Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Charles Johnson, in his blog post The New Tribalism at TPMCafe, explains how the teabaggers and other wingnuts continue to accept and embrace repeatedly discredited memes that are demonstrably untrue:
Within the tribe there's no need to be concerned with facts or accuracy; if the goal is to demonize a hated opponent, for example, anything and everything goes, including smears known to be false. That's because the objective is not to convince an impartial observer -- it's to reinforce the tribal bonds, the sense of belonging to something, with its own shared reality. That shared reality doesn't have to reflect actual reality; anybody who doesn't share it is by definition not part of the tribe, and therefore an enemy.
So, the next time you hear someone fuming about "death panels" or "Obamanation's Secret Muslim Agenda" or "Government takeover of health care/the financial industry/etc" remember: reason won't work. Reason just shows you're not one of the tribe, you're one of "them," and "they" must be resisted at all costs.
This isn't to say you shouldn't correct try to correct misinformation. People who haven't already made up their minds, the impartial observers Johnson mentions--in other words, people who aren't already part of the "tribe," need to hear it.
But forget trying to convince someone who's already in. To your hard core wingnut, it's not about the truth: it's about the tribe.