T/F: Misinformation, ignorance, and fallacy is the bread and butter of the Republican party

I don’t typically like extreme views, and so I don’t usually paint with a broad brush; but as I think about the Republican party, particularly in recent years, I realize that almost their entire method of propagating ideology is by erasing nuance in discussion; using fallacy to quell opposition; creating fictitious bogeymen that play on xenophobia, homophobia, and vague fears about “socialism”; spreading shocking lies that play on prejudices and “No true Scotsman”-type appeals to create groundswell support; using meaningless thought-terminating cliches to gain agreement without using logic; and the list goes on. In fact, I can’t really think of a time in the recent past in which the Republican party or its mouthpieces actually used logic or well-reasoned arguments to further political discussion or discourse. All I ever hear is elementary-school level retorts, accusations, innuendo-- which unfortunately work better in our political climate than nuanced discussion that involves complexities and being informed. For the record, I personally like certain conservative principles, like fiscal responsibility and low-government interference in personal affairs, but the Republican party doesn’t even seem to espouse these values anymore. I realize that SD probably leans Democratic, but does anyone here disagree with what I just said about Republican political strategy?

I think it’s true of most politicians, regardless of view. TV news only has time for sound bites.

TV news plays sound bites, but I’m increasingly believing that Republicans to a much greater extent than Democrats think in sound bites.

Well, I wouldn’t say that Obama was “erasing nuance in discussion” or “playing on xenophobia” during his speech in Cairo, for instance.

I think that to the extent that the Republicans are selling the myth that we could go back to the “good old days” of the '50s and '60s when the US was supreme if we only junked the liberal/welfare-state “mistakes” we made, then yes they are basing their support on misinformation, ignorance and fallacy.

Read the book ‘the authoritarians’ by Bob Altemeyer and the scientific paper ‘political conservatism as motivated social cognition’



The reality is the psychology of political conservatism and of conservatives makes them more prone to jingoism, dogmatism and simplistic cliches.

“intolerance of ambiguity scores were indeed significantly
higher among moderate and extreme right-wing students compared
with moderate and extreme left-wing students. The notion that
conservatism is associated with intolerance of ambiguity is consistent
with a great many theories, and it is implicit in ideological
theories of integrative complexity. It may also provide a psychological
context for understanding statements such as this one made
by George W. Bush at an international conference of world leaders
in Italy: “I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is
right” (Sanger, 2001).8 Our review suggests that there is a relatively
strong connection between dogmatism and intolerance of
ambiguity, on the one hand, and various measures of political
conservatism, on the other. The weighted mean effect size ®,
aggregated across 20 tests of the hypothesis conducted in five
different countries involving more than 2,000 participants (see
Table 2), was .34 ( p .0001).9”

Well, I dunno. That stuff about left-wingers being more tolerant of ambiguity could be right, I suppose. Maybe.

Either agree with the left or get the hell out of the country.

It must be a whoosh, but normally the saying is “America, love it or leave it” and no, that saying did not come from liberals.

That’s been true for quite a while. Reagan’s soundbites weren’t psychotic. Even Newt’s soundbites were reasonably sane. It seems that anyone who isn’t a nut job is now scared of being yelled at by Rush. Liberal Republicans are just lucky that Palin and Limbaugh don’t have guillotines.

If you’re really serious, you’ll come across as dogmatic.

Are any Republicans going to chime in here and refute my assertion?

I think that trait spreads across the political plains pretty evenly, affiliation matters not…

Politics is politics, but I associate intellectual dishonesty with the Republican party much more than the Democratic party.

I don’t think its entirely their fault, really. There are so few occassions when telling the truth will support their agenda, naturally they are going to be wary and reluctant! And its burdensome as well, I’m sure!

I’m lucky my politics lean somewhat leftish, its not nearly so taxing on the imagination when you can rely on facts.

Actually I think that one of the problems the Democratic party has is that facts are cognitively more demanding and complex to people than the prejudices and simplications that the Republican party seems to constantly peddle.

Polls showed people who voted for Bush in 2000 mostly misunderstood several of his key positions. For example a clear majority of them thought he supported the Kyoto treaty. This got me wondering about the OP question, and much since has apparently supported the view that Republicanism is somewhat of a disease of misunderstanding and misleading.

But I always figured there was also a wealthy cadre of supporters who understood a good deal more than the masses did, and had some kind of perceived self interest motivating their donations and votes instead.

The idea that television news only has time for sound bites is in conflict with the theme heard elsewhere that blames the 24 hour multiple network news programs for stirring up much of the misleading noise. It is possible that too little news programming time is to blame for it all, or that too much is, but not both.

Another idea: perhaps the underlying cause of all the misleading noise in Republican messages is that being on the side against progressivism has always been a bad idea, which is why Europe sees the US as so rightist, and it is the increase in communication and information resources in the last decade or two that have so exposed this that misleading the masses is the only desperate measure left.

You lose right there. Anytime you argue “I’m not a ________, but”, you establish yourself as a ____________.

I’m not a Martian, but I wonder what Martians think of our Republicans.

Do you have a cite for that factoid, because I doubt it. I don’t have a cite either, but I’d be surprised if a majority of American voters for in 1980, whoever they voted for, had a firm grasp on the Kyoto treaty provisions.