Monday June 11, 2012 12:23 am Leave a comment
Did I miss something? The headline “Why people believe undocumented immigrants cause more crime” suggests the author has found an answer to the question: “why DO people believe (etc)” but according to this Physorg summary, all it seems she’s doing is pointing out the evidence which challenges the belief; then reiterating the question “why the belief?”… Odd.
At the very least I’d have expected to see some mention of the most likely source of such ill-informed belief: viz the disinformation provided, constantly and at high volume, by the tabloid “journalists” in print, visual and digital media.
In any case, the more interesting question, given that the culprits have access to the same evidence, is why, nevertheless, they choose to promote the disinfo, even though they can see their lies being dissected and revealed in public as easily as this story illustrates.
This behaviour is not, of course, limited to their treatment of the facts regarding levels of American crime committed by illegal aliens. They’re pretty similar with regard to their treatment of Climate Change, the War on Drugs, the causes of the Financial Meltdown in 2008, the prospects for the Global Economy and many, if not most, crucially important areas of human discourse.
A clue to their motivation comes in this paper, pithily entitled:A culture of mania: a psychoanalytic
view of the incubation of the 2008 credit crisis (pdf) in which the author “suggest(s) that a manic culture is one typified by denial, omnipotence, triumphalism and over-activity”; exactly what we see from the Authoritarians the world over in relation to those key issues. Their inflated conviction regarding their own infallibility is one of the most dangerous features of the modern world.
I’m also inclined to welcome this as reasonable academic support for my own amateur efforts to define “Social Psychosis” which I first did back in 2005 in my attempt answer the question as to whether, when Authoritarians lie about the evidence for WMD, or War Crimes or Evolution or whatever, they are Lying, Stupid or Blind.
I made the point that:
Psychologically, people who form firm beliefs – in the absence of the validated evidence we’ve discussed – are, essentially both irrational and gullible… If they continue to hold such beliefs when the relevant hypotheses have been falsified, then, I would argue, they are showing the early signs of psychosis. When groups of like-minded people share the challenged beliefs, it becomes a social psychosis in which members turn to each other for mutual validation of their shared and increasingly distorted world view.
What Mark Stein is helpfully doing is putting some serious meat on the bones of that conjecture.