Links and Comments: Reason; Christian victimhood; dead progressives; dystopias; Republican blondes; the fight for reason; fake history

From an Elizabeth Kolbert essay in next weekend’s New York Times Magazine: Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, subtitled “New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.”

One way to look at science is as a system that corrects for people’s natural inclinations. In a well-run laboratory, there’s no room for myside bias; the results have to be reproducible in other laboratories, by researchers who have no motive to confirm them. And this, it could be argued, is why the system has proved so successful. At any given moment, a field may be dominated by squabbles, but, in the end, the methodology prevails. Science moves forward, even as we remain stuck in place.

A familiar point, but one worth repeating.

Sean McElwee at Salon: Trump’s supporters believe a false narrative of white victimhood — and the data proves it

Subtitled: “Trump voters believe that whites and Christians face discrimination — but they call the left sensitive snowflakes”

To paraphrase a popular idiom, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like discrimination. These data suggest that this feeling of loss and victimization, and the need for racial solidarity to protect what remains, is core to understanding Trump’s appeal. As I’ve noted before, beliefs in the importance of white racial solidarity are powerful predictors of Trump support. Whites who believe their race is “very important” to their identity had warmer feelings toward Trump. Trump’s rhetoric reflects this reality: He has described a world in which his white supporters are the victims of bad trade deals, elites and rampant crime. They feel they are living through rapid demographic change that will leave them as a minority of the population — and they know how minorities have been treated for so long in American populations.

And Amanda Marcotte: Conservatives sure love progressives and radicals — at least after they’re dead

Subtitled: “The right loves to lay claim to legends like Martin Luther King and Susan B. Anthony. Historians beg to differ”

Call it the “dead progressive” problem. Conservatives love a dead progressive hero because they can claim that person as one of their own without having any bother that the person will fight back. In some cases, the right has tried to weaponize these dead progressives, claiming that they would simply be appalled at how far the still-breathing have supposedly gone off the rails and become too radical. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta are just two prominent victims of this rhetorical gambit.

I’m thinking this is also revealing of the human tendency to revere ancestors as having more wisdom than anyone alive can possibly provide.

Guardian: Forget Nineteen Eighty-Four. These five dystopias better reflect Trump’s US, by Alex Hearn.

via a Fb post by Dale Bailey, who commented,

A little Yeats seems appropriate to the day and hour: “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

Alternet, via The Guardian: Why Do All the Women on Fox News Look and Dress Alike? Republicans Prefer Blondes, by Hadley Freeman.

Why do so many rightwing American women have bottle-blond hair, often worn girlishly long? I’m thinking of Kellyanne Conway, Ann Coulter and almost any woman on Fox News.

The uniformity of this style suggests a political statement which, indeed, it is. Theirs is a look that defiantly embraces the most conservative notions of femininity and firmly rejects any idea of modernity, let alone feminism. The idea of dressing for themselves – to have fun, to experiment with different styles – is as anathema to them as questioning the political, social and moral beliefs they have absorbed since they were 14 years old.

Alternet, via Neal Gabler: With Trump, We Are in a Fight for Reason Itself

Subtitled: “We are now engaged not only in a political war, but also in a battle over the very concepts of reason and fact that the Enlightenment brought forth.”

The Enlightenment of the late 17th and early 18th centuries is one of the great intellectual and cultural transformations of humankind. The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, emphasized reason over faith, science over superstition, methodology over received wisdom, individualism over the mass, the secular over the religious, psychology over original sin and, in politics, a social contract among citizens over a social order supposedly laid down by God. In Trumpian terms, you might say that it challenged “alternative facts” with verifiable facts, subjectivity with objectivity, authoritarianism with democracy.

Salon: Paul Rosenberg: Bigger than fake news: Trump’s rise was fueled by a deeper narrative of fake history

And, Heather Digby Parton: Building the realm of alternative facts: Trump’s lies are enabled by years of right-wing media.

Which brings us back to my previous post.

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