[FoRK] Coup Needed - What the right wing really thinks?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Thu Oct 1 20:14:06 PDT 2009

On Oct 1, 2009, at 4:29 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> When you see and hear some of what is being said in widely consumed  
> media (usually Beck/Rush/et al via Stewart), you have to wonder how  
> many people are being repeatedly exposed to what and how much they  
> are persuaded.  If only 50 people in the US believe drivel, fine.   
> If it is 5 million, I want to know.  Some surveys have been shocking.

Even 5 million is nothing -- there are a third of a billion people in  
the US.  You can find at least 5% of the population that will believe  
*anything*, even if they do not have any concept of the subject  
matter.  There are reams of research about the credulity of humans.   
For any belief, no matter how stupid or contrived, you can reliably  
poll 10-20% that "believe" in it.  What people believe doesn't really  
matter because most humans act far more rationally than their  
professed beliefs would suggest.

Most people "believe right" by pure coincidence in any case.  Only a  
small minority of people base their science-related beliefs on correct  
conceptualizations of the science involved even if they accidentally  
parrot the correct answer.  Someone that can mindlessly recite correct  
answers can just as easily mindlessly recite incorrect answers. It is  
the same cognitive process that requires no difference in effort.

> I recently traveled with someone close through Texas (N. CA to N. VA  
> in 3 days of driving, plus a few stops).  While I was in a sleep  
> cycle in Texas, he was too apprehensive about the local culture to  
> stop at a convenience store at night in a small town to get a paper  
> map.

Perfectly believable and perfectly nutty, but all too common.  
Provincialism is ubiquitous in no small measure because the political  
propagandists from both parties encourage it.

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