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"Most people are not looking for provable truths. As you said, truth is often accompanied by intense pain, and almost no one is looking for painful truths. What people need is beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. Which is where religion comes from."
The ex-academic antagonist continues:
"If a certain belief, call it belief A, makes the life of that man or this woman appear to be something of deep meaning, then for them belief A is the truth. If belief B makes their lives appear to be powerless and puny, then belief B turns out to be a falsehood. The distinction is quite clear. If someone insists that belief B is the truth, people will probably hate him, ignore him, or in some cases attack him. It means nothing to them that belief B might be logical or provable. Most people barely manage to preserve their sanity by denying and rejecting images of themselves as powerless and puny."
For some people, Fascism is facing reality limitations and listening to progressive promises.
Anti-intellectualism has a long history. It is particularly strong before downfall of societies. Respect for reality is not that significant evolutionarily, and Science never had a deeply respectable status, really.
In the US, it really started with the First Great Awakening undoing the Enlightenment spirit of the Founding Fathers.
Opposition to intellectualism might not be deserving, but it persists. Now we have Nassim Taleb of the "The Black Swan" fame chiding intellectuals as idiots (personally as well). And the (neo)conservatives like the idea:
Evil And The Intellectuals
Newt Gingrich: Trump won the debate. Don't believe the "Intellectual Yet Idiot" class
So ri-ight, bring in those with huge skin in the game at the expense of others - those being smart with taxes as Trump (or with derivatives as in 2008).
So what is the core predicament for the rational progressives? Provocatively, I compare campaigning in this political climate to the Pick Up "game" from the masculine perspective. You don't go very far by logic and rational aspirations. At times you have to be entertaining, at other times comforting - and what not. Do you imagine Hillary Clinton like that?
Or to put it other way: the smart progressives are taking up an authority position - by the virtue of their knowledge, their broader values, by the will to build a prosperous society. The problem is, their authority is compromised in a few ways - for example, by their distaste for authority. Or lack of decisive action. Or lack of primal congruency that embodies authority in our primate species.
Scott Adams of the Dilbert fame is partially right: persuasion techniques often trump rational talk. Until they do not, perhaps. Hillary Clinton may need to show certain social intelligence unfamiliar to her, to galvanize for real.
Too bad consequences of this election could be profound.
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