Wrong Reasons

Wew, Lad!

Holy shit, why?

I mean, XKCD guy is relatively intelligent. It seems like he would AT LEAST take the view that it doesn't matter who you vote for, and that they're both fucked up candidates.

But he sides with fucking Hillary? The one who is above the law, the one whose party employs agent provocateurs, the one who Soros has hand picked to see to his plans for this country?

Trump is, at worst, an offensive blowhard who will piss off a few eurozone powers with his extreme rhetoric. He might fuck up a couple of trade deals, and he might embarrass us on the world stage. And he'll have his actions watched even closer than The Big O was-- the chances of him pulling another Iraq are close to nonexistent.

Hillary is an explicit consolidator of power. Hillary wants to curtail free speech. Hillary wants to do away with classical liberalism in favor of judicial pandering to the latest moral fads, removing all standards and accountability from our system. She wants to antagonize nuclear world powers for... What reason exactly?

Hillary is basically everything that normal, sane people, when divorced from overly emotional arguments and arguments from tribal identification, say they don't like, but all these self-styled intelligentsia fucking fall in line behind her like little ducks.

Soros sent Randall Munroe some money. I'm convinced of that. That's the only way he'd post something this whole-hog retarded in public.

Propaganda

Or maybe people are so easily programmed that you can just insert any dog shit behavior you want and they won't so much as employ a single checksum routine, "Am I really acting in accordance with my own beliefs?"

There are entire wings of organizations, from ad-agencies, to politics, to governments and even local pissants you'd never think would be meddling in this Voodoo. Public relations-- how do you spin a story? How do you focus attention in such a way to create a narrative from whole cloth? How do you get people to agree to give up their future, their past, their life, for your business interests?

The answer is what John Lilly called "metaprogramming". Dilbertman calls it "persuasion," but he is of such a background that for him "hypnosis" wouldn't be at all beyond the pale. Basically, if you know that humans are mainly emotional animals, and if you know how to identify and evoke the emotions you want in people, you can make them do and say almost anything.

But why the hell is this so easy? How are people so incredibly gullible?

Cognitive

Dilbertman makes the point that the bare facts on the ground are never really in dispute between people who disagree. All that's in dispute is the interpretation of them. I take it even further than that-- I say the way someone interprets facts are tailor-made by their lower, subconscious mental processes in order to keep their worldview coherent with the least effort possible.

Cognitive dissonance. You've just learned something that makes you unsure. Oh god-- this sucks. Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop! You want to get out of that state as quickly as possible. Usually, you can just make some adjustments-- "Oh, I guess Ford isn't that much different from Chevy." Crisis averted, and your world ticks on like normal.

Sometimes, though, something comes along that's so disruptive to your worldview that you would have to abandon most of your pre-existing mental structures to accommodate it. This is overwhelming to most people, especially ones who don't care much about the subject, and have spent their lives just agreeing with their friends. In cases like that, you have to make a decision... Would you rather be right, or would you rather fit in? Like all of the most important human decisions, it isn't made in the head. It's made in the heart-- or if you don't like that term, the gut-- it happens fast, maybe too fast to even notice.

In a time of intellectual turmoil, when your previous structures are crumbling around you, you reach out, over and over again, grasping for something to take you back to some semblance of normality. Something to end the dissonance, the embarrassment of being wrong, or the fear of the implications of what you've learned. Finally, you catch a thread. A comforting thread, and following it leads you back to where you want to be. Whether it's right or wrong is of zero consequence-- it just feels good.

Make no mistake. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you've been programmed. Like a TV remote. You will from now on behave in a certain, prescribed way when faced with a certain stimulus. They've found a way to hook in to your most basic instincts and emotions-- loneliness, horniness, fear-- and saddled them down with a bunch of other unrelated stuff, that, but for the requirements of those who control you, would mean little more to you than a rocks or dry sticks.

That's why people can't take nuanced views on things. (I fucking hate that term-- nuanced-- it should be the default approach of everyone from the instant they find out Santa Clause isn't real.) All your decisions are made in a flash of contradictory images, and desperate grasping, from a place where you're not sure what's even real-- as a result you can't change your mind without another equivalent emotional disturbance, if at all. Even the most logical people are not immune to this phenomenon-- Planck said that "science progresses one funeral at a time," after all.

Furthermore, you don't want to change your mind. You don't want to be presented with evidence that contradicts your previous suppositions. Sure, you may talk a big game, lots of science-types do, but in the end these programs are put in place with your consent. Because the rewards they promise are better than what you'd get for being unbiased-- at least that's how it'd be for most of your evolutionary history. The program extends even down to your own will, and sense of self. You are your programs.

Cursed

Judging on the individual, you can come away with some pretty positive impressions of the human species, but when we link up into the social machine we've evolved to be, there's very little to praise. It's just a mishmash of tribal conflicts interspersed with a few contractual obligations we fulfill to the minimal degree we can get away with. Signaling, deal-making, assortative associations, a hell it takes more discipline and self-mastery to avoid than it takes to build an entire civilization.

We are a tragic, cursed animal. I'm more convinced of that now than ever. Maybe, after the apocalypse, and humanity has blustered its last, we can all be reborn as budgerigars.