Cognitive Psychology

Anger Pervades Entirety of GQP; Powers Fascism


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.

Angry Staffers

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.

Prolonged Anger

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.

Mass Psychosis

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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52 replies »

  1. Hi. I just wanted to make it clear that “trickle down economics,” i.e. disingenuous rationalization of enriching the already rich, extends back in the Republican party far earlier than Reagan. In particular, it was the guiding principle of the three Republican Presidents of the 1920’s, put into action by their Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon, one of the richest and greediest men who ever lived. Mellon saw to it that the entire massive growth of productivity that occurred in the United States after World War I was directed solely into the pockets of the rich. It is this one action that caused the 1929 crash and the Great Depression (and paved the way for World War II.)

    I can hardly explain this in a blog comment, but if you are interested, I recommend the short book “The Great Crash,” by John Kenneth Galbraith, which gives a riveting account of how allowing the rich to engorge themselves on the nation’s wealth upended the economy and resulted in worldwide economic devastation and the eventual deaths of 50 million people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. That’s quite the history lesson. I guess it does go to show that if you don’t learn from history, you’re damned to repeat it. I’ll see if my local library has it.

      Money really is the root of all evil.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

      • “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people.” – Andrew Mellon

        That was Mellon’s response to the crash of 1929.

        And thinking about the history of enriching the rich and screwing everybody else, I got to wondering about the series of financial panics of The Golden Age in the 19th Century. One of the effects of those was the “Cross Of Gold” speech by William Jennings Bryan: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5354/

        And, from none other than the Federal Reserve, history of the Golden Age panics: https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/banking-panics-of-the-gilded-age

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Gilded Age or the Golden Age of Panics is exactly where the Republicans and the billionaire class want to take us. Clearly, they are Mellonites and wanting to purge all that is rotten from the system, i.e. any human need that the laborers who make them their wealth and goods have.

          God help us if we can’t stop them in November. Let them control the reins of our democracy any more than they already do, and they’ll finish it off.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • One of the things I see in Mellon’s rant is the essence of the Calvinist theology of the Elect, that wealth and poverty are measures of virtue and morality, and the favor of God. Nearly all, if not all, of the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age were that sort of Protestants, an much of modern Libertarianism is the same thing in a secular form. The self-congratulation and self-justification of the uber rich never goes away. The other side of the coin is the Prosperity Gospel with it’s populist grifting (If you give me all your money, God will make you rich.) which has the same effect of blaming the poor and oppressed for their own predicament, while keeping the congregation stuck in magical thinking so they can’t see how they are being scammed, or think critically about anything.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I call these people “RageAHolics”, and I used to be one of them (Childhood abuse issues, constant fight or flight issues, etc.). When we’ve had many decades of AM Hate radio and Fox news spewing “Fear! Hate! Fear!” 24/7, and working STRAIGHT out of Hitler’s playbook, you end up with multiple generations of RageAHolics who are all fired up and no place to work out those issues.

    In a way, they’re are radicalized as any ISIS suicide bomber. And just as dangerous. And now, one third of the voting public are those radical trump cultists. We’d better find a way to deprogram them in a hurry, or it’ll be bullets for breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Cthulhu!

      I’ve described them as whiteraged. It’s been fifty some odd years of the GQP using the Southern Strategy of racist dog whistles, race baiting, and fear mongering. Their base is primed for violence and Trump et al. are explicitly pushing them in that direction. They want violence before, during, and after the 2022 election.

      It is what has led to mass psychosis in MAGA Nation which causes people to easily accept blatant lies as truth. Unfortunately, there is no hurry in undoing the damage. The Medieval witch hysteria took 300 years to run its course. This was fifty years in the making, it’ll take at least that long, if not longer, to repair.

      The damage Trump has done to the US may never be repaired. We may never return to where we once were.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Ten!

          I’ve had enough anger in my life to last a couple of lifetimes. The shear vitriol and outrage coming out of the States is just overwhelming. Looking at it from afar, it seems almost unrecognizable.

          In writing the blog I follow the Hunter S. Thompson school of gonzo journalism where you’re trying to use hyperbole and sarcasm to make a point, drive it home, and provide catharsis. It’s like capturing an image through caricature.

          When you said I had just enough anger to puncture the point, I thought it meant balanced. My bad, I guess. But, I do search for that balance so I’m not always just sputtering through inarticulate outrage.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Like

            • ETA: I worry about my place on the spectrum, am I getting worse?

              Was a time when the angrier I grew the more concise my justifications, my communication. I don’t feel I’ve never communicated well, though am told I was a good teacher. Too much time has passed, too much water under the bridge. Too much stuff pulled out of the closet, too many scabs peeled off unhealed wounds.

              I was a stutterer, still am. Took many years to master it, but at times it slips in there. My mother rejected me the day I was born, deformed. My grandfather tried to drown me in the millpond. I can still taste the dope, the liquid Ritalin I was spoon-fed. Tastes like the spoon, plugged into a USB port. Runaway, on my own at twelve, sleeping with the Angels down at the Haight. The Bastard no one wanted, just as scared and alone as I was when I last hitch-hiked out of LA almost sixty years ago. I thought I overcame it, now I don’t know.

              I long ago became enamored of the traditional Dine` (Navajo) greeting. Took many years to get it right, I think, though still not sure if it rolls off the tongue as it should, I’ll not spell it out as it doesn’t sound out phonetically at all as it’s spelled but am told it roughly translates to “walk in beauty” though more accurately “walk in balance.” That the beauty is in the balance.

              About the same time I became fascinated with the Tao, to be crude*, the Yin and the Yang, to be balanced. Odd that two somethings so similar would spring almost simultaneously from two societies so disparate, so far apart. Maybe the tunnel they crawled through in the creation story was not from the underworld but China, lol.

              I don’t where this is going, pondering on almost seventy years of the spectrum and wondering where that’s going. I think overall the conversation we have been having, all that you’re posting, boils down to Them keeping Us off-balance.

              *It’s a Zen thing, those people are waaaayyyy to serious. Far better to be good at many things than be the master of merely one …

              Liked by 1 person

              • Howdy Ten Bears!

                I read a book back in the ’80’s by an anthropologist that investigated the evidence that there was a “direct” link between Korea and the Navajo. Any link would be 40,000 years old, mind you, so it is all highly speculative. He went over the few remaining words that would be similar. The traditional Korean greeting is “Are you at peace?” Other similarities, pottery styles, dance steps, clothing. So, maybe it isn’t as far fetched as you think.

                I like your summation of the forces driving conservatives, i.e. the billionaire funders, are keeping us off balance, and by us, I mean the US in general.

                My perspective as someone on the spectrum for sixty years is that many of us are careful observers searching for the secret that we sense that we miss, the key to understanding social interactions and predicting behaviors of those we interact with. I’ve described my lack of social sense as a hole. My ability to interact and understand just stops. I look out over an abyss where others can keep walking.

                My issues do not just spring from being on the spectrum. The abuse that I suffered — and you — would scar anyone experiencing them. Those scars have consequences similar to physical injuries that impair physical functioning. We walk with a mental limp. We may need to change our environments to better fit our abilities.

                I know my intrusive memories from a variety of experiences just flash unbidden into my mind throughout the day. Every day. I have to cope with that in order to function. I know that there have been interactions with others that will trigger more fundamental memories of experiences of abuse that will set off reactions that I cannot or barely can control.

                The one saving grace of it all is that tomorrow we can get up and try it all over again. The one damning thing is how exhausting trying to modify myself so I better fit my environment is.

                Huzzah!
                Jack

                Like

  3. The great advantage of an imaginary or vastly overblown threat (fear being at the root of anger) is that it can’t ever be fixed or just go away. Everything you do, or your followers are persuaded to do about it fails, which only proves how powerful and dastardly the enemy really is, which justifies more extreme measures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting point that I hadn’t considered. It certainly contributes to the amount of distress and agitation that people would feel as well as keeping the “threats” current and in the “news.”

      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          And that’s exactly what Tim Miller said. The GQP isn’t interested in addressing the real problems that plague their base. They don’t want to address the opioid crisis or the suicide crisis that is causing life expectancy to drop.

          It is deliberate. They want it like this. That is the shocking part. It is so deliberate. They want everyone associated with the GQP including politicians and staffers to act from a place of extreme anger. It is why representatives were armed during the insurrection. Those people are dupes for the billionaire class that are pulling the strings.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  Righteous indignation certainly relies on dopamine and the liking-wanting system.

                  Unfortunately, Trump has unleashed the inner rageaholic of MAGA. Not only have all their worst fears have been confirmed, they are being encouraged to respond violently and prejudicially to the things that offend them. Even when Trump is gone, the rage will remain.

                  Since nature abhors a vacuum, some self-serving idiot will be more than happy to be useful in continuing to direct their rage and Hoover up all the billionaire-class’s and MAGA’s money in the process. Rage will inhibit their ability to think and reason just enough to make it very unlikely they’ll realize how badly they’re being used.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • If you want to get rich without having to create, build, or produce actual goods, and don’t wan to have to get up on a pulpit every Sunday to yell about fire and brimstone and sinners, then scamming a bunch of people already driven to mass psychosis, becomes a very attractive career choice. So, they are multiplying and I’m reminded of this:

                      “Combinations of wickedness would overwhelm the world, by the advantage which licentious principles afford, did not those who have long practised perfidy grow faithless to each other.” – Samuel Johnson

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Then there’s Son House’s Preaching the Blues:
                      I had religion, Lord on this very day
                      I had religion, Lord on this very day
                      But the womens and the whiskey, they would not let me pray
                      Gonna get me religion, gonna join the Baptist church
                      Gonna get me religion, gonna join the Baptist church
                      Gonna be a Baptist preacher, so I don’t have to work

                      And, there are those that will claim that being a preacher is a grift unto itself.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I LOVE the Lenny Bruce character in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It has revived my interest in his career.

                      Another set of groundbreaking performers that helped normalize behaviors that were once ostracized and pushed underground.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The tradition that only the court jester, the Fool, can safely speak truth to power is ancient, was already ancient when Shakespeare wrote King Lear. And, in the Greek plays, the tragedies have the drama, but it is the comedies that really bite.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I suspect that cetaceans and crows (parrots too?) are socially smart enough to do it. As a social behavior, a communication, laughter is strongly associated with play. Play is largely an activity of learning/exploration (especially of social roles and rules), or mock combat and competition. Dogs, for example, take a particular posture (front legs flat on the ground from elbows to paws, hind quarters raised, looking upward, tail wagging) as an invitation to play. And, if we watch young children at play, they laugh a lot. So, we can see laughter as a signal, “This is play, don’t take it too seriously, we are safe.”.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And if defined like that, then laughter is pretty widespread across the animal kingdom.

                      One of my favorite studies, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in these posts before, is of dogs at play. The scientist — I forget their name — filmed dogs playing and then analyzed it frame-by-frame. What she saw was every few seconds of play, one dog would check in with the other, with the playing posture, suggesting that they were going through the equivalent of, “I’m still playing, are you?” We’ve all had the experience of play, either physical or verbal, that has gotten out of hand and led to argument and fighting.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It is interesting that dogs are better at checking in to maintain the context of play than humans tend to be. Some evolutionary psychologist or sociologist would like say that is because dogs come equipped with deadlier weapons than we do, and so had a more constant and urgent need to reserve their intra-species aggression for when it really matters.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Our weapons have developed faster than we have evolved. Our signals to each other about surrendering and play just can’t match the pace of drawing a gun and firing it. I remember Conrad Lorenz talking about that very topic on Johnny Carson, probably in the ’70’s.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It seems to me that Steven Pinker in his seminal work, “Angels of Their Better Nature,” noted that when the rule of law is low, when it is unreliable, interpersonal violence over slights and other insults increase substantially. Many of us rely on the law and legal authorities to protect us and inhibit our worst instincts, but there are those among us, who do not or cannot.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Especially when they have a leader who clearly and loudly proclaims himself and them as above and beyond any law.

                      It occurred to me that there is a connection between rule of law and the popularity of countries where it is strong as places to do business. When you can count on the courts to fairly judge disagreements about contracts regardless of who is currently the head of state or which party is in power, business flocks to you shores from places where that is not so true. Our traditions of rule of law are also a factor in the Dollar being the primary reserve currency of the world, and why sovereign wealth funds buy Treasury Bonds. Our uber rich libertarian anarchists would do well to ponder that if they want their assets to thrive.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think that either directly or indirectly, Putin sold a segment of the Republicans on oligarchy. As long as every farthing an economy makes whether it is highly productive or just sputtering along goes into their pockets, they’re fine with it.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The factor of surprise plays a large part in humor and laughter. Genuine surprise tends to be greeted with laughter, screaming, or some lesser (and often inarticulate) exclamation in between.

                      Then, it is noted that those in the Dark Triad tend to be humorless, or when they do attempt to joke it is usually cruel, denigrating, or mocking, or they claim to have joked falsely (gaslighting).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I think that that is a significant point about the Dark Triad types. They are humorless. They can’t make jokes. They can’t take jokes. And, they are over represented in MAGA, current GOP politicians, current GOP-appointed judges, and GOP-appointed officials. The obvious conclusion is that the humor that swayed and eased the rest of us into this new acceptance of classes and groups of people who are different from the mainstream, fell upon deaf ears. They literally could not understand the humor or respond to it.

                      As far gone down the Fox News-Rush Limbaugh rabbit hole as my mother was, to her credit, she said, “I don’t mind that they (LGBTQ+ folks) exist, I just don’t want to see them kissing or anything like that.” I’ve often decried the ruination of what was an open-minded tolerant individual, but that statement suggests that she was never completely corrupted.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Another feature of the Dark Triad lack of humor is that when others are laughing at something they don’t get, their essential paranoia kicks in (“Are they laughing at me?”), or they get angry and lash out.

                      One of the functions of humor is to ease the pain of self-reflection by allowing us to see and comment on our own absurdities, paradoxes, and double binds with a modicum of comfort. The Dark Triad people are denied that way of learning and take refuge in denial and fantasy.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Or, perhaps it is living in denial and fantasy that disarms the humor. (A) You can’t risk someone disparaging you due to your feeble thin veneer of perfection or whatever else you’re projecting to the world. And (b) self-deprecating humor doesn’t work when that’s your abode.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

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