Opinions. Everyone has them, from religion and politics to
sports and the weather.
Some opinions impact society more than others. These would
be the former type of opinions.
Terms like Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative,
progressive/regressive, etc. denote the framing, spectrum, and dynamics of
Opinions within these frames can be based on experience,
ideas, parental/cultural conditioning, peers, prejudice, judgement of what is
just and fair, and which is better for the poor, rich, or general population.
Some extreme opinions say, “Taxes, welfare, and
regulations are theft of my hard-earned money”. Other opinions say, “Eat the
rich”. These are examples of opinions based on emotion.
A reasoned, evidence-based opinion would be, “Taxes,
regulation of commerce and provision for the general welfare are in our Constitutional
foundation of law”.
A reasoned, evidence-based opinion would be, “Eating the
rich is cannibalistic and absurd”.
Everyone’s opinion is susceptible to being influenced by
emotions. Not all of us can, or care to, examine how our opinions are influenced.
People engulfed in emotion-based opinions don’t want to
hear, let alone understand, other opinions.
Generally, those who base opinions on reason and evidence are open to
hearing other opinions. They also understand once an individual’s opinion is
based solely on emotional reaction and disregard of evidence, there’s no more
basis for rational discourse. Then it’s simply a clash between reason and
Some of us can notice this clash within.
I understand my opinion of Trump and his fanatic supporters
is partially formed by my revulsion to their hate, lies, and racism. I know
they hate me. They say so, and it’s difficult to not have an emotional response
But I also have a rational, fact-based response that tells
me not to reciprocate their hate. I understand hate is double edged and can
consume the hater. I cling to a mostly futile hope that some of them will
eventually see how they are manipulated. I have a friend who voted for Trump
twice, but now says he will do whatever he can to keep him out of the White
A majority of those who base opinions largely on emotional
responses also hold opinions that conform to the words of religious and
political leaders they revere and trust. Their opinions will echo the religious
dogma or the propagandists who work for their leader.
Now we enter the closed mentality where rigid conformity of
opinion is mandatory in the bubble. No one dares question the Leader. This
results in a cult when the words and actions of the Leader are infallibly honest
and good, and all who disagree are malevolent forces of evil.
As evidence by Trump’s 1/6/21 coup, the fanatic true
believer can be willing to kill and die in devotion to their Leader.
Let’s admit that opinions founded simply on one’s faith and
fealty to the infallible words of the Leader is fanatic political
Let’s define these terms before further discussion.
Fanatic: a person exhibiting
excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial
matter (as in religion or politics), marked by excessive enthusiasm and often
intense uncritical devotion
Indoctrinate: to imbue with a
usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
process of repeating an idea or belief to someone until they accept it without
criticism or question: As religious/political/ideological indoctrination
Chances are, those whose opinions are emotion-based will
object to these definitions. They don’t FEEL they are indoctrinated fanatics.
After all they hold a sense of moral certainty because they see themselves as
good people who cannot do bad or think falsely. They could never be duped by a
greedy church leader or narcissistic political conman. This is the nature of
emotionally grounded religious beliefs and political ideology throughout the
Emotionally grounded belief systems often tend to reject
scientific consensus, evidence of facts, dissent, and reason itself.
Look at Florida. The authoritarian governor wants to
whitewash slavery, ban references to LGBTQ issues, and even “slit throats” of
people who disagree if allowed to gain more power. All of this is authoritarian
emotional manipulation. We can’t have history lessons that make children
“uncomfortable” or “feel guilty.”
Authoritarian leaders must appeal to the fight/flight
emotional response center of the brain. They will always tell their followers
who to blame and who to hate. The authoritarian former president will tell his
fanatic followers he “made America great”, but now it is in ruins because he
lost an election that was “stolen”. He will instill anger and rage as responses
to the people the leader declares as threats to them. The Holocaust is
history’s lesson on how this can result in the most cruelty and brutality
humans can inflict.
These emotionally manipulative tactics are projected at
their targets of political indoctrination. Fanatic true believers cannot
imagine for a moment that their Leader is dishonest.
Let’s compare the difference between rational and
Religious beliefs can be built on negative emotional
responses. Muslim fanatics believe in killing infidels. Christian fanatics
believe they should have power to dictate our education, and deny all women the
right to reproductive freedom, even contraception.
Reason-based religious beliefs are formed from the idea
that a creation must have a creator, that hatred, cruelty, and greed are
destructive, that love is better than hate, kindness is better than cruelty,
and sharing is better than greed. And loving your neighbor, even your enemies,
feeding the poor, and caring for the sick is the rational, productive, and
humane way to live in a society.
Political opinions track along the same emotion v. reason
My opinion tells me to vote for Biden again, because he’s
not a threat to our elections, judiciary, and rule of law. I can disagree with
him. I understand the guy doesn’t always tell the truth. Nobody does. I also
have the intellectual curiosity to examine evidence regarding his statements.
One example is Hunter Biden and money from China.
During the 2020 presidential debates Biden told moderator
Kristen Welker his son had earned no money through business dealings in China.
Biden’s assertions have been rebutted by Hunter himself,
acknowledging in court testimony that he had been paid substantial sums related
to his business in China.
Hunter is not in the administration, so this is irrelevant
to my vote. We must ask when Trump’s own family members Jared and Ivanka will
be under equal scrutiny, as they were part of his administration.
Just as it doesn’t occur to them that they depend on double
standards, they can’t admit Trump defines reality itself for them.
Loyal Trump supporters will always hold their Leader’s
words as gospel truth. He is the epitome of what makes America great. He’s
defending and protecting them from all the fabricated threats from demons,
monsters, and commies woven into their indoctrination.
They cannot imagine Trump can lie to them. They don’t care
that every count, recount, court case, Republican governors and secretaries of
state tell us Trump lost a fair election. They FEEL they are right, and the
vast conspiracy of all Trump’s White House counsel, Homeland Security, Cabinet,
Attorney General, DOJ, and state electors are in conspiracy against him. The
“deep state” is out to get Dear Leader, and by extension, them as well.
This fearful state of delusion and paranoia is exactly what
benefits Trump. They cannot imagine he commits crimes, or if so, he’s above the
vast “conspiratorial, crooked, democrat/communist legal system” and “corrupt
They will never examine their beliefs because they have
been imbued with the FEELING of their moral certainty and righteous anger.
And this readily feeds into a mob mentality when they are
assembled by the narcissistic, hateful, and pathological liar they practically
After all, a cult isn’t a cult to the cult.
And of course, this is all just my opinion.