The 3 and 4 letter networks and even the anti-birther community seems to be somewhat amazed that Donald Trump has vaulted to the apparent lead among early Republican contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination. They are also shocked that the “Obama was not born in the USA” option is polling significant numbers among conservatives. However, if you give some thought this phenomenon was completely predictable and expected. Why? Take a look at the previous issues where a large plurality or even a majority of conservatives have bought into unsupported beliefs contradicted by the evidence and continue to believe them.
Let’s look at a few:
- Death Panels – This lie was concocted by opponents of the Health Care Affordability Act or 2010 and pushed by the right on Fox News and other favorite conservative outlets and especially enthusiastically touted by Sarah Palin . The real truth was that the act was written to create a “Comparative Effectiveness Research Center shall “conduct, support, and synthesize research” that looks at “outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically.”Anyone with a computer and Google type the words “death panels truth” and pop up this article on Politifact in a few seconds. I am sure if you polled conservatives a majority would swear the health care bill includes death panels that will be coming to their town real soon now to euthanize granny.
- Reducing taxes for the wealthy will create jobs and reduce the federal debt – Yes, Reaganomincs, Trickle Down Economics, Supply Side Economics has been the guiding principle for economic policy for at least 20 of the last 30 years. It failed under Reagan and Bush I and it failed spectacularly again under Bush II.
- Creationism – Four in ten Americans believe human beings were created by god in their present form within the last 10,000 years. That is what Gallop found last year. Want to bet how many of the Birthers fall into that 40%? The same poll should that almost 90% of those who called themselves Republicans believe in either strict creationism or the new fad “theory” of Guided Evolution. I could write much more on how “Creationism” isn’t even a “theory” by any scientific standard and how creationists continue to misunderstand the meaning of the term but that would require a much longer post.
I could cite many other examples of conservative beliefs that are not based on fact. So we should not be asking “Why are so many people sucked into birtherism?” we should be asking “Why are so many Americans incapable or unwilling to engage in critical thinking?”. I invite your comments. I have my opinions and will delve into this topic more on future programs and posts here.