Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart:
L.A. Times Hears Racist Dog Whistles from Romney Voters
Sandy Banks of the L.A. Times has figured out why anyone would vote against Barack Obama. Why, they are all racists, of course. Oh, you don’t use “the N word,” she tells us, but we know what you Romney voters really think.
Banks dropped all pretense of logic or fairness in her Sunday piece, claiming that the nation’s “kumbaya era” is over merely because a white man dared run against Barack Obama for the office of President of the United States.
Like all these hate-filled screeds that cast any non-Obama voter as a racist, Banks doesn’t bother trying to actually explain how a nation that elected a black man as President could suddenly revert to pre-civil rights oppression. She just states it straight as if it is obvious fact.
This has been the single most disgusting attack against Romney voters and, if Obama loses his bid for reelection, be prepared to see every last left-winger on TV and in the commentariat claim that the only reason Obama lost is because the country is filled with hood-wearing, Jim Crow-loving racists.
You don’t have to be an Obama follower to think like that:
In the last couple of days, I have read the consternation of the left as they see the evangelicals and other right wing followers get behind their Mormon. It’s as if the left has forgotten all of the studies by Bob Altemeyer and lessons learned from John Dean about the nature of the authoritarian follower. But it’s even weirder than that because although the right has made it a badge of honor to decouple cause from effect, ignore evidence and discourage reasoned thinking in its followers so that the world looks to them like a violent, chaotic place, I never thought I would see the same sort of behavior rising in the left.
I was raised in fundamentalist church in a red zone of California. My mom was (and is) a feminist but not a liberal. So I first hit adulthood with a right-wing tilt to my politics. The first time I voted in a presidential election I cast my ballot for Ronnie Raygun. But during my twenties I moved steadily to the left until by the time I was thirty I was a borderline socialist.
I stayed that way for a long time. I was proud to be a liberal and a yellow-dog Democrat. 2008 cured me of that yellow-dog thingie but I still consider myself a liberal Democrat-in-exile.
I discovered the internet in 1994. I had heard of it before then but never experienced it. Back then we used Unix codes to surf the information superhighway. Then came Internet Explorer. But it wasn’t until seven years ago (has is really been that long?) that I discovered the blogosphere.
About the same time I discovered the internet my lifestyle didn’t allow for much television watching. I was either working, going to school or trying to have a social life. I slept occasionally too. The internet was great because I could read the news at times convenient to me, and I wasn’t limited to reading the local paper. It was great because I was a big fan of Molly Ivins but her column rarely appeared in the newspaper.
When I first discovered the blogosphere (thanks to Molly) I naturally gravitated to Left Blogistan. This was in 2006 – a big election year for Democrats. Those days were the golden age of blogging. Bartcop, Daily Howler and the Smirking Chimp were some of my favorites back then, along with Hullabaloo, Crooks and Liars and Balloon Juice. By 2007 I was a regular at Balloon Juice and spending most of my online time there.
Until 2008 I NEVER stepped foot in the right blogosphere, aka “Wingnuttia”. I didn’t need to read the rantings and ravings of the wingnuts because other people told me about them. It was during those years that I read Conservatives Without Conscience and The Authoritarians. The first one is sitting on my bookshelf and the other is stored on my computer. I believed every word contained therein.
Then along came 2008 and some other stuff happened and many of my previous beliefs were either proven false or challenged. As a result, I found myself visiting right-wing blogs. What I found there surprised me, even though it shouldn’t have.
(Now if you’re thinking that this is the part where I say I realized that liberalism was wrong all those years and that conservatives were right, you’re wrong. Now shaddup and pay attention.)
What I discovered was that there are some really bright, perceptive conservatives. These people are smart, educated, informed and they have good hearts. There are also some small-minded idiots and assholes over on the right. But more importantly, I learned that neither side has a monopoly on intelligence, good character, or pinheaded assholishness. And in most cases people can be a little of both at different times.
Each and every one of us is human. That means we are all capable of being inconsistent and hypocritical. It’s not our fault, we were born this way. I don’t want to get too deep and philosophical but we all have two (at least) natures – one that is “animal” and one that is intellect-driven. Not only that but some behaviors (like tribalism) are hardwired into us like default programming.
We all spend a lot of time on autopilot. We don’t have to think about every single thing we do. I can make it through a whole day without really thinking about what I’m doing. We have our daily routines and we follow them like trained rats. This frees up our higher brain functions for other stuff. (For those of us that have higher brain functions anyway.)
Prejudice, stereotypes and bigotry are kinda like our brain’s auto-complete function. At times they are helpful, at other times not so much. What they are trying to do is help us reach conclusions with incomplete data – a mental shortcut. That’s okay if they are accurate. The problem is they are often inaccurate.
From the Klown Archives:
Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. It is hardwired into our brains, like an instinct. When our primal brain senses danger it triggers a “flight or fight” reaction. This involves three parts of our brain – the thalamus, the amygdala and the hypothalamus. Sometimes it involves the hippocamus and the sensory cortex too.
Those of you who have taken an anatomy class know that none of those five parts of the brain are where we do our heavy thinking. The primal part of our brain is kinda like BIOS is to your computer. But just like you can “flash” a BIOS chip we can do some reprogramming to our primal brain.
The problem is that part of or brain will reprogram itself. In fact, it’s supposed to if it’s working correctly. It’s actually pretty adaptable in some ways.
Let’s go back in time to when one of our primitive ancestors (Oog) sees his cousin (Og) get killed and eaten by a cave bear. Now Oog never saw a cave bear before, but his amygdala has now listed cave bears on Oog’s flight or fight trigger list.
From now on, whenever Oog sees a cave bear he will be afraid. Not only that, but his primitive brain will tell him to be afraid of things that look similar to cave bears, like saber tooth tigers. Oog doesn’t have to think about any of this, his primal brain does it all on it’s own.
So jump forward a million years or so to today. Oog (who now has a good job doing commercials for GEICO insurance) turns on his television and sees a couple jumbo jets hitting the Twin Towers. He sees Muslims chanting “death to America” and all kinds of violence associated with Muslims.
His primal brain sees all that stuff too, and lists “Muslims” on Oog’s flight or fight trigger list. But Oog doesn’t just watch the news, he watches television and movies. When he does he often sees fictional depictions of violent scary Muslims.
While Oog’s higher brain recognizes these depictions as fiction, his primal brain sees them as real. So when Oog encounters a Muslim in real life his primal brain is telling him to be afraid, no matter what his higher brain might be saying.
As I was saying, visiting the right side of the blogosphere was enlightening. One of the things I discovered (even though I already kinda knew it) was that conservatives tend to have a low opinion of liberals. They not only think we are stupid and ignorant but they believe we are not nice people.
My initial reaction was that they obviously didn’t know what they were talking about because I was a liberal and I was smart and informed and pretty darn nice too! (Seriously – that’s what I thought.)
I would see conservatives say something like “Liberals hate America” and I knew that they were wrong because I knew from personal experience that liberals love America. Dammit, I am a liberal and I love America!
But you have to admit that some liberals sure don’t seem to love America. What can you say when somebody from this country is burning our flag? “Oh no, he’s only doing that to show his patriotism?”
The fact is that every one of those negative stereotypes about liberals has some kernel of truth in it. It may not be true about all liberals or even most liberals, but it is true about some liberals. On the flip side, every one of those negative stereotypes about conservatives has a kernel of truth in it too. Lord knows the Obots have proven that.
That brings us to tribalism. Arthur Silber made these observations about tribalism:
ONE: To the degree that membership in a particular tribe or tribes is important to a person’s sense of identity, that person believes that his own tribe(s) is inherently and uniquely good. To the degree that tribal membership is a critical element of personal identity, all members of all tribes are convinced this is true of those tribes to which they belong.
TWO: Insofar as the tribe’s centrally defining characteristic(s) (race, religion, political beliefs, etc.) are concerned, all other tribes that differ with regard to these characteristics are necessarily inferior and wrong. This has an especially critical implication: at first with regard to these centrally defining characteristics, and inevitably in a more general sense, the individual members of all other tribes are necessarily inferior to and less worthy than the members of one’s own tribe(s).
THREE: The basic dynamics of all tribes are the same. This applies to all tribes in two different critical respects. It is true of dynamics within the tribe — that is, of those particular mechanisms which create and maintain tribal identity and cohesiveness — and it is also true of how one tribe views itself and behaves in relation to other tribes.
FOUR: The major mechanism by which any tribe creates and maintains tribal identity and cohesiveness is obedience: the requirement that each member of the tribe conform his thinking and behavior in accordance with the major elements of the tribe’s belief system.
I lost my political tribe in 2008. I found my way to a small band of other tribe-less refugees and we formed a new tribe. Over the past four years that original band of refugees has broken apart into still smaller groups. If you are reading this then chances are you are a member of this new micro-tribe.
Being tribe-less has enabled me to examine both major tribes with new eyes. Unfortunately, many people, like Riverdaughter for example, have been unable or unwilling to go fully tribe-less. She looks at her old tribe with open eyes, but she is still looking at the Republicans through the same old Democratic filter. She is not alone in this.
This post is long enough already so I’ll stop here.