Posted by: SandPen | November 12, 2017

Myth Reality

This is a test. Only if you are an independent thinker will you read to the end.

Over the past thirty odd years, the conservative media and politicians have created a mythical world that far too many people accept as real. The Weekly Sift lists key elements of this myth as follows:

  • Tax cuts pay for themselves by creating economic growth.
  • Government spending is mostly waste, so it can be slashed without hurting anybody.
  • Climate change isn’t happening, or if it is, burning fossil fuels has nothing to do with it.
  • When the rich make money, everybody makes money.
  • The free market can solve all problems, including providing healthcare to the poor.
  • White Christians are the primary victims of discrimination.
  • The uninsured can get all the medical treatment they need in emergency rooms.
  • Elections at all levels are tainted by massive voter fraud, as millions of illegal immigrants cast ballots.
  • Big business wants what’s best for America, so there’s no need to stop them from polluting our air and water, or from making products that kill their workers or customers.

The propaganda machine promoted this myth long before 2016. Trump merely latched onto it and added his own brand of divisive poison to stir up more disgruntled voters. Unfortunately, those living in this fantasy world shun facts and remain divorced from reality. No rational discussion is possible on any issue that questions these beliefs.

The Republican establishment could safely promote this myth while they were not in power. But now that they control all branches of government, fantasy is meeting reality. That’s why they could not undo the health care and very likely will fail in their attempt change tax law to make the rich richer. So far, no significant legislation has been enacted. Only presidential directives have succeeded in tearing down much of the progress made since World War II. The blood of thousands of Americans massacred is now firmly on their hands. No longer can they enjoy the role of simply blocking moves that contradict the myth or undermine its mythical promises of a glorious future.

Anything they do to further their fantasy will come back to haunt them as the adverse results become visible. Absurd benefit claims from tax cuts for corporations and the rich will not materialize. Instead more money is siphoned off and a bone thrown to the Middle Class on income tax will be swamped by the cost to individuals of cuts needed to prevent massive debt increases. There is no free lunch or money tree in the real world. Sooner or later Republican base voters must come to grips with that reality. In the end, the myth creators will be the myth busters.

Congratulations if you are still reading. Most conservatives will have left before now.

The question that interests me is how can intelligent, caring, even thoughtful, people continue to blindly back the myth? Much of the German public knew millions of Jews were being massacred. They knew what the stench of crematorium smoke meant. Soldiers knew they were machine gunning down helpless humans in front of burial trenches. How could they finger friends and neighbors to send them to their death? The same scenario played out between Serbs and Muslims in Kosovo.

Brain researchers seem to have the answer. Our brains are biased toward looking for consensus with other humans. When found, there is an overpowering urge for most people to join it. Why? Probably evolution taught us (and many other species) that numbers were important for survival. Success comes from supporting the “common good”, whether it is to ward off threats or gain useful benefits. The Houston flood gave evidence of this when racial and religious differences melted away and humans rescued humans.

The genocides mentioned above are examples of the same brain behavior when propaganda convinces people that abominable behavior is the consensus. The conservative myth relies on this brain behavior as well. By doggedly drumming the myth on Fox News, in right wing talk shows, etc., a large voting base has become convinced it is reality. Only widespread evidence of its fallacies and counter propaganda can bring the real reality back. Fortunately, the factual news so often branded as fake and the efforts of spokespersons like Bernie Sanders and comedians like Noah, Myers and Colbert now enjoy growing success as myth busters.

 


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