Today’s Political Climate is a Cornucopia for Psychologists.

by Armando Simón (May 2024)

Yard with Lunatics  —by Francisco Goya, 1794


In today’s political climate, with the proliferation of bizarre statements and actions permeating society, there are well-established psychological principles that will shed light on some of the irrational actions and statements that we are constantly being bombarded with or witnessing. These principles help to make sense of what we perceive as being senseless and, thereby, help the rest of us keep our sanity. Some of these principles are:

Semmelweis Reflex. This is the tendency to automatically reject facts which contradict one’s ideology.

Bias Blind Spot. An almost universal psychological trait where a person thinks that bias influences judgment in everyone except oneself.

Reactive Devaluation. When a project, or an idea, is being proposed by someone that you distrust, or hate, you will automatically think little of it, if not reject it altogether. For example, if Senator Schumer had proposed the border wall instead of Donald Trump, Speaker Pelosi would have gone along. President Obama proposed legislation which was rejected by Republican John Boehner even though he and other Republicans had been interested in it.

Groupthink. Colloquially, this is referred to as a hivemind, and nowadays, it is used to refer to the enforced conformity of thought and deed that is found in institutions like CNN, ABC, BBC, CBS, NBC and universities. In order to maintain conformity, dissenting (or critical) views are actively discouraged and even penalized, while facts are routinely falsified.

Availability Cascade. Simply put, the more a lie is repeated, especially in a group that one belongs to, the stronger will be the belief in the lie. The popularity of a lie’s simplicity, no matter how stupid, cascades its strength (e.g., “America’s a racist society,” “We’re living in a rape culture,” “They’ll take away my guns from my cold dead hands,” “Transgender women are women,” “Columbus carried out genocide,” “Mandela ended apartheid,” “Tommy Robinson is a fascist!” “Systemic racism,” “Men can have periods,” “Trump’s a racist!” “There’s a Patriarchy and it keeps women oppressed”).

The Democratic Party in America has been, for well over a century, the party of racism, the party of slavery, the party of the Confederacy, the party of segregation, the party of the KKK, the party of Jim Crow and, yet, ever since the liberals captured the media, the impression has been drilled into people, particularly African-Americans, that the Republicans are the ones that are racist. No matter that it is a lie, it is sufficient for a thousand repetitions to cement a lie.

Sexual Regret. This is a relatively new area of study. Essentially, psychologists have found that, when it comes to having sexual relations with another person, men experience regret at not engaging in sex. Women, however, experience regret having sex, usually with a person that they just met. In the latter case, this phenomenon would help explain why some women falsely call out “rape” when, in fact, no rape occurred.

Women are Wonderful Effect. Essentially, positive attributes are more likely to be bestowed on women than on men and, by the same token, women are less likely to be associated with negative attributes. This would explain why women receive lighter punishments than men when they commit crimes and why the idea that women never lie or manipulate is prevalent when it comes to accusations of rape or assault, in spite of the evidence here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. This refers to attributing a ridiculous amount of importance to trivial matters. Examples were the constant attacks on Melania Trump over what shoes or dress she was wearing, or the meltdown that a CNN journalist had because Trump had two scoops of ice cream instead of one. Or when Trump cancelled the annual White House Christmas Party for the press that constantly demonized him, it was seen by some as undeniable proof that he was on the road to a dictatorship.

Ostrich Effect, also known in legal circles as Willful Blindness. As the name indicates, this is the attitude of ignoring a negative situation, or possible negative results, simply because a person does not want to mentally deal with it. In the present political arena, it would apply to ignoring the danger of illegal immigrants coming into the country, and in Europe to ignoring the danger of the stealth Muslim invasion. With conservatives, it is ignoring their children being indoctrinated in schools by Marxists, or the idea that they can prevent the confiscation of guns by uttering “They’ll take away my guns from my cold dead hands.”

Cognitive Dissonance. When a person is faced with facts or arguments that strongly disrupt deeply held beliefs, that person experiences great discomfort, if not anger. This would explain the otherwise absurd claim that rigid, brainwashed students in universities feel harmed by having speakers on campus who voice different viewpoints or cite facts that contradict their ideology. When liberals are faced with facts which conflict with their delusional worldview, they tend to either flee the scene in panic, or react angrily by shouting/chanting in order to suppress the hearing of said facts and viewpoints. Another example is when conservatives or liberals elect an idealized politician, expecting him/her to support certain policies, and the politician does the opposite.

However, cognitive dissonance is part of cognitive dissonance theory, and the latter is also relevant. This was erroneously interpreted as those having learned their mistake and being contrite. Not so. In the original scenario, when the end of the earth did not take place as predicted by a cult, the shocked members of the cult experienced cognitive dissonance, which was alleviated by recruiting new members into the cult, thereby validating the cult. It may be remembered by old timers that once the Soviet Empire collapsed, Marxists in the United States, Canada, and the UK fell silent. Today’s young Marxists are the brainwashed victims of the (silent) Marxists who recruited adherents during the latent period when they seemed to have disappeared.

Projection. This is a psychological mechanism whereby a person(s) projects one’s own negative characteristics into another person without the slightest inkling of the (to everyone else’s) obvious contradiction. This is not hypocrisy, which is a conscious, deliberate trait.

We see projection rampant nowadays. Leftist proclaim to be against hate, yet they have messages like, “If you voted for Trump you should drink bleach,” and “If you support Trump you should have your children taken away.” Some are so full of love and tolerance that they express hatred for whites and even advocate genocide against white people. They actually hit people on the head with signs that read “Love Trumps Hate” or with signs that read “Tolerance” and “Inclusivity.” Friends and relatives who voice differences of opinion are showered with hate by their “tolerant” friends and relatives. One video shows a leftist approaching an inoffensive Turning Point USA student in UC Berkeley, accusing him of “encouraging violence,” then viciously punching him. Leftists have even turned against family members for thinking differently.

People who show definite signs of Trump Derangement Syndrome, whose hatred is so out of control and obviously delusional, in regards to Trump that they claim that Trump is insane.

Leftists are constantly trying to divide Americans into blacks and whites (through Hollywood movies reopening old wounds, and liberal journalists distorting news about police shootings) in the hopes that the races will go for each other’s throats, yet will call anyone who disagrees with them as being “divisive.”

The Antifas refer to themselves as antifascists (anti-First Amendment would be more appropriate), and as fighters against fascism, yet they dress all in black—just like Mussolini’s Blackshirts. They form mobs of screaming, violent fanatics and attack individuals. When they disrupt rallies, they also call their opponents racists, and homophobic, even though those in the rallies are Hispanic, Asians, blacks and gays (I have personally seen this). The Antifas also refer to their opponents as white supremacists—yet the Antifas are almost exclusively white. Meanwhile, pathological hater Alec Baldwin claims that “Trump’s goons” will be assaulting people while ignoring Antifa hitting people on the head with hammers.

Leftists in Colorado and Maine removed Donald Trump from the ballot, thereby preventing the public to vote for a candidate of their choice. They said he was a threat to democracy.

Pavlovian conditioning. Just as certain stimuli made Pavlov’s dogs salivate or whimper, certain vocal stimuli can elicit automatic responses in people. In this particular case, words like “racist,” “fascist,” “white supremacist,” and “the Patriarchy,” elicits rage in persons who have been conditioned without being conscious of it. If a person, film, book, or television show is called any of those names, certain people automatically snarl and become enraged without their knowing the slightest bit about those persons, films, books, or shows and this rage will persist even when it is patently obvious that they are nothing of the sort.

Antifa members will snarl at, threaten and assault individuals who are black, Hispanics or Asians that attend a gathering that they label a white supremacist, KKK, etc. gathering. Milo Yiannopoulos has been called “racist,” “homophobic,” and “anti-Semitic” even though he is a homosexual Jew who is married to a black man. Even when the error is pointed out, the conditioned individuals continue to snarl and hate and yell insults.

It is as if their conditioned brains are made of Teflon. Facts and arguments that contradict their viewpoint just slides off without making the slightest impact.

I recently present a short story to a writers’ group of a true event in Mississippi. A group of my friends had weekly meetings to play D&D. One night, the KKK set up a burning cross on their lawn. They woke up and, far from being intimidated, were defiant. The next night, the group had a bogus virgin sacrifice on their lawn, everyone wearing costumes. Obviously, their action was a middle finger to the KKK. The liberals in the writers’ group had a fit: Mockery at the KKK was unacceptable. One had only to respond or react with anger.

Doublethink. Although this is not a formal psychological concept, it should be. It refers to Orwell’s 1984, wherein fanatics can believe two contradictory ideas simultaneously. Real life examples? University administrators and liberal politicians who sincerely advocate freedom of speech while simultaneously censoring “hate speech” or “misinformation.”

Victimhood and the Dark Triad. Recently, some research has seen the light of day regarding the Victimhood Olympics. For the chronically offended, “victimization” becomes the core of their identity. The personality of such individuals is characterized by a need for recognition, moral elitism, lack of empathy, and obsession. Persons who are characterized by the Dark Triad more frequently signal virtuous victimhood for the purpose of manipulation and narcissism. And when it comes to groups, then you have competitive victimhood.

And in the category of “I knew it!” there is a study that shows that liberals tend to be more prone to mental illness than moderates or conservatives.

Today’s political climate is a psychologist’s dream come true.



Table of Contents


Armando Simón is a trilingual native of Cuba, a retired forensic psychologist, and the author of When Evolution Stops, A Cuban from Kansas, and Fables from the Americas.


Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


One Response

  1. You are our Victor David Hanson for describing the current mental pratfalls. The abuses of reasonable thought are so widespread, if I didn’t like words so much I might just give up talking and writing.

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