I’m trying not to be an arrogant liberal asshole, but it hard. So I’ll just say it.
In my experience (not so much the conservatives on this board, they are a different breed. The kinds of conservatives I"m referring to generally aren’t drawn to debate boards like this) but many of the conservatives I meet in real life are really really dumb. Brainwashed, profoundly ignorant, wildly misinformed, zero critical thinking skills, etc. No, that is not an exaggeration. And I’m sure a lot of dopers know exactly what I’m talking about.
But most aren’t dumb in other areas of life. Ask them about anything unrelated to politics and they are sane, rational informed people. They take care of their health, pay their bills, work jobs, etc. But once politics comes up, they become dumber than shit.
But more than that, they think they are the smartest people out there, especially about politics. People who barely graduated high school 40 years ago who think they understand climate science better than the world’s best professors and scientists. People who mindlessly absorb spoon fed propaganda 16 hours a day who think they have excellent reasoning skills. People whose arguments generally fall apart with minor examination. People who are immune to facts but believe any lie they hear, as long as that lie tells them what they want to hear. How are these people not only so disconnected from reality, but so arrogant at the same time?
I spent some time on conspiracy theory boards. I will admit that I fell for a few conspiracy theories in the past, but to my knowledge I never acted like I see some of these conservatives act (in fact I rejected the theories when the evidence said they were BS). I also spent a good amount of time disproving conspiracy theories there using science (explaining why theories on the moon having a different density than we are told couldn’t possibly be true, stuff like that). But I didn’t see this behavior there. I really am only seeing it in politics.
So my point is that this is what I want to debate.
Why do a small but very vocal % of conservatives have such terrible critical thinking skills?
Why do they think they have the best? How do you have such low cognitive skills but believe you have the best?
Why does it only seem to apply to politics? I don’t think I see this behavior anywhere else. And to the people it does apply to, they are sane, rational, informed people in every other area of their lives.
The best I can come up with is that certain people (authoritarians mainly) have a deep seated need for the world to be a safe, consistent place so they invent a false, albeit simplistic narrative to make them feel that way. They aren’t reasoning to learn the truth, they are reasoning to feel safe in a confusing, scary world where they feel their sense of power and privilege is being taken away and they feel threatened by the growing creep of the ‘others’. So they invent a narrative that makes things simplistic, black and white, makes them the good guys and gives them easy to identify enemies. Then they invent and ignore evidence to support that narrative because they are emotionally invested in the narrative. That is all I can come up with.
And yeah I know I will get a ‘but both sides are equally bad’. But no, they aren’t. I don’t see this on the left in either the same intensity or numbers.
And I didn’t say all conservatives do this. But quite a lot do. Anyone who has actually spent time outside is probably going to know exactly the kind of conservative I’m talking about.
So what causes it? Is it really just authoritarianism? Or is there something else?