What’s Wrong With 26% of Americans?

That’s what GrrlScientist asks about the 26% who don’t think Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert should resign and/or lose the Speakership over Foleygate. I think most of that 26% falls into a declarative mindset. In other words, once Hastert is defined as a Good Person, he can do no wrong. I’m actually pleasantly surprised the percentage isn’t higher.

We see examples of this way of thinking (such as it is) all the time. As a White House staffer told a potential candidate for a position on the National Drug Abuse Council, when the candidate said he supported needle exchange:

Now you’re two for three. The President opposes needle exchange on moral grounds regardless of the consequences.

For most visitors of ScienceBlogs, this mindset is very puzzling regardless of political orientation because an interest in science typically engenders some level of skepticism, which is absent in the declarative mindset*. Most people who read ScienceBlogs regularly also encounter this with creationists: despite the steady refutation of every creationist argument, they just don’t stop because evolution is Evil and creationism is Good. That’s where it starts and ends.So short of Hastert actually molesting them or someone close to them, they’re never going to ditch him. That’s how the authoritarian mind works.
*One point to make is that to some extent, everyone engages in this. I could give you philosophical reasons why murder is wrong, but at some level, I just believe it is wrong. Period. However, it’s the extent to which this perspective affects one’s thinking that matters.

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1 Response to What’s Wrong With 26% of Americans?

  1. VJB says:

    Well, I for one want Hastert to linger on for a few weeks till he is voted out of a job. There was a first page story in the NY Times (yesterday, I think) about how most evangelical voters blame Foley personally (it’s his ‘lifestyle’, you know), and not the GOP as an institution. They see the Democrats as abetting the ‘Homosexual agenda’, and thus forever tainted. I can remember my maternal grandfather complaining about FDR through the 70’s (while still cashing his social security checks). Some people seem hardly educable, but at least it’s only 26%.

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