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Murka as 'NLP-Based Reality' Pomo Cult

From Xymphora I just learned of the Ron Suskind article wherein "reality-based community" is mentioned. It has the ring of truth that comes from a braggadicio rooted in unchallengeable power that has no reason to dissemble:

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

Xymphora then says, quite accurately,

That is exactly how psychopaths think and act. 'Reality' is as much a quibble to them as is morality. Strong people do what they want, and weak people just get to watch. The unfortunate thing is that the United States is powerful enough now that it can act without paying any attention to the opinions of anybody else, or even to the apparent realities which would normally constrain it...By the time the shit hits the fan, the psychopaths will be long gone, and everybody else will have to pick up the pieces, if there are any pieces left to pick up. The strength of the United States means there is no check on the bad decisions of evil people, and the strength of the United States is thus its weakness.

On a related note, I came across this article at Hairy Fish Nuts:

Posted on Fri, Oct. 22, 2004

Many Bush supporters disregard Iraq weapons findings

By Frank Davies
Knight Ridder

WASHINGTON - A large majority of President Bush's supporters continue to believe that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (47 percent) or a major program to develop them (25 percent), contrary to official findings, a survey taken this month found.

Three out of four Bush backers believe Saddam Hussein provided substantial support to Al-Qaida or was involved in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, while 56 percent said the Sept. 11 Commission found such ties.

In reality, the commission found "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al-Qaida.

The survey by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, released Thursday, shows that the supporters of Bush and Sen. John Kerry have stark differences and see "separate realities" about Iraq and other foreign-policy issues.

The poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks, was taken of 968 people Oct. 12-18, after the final report by Charles Duelfer concluded that Iraq did not have a significant weapons of mass destruction program. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to four percentage points.

Earlier samples of 798 and 959 people were taken in September.

Steven Kull, program director, said Bush supporters had a "resistance to information" on several fronts that reflected a powerful bond with the president formed after the Sept. 11 attacks. Kull also cited the perception -- shared by Kerry supporters -- that Bush still asserts that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, Bush has said that he was "disappointed" that such weapons were not found, that the search continues and that it was important to "disarm" Saddam.

There may be another reason for the misperceptions, Kull said. Asked whether U.S. forces should have invaded Iraq if U.S. intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making weapons of mass destruction or providing support to Al-Qaida, 58 percent of Bush supporters said no.

"To support the president and to accept that he took the United States to war based on mistaken assumptions is difficult to bear, especially in light of the continuing costs in terms of lives and money," Kull said.

"Apparently, to avoid this cognitive dissonance, Bush supporters suppress awareness of unsettling information."

A Bush campaign official, Reed Dickens, said the perceptions on weapons were understandable "given that it's only in the last few weeks we've had this definitive finding" of the Duelfer report.

I'm glad the term "cognitive dissonance" was used to account for this, since that is exactly the reason BushCo supporters cannot face realities that counter their beliefs. Those interested in learning more about the mindset that allows such doublethink should refer to this recent study of the psychology behind conservatism.

Following which one might want to start thinking about their escape plans.

From later in Ron Suskind's article we read the following:

Come to the hustings on Labor Day and meet the base. In 2004, you know a candidate by his base, and the Bush campaign is harnessing the might of churches, with hordes of voters registering through church-sponsored programs. Following the news of Bush on his national tour in the week after the Republican convention, you could sense how a faith-based president campaigns: on a surf of prayer and righteous rage.
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And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. "You think he's an idiot, don't you?" I said, no, I didn't. "No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!" In this instance, the final "you," of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

The bond between Bush and his base is a bond of mutual support. He supports them with his actions, doing his level best to stand firm on wedge issues like abortion and same-sex marriage while he identifies evil in the world, at home and abroad. They respond with fierce faith. The power of this transaction is something that people, especially those who are religious, tend to connect to their own lives. If you have faith in someone, that person is filled like a vessel. Your faith is the wind beneath his or her wings. That person may well rise to the occasion and surprise you: I had faith in you, and my faith was rewarded. Or, I know you've been struggling, and I need to pray harder.
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The life of the nation and the life of Bush effortlessly merge -- his fortitude, even in the face of doubters, is that of the nation; his ordinariness, like theirs, is heroic; his resolve, to whatever end, will turn the wheel of history.

Do these last couple of paragraphs remind you of any particular 20th leader? [Hint: "Do not seek Adolf Hitler with your mind. You will find him through the strength of your hearts! Adolf Hitler is Germany and Germany is Adolf Hitler." -Rudolf Hess]

To give some insight into this phenomenon here's an apposite excerpt from Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred by Robert S Robins and Jerrold M. Post, MD:

Doubt and doubters threaten commitment to the cause, which requires uncritical loyalty to the movement and its leaders. So it is that uniformity of thought is required within the group. For if doubts persist and grow, the unity of the movement is threatened. Doubt implies an ability to stand outside the group and take measure; the capacity to doubt dogma implies self-assurance. There is no room for questioning, self-assured individuals in fanatic movements, for doubt is the enemy of unquestioning commitment...Blind faith depends on insecurity, and the more self-doubt, the more powerful the passion of the true believer.
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The feeling of oneness with the crowd is powerful, but equally powerful is the feeling of distrust and persecution toward those who do not belong, the outsiders who are perceived to be intent on destroying the crowd. Those who do not subscribe to the belief system challenge the very foundations of the crowd. Insiders who question the unifying beliefs of the movement are an even greater threat. Skepticism is treason, and the insider who persists in questioning will find himself an outsider. The feelings of persecution, then, are directed against both the "attack" from without and the "conspiracy" from within. Like a besieged city, the movement must strengthen its walls against the enemy without and search for enemies within. True belief does not permit question and doubt. [em. mine]
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There is a comfort in belonging to an association of like-minded individuals on the side of the angels and together opposing the evil, conspiring other, whether that association is a union in conflict with management or a nation at war. This human tendency to adopt the paranoid position when enmeshed in social organizations, especially in times of stress, becomes intensified when a paranoid leader is at the helm of the organization and shapes it to reinforce his own paranoid disposition.