We are living through some very confusing and concerning times in America. We are treated to some very baffling behaviors by elected GQP members, MAGAs, and other affiliated Repubes:
- #COVID19 denial and mask refusal
- #COVID19 vaccine refusal
- Anger over the Chauvin conviction
- Government spending is socialism
- Tax cuts for the wealthy help everyone
- Limiting voting rights promotes democracy
- Believing that the 6 January Insurrection was (a) non-violent, (b) committed by antifa, (c) did not target the functioning of our government, and other lies about the event
- Continuing to spread the Big Lie that Trump actually won the 2020 election but for voter fraud
Then there is the plethora of odd social beliefs that they profess like white people are the real victims here, Christians are being persecuted, systemic racism doesn’t exist, gun rights is a thing, forced birth is good, anti-immigrant rhetoric, only the right people should be voting, Q-Anon conspiracies, and other outlandish crap.
A lot of this stuff is out of touch with reality. A lot of this is just an outright lie told knowingly and maliciously for personal political gain by the politicians and I don’t know why by the rank and vile MAGAs and other hangers on. And, we all know what we say about people who aren’t dealing with reality… they’re crazy.
Many people on my social media are accusing the various and sundry GQP members of hypocrisy — like that has any meaning for anyone — and professing absolute confusion as to why and how these folks can have such out-of-touch beliefs.
The purpose of Ye Olde Blogge is to help us understand these things through a judicious application of psychology. We can understand this madness on both a micro and macro level. Today, we’ll take a dive into the macro explanation of this pandemic of madness and willful ignorance by applying two ideas: proportionality bias and a classification system for the entirety of the GQP portion of the populace.
Proportionality bias is the cognitive tendency to attribute a big cause to a big event. For example, there’s a worldwide pandemic of a deadly disease — the big event — so there must be an equally big cause like it must be god punishing us for our sins, a cabal of the WHO, the Chinese, profit-mad doctors, and liberals trying to destroy our freedoms, Trump trying to murder the populous of the US, or whatever other large cause you can think of because it couldn’t possibly be that a number of people in China got the virus from bats and spread it others who spread it to others and it just spiraled outward helped along by dumbasses who refused to believe it was real and do what we know will work to mitigate the spread because snowflakes. See how that works?
Liberals look at this miasma of Repube conservative cray-cray and think there must be some kind of organized effort underway. Trump is some kind of evil mastermind — hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… sorry… I just had to… hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… can you imagine, Trump an evil mastermind? hahahahahaha hahahahahahaha… sorry… I think I can go on — who has hatched a plot to take over the country by ignoring a pandemic, fighting with his party, and grifting for all he’s worth while in office and somehow that explains all of the Repube craziness. Because these Repube behaviors have so effectively undermined our democracy, we believe that there must be some kind of organized effort behind it. That’s where the classification system comes in. It helps us understand the roles and motivations of the people involved and how they interact and seem to work together.
The Republican Classification System
After considering all of the personalities and behaviors on the Repube side of the political spectrum, a pattern begins to emerge. Although the categories are not completely exclusive so individuals can be placed in several. See if these categories of Republicans make sense to you. If not, what categories would you remove or add? How would you define them? Who would you slot into each category? Let us know in the comments, okay?
The Basic Categories
- Category 1: The narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders like Cruz, Hawley, and Greene. These people are driven by personal ambition and have absolutely no empathy for anyone other than themselves. They are sadistic causing widespread harm to others and have no compunction about violating the rights of those around them. They are in it exclusively for themselves.
- Category 2: The useful idiots like Gohmert, Nunes, and Johnson and most of your online social media trolls and your favorite drunk uncle. They are just doing what they think the cool kids are doing to be cool. They are easily manipulated and willing to do, say, and support the worst of GOP policies and initiatives in order to be tolerated by the more powerful members of the party or maintain their conservative credentials. They go along because they neither understand or care what the big picture is. They’re just hoping to be recognized one day.
- Category 3: The pure racists like Sessions, Kennedy, and Hyde-Smith and many MAGAs and rural conservative Christian white voters. They are in it just to punish the Blacks, women, and other communities of color. They don’t care how bad things get for them or other white people as long as they can be as racist and misogynist as they want to be. These are the people who are happy to live in Cancer Alley, drink Flint water, pay for Texas utilities, and die as quickly and quietly as possible when they no longer contribute to the 1% as much as they take.
- Category 4: The rank and vile like Grassley, Brooks, and Scott. They suffer from a diffusion of responsibility and may tut-tut over excesses but go along with it. They do not see themselves as responsible because what could they do? And, as long as they keep winning elections or their side keeps winning, it will all work out in the end and none of it will ever blow back on them, so win-win, right? These are the ostriches with their heads in the sand hoping that everything will be okay.
- Category 5: The never-Trumpers like Romney, Kinzinger, and Chaney. They are willing to vote against the party but not willing to quit the party. These are the pie in the sky dreamers who think that the party is still salvageable and don’t think it is destroying our democracy in order to enrich the 1%.
- Category 6: The masterminds like the Koch Bros and Sheldon Anderson. These are the folks who are rich and whose only concern is getting richer. They believe that as long as they are getting richer, the means of getting there is justified. I’m convinced that they see liberal democracy as an impediment to their goal of enriching themselves and have set about destroying it. These folks are probably the only ones really understand what is going on and why.
The Two Meta-Categories
When you look at these categories, you can group them into two larger categories: (1) those who are manipulated and (2) those who do the manipulating.
The manipulable categories would be 2, 3, and 4 the useful idiots, the pure racists, and the rank and vile. For these folks the divisive social issues of guns and abortion are particularly effective. They can work themselves into a lather of righteous indignation over the liberals hating us for our freedoms and coming to take their country from them and if we would just do it like we did back in the good old days everything would be fine. It’s like they exist in some kind of nightmarish fugue living a blissful Ozzie and Harriet type life all the while a nuclear dystopian winter descends upon them that they might could have stopped had they been more aware.
The manipulating categories are 1 and 6, the personality disorders and the masterminds. Personality disorders are manipulative by nature. It is part and parcel of their mental health disorder. They just don’t care that they are causing a nightmarish dystopian nuclear winter to descend upon us as long as they are getting the accolades and material items they so desperately desire. And, the masterminds seeing the rest of us as being just another natural resource to be exploited in order to enrich themselves. Manipulation of the political base is just another technology to be used to process the natural resource of the base so that they can become richer.
Category 5, the Never-Trumpers are just so inconsequential that they do not warrant being manipulated by the manipulators and have no power or desire to manipulate others. They are happy to have their moral victories as long as it means they can maintain their tenuous positions. However, they are integral to the facade that the masterminds think is necessary to achieving their goal of removing all impediments of scooping up the nation’s — okay, world’s — wealth. As long as we think there are “reasonable” Repubes out there, we think we can reform the system and return to some kind of semblance of functional democracy.
Applying the Classification System
In this system, then, all the cray-cray becomes understandable. If we focus on just two of the most current social ills that we could easily solve if we had a modicum of cooperation, partisanship, and good faith negotiation: #COVID19 and gun violence.
Both of these crises and pandemics run rampant through our society sowing confusion, chaos, and discouragement. Both of the hurt communities of color first and worst. Both of them affect communities and colors enough to change the voting patterns of those communities. #COVID19 is killing Black and Brown Americans disproportionately making the joke that dead Democrats don’t vote all too real and very unfunny. While gun violence doesn’t kill Black and Brown Americans in sufficient number to affect the vote of those communities, the incarceration rate resulting from gun violence does.
By ensuring that neither problem is solved or minimized by government intervention, they can demonstrate that government doesn’t work. It discourages voting participation. In the most affected communities, they remain disorganized and dysfunctional. It makes it much more difficult to overcome the barriers of poverty and poor education.
The roles of each of the categories:
- Category 6, the Masterminds: While I doubt there was ever a smoking gun command of “cause #COVID19 to spread as widely as possible by refusing to wear masks and participate in social distancing” or “allow small arms to proliferate throughout the country so that gun violence is rampant.” But, the orders for emphasizing individual rights especially First Amendment speech rights and Second Amendment gun rights and their ridiculous misinterpretations probably do. The activities of ALEC and the Federalist Society and other conservative think-tanks are getting pretty darn close. The editorial policies of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox News (Rupert Murdoch) are pretty darn close.
- Category 1, the Personality Disorders: Looking to exploit miasma that comes out of the deliberate and gross misinterpretations of our Constitutional rights of speech, militias, and religion for their own personal gain. So, folks like Ted Cruz and Trump realize that folks are refusing to wear masks because rights, so they hype that. They realize that gun rights are a hysterical hot button issue, so they hype that. The only outcome that concerns them is how it helps them. But, it looks like they are coordinated with the Masterminds, don’t it? It isn’t. They are just doing what they do. It is very predictable.
- Category 2, the Useful Idiots: These are the literal know-nothings who just latch on to the messages that the Personality Disorders are hyping and pound the desk and grandstand using them. They parrot, mock, and troll because that’s all they got. Again, it looks coordinated, but they’re responses are all predictable. Just give them ridiculous talking points, wind them up, and get out of the way, and you’ve got Jim Jordan popping wise in committee hearing and Val Demings handing him his ass. It doesn’t win any battles, but it plays well to the stooges back home and raises small dollar donations.
- Category 3, the Pure Racists: Any issue that can be wielded as a sledgehammer to hurt Black Americans and communities of color first and worst, they are all over it. It is like flies drawn to strange fruit. It is disgusting and infuriating, but these folks are willing to humiliate themselves and worse just so they can be as racist as they want to be. Because #COVID19 and gun violence hurts the Black community first and worst, they are rabid anti-maskers and gun righters ensuring that both will be freely available to these communities to cause as much damage as humanly possible.
- Category 4, the Rank and Vile: While they may not visit the White House because it is a hotbed of #COVID19, they’ll quietly get vaccinated, and wear their masks, they won’t loudly or openly demand that anyone do. They’ll thoughts and prayers after every mass shooting and condemn BLM for protesting the latest police murder of another Black American, and offer milquetoast ideas on curbing gun violence, and that’s about it. They’ll just quietly go along to get along and do their utmost to alienate the base. If they’re from a purple state, they may publically get their pearls in a knot and threaten to withhold their support, but it never happens, right Susan Collins? It is a studied practice of voting your conscious on done deals where it won’t matter how you vote like when Murkowski voted for Vanita Gupta for associate attorney general. Profile in Courage that.
- Category 5, the Anti-Trumpers: They may cross the line and vote for impeachment, but they are so irrelevant that it doesn’t matter what they do.
It may look like these folks are coordinating their efforts, but they really are just playing their roles based on their personalities more than anything else. One of the things that makes it workable is that each type is very predictable. By controlling the think-tanks and major media platforms the Masterminds can inject issues, but by now they don’t even need to get directly involved the Useful Idiots they’ve placed in the editorial and directorial positions in those organizations just play their part as mass shootings, police shootings, and #COVID19 outbreaks occur.
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Categories: Cognitive Psychology