The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality, by Chris Mooney

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Four stars, read in April 2019.

The world and the United States in particular are under the tyrannical rule of a group of people who have literally created their own reality based on a shared and intentionally-propagated delusion. They didn’t like where reality was taking us, so they founded institutions to grow their own experts who would reinterpret reality the way they wanted it. And very, very unfortunately for the rest of us, the reality they want is authoritarian and hierarchical—with them at the top.

There is a reason that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” It’s because, to put it broadly, conservatives need closure more than they need truth. They’re less able to tolerate uncertainty than liberals are (and good lord, how much of reality involves uncertainty). Motivated reasoning is a thought process driven not by a desire for accuracy, but for confirmation of existing belief. According to several studies referenced in the book, conservatives are more likely to engage in motivated reasoning.

This book is about liberals as much as it’s about conservatives; it’s about human psychology, really, and how our psychological needs affect our politics. It’s a fascinating book that anyone should read, because we’re all just two sides of the same coin; whether you read to learn about people in your life or about yourself, learning about one side of the coin teaches you nearly as much about the other at the same time. I think I’d like to read this book again sometime and delve in deeper to our divided political psyche.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jan Hicks says:

    “we’re all just two sides of the same coin; whether you read to learn about people in your life or about yourself, learning about one side of the coin teaches you nearly as much about the other at the same time.” – this is a very good point. I just read a near-200 point summation of recent US events and their relationship to the current ultra conservative leadership in America and it bewildered me because why would anyone choose misinformation over evidenced fact? I shy away from trying to understand what motivates people whose thinking seems so alien to my own. Maybe I should read this book. We have a similar situation developing this side of the pond after all.

    Liked by 1 person

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