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Jan 24

Human Nature and the Voter

In Brief—An examination of the way flawed human nature affects how most voters react and vote.

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Never Underestimate Human Stupidity (Albert Einstein)—

Did you ever notice in one of those nature films how a massive shimmering school of fish will suddenly change direction and move in the opposite direction? That’s much like humans react. It’s not a rational decision but a herd mentality reaction based on what the manipulators say is the right thing to do. We see it in the stock market, at the local mall and in the voting booth.

Stupidity & IgnoranceGood examples of this phenomenon today are the fear-mongering right-wing Republican clowns running for president in America, the inevitability and reasonability of Hillary Clinton, Marine Le Pen’s far right-wing National Front in France and most national leaders throughout Europe who, like their citizens, are gripped with unreasoning fear at the influx of desperate fleeing refugees.

Humans are evolved creatures who assembled in groups for a variety of reasons relating to survival. The herd behavior is part of human nature. Fear is the motivator of the herd.

One of the group became the leader. Normal aggressiveness underlain by fear led to attacks on weaker groups, the formation of tribes and ethnic groups, different religious beliefs, wars and the eventual evolution into the societies of today. And always there were the ones who stood apart and weighed the wisdom of following the dictates of the fearful powerful and the majority of followers.

So how does this relate to the voter? That requires a journey into human psychology.

Years of research and many books show that a person will cling to a belief even when faced with proof that his/her belief is mistaken. Certainly religious belief in a supernatural being described as good, all-seeing and all-powerful is one such irrational belief. Denial of human-caused global climate change is another. Belief that President Barack Obama is a foreign-born Muslim is a false belief. Belief that the Planned Parenthood organization commits crimes by providing constitutionally-protected abortions is yet another deliberate lie. Belief that all Muslims are terrorists puts us knee-deep in falsehood. The believers construct false narratives, even engage in outright fraud, to support their flawed beliefs.

As suggested by the title of this piece, the people holding these false beliefs vote. That’s downright scary. They carry those fear-driven harmful beliefs into the voting booth. Telling themselves that the tripe they choose to believe is true, they elect duplicitous politicians who try to force the rest of us to march to their dangerous belief system.

Too many voters are like that school of fish. They believe what they want to believe regardless of the fact that they are wrong. It’s either that or they’re too lazy to check the facts themselves. They forfeit their independent right to reason and decide without supporting evidence whether that story or that politician is telling the truth. It’s just easier to let someone else do their thinking for them. School of fish.

Everywhere there’s the false and dangerous belief that desperate refugees, many of whom are Muslims, are driving that human school of fish to react in irrational fear by voting for extremist political parties and politicians who advance their own duplicitous cause by stoking irrational herd fear. It is happening in America and many European countries. Masses of voters abandon reason to follow a Pied Piper who promises safety from terrorism, the very safety the overwhelming majority those refugees are seeking, whether Muslim or not. School of fish.

Think rationally. Put yourself in that refugee’s shoes. Try a little compassion; it’s in those holy books. Don’t be one of the fish in that school of fish.

12 comments

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  1. Dave Meyers

    Last week I made arrangements to go to a machine shop owned by a friend of mine to have some parts made. While the machine whirred away, we talked about things in general.
    He, like he always does, was complaining about money. Namely, his lack of it. I jokingly said that he needed to vote for Trump in that case, because HE was going to make this country “GREAT and TERRIFIC” and we would all prosper.
    My friend shocked me by replying that that’s exactly what he was going to do if given the chance. I about fell over. I’ve known this guy for years and think of him as smart, savvy, and, if not totally reliable when it comes to his pricing, at least smart enough to know what a stupid move that would be. “I certainly won’t vote for a Democrat”, he announced, “Look what it’s been like under Obama”.
    NO, what has it been like?, I asked. “Well, according to the guys I listen to on the radio, he and his cronies have a plan to trash the country and they’re doing a damn fine job of it”. Conversation over. How could I expect to alter that opinion in the time I had left in his shop.
    It’s shocking and scary. And, my guess is that there are thousands and thousands more who travel in that same school of fish.

    1. Don Bay

      As I said to Jim, it’s up to the rest of us to work as hard as needs be to see that Trump/Cruz and the other Republican clowns who are candidates for president don’t succeed. Bloomberg’s possible entry is an unexpected element that at least shows the concern being felt by so-called moderate Republicans that the right might actually prevail.

      Your experience reveals just how close America may be to running completely off the rails. While the status quo is far from the best, a Trump or a Cruz or any of the other Republican clowns in the Oval Office would be a disaster for the nation. Fasten your seat belts.

  2. Jim Newton

    Thanks for this, It’s sad but true, and the stakes this time are enormous. I wish I knew how to change this, especially this time around. I’m afraid we’re stuck with it.
    ]

    1. Don Bay

      I agree that it’s “sad but true.” However, I believe that it’s essential that we do what we can to achieve some degree of sanity. Fingers crossed that the voters stop outside the voting booth and realize that their vote should be for reality rather than temporary enthusiasm and anger.

  3. Susan Harris

    Don, I don’t understand what you mean when you wrote ” the inevitability and reasonability of Hilary Clinton” , please explain . Thanks, Susan

    1. Don Bay

      Having watched the mantle of inevitability being placed on Hillary’s shoulders, I must tell you that the oligarchs who run America and the media have created a meme that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for the country. According to them, she has experience, she has been a Senator and Sec’y of State in turbulent times, she understands economics, is the wife of a former president and is realistic. So say the oligarchs.

      According to them, Sanders is a “socialist,” he lacks experience, his Singe Payer system would destroy Obamacare, he’s a flash-in-the-pan and worse. Compared to Hillary—who is a woman and thus desirable—Sanders is an inexperienced light weight. That the health care meme is a bald-faced lie as is the “inexperience” label topped by America’s irrational fear of socialism, and you have a perfect example of propaganda. Thus, Hillary is the right choice and is inevitable.

      Hillary (and Chelsea) is lying about Sanders’ Singe Payer system and has been documented lying on a number of occasions. She is a hawkish politician with close ties to Wall Street and wants to destroy her competitor by any means. Thus, she is not reasonable. Neither is she inevitable as we know from history.

      That’s why I stated that Hillary (as distinct from Slick Willie) is nether inevitable nor reasonable. I could go on, but this gives you a taste of why I stated what I did.

      1. Susan Harris

        Good to know, now I understand.
        I feel the same as you about Hilary. I’m so hoping she doesn’t get the nomination.

        1. Don Bay

          Hillary is a politician and all politicians lie to win votes. The problem specifically with Hillary is 1) That she is totally in bed with the Wall Street crowd and has been for a number of years; 2) She is a proven hawk, from Iraq to today if not longer. She loves a military solution while negotiation is deemed weakness; 3) She is the wife of a man who not only liked Nixon but admired him. He was and is a Republican that labeled himself as a Democrat. She lives with this guy and thinks like he does regardless of what she says. It’s her comfort zone. As president, that’s how she will think. It’s how she will govern.

  4. Marcia Ferrin

    According to Sanders, Sanders is a Socialist. He simply can’t run on a Socialist ticket or as an independent and expect to win a US Presidential election (not that he necessarily has that expectation), despite the fact that most US citizens are deeply dependent on socialism while still laboring under the misapprehension that our government is a democracy, which it isn’t and never has been.

    I plan to vote for Bernie early and often because we need him like the Supreme Court needed Louis Brandeis, with his humanitarian values and advanced social thinking. Unfortunately, the voting public is far more likely to get what it wants than what it needs.

    BTW, I found my way here via your Pinterest boards, from which I repinned an image of a ceramic sculpture captioned with an opinion I’ve formally attributed to you. I hope my guess was correct; otherwise, please let me know if I’ve put words in your mouth.

    1. Don Bay

      Welcome to my blog. You’ll always get my honest views, or at least as honest as I know how. You may not agree with what I have to say, but I hope you’ll feel free to let me know your thoughts. I usually post a new piece every week. If you are into stuff like that, you can subscribe and get a heads-up. It’s up to you. In any case, thanks for commenting.

      Good on you for voting your philosophy. Please don’t vote “often” although I suspect you mean every chance you get.

      Yep, you are right that the caption reflects my opinion. I always make an effort to say whatever moves me regarding the pin and sometimes I change my mind about what I’ve said…but not often. If you have a view on the pin, please comment. I almost always answer the comments, and they will always appear below the pin. BTW, I’m a bit picky, so you won’t find lots of boards or pins. Personality, I guess.

      1. Marcia Ferrin

        Thank you for responding to my post. I really wasn’t contemplating voter fraud, although registered Democrats seem to have acquired an undeserved reputation for the practice. My comment was meant as a reference to the old “vote early and vote often” quote sometimes attributed to John Van Buren.

        No particular view on the pin; I’m not knowledgeable enough to hold an opinion either way on that subject (another reason I wanted to be sure the comment was properly attributed) — I just like the sculpture. I snagged it for the only public board I have that’s exclusively personal interest; the others are related to a business venture, so different “rules” apply (i.e., if you checked, it’s the reason I may look like an indiscriminate pin whore). 🙂

        1. Don Bay

          You’re either up early or late to have noticed that I responded to your comment.

          I’m aware that you didn’t intend to engage in voter fraud, but it’s my nature to comment on imprecise language. I occasionally do that myself, but the lawyer in me needs scratching now and then.

          If you (or anybody) want to exchange thoughts with me without “going public”, you can do so by going to “Contact” on the right side of the page and using the form you will find there. Some use that way. Either way, “Comment” via the current piece or through the private route, I will answer.

          Being a Pinterest user, I find myself looking at a pinner’s pins and guessing age, sex, interests, marital status and more. I see if the pinners are reading any books that interest me or if they’re just “indiscriminate pin whores.” as you put it. It’s a game for me. Sounds snobbish, I know, but what can a guy do with his extra time?

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