We’ve been scratching our collective asses looking at the rank and vile of MAGA Nation as they decry masks and vaccines and warp the interpretation of individual rights and freedoms to mean acting without any responsibility for how our behaviors affect those around us. I mean since we’ve had multiple effective and demonstrably safe vaccines for #COVID19 that Trump championed the development of, you’d think MAGA Nation would use it as an occasion to sing Trump’s praises and PROUDLY line up for the shot just to own the libs if for no other reason. You’d think the Ol’ Pussy Grabber would be crowing about the vaccine how wonderful it is, the best vaccine ever invented, many people are saying it, undevelopable without him ,everyone asks him how he does it and it’s just natural talent, he’s so humble. You’d think that would be that would go for the narcissist and his sycophants, but it isn’t.
You’d think GQP governors would be organizing their own state vaccine drives that exclude Biden and the federal government or at least rebrand it as a GQP state vaccine initiative and urge their populations to get vaccinated, the end of the #COVID19 pandemic brought to you by the GQP. Instead they are opposing masks in school for children who are too young to be vaccinated, denying the efficacy of vaccine mandates and passports, and urging individual responsibility. Instead of vaccines, they are promoting the use of expensive and largely unavailable early treatments like monoclonal antibodies and Regeneron, oh, and by the way, they just happen to own lots of stock in those companies. They are promoting super-spreader events, yes we’re looking at you South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that resulted again this year in a surge of #COVID19 infections this time with the Delta variant. It’s like they want a vaccine resistant variant to develop.
It makes no sense.
Stewing in Fear, Anger, and Agitation
It makes no sense unless and until you consider the effects of living with constant negative emotions on the human brain. For decades, conservative media has kept their ever growing audience of listeners and viewers steeping in a stew of stress hormones, pickling their brains. The corroding effects of living in a continuous state of anxiety, fear, agitation, and anger literally prevents the brain from engaging its rational thinking parts. It promotes irrational and immoral behavior.
A group of people who have lived in with such extreme states of negative emotions begin to think irrationally and behave immorally. As Joost Meerloo noted in his book, Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, a logical argument can be met with a logical counter argument, but what counters an illogical argument? What counters the lies? Logic and truth are so much harder to articulate and explain than the overly simplistic rhetoric and black-and-white propaganda that the GQP is promoting around the #COVID19 pandemic — individual rights and freedoms, personal responsibility vs. having a responsibility towards our fellow citizens — it makes it so much easier for people without the rational and moral parts of their brains being fully functioning to succumb to the seductive siren call of the authoritarian delusion.
The reaction of the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers is irrational and immoral and completely un-understandable. Until you realize that we’re seeing the cumulative effect decades of living in constant anger, fear, anxiety, angst, and agitation. We are seeing people acting with no ability to use their higher thinking skills and moral decision making.
Waves of Terror
You cannot understand the opposition of GQP governors and other politicians — who are all vaccinated and have access to the best medical care in the world, by the way — to public policies and laws that would mitigate the pandemic through masking and vaxxing until you realize the way that the waves of terror intensify the effects of decades of living in a constant state of negative emotions.
Typically a would-be authoritarian softens up a population with massive doses of scary rhetoric and propaganda keeping people agitated and angst ridden. Such a situation will cause them to behave irrationally. It makes it easier to accept more outrageous lies and wilder accusations of nefarious intent.
Then, the authoritarian engineers or manufactures waves of terror by allowing a moment of respite between each successive wave of fear. Each succeeding wave is worse than the last. The moment of calm before the next storm breaks intensifies the effect of the next wave of fear.
The fear is ratcheted up by propaganda and disinformation. Friendly media outlets are typically used to propagate the disinformation; allied politicians, the propaganda.
If the irrational behavior and immoral behavior of the populace was bad before the waves of terror hit them, they become infinitely worse during and after. Now, believing anything, no matter how ridiculous, becomes possible. Now, the population is willing to do things that they never dreamed possible before, committing horrid acts of violence or condemning helpless people to their hopeless fates without mercy.
Waves of #COVID19 as Waves of Terror
Like most of the world, we had our first wave of #COVID19 in the spring of 2020. It was terrifying. No one knew what to expect or do exactly. As it turns out, it was relatively small. It seemed to have subsided by June, and we had rosy pictures of the “return to normality” dancing in our heads. Then the second wave hit in July with outbreaks sweeping across the heartland of the nation. Not only was it was worse than the first wave, because more people were ill and more died, but because it was preventable through the use simple mitigating tactics like wearing a mask, testing, contact tracing, and social distancing, which many refused to do. Still, it tapered off during the fall, and we had a moment’s respite.
Then, the horrifying third wave came in the winter of ’21 with thousands dying and hundreds of thousands being infected per day. In the middle of it all, the FDA gave the vaccines emergency use authorization and the glorious day in December when they rolled out of the warehouses and were delivered to vaccination centers around the country. As the numbers fell during the waning days of the winter, we had real hope that we could beat the pandemic through vaccination.
Biden was elected and electrified the country by getting two million people their first dose in his first one hundred days. We had hope for the first time in a year. By summer our numbers were reaching real lows. For about a week there in July, it seemed like we might have beat the virus, but then the fourth wave rolled through infections and deaths climbing quickly.
In the middle of the fourth wave, the FDA granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval, and, incredibly, Gov. Abbott of Texas banned any sort of vaccine mandate by any private or state organization in the state of Texas. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin inexplicably said, “I don’t care what drug will work. Try a bunch of them.” He has endorsed the use of the horse and cow dewormer, ivermectin, so often that Youtube suspended his account for a measly week. And a doctor treating prisoners in Arkansas is prescribing ivermectin in what amounts to a bizarre field experiment.
With the delta variant being much more transmissible — even by people who are vaccinated — affecting young adults and children much more frequently and severely, and killing the unvaccinated, doing anything other than urging people to take the FDA approved vaccine is irrational and immoral.
It is clear that the GQP is using the #COVID19 pandemic as a naturally occuring wave of terror to radicalize its base and get them to commit acts of violence.
We are now reaping the fruit of this effort. Anyone with temerity to speak publicly in support of the vaccines is immediately booed and often heckled, receives death threats against themselves and their families, and are physically intimidated by people following them. These acts of aggression, violence, and intimidation have happened against health officials, medical professionals, and teachers.
We are watching MAGA Nation descend into mass psychosis. The bad news is that we can expect much more irrational and immoral behavior from the rank and vile of MAGA Nation. The good news is that the severity of the suffering of the unvaccinated from #COVID19 is piercing the delusion and peeling people away from MAGA Nation true believers. It may be sufficient to burst the bubble of cognitive dissonance needed to continue believing in the authoritarian delusion.
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Categories: Cognitive Psychology