Why Do Voters Oppose Their Own Interests?

30 01 2010

“It’s like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come
pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy.”

BBC NEWS

Why do people often vote against their own interests?

. . .Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

. . . it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of
healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step
on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to
help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health
insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all,
opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

. . .In his book The Political Brain, psychologist Drew Westen, an
exasperated Democrat, tried to show why the Right often wins the
argument
even when the Left is confident that it has the facts on its side.

It’s not facts. Here’s a hint: POWER OF STORY!!!

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3 responses

30 01 2010
Lynne

Another good read on the topic is Deer Hunting With Jesus.

Someone is definitely spinning a pretty big yarn.

31 01 2010
JJ

From Power of Political Story in Educating Our Own Old Brains :

Refuting political attacks, rumors and even outright lies would logically seem to be a matter of substantive evidence, yet cognitive scientists are proving it’s really not. It’s power of story. And even as I say this and you might believe me, we both will continue to rationalize our own beliefs as strongly evidence-based even when they’re not. There IS substantive evidence for that as the way our minds really work — and that we won’t actually accept that evidence even as we think we do.

I’m one of the biggest champs of thinking and reason and research around, but I’m learning that my own brain doesn’t always tell me what it’s thinking. 🙂

Even as we research the facts to repeatedly reject an untrue rumor or “story” we are embedding it in our brains’ data bank about “reality.” These mechanisms are in FACT mostly unconscious and that’s the substantive evidence I find most enlightening to my own politics, both educational and presidential. 🙂

Language whether from blogs, ads, speeches or polls isn’t ever just what it seems.

Repeatedly calling a candidate “an empty suit” for example — is that in itself empty rhetoric of no consequence or does it influence our reasoning and therefore our actions?

I think the answer is both at the same time in different ways, so if we’re serious as home educators about substantive evidence and how it really works to change minds (for good or ill) then we ought to learn a lot more about how! And we ought to start with what’s going on in our OWN brains. . .

2 02 2010
JJ

Glenn Beck Backpedals and FOX Head Ailes Rides Shotgun:

The crux of the matter was never whether Glenn Beck really believes Barack Obama is planning to actually slaughter Americans. It’s the damage being done by the inflammatory rhetoric and imagery he constantly uses. The evoking of “slaughter” and “killing sprees” and a president who “has a deep-seated hatred for white people” is meant to play into the public’s legitimate anxiety over the economy — and fan the flames of fear.

And that brings us back to the question I originally asked Roger Ailes on This Week: “Aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using — which is, after all, inciting the American people?”

It remains unanswered.

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