October 17, 2004

Just give me ONE reason

I've been trying to figure out for months now just what the appeal of Bush is to certain people: young, slightly socially conservative but certainly not closed-minded, devoutly religious but not intolerantly so, and decidedly not from that small percentage of the economic strata that's actually benefitting from Bush's economic `policies'. This would be a good working description of my friends who are Bush supporters. Thus far I haven't gotten a real answer -- they might say something vague about abortion or not trusting Kerry, but I can't get specifics from them.

What I'm afraid of is that it really just comes down to the way this administration, propped up by the Republican spin machine, maintains an attitude of infallibility. 9/11 scared the shit out of many Americans; could it simply be that this uncertainty and fear has lead to them internalizing the meme that a lack of complete faith in George W. Bush could lead to disaster?


LameAim said...

I've spent a considerable amount of time pondering the same question.

The conclusion that I've drawn is that the people who fall into those categories just don't reason like we do. Let me explain that this does not mean that they are incapable of reason. Just our kind.

Or explained in another way: we're all cynics. Sounds bad, but it is a key component in the abilty to reject the first answer you're given. And not many people are able to do that these days.

Anonymous said...

But these aren't unintelligent people, or people who blindly go along with the first thing someone in authority tells them.

Many atheists like to attack the critical reasoning abilities of the devoutly religious -- `the facts supporting the existence of a god just aren't there, so we withold belief, and you're being illogical if you do believe'. But I've come to see, over the past year or so, that the sincerest form of religious belief isn't grounded in evidence of an empirical sort, or purely rational justification, but in the appeal faith has as a way of structuring one's Weltanschauung [loosely, world view]. In this sense I believe there is a possibility for justifying religious faith (and, personally, I think this justification also fails). And calling your devoutly Christian friend an idiot in slightly nicer language isn't going to lead to mutual respect and a pursuit of understanding.

I'd like to apply this same charitable approach to everday supporters of Bush, and movement conservatism in general. Admittedly, my goal is to undermine that support. But at the very least I just want to try to understand the point of view of my friends, and for that I first need an idea of the appeal -- what does believing in Bush, so to speak, do for these people?

Noumena said...

That last comment shouldn't've been anonymous -- I wrote it, just forgot to check the radio button.