Whence the urge to be transgressive?

I don’t know, I even don’t know if the OPs explanation is right, being myself transgressive in a very different way (I hope!), but I think the word whence is really nice. Hadn’t read in quite a while.

I know a guy like this. No matter what, he had to be the Defiant One, regardless of what the topic was at hand. He’d be liberal against conservatives and conservative against liberals.

And on the topic of Covid, it wouldn’t have even been hard for Trump to flip his supporters all around. If it had been framed as a “travel ban is racist!” and “Black Lives Matter protesters are spreading the virus by shouting slogans and not wearing masks!” narrative, his supporters would have been totally on the anti-virus side, wearing masks and condemning those who didn’t.

Obvious soundtrack:

[Forgive some stream-of-consciousness nonsense]

Good line from Stanley Goodspeed (played by Nicolas Cage), in “The Rock:”

What is wrong with these people, huh? Mason? Don’t you think there’s a lot of, uh, a lot of anger flowing around this island? Kind of a pubescent volatility? Don’t you think? A lotta angst, a lot of “I’m sixteen, I’m angry at my father” syndrome? I mean grow up! We’re stuck on an island with a bunch of violence-for-pleasure-seeking psycophatic marines, SHAME-ON-THEM!

My money’s on Goodspeed’s dime-store psychology take on it.

Some of them are fairly broken with reasonably obvious antisocial tendencies.

Trying to delineate (abusing the COVID example) between riding your motorcycle without a helmet (risk inures to you) and driving your car when you’re piss-faced drunk (risk inures to others at least as much as it does to you) … seems to fall on deaf ears.

A solipsistic tendency – a feeling that one either is an island, or that – if a member of a tribe, then – by definition – fuck everybody else.

I’m guessing we’d learn something by diving deeply into their families of origin (ie, textbook dysfunction).

Caring so profoundly little about others, but – seemingly – so much about yourself sounds to me like a lifelong effort to fill a pathological void that you’ve been struggling with a very long time.

Mommy/Daddy really didn’t love you enough.

It amazes me when they constantly say that mask-wearing is for sheep (irony being … they simply follow a different shepherd – one who’s oddly orange).

Two other disjointed points:

  • The “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees” crowd is charming … until their actions cost other people their lives. And that happens all too often. When you’re cleaning your firearms and pondering your “rights,” maybe give a little thought to your responsibilities to others as part of a crowded country. Remember: when your bumper-sticker says, “Freedom Isn’t Free,” it also pertains to situations like this (and “this” can safely be extrapolated to no end of non-COVID things);

  • I remember when peanut allergy sufferers (and the parents of kids with peanut allergies) asked the airlines to stop serving peanuts on flights – maybe serve pretzels instead. A HUGELY vocal but very small minority of people lost their ever-lovin’ minds. Their reaction was tantamount to, “If I can’t eat peanuts on an airplane, then the terrorists have won.”

Ever notice … it’s always the same sort of person who’s apoplectic over this kind of ‘infringement on their liberty ?’

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go log onto Next Door, find out what all my neighbors are doing, and do the exact same thing :wink:

A lot of these people didn’t really have conflicting sources of information. Their problem is they got all of their information from a single source. They heard a conservative viewpoint from conservative media. And then they heard a conservative interpretation of the liberal viewpoint from conservative media.

I prefer not to compare apples to oranges or engage in other blatantly false equivalences.

I don’t know the psychology of it, but why does anyone not “do what they are told”? Probably a combination of poor impulse control and desire to expert power (even if it is in a petty and meaningless way).

I suppose “no one can tell me what to do” types tend to be “authoritarian-leaning” because they tend to only respect those who exhibit enough power and authority to keep them in line. Or to keep in line those who they don’t respect.

Maybe you had a particularly placid or peaceful upbringing, but have you never once thought “screw it” in response to someone telling you “go do something” followed by “because I said so?” Especially if it were someone you already disliked to begin with, or held opposing views of yours?

Especially if it were an order that didn’t make sense to some (i.e., “nobody at this school is allowed to wear green T-shirts.” “Why not?” “Because I said so.”)

Which speaks to my second point (which you did not include in your quote). A need to exert power. That stupid dean said we can’t wear green T-shirts. So I’ll show him by wearing NO T-shirt and painting my chest green. It becomes an issue of impulse control when your desire to get back at that stupid dean results in getting expelled.

Some of them were on this very board. I recall people saying something like “If your kid is so sensitive, it’s your responsibility to take precautions. I shouldn’t have to suffer any limitations.”

I was astonished. This is something that can kill a small number of people. And it’s so easily avoidable, and for such little cost.

Community is all about “give a little; take a little”. Some folks really like “give nothing; take a lot.”

Despite searching I can’t find it right now, but in the last couple of weeks somebody posted a story about the time a woman self-invited her young child to the poster’s adults-only evening party and then showed up uninvited midafternoon to “sanitize” our poster’s house of all things peanut so that Precious Child could attend.

That’s an example of the “taking a lot” shoe on the other foot.

In extreme cases this rises to the level of being a mental disorder:

Think of people who refuse to comply with police orders even when they’re fully/clearly aware that they are about to get tazed or sprayed and will ultimately lose the impending physical struggle with the cop.

That may be part of it, but how do you explain siblings who had essentially the same upbringing but one has always been the well-behaved “good kid” and another has always been the defiant “problem child”?

That’s the nature part of nature + nurture.

You can put fertilizer on two plants, but see one still fail to grow while the other grows aggressively.

Similarly, certain parenting styles may not lead the good kid astray, but can lead the bad kid to aggressively become more and more self-centered and jerkish.

I used to hear this on occasion from a parent of a troubled teen (and other children):

“I raised them all the same.”

Turns out … maybe they weren’t all the same to begin with.

When a dear friend of mine decided to have kids, he asked if I had any advice.

I really didn’t, but … when pressed … I could only say … try to avoid cementing your plan for your kids in advance. Try to have some general goals, but then seek to understand their essential nature, and be willing to modify your plan accordingly.

It was quite a bit of casuistry, if I do say so myself, but … a) he bought it, and b) I kind of believe it.

I hate to say it, but Trumpist are normal people. They make up nearly half the voters and who knows how many non voters? I wish they were some fringe group but they’re quite mainstream.

They’re common, but they’re not normal.

I think we’re past the point where republicans and democrats hold views that just happen to be in opposition. I think that with some positions that republicans adopt, they adopt the position because the democrats hold the opposing position. I think they do this because now that they’re in the habit of painting liberals as being literally evil, things that liberals like must be inherently evil. This mask thing is an excellent example of this - I don’t believe for one damned second that the republicans eschew masks because they have done careful research and determined that if they wear a mask they’ll get cancer or whatever. I think they’re doing it because it lets them be rebellious assholes. I literally think that’s the end goal in several cases - ‘liberal tears’.

If your position is that they’re not a minority fighting the norm, but rather a majority deliberately persecuting the minority of non-bastards, well, I think that poll numbers show the haven’t quite overtaken us yet.

I really think this is it right now. We had 8 years of Republicans not being ‘for’ anything, but just against anything that Obama suggested. We then got nearly 4 years of Trump absolutely failing to do anything except by executive fiat (and failing most of that as well). The Republican party of today has long since abandoned, by their own admission, most of the points that were of concern to the ‘middle-of-road’ voters such as smaller government, fiscal conservatism, adherence to the constitution, leaving them with guns, Christianity (of the do as I say, don’t do as I do branch), and various forms of poorly concealed hate. The rest they fill up with the whole ‘anything the Democrats are for/do’ is evil, because they are Democrats.
They cannibalized their own Tea Party, who proved that they were just as happy to throw their agenda aside when it wasn’t working with the base. And since there have been minimal repercussions and substantial gains for outright lies, hypocrisy and fear mongering, we are likely at the beginning of the end for a generation (at least) of American politics. I do always wonder though (going back to the OP), about the cause and effect of the Trump/Qanon crowd. Many argue he brought the culture of hate to the mainstream, but I’ve felt it’s always been there, bubbling away.
I think what happened is as other posters have brought up, that a certain large segment of society (especially male white Christians) had a comfortable feeling of superiority. Even if they as individuals weren’t at the top, they saw someone just like them at the top - in local government, in business, in national government. It was all the same. Even if someone popped up and challenged the status quo, they were still buried by more of the same. But after Obama especially, they were scared. They saw it could change, was changing, and that they seemed to be in the minority. They could not stand that.
And then Trump comes along, someone who they could project on, whose image, correct or not, was what they wanted to believe, who promised he’d make all the scary things go away. And they bought it. And they’ll continue to, or the next Trumpian candidate, because they have decided that (as has happened throughout humanity’s darkest moments) that it doesn’t matter what happens as long as the ‘enemy’ who threatened their status and worldview losers. Even if they lose everything as well.
Good luck, and join me in hoping (or praying if you like) that I’m wrong.

This might be one of those areas where we’re just going to get into a pedantic discussion about the difference between common and normal. I live in Arkansas, Turmpism is not abnormal here. Even in states that went to Biden this year, in many of those areas Trumpisn isn’t abnormal there either. Back in 2016 I used to think Trumpism wasn’t normal but I’ve changed my mind. What I thought was abnormal has simply become a regular part of the landscape.

Well, I do find my position on this being driven by the thread subject. The trumpist behaviors are called ‘transgressive’. That word by its very structure implies that they’re in defiance of a norm.

It may be worth noting that I only mean to say that they’re abnormal regarding the subject at hand. They could be perfectly normal in every other way, but if on the specific subject under discussion they’ve decided that doctors are the ones who know the least about medicine, then on that subject they are abnormal, and are disagreeing with the norm.