Last week there was a post on Ye Olde Blogge detailing the many ways that the professional GQP’ers just don’t give — checks notes — two shiny shits about their voters. Their disregard for the painful lives that their policies condemn the rural conservative Christian voter to — life expectancy in that demographic is FALLING, despite the US of A having the BEBESTest health care in all the world and the history of humankind! — is utterly shocking. The callous cavalier attitude that the professional GQP class takes towards the voters that, ostensibly, keep them in office and employed is beyond belief. So, horrifying that it buggars the question, what drives the behavior? What drives them to take the “policy,” and by policy I mean socially divisive stances, that they take?
Ye Olde Blogge has posted extensively about how anger can be used to further political goals and manipulate constituencies. Hitler’s Propaganda Playbook included the admonition to never allow the public to cool off and to take advantage of every opportunity to rile up the public. We know the connection between constant and prolonged exposure to stress (waves of terror) and mass psychosis.
And, this brings me to the biggest problem with the Republican Party is that they have been too successful convincing themselves and their constituents that their BS is correct. Reagan et al. sold Paul Ryan et al. on Trickle Down economics. Reagan and those guys NEVER thought that cutting taxes on the rich would do anything other than make the rich, richer by transferring the wealth of the middle class up to them. Obviously, Ryan thought it was true, though.
Same thing here. Not only has Trump and the other merchants of outrage have sold that bill of goods to MAGA Nation, but to themselves as well. Their professionals are as outraged as their constituents!
I actually think it’s all negative. I’m just so sick of the people with their Priuses and their coexist stickers drinking their coffee coladas and wagging their finger at me. And I was like, this is preposterous. I don’t – you know, she mentioned plastic – or paper straws. I was like, I don’t like paper straws, either, but voting for Donald Trump over it?…in this D.C. culture… at dinner parties, that is what they do to comfort themselves, right? They talk about all the things that have made them mad about the left…. I was playing this game the whole time, which has its own problems, as we’ve been discussing. But they were developing a real-life anger that allowed them to justify working for somebody they knew was dangerous.Tim Miller This former GOP hatchet man didn’t support Trump — but still enabled him
Essentially, this person, a professional working somewhere in the nether regions of the Repube Party, prefers Trump because liberals were mean to her about contributing to climate change! What, the actual, fuck! How does this work? You’d rather condemn the US to authoritarianism and flush our democracy down the shitter rather than mitigate #COVID19 and climate change or WORSE have people around you who are mitigating them? This is the power of anger. This is the danger of anger. It turns you into a true believer, a truther.
Anger is so powerful, this woman would shoot herself and all of us because she feels like liberals are wagging their finger at her. I’m sorry, hun, that was not a finger wag. We were just giving you the finger because you worked in the White House for the BeBest Loser of the US of A. According to your very own fuck your feelings crowd, that’s just politics. Freaking snowflake.
Anger as Motivator
They say anger is a powerful motivator, but it is much more than that. One of the most important lessons I ever learned working in treatment centers and as a teacher is that anger begets anger. We answer anger with anger, but we get angry when we feel threatened and attacked. When you’re angry at someone, you’re being threatening and attacking them, ergo, they get angry in order to defend themselves.
Clearly Little Miss Snowflake there felt threatened and attacked by all the Prius-driving coffee colada-swilling paper straw-sucking liberals out there doing the finger wag in her general direction. But, her anger went way beyond that. Her anger became explosive rage.
Everyone has felt anger when their boarish behavior has been corrected, but few of us go completely nuclear to the point of promoting the destruction of our democracy and the world by supporting a madman who would gladly kill us all on Tuesday for a hamberder today.
Anger Overpowers Rationality
Anger is produced by the amygdala. The amygdalae sit deep in either hemisphere of the brain and help us monitor our world for threats. When threats are detected, it issues the alarm. Remember, back when we were all hunting and gathering on the savannas of Africa, it was better to leap into action when you even thought there was a remote chance that a cheetah could be charging you than it was to quibble about the probabilities. So, our amygdalae act much faster than our prefrontal cortices do, which would manage and control our emotions and provide us with rational thought.
That’s why when you fly off the handle, you are flying off the handle and you’re saying shit that you don’t mean and you’ll regret later as you’re limping to the couch to sleep for the next week. It’s one thing to pop-wise at your folks or spouse and another to sell your country and the planet dirt cheap, amirite? You can live through one, the other, maybe not.
This early threat detector causes a cascade of reactions that prepares you for fight or flight. One of the most important ones is that it narrows your focus. You zero in on the threat. You literally cannot see or pay attention to anything else.
Everything else disappears, including the future, as in you don’t consider the consequences of your actions because if you don’t survive this moment — your primitive brain here can only operate in two modes: you’re safe or you’re about to die — well, dead people don’t suffer consequences.
All of your resources are primed to fight or run like hell. The thing you don’t need when fighting predators and enemy combatants is a lot of rational thought. It just gets in the way and slows you down. You need the speed of instinct to survive.
Did White House staffer up there need primitive instincts to survive the drive-by finger wagging? No. It wasn’t a real threat, but she perceived it as one anyway, so all that fight or flight response is wasted, except, she feels the threat as real and responds accordingly. She needs to fight.
One of the other ways that the amygdala prepares us for fight or flight is by triggering an ongoing arousal reaction. Ever have someone startle you so you jump badly and embarrassingly, and, then, when someone just taps you on the shoulder, you jump again? You’ve been sensitized to danger.
You’ve learned that your world is a dangerous place. You need to react quickly and forcefully to any perceived threat.
That’s what is happening with mass psychosis and waves of terror. Mass psychosis is a Jungian idea in which an entire population begins to believe delusional ideas. An entire group of people’s behavior is no longer based in reality. Madness has become the norm for them.
Mass psychosis can be brought about through a constant exposure to fear and anxiety. If you go back to the previous post, you’ll see Tim Miller talking about how instead of trying to address the actual needs of their constituents — the things that legitimately made the rural conservative Christian white voter mad — they decided to feed them a constant diet of the Blacks and Browns are coming to destroy their way of life and the heathen liberals are debasing the country with all their free love and sex talk.
Hitler believed that you should never let the public cool off. How long has the GQP kept the conservative based ginned up on divisive social issues? Since Gingrich? Since Reagan? Since 1980? Forty-two years of living in a seething cauldron of vitriol and grievance? No wonder these people are juiced to gills and can’t think straight.
Hitler said to never let an outrage go to waste. So, we get Mr. Potato Head and transexuals raping our daughters in the public bathroom and Welfare Queens and the brown MnM’s shoes! What the actual fuck, Republicans? Seriously, those are issues now?
Every Democratic policy and proposed law is socialism and going to bankrupt the country with debt and deficit spending.
Symptoms of Mass Psychosis
The symptoms of mass psychosis are an inability to think, increased emotionality, erratic behavior, irresponsiblity, and unreliability. Social norms and values are replaced with radically different ones. For example, replacing the peaceful transfer of power with political violence if the wrong party wins, right?
It is that inability to think straight and predilection to emotional reactions that is driving many of the rank and vile Republicans and elected officials and professional staffers and operatives. They are pissed off at liberals and they aren’t going to take it anymore. They’re going to hold the country’s breathe until it dies just to show us how mad they are and we’d better let them have their way… only, it could happen. The country could literally die as in cease to exist in any meaningful way other than in name.
It isn’t surprising that your favorite drunk rage uncle is slurring his way through Tucker Carlson’s talking points, it is that staffers — people who should know better; people who should be playing politics as a “game” — are as enraged or worse than your uncle is. It’s what is causing Judge Cannon to grant Trump a special master and violate all logic and legal reasoning.
That’s the power of anger. It can drive you to self-destruction, policide, and genocide. There are people at the top of the Republican and conservative hierarchies that are pushing MAGA Nation and their political puppets to that end. And, there are people right below them who are as much subject to mass psychosis, cognitive dissonance, and groupthink as any member of MAGA Nation.
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Categories: Cognitive Psychology