Why conservatives don’t care that Brett Kavanaugh is a liar

Zach Beauchamp explains the circumstances under which lies can be seen as serving a deeper truth and the liar as a champion of authenticity.

Using both a large-scale survey and a lab experiment, Hahl and his colleagues demonstrate that people are shockingly willing to look past lies from someone who they feel represents their group. Instead, the lies are seen in the broader context of what supporters see as a “deeper truth” —…

… the deeper truth is that a particular group is treated unfairly by the establishment … “So long as the obvious lies can be framed as serving that larger truth, the liar can present himself as the group’s ‘authentic champion.’”

So under these conditions, in fact, people were likely to view the candidate’s lies positively: their willingness to say things that the establishment was trying to keep hidden is a sign of authenticity.

This is what Hahl et al. call “the authentic appeal of the lying demagogue”: the idea that lying is not only acceptable but seen as a sign of a certain kind of honesty, if done in service of a traditional group under threat from an upstart social movement.

“It’s not that these aggrieved traditionalists ignore the lies. They recognize lies as such in our experiments,” Zuckerman-Sivan explained in his tweets. “It’s just that they see these lies as a tool for expressing a larger truth.” [emphasis mine]

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The research rings true for me because of experiences I had with a fundamentalist cousin who sent me what I called, "Boo Hoo" letters intended to arouse emotion of compassion or pity with an ending of the power of prayer to solve whatever problem of the moment. She clearly fabricated stories and I asked her if they were actual events or if she made them up. I was surprised when she confessed that the stories were her fabrications or that she heard them from someone else. Her intent was to convince me that prayers worked. Her husband is a Lutheran minister with a congregation that seemed to me to be trying to outdo each other in making up heart-wrenching tales and he is one of the best. I told them both that I didn't like to be disrespected with their lies and I hear nothing from them since then. The family has a Facebook group and my messages to her are blocked. They appear to me to resent my response to their "Boo Hoo" tales and feel entitled to lie. 

"lying is not only acceptable but seen as a sign of a certain kind of honesty."

Unless we all conform, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.
-- Major Frank Burns, 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

I've probably cited the above half a dozen times or more around A|N, but I suspect that it remains relevant, particularly to the personality of the True Believer, and THAT is what I suspect is represented here. These are the people who know what they believe and don't want to be bothered with facts. The "honesty" you refer to is less honesty than it is loyalty to their tribe and its dogma, and in that regard, it is little different from a religion.

To which I would still ask them: do you look both ways when you cross the street, or does your dogma say that isn't necessary?




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