Trump Had a REALLY Bad Week – Learn About Cognitive Dissonance

While reading this, please remember that true Trump supporters feel so strongly about Trump that they are perfectly willing to risk YOUR life, the life of HEALTHCARE workers, and any elderly they come in contact with rather than wear a piece of cloth over their mouth.

The White House
The White House, courtesy Flickr creative commons license.

Last week two Supreme Court decisions went against the Administration, both with lead opinions by conservative Trump appointees. Protection for DACA and LGBTQ were both reinforced by The Supremes over which Trump and his evangelical supporters thought they had taken control.

Also this week, John Bolton, the ultra far-right, arch-conservative and former trusted staff member, is promoting a book calling Trump a narcissist who is completely incapable of running a country or thinking beyond what benefits him personally. “I can’t recall ANY decision or policy made during 1 1/2 years which WASN’T motivated entirely by the desire to be re-elected.”

Everybody HATES ME (Donald Trump)

President Trump says Bolton’s book is full of lies and invented stories.

But, the Trump Department of Justice claims it is full of Top Secret information that can’t be published.

That is a great example of cognitive dissonance right there. On the one hand, the Bolton book is all made-up lies; on the other hand, all the made-up lies are a Top Secret security breach.

Remember that Donald Trump, as President, put Bolton in charge of UN relations as Ambassador (unconfirmed, but President Trump’s choice) formerly ambassador back 2005/2006 and the highest level Trump adviser on U.S. Security and International Relations as the National Security Adviser 2018/2019. Bolton’s “official” position was sometimes confused but he was clearly a big choice of President Trump for many top posts.

Never mind that the book was already passed by one official who checked for security violations and approved the text; how can it both be completely false and still a security breach? It can be partially lies and partially true but that’s not what the White House originally claimed.

The Judge who heard the case asking for the Bolton book to be blocked pointed out that The White House was a little late since there were thousands of copies already distributed to reviewers and newsrooms. He also had some strong criticism for Bolton.

It is important to remember that Trump supporters have no problem with doublethink, just as they believe Trump when he says COVID-19 is going away while also believing Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida hospital reports of ever-increasing record infections.

In January Trump once said “this is no worse than the flu.” Saturday people on the street in line in Tulsa told reporters “this is no worse than the flu.”

In his speech (before 6,200 to 12,000 depending on whether you believe the Tulsa Fire Marshal or the Trump Campaign – one with no reason to exaggerate, the other’s jobs depending somewhat on the highest number) President Trump pointed to a mythical child saying “He’s got the sniffles,” suggesting again that COVID-19 is nothing more than a mild cold or flu.

His staff later said about that and when he said, “I told my staff to slow down testing,” he was joking.

Joking about more dead Americans than in WW I combat.

Yes, either he really did slow testing, or he thinks 120,000+ dead Americans is a subject for jokes.

The truth is COVID-19 it is between 10 and 100 times more deadly and 10 times more contagious.

It is now spreading rapidly in younger people who don’t seem to have any symptoms. However MRIs of some of them show that while they feel fine they have extensive lung damage. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-covid-19-younger-adults-are-at-risk-too

Studies profile lung changes in asymptomatic COVID-19, viral loads in patient samples

Stable Genius?

Isn’t it strange how every single former Trump employee who resigned in protest or was fired seems to be an incompetent liar (according to President Trump). If true, that really doesn’t impress regarding his management style or insight into potential employees.

How can this “stable genius” really be incapable of hiring a single decent employee? OR, does that mean that they were fine until they spent too much time with President Trump?

Other than Omarosa who was bragging about being a liar – something Trump has actually done also – were all these people liars before or only after working for Trump?

COVID Will Just Go away

Meanwhile President Trump keeps saying, as he has every day since mid-January, that the COVID virus will be gone any day now – eventually he will be correct, but while he is bragging about beating the virus, cases are increasing in 25 states and both Florida and Texas as well as Tulsa, OK, are experiencing the highest infection rates and hospitalizations so far.

So, why do Trump followers keep trusting him?

Are they crazy? NO.

Do they have some psychological condition which blinds them to facts?

Actually, yes.

It’s called Confirmation Bias – the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or supports one’s prior personal beliefs or values. It is an important type of cognitive bias that has a significant effect on the proper functioning of society by distorting evidence-based decision-making.

In other words, people have such an investment in what to others is a strange belief that their brain simply filters out any contradictory facts and twists others to support the beliefs.

Logic isn’t involved, which is why you can’t have a logic-based discussion about the situation.

They are actually psychologically incapable of seeing information that contradicts their strongly-held belief. It doesn’t matter who presents this information; it can be someone they have known and trusted for six decades while they have never met Trump.

I have former “friends” who have zero medical knowledge, have, in fact, ignored my begging them to get a checkup after 20 years not seeing a doctor except twice in the ER for actual injuries. One “friend” in particular, who is quite willing to risk my life (disabled, chronically ill, 73) by refusing to have a piece of cloth cover their face during the five minutes they are around me in a day working for me.

We live in Central PA, actually in the woods and he spends all day alone outdoor working so his mask isn’t putting him at risk for a few minutes.

But when I asked him to wear a mask (he wears one every day for dust) he just laughed it off. I was forced to fire him on the spot or risk death.

If you read this far then you certainly aren’t one of the true Trumpers.

A True Trumper would never be capable of reading this far, they would simply say to anyone and especially to themselves that this is all ridiculous, made up, fake. (It’s actually from psychology classes and many books on psychology.)

It isn’t because they only watch Fox News or listen to commentators who feed a delusional state; they can watch CNN, they can read the New York Times, but they simply can’t see or understand the information that disagrees with what they strongly believe. It doesn’t matter how smart they are, they can read a complex article about international relations and understand every word, they just can’t see anything which contradicts their world view.

Think this is impossible? I MUST be making this up?

Could people believe a myth to the extent that they would behave irrationally and risk others’ lives?

Read about Heaven’s Gate. The cult leader convinced otherwise normal, successful people that GOD was riding past Earth on a comet and to join GOD in heaven they had to castrate themselves and commit suicide.

They did it; the men actually cut off their own genitals, put on jump suits, got into cots and took poison. That’s how strong belief can be. In fact, the three who missed out on mass suicide went by themselves in a hotel later. Police reports didn’t say if the suicidal women also mutilated themselves first but they voluntarily committed suicide.

Some Trump Supporters Really Are Fine People.

Don’t hate Trump supporters – many are perfectly nice people who, unfortunately, have fallen for a psychological propaganda trick Known as “The Big Lie” a propaganda technique created and named in the 1920s, one that is well understood.

But just because we can understand the reason they insist on apparently, and often absolutely irrational and incredibly dangerous, ideas, such as that COVID-19 isn’t dangerous, doesn’t mean you can argue them out of it.

They have a belief and by definition, a belief isn’t necessarily logical.

It is a total waste of time to try to use logic to show them the reality that there really is vast institutional racism in the U.S., that wearing masks makes you five times less likely to catch or spread the virus, that “if we stop testing we really won’t have COVID infections” (Yes, Trump actually said that Wednesday, 6/17), or even that Trump claims no one knew about the black Juneteenth end of slavery holiday until he told the nation about it.

References:

Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany, The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(10):970-971.

Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(12):1177-1179.

Pan X, Chen D, Xia Y, et al. Asymptomatic cases in a family cluster with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2020.

Bai Y, Yao L, Wei T, et al. Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19. Jama. 2020.

Kimball A HK, Arons M, et al. Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility – King County, Washington, March 2020. MMWR Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2020; ePub: 27 March 2020.

Wei WE LZ, Chiew CJ, Yong SE, Toh MP, Lee VJ. Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – Singapore, January 23-March 16, 2020. MMWR Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2020;ePub: 1 April 2020.

Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science (New York, NY). 2020.

The Psychology of Confusion.

Before you jump to hate Trump followers, remember there are multiple psychological explanations for their hanging onto incredible, even totally contradictory, beliefs.

Some people believe every word Trump says, even if it directly contradicts what he said a day, an hour, or even minutes before.

Some other people really believe they’ve been abducted by greys or other groups of aliens.

Others believe in pieces of toast with the face (how do they know what she looked like anyway) of the Virgin Mary burned into bread.

You may ask why Trump supporters don’t change their minds when they see him making more and more ridiculous lies.

(“I’m the least racist person you will ever meet,” but January 12, 2018 immigrants coming from “S,,,hole Countries.” Or, “kungflu,” Saturday, 6/20. White House Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, top aide Kellyanne Conway condemned the term “kung flu” as “highly offensive” and “wrong” in March, 2020

But you have to remember these same people have so bought into a world view with Trump replacing reality – where he can only speak truth and is never wrong, that they willingly, even aggressively, sometimes violently, refuse to wear a piece of cloth despite Doctors insisting it would save infections and even save lives – that mask-wearing has, in fact, already saved tens of thousands of lives and that countries which enforced mask-wearing had almost no deaths from COVID.

These people will risk YOUR life to prove they believe every word Trump says.

When you point out that he contradicts himself every few minutes they simply don’t understand the statement.

They can’t – admitting that they are wrong about Trump would contradict their entire world view of conspiracies, devil Democrats, fake news, and that science actually works.

Law and Disorder

These otherwise happy, normal people have bought into a mindset that is becoming more toxic every day to the point where they simply can’t see how obscene things have become – on June 18 the “law and order” president spent all day tweeting criticism of The U.S. Supreme Court (by actual definition the ultimate law and order arbiter for the United States) for expressing political instead of legal opinions.

Why? Because his own “experts” cited the wrong legal precedent in trying to outlaw Dreamers. The Supreme Court didn’t actually side with the Dreamers, it just said Trump’s legal arguments were incompetent, stupidly wrong.

PG, not “PC” in Chief.

Remember, this is the Pussy Grabber who brags about violating women. We’ve all heard him on tape. Supporters simply can’t admit they were wrong about him; it would mean they had to question their entire lives.

They wonder, how could we have believed this person who lies all the time (more than 23 times every day)? Are we that gullible? Are we stupid?

They know they are smart so they simply can’t admit they were wrong.

Would they permit President Trump to be alone in a room with their cute teenage daughter? Would YOU?

Observational bias is one problem; people unconsciously ignore any evidence that contradicts their set beliefs – this is NOT something they have control over or even recognize. They won’t see it if you try to explain it to them – they actually won’t hear your argument; they will only hear that you oppose Trump and therefore you are also opposing everything they have come to believe. You simply can’t be a thinking person looking at evidence, you are a Trump Hater! You must be!

This psychological bias explains why people would decide to be burned to death rather than admit they might possibly be wrong about a sentence or two in The Bible.

It also explains why people were not only happy to burn their neighbors but insisted it was for their own good.

That was centuries ago but today people feel they MUST kill gay people – but torture them a while first.

Or behead them.

Education Helps Show Bias.

Of course, the more educated you are the better equipped you are to see past this and other mental blocks that everyone has. Yes, EVERYONE, even me, although knowing that means I can try to control it.

That is the purpose of most advanced education unless you are learning some specific trade (in my case quantum mechanics, followed by chemistry, followed by psychology, followed by philosophy and theology) with the latter helping me understand how people reason.

So I understand why people who see the storms getting worse, and oceans rising, the growing season changing, the ice melting, and more, can still deny global warming. Admitting what they see is true would cause them to either alter their comfortable lives or become happy to commit horrendous ecological crimes their grandchildren will pay for.

When faced with the truth about their fantasy lives where they can blame everything on Democrats and Trump “haters,” they experience actual physical panic. They create and believe false memories. They actually believe they heard things that weren’t said.

This isn’t their fault; it is the way the human brain works – people simply can’t go on with their lives if they believe they have lied to themselves and others for decades.

But that being said, while I feel sorry for those people and recognize that most of them really aren’t anti-science, bigoted, hate-filled individuals, and I can see the mental gymnastics that let them accept fascism and hate as a way of life of which Jesus would approve, I don’t have to admit them to my FaceBook page that, by definition, is for “Friends.”

I can see why people I have known for decades are acting irrationally to the point where not wearing a piece of cloth is so important that they will risk many lives.

I can feel sorry for the hatred they feel so intensely and see how it is destroying their lives, but I don’t have to share their misery.

Given that, my book doesn’t include politics or blame. It does look at lessons from the Spanish Flu (not originating in Spain) and how very different outcomes came about in two U.S. cities. Philadelphia which held a march and War Bond celebration (WWI) and suffered massive casualties from the flu, and another city which closed down and consequently had virtually no deaths.

In 1918 they weren’t sure what to do but after seeing the awful death rate in Philadelphia other cities decided to close up and wait out the flu.

“Life After a Pandemic”

ebook https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087QM6FRB

paperback https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089CSCM5V