Friday, October 13, 2006


At Last, A Plausible Explanation

If, like RSR, you've been puzzled why some people continue to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, they should vote for the party in power -- you know, the ones that ignored warnings of the impending 9/11 attacks and let Osama bin Laden slip through their fingers -- because they're more likely to protect them from terrorist attack, you might want to read this post over at Daily Kos.

It's based on an article in the Wall Street Journal -- this one's available without a subscription.

It's all based on "how people manage the fear of engendered by intimations of mortality. Reminded of the inevitability of their own death (which happens to a lesser degree by merely walking past a funeral parlor), people try to quench or at least manage the resulting "existential terror" in several ways. They become more certain of their worldview or faith. They conform more closely to the norms of their society. They show greater reverence for symbols of their society, such as flags and crucifixes."

This goes a long way to explaining the stifling conformism we see around us now, the clamor in certain circles for teaching intelligent design, school prayer, and posting the Ten Commandments. The willingness to trample the Constitution on issues like flag burning.

The WSJ article reports that "[a]lthough some voters would feel betrayed by incumbents who failed to protect them, researchers say, these days that trend would more likely be swamped by a surge toward candidates perceived as hawks on national security.

It's an updated version of putting a bone through your nose to ward off evil spirits. It is, to Americans of a certain type, what garlic, mirrors, crosses, and stakes were to vampire hunters. It is at once reassuring and useless.


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