Monday, February 6, 2017

Voting by Mob Mentality

Okay, so, this is one of those posts where I'm going to be talking some psychology. I'm going to be working from some general principals, and I'm not going to be citing references. That's because I'm not looking up any new information, not that I would probably cite references even if I was. Basically, if you don't trust me to know what I'm talking about, you should do your own research to verify the things I'm going to say. Or even if you do trust me to know what I'm talking about. I frequently do verification research even on people I trust. Heck, I do verification research on myself all the time just to make sure I have the details correct before I actually post something.

Facts matter. Science matters. Stay educated.

Here's an example of why you should research:

Common sense and general accepted practice over the last decade or so says that group efforts results in better work than individual efforts. This is why teams have become such a thing in business and in schools. The problem is that research shows that group tasks result in overall inferior work because the work is dragged down to the level of the least competent member of the group. It's one of those things where you can't go faster than the slowest member of your team. Basically, rather than the work being elevated by the more competent members, the more competent members have to dumb down to operate on a level with the least competent members.

And that goes against conventional wisdom of how these team efforts work, so people keep proponing group efforts over individual efforts because they don't bother to look at the science. So, go ahead, go look at the research and the data, the actual science. Stop listening to conventional "wisdom."

Speaking of humans in groups, one of the principles of psychology and sociology is that people in groups, also, tend to become, let's say, less intelligent as the groups get larger. Groups of any sort tend toward the lowest common denominator. [As a complete aside, this is an important thing to acknowledge when you look at the FACT that Republicans tend to be less intelligent and less educated than Democrats. The lowest common denominator on the Republican side of things is MUCH lower than on the Democrat side of things.] This is how mobs start, because people of lower intelligence are more easily riled up, but, once one gets a few people riled up, it spreads through the group. It is literally like an infection.

Recently, The New York Times published an article in which Satan (oh, I mean, Steve Bannon) is quoted as saying that the media didn't understand the forces that drove Trump into office. I think he's right. The media didn't understand what was happening at the time -- but, then, no one did except, perhaps, Trump and Satan himself (oh, I meant Bannon again) -- and they still don't understand now. However, it came to me the other day, and it was one of those "d'oh!" moments where you have to wonder why you didn't see it sooner, especially since the correct comparisons were being made.

Trump got to office on mob mentality. Seriously, think about every Western you watched as a kid and remember the lynch mob scenes and how the crowd was chanting, "Lock her up! Lock her up!" Oh, that's not what they were chanting? Same thing, though. Trump riled up a mob, formed a posse, and rode out to get himself someone to lynch. And got elected to the highest office in the world on the energy of what amounts to no more than a lynch mob. Only, this time, there is no white hat to step in between the mob and the instigator and talk them down. As if that has ever really been a thing anyway.

The problem with mobs, though, is that they take a lot of energy to keep going. On their own, mobs are short-lived entities that begin to dissipate from the fatigue of the individuals within the mob. In short, it's easy to get a mob all worked up (you can look at Trump's rallies to see that), but they take energy to keep them going. They take somewhat constant agitation.

Trump needs the mob. He needs his posse. His lynch mob. This is not just the energy that keeps him going, that he feeds off of (it is that, too); this is the energy that is keeping him in office. As long as the mob stays riled, the Republicans will fall in line behind Trump and whatever insane thing he is doing. Republicans have come into the realization that to go against Trump is to go against the very people who got them into office, and they can't risk offending those people, because the mob will turn on them just as quickly as it goes after liberals and Democrats.

Because Trump needs the mob, he has to continually agitate them to keep them riled up. This is, at least in part (the rest of it is because he has no impulse control and can't stop his tongue and his fingers from saying whatever stupid thing comes into his head), the reason Trump says and does outrageous things that have no basis in fact or reality, like demanding an investigation into voter fraud. It doesn't matter if the claim is ludicrous, because it keeps his base riled up and mob like. The mob has no logic or thought. It reacts to Trump on emotion and faulty instinct.

What, then, is the answer to the mob issue? How do we get people to slow down and actually apply thought and logic to Trump? [As if most people (and those people in particular) use much thought and logic to begin with.] I don't have a good answer to that. Generally speaking, the way to stop a mob is to let it play itself out, but Trump seems especially good at keeping his base agitated and in play for him. And, honestly, part of that is due to us, those who are standing against Trump. When we react to something Trump has done, like the Muslim travel ban, it serves to foment his followers without much work from him, allowing him to go off and do things like hosting special screenings of Finding Dory [I bet Trump feels a special connection to Dory and her inability to keep anything in her head.] or, you know, put Satan on the National Security Council.

The other thing that can stop a mob is a sudden shock to the system, so to speak, something which instantaneously catches the mobs attention. For that, it's possible that Trump could do our job for us, not that we should count on that.

At any rate, I think it's important to know what you're dealing with and that it's probably pointless to engage with Trump supporters in any kind of rational discussion. You can't reason with a mob. Or with someone in an abusive relationship. It just makes the person defend the abuser, put the person on the same side with the abuser. You have to wait for them to realize they are being abused and be ready to confront it. That's the current state of Trump supporters. Eventually, Trump will do something that will affect each of them personally, then you'll see them get it, get that Trump is a liar and a cheat and has just been using them for his own profit.

Eventually, Trump, already the least liked President a week into his presidency, will have no one left on his side... except Republican politicians (>cough< McConnell >cough cough< Paul Ryan >cough<) whose heads are stuck too far up Trump's ass for them to get away.


  1. It's disgusting how stupid and selfish these people are. They voted for someone siding with a white nationalist because...I don't know. "Economic anxiety". They want jobs, screw any minorities who get hurt in the process. And when they don't get them, they'll have nothing left but the fact that they supported a racist/sexist/fascist. But that won't be their fault.

    1. It's not economic anxiety, per se, it's the fear that others will be equal to them. That's the inherent problem, the source of the racism, the White base who voted for Trump WANT to be on top. They don't believe that equality is possible without some equivalent loss to them. They don't want equality, because they want to have MORE than other people. They want to be the pigs who are more equal.

  2. Thanks for making me smile, and I think you hit it right on. Now we can see why the people who live near his golf course in Scotland don't like him either. If you don't agree to his business offers, like sell your land to me, he ensures he gets revenge in some way. Wonder how that will play out when countries don't go along with his plans. . .?? His work ethic - always win, no matter what.

    1. D.G.: I was reading a thing about his golf course just this morning and how his whole support of Brexit was based on the fact that he wasn't allowed to build a wall around his golf course. He's willing to destroy the world for his personal vengeance.

  3. I think you're exactly right. Trump really promoted fear, which is centered in the hypocampus... our lizard brains. And lizard brains make complex thought impossible, where mob mentality is EASY, so the two things fit together very well.

    1. Hart: He's all about using fear. And blame. It makes it difficult for people to do the right thing when that's all they're focused on.