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Ocelot II

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2003, 12:54 AM
Number of posts: 96,310

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I'm not sure natural selection will weed out this particular brand of idiocy.

I wonder whether the trait of ignoring science for political or ideological or tribal reasons is inheritable. If it is, the trait will persist just because so many of the anti-vaxxers have already reproduced. However, I question whether the type of stupid that causes some people to prefer rumors and conspiracy theories that reinforce their existing suppositions about the socialist government forcing them to do things they don't want to do is genetic. There is research suggesting that conservatives are more fearful than liberals, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201612/fear-and-anxiety-drive-conservatives-political-attitudes - although this theory has been questioned, https://www.livescience.com/conservatives-not-more-fearful-than-liberals.html - because it appears that conservatives aren't necessarily more fearful than liberals, only that they are afraid of different things. And, the author suggests, it might be that people adopt a political identity first and then fear certain specific things as a result.

Fearfulness in general is probably an inheritable trait. But people who won't get vaccinated don't fear covid, or at least not enough, even though they should (like the caveman fighting off a lion with a stick), but they fear the vaccine. Why? It's not because they are fearful in general, but perhaps it's because their political identity has motivated them to fear the vaccine more than the disease. Arguably this is just plain stupid, but is it low-IQ stupid? Probably not. I'd posit that it's a learned stupidity (and here I define "stupid" not as developmentally disabled in some way, but as willfully ignorant) arising from rigid political identity. It's a social disease, not a genetic one.

But even so, if the 'rona kills off enough of these morons to keep the GOP from winning elections I will be satisfied that their karma has run over their dogma.

Actually it isn't. It's an argument that the president was acting

within the scope of his presidency when he said what he said, not that it was OK to say it. If he was acting in that capacity the government is obligated to raise a defense on his behalf and substitute itself as the defendant. The catch, of course, is that the government can't be sued for defamation, so the government would be off the hook for damages. in Clinton v. Jones, the Supreme Court case held that a sitting president of the United States is not immune from litigation for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office, but this is a case involving an act done while the president was in office. So they have to rely on Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which held that a president is absolutely immune from litigation for discretionary acts done while in office. The decision is very broad, and although it doesn't define exactly which activities Fitzgerald covers, the case is generally interpreted to mean that as long the action is within the broadest understanding of the president's function as president, he's immune. The reason the appeal is being taken by the current DoJ is not to protect Trump but to determine, by an appellate court, where that line is. The notion that a president can make allegedly libelous statements regarding a situation not related to his function as president is a huge stretch and it will probably fail, as it should. But it is in no regard inappropriate for the DoJ to want to get an answer to the question for the sake of future administrations.

No. Trump's "craziness" consists of some fairly extreme personality disorders

but he's not psychotic in a way that would support an insanity defense (which rarely works anyhow). Gigante feigned mental incompetence as if he was developmentally disabled rather than psychotic; he shuffled around in a bathrobe, mumbling to himself, and acting as if he didn't understand what was going on around him; his lawyers claimed he had been mentally disabled since the late 1960's, with a below-normal I.Q. of 69 to 72. He was willing to publicly humiliate himself in a way that Trump would never, ever do. Trump, however, is a malignant narcissist who apparently has managed to convince himself that he won the election because his disorder won't permit him to acknowledge he lost. But he would never allow his lawyers to raise an insanity defense, and he isn't legally insane (unable to understand the nature and consequence of his actions) even though he is certainly not normal.

A somewhat similar case is that of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who, in 2011, killed eight people by detonating a bomb in Oslo, then killing 69 young people at a summer camp. Initially he was diagnosed as schizophrenic, but a second psychiatric evaluation determined he had narcissistic personality disorder but was legally sane. Breivik was outraged at the initial diagnosis that he was mentally ill, even though it would have kept him out of prison. He "expressed hope at being declared sane in a letter sent to several Norwegian newspapers shortly before his trial, he wrote about the prospect of being sent to a psychiatric ward: "I must admit this is the worst thing that could have happened to me as it is the ultimate humiliation. To send a political activist to a mental hospital is more sadistic and evil than to kill him! It is a fate worse than death." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik I think Trump would be equally outraged at the idea of raising an insanity defense.

I am hoping - maybe naively - that once Trump is out of office, most of the MAGAts will

gradually drift away from the cult. It is, after all, a personality cult, and allegiances to personalities are not transferrable to others. Trump has a unique talent - he's a carnival barker crossed with a demagogue, like the bastard offspring of P.T. Barnum and Hitler. He has been able to tap into and cultivate the worst impulses of people who already had dangerous attitudes - racism, white supremacy, xenophobia and "Christian" nationalism at the top of the list - with outrageous and offensive statements that expressed, loudly and publicly, what they were thinking and wanted to say themselves. He was able to make angry, privileged white people believe that only he could get rid of the bad people who they thought were keeping them down in some way (of course, equality looks like oppression to those who are accustomed to privilege). Obviously some GOP hangers-on like Cruz and Hawley hope to pick up those voters in 2024, but they don't have Trump's unique talent for mesmerizing throngs of angry, stupid people (Hawley just torpedoed his own chances, and Cruz is so oily and obnoxious that everybody hates him already). As of now, nobody else does either.

No doubt the current lunacy will continue for awhile, but I think that once Trump is no longer president and has to try to maintain his influence from Mierda-Loco (assuming he isn't in prison), that influence will gradually dissipate when it becomes apparent that he can't actually do anything. It will probably take a couple of years, but reality has a way of intruding into people's delusions. Those who aren't being prosecuted for trying to sack the Capitol will find that they still have to support themselves and their families and go about their lives. Continuing to carry the flag for some fat old washed-up ex-politician who can't do anything for them will eventually be seen as a wasted effort. Some might even recognize that they've been had. Many will continue to hold racist and otherwise Trumpist beliefs but at least they won't be storming government buildings.

I hope I'm not being unrealistically hopeful.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Mon Jan 11, 2021, 01:44 PM (0 replies)
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