, you make that group part of your social identity, so begin to adopt the normative behavior and attitudes of the group, i.e. you dress, act, talk, and behave like the group you’re with. And, when that group was at one time at least partially led by the Quitter who once barfed on the body politic and infested us with this derp:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. (emphasis added)

When you’ve got your political leadership drizzling stupid into the open mouths of the failed products of the gutted American education system, then you get people who believe this tripe.

Confirmation Bias and Roseanne Roseannadanna


“Never mind!”

But, why won’t the lipstick wearing grizzly of the north pull a Roseanne Roseannadanna and just say “never mind”? Because a grifter has got to grift and besides this was all so 2009… who even remembers 2009? No one. But, boy howdy those “death panels” really stuck. Seventy-four fucking percent of Republicans either believe this shit or can’t quite convince themselves that it ain’t true.

So imagine that you are trying to be all grifty, and tax cutty for the 1%, and hatin’ on Welfare Queens, and stuff like a right proper Republican, and you get the term “death panel” entering your consciousness. Why not just believe the truth when your high school niece slaps your drunk ass upside the head with it at Thanksgiving dinner?

Okay, okay, let’s talk confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a tendency to stare myopically at only the stuff you desperately want to believe and to ignore all the stuff that makes you uncomfortable. The corollary is that you only listen to or get your information from those who will reliably and predictably tell you what you want to here. So the Quitters and Limbaughs of the world will endlessly repeat death panels and lying politicians and destroy America with socialism and saran wrap – okay, the saran wrap thing is my fantasy, but it sounds good, right?

Motivated Reasoning

Confirmation bias and the be like Mike social science stuff just doesn’t sound like enough to make a continuing belief in death panels seem understandable. So, now we have to give our poor confirmation bias steroids and it becomes motivated reasoning or something similar to cognitive dissonance. Now, you can pick up all the cool fluid sexuals at the bar because you can impress them with cognitive dissonance and social identity penis, I mean, theory.

When your beliefs and ideas and ethics and stuff conflict with your behavior and attitudes and beliefs, we call upon the super power, cognitive dissonance, to make it all better. We tell ourselves some kind of lie to reconcile the two. When reality still keeps intruding, though, we up the ante to motivated reasoning so that we only believe what we believe and ignore suggestions and evidence to the contrary. But, reality keeps on a coming – ain’t been no grandmas or Down’s syndrome children death paneled yet in America – so these folks develop elaborate fantasies to justify death panels and twist logic and evidence and all kinds of crazy stuff into pretzels while tilting they little heads and squinting they tiny little eyes at great big reality.

Let’s Break It Down, Now

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 4.05.40 PM

Aurora Sexton as Sarah Palin at the 2012 MT Lambda Spring Drag Show — who knew?

Not only does the lie get started, but it gets believed because Republicans all want to be like the grifty Quitter, so they do like she do, and scream the first thing that echoes through their empty heads. Unfortunately, death panels is still echoing around in seventy fucking four percent of Republicans’ heads! So, instead of trying to find anything resembling truth, you go the other direction, because if you quit believing in death panels, you might be a RINO and definitely won’t be like the salacious Quitter – why isn’t there some drag queen including the Quitter in her stage show repertoire? – and stare myopically at only stuff that confirms the existence of death panels. And your annoying smart-alecky niece keeps on whining about how that isn’t true and not all the whiskey in Canada can drown her out, so motivated reasoning comes to the rescue aided by its trusted sidekick, whiskey, to twist and turn and stagger around the logic and “evidence” until you’ve convinced yourself that if you ever sober up, you’re going to be death paneled.

And that boys and girls is how these horrible lies become part of the fabric of our lives. Maybe next time, we’ll look at how we might be able to undo some of this damage or explore why fifty-one fucking percent of DEMOCRATS believe this or practice picking up the gender of your choice at the bar using social science.


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