Believing What You Want to Believe

You don’t get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don’t know,

Sam Harris.

How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see? Blowin’ In the Wind, Bob Dylan. How many times can politicians or the voters turn their heads? The answer isn’t blowing in the wind; the answer is blowing in modern day politics. Pretending describes Trumpism, the beliefs of the current President of the USA, and his followers. And it is a description of the confirmation bias: the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs. The confirmation bias describes our underlying tendency to notice, focus on, and give greater attention to what we already believe — what we want to believe.

Truth is in the I of the beholder. You don’t have to pass a test to prove that what you believe is true. If you believe it is true, then for you, it is true. And what you believe determines what you do. Beliefs become behavior.

I point this out to help explain our current president’s behavior. Trumpism is what the president believes on any particular moment on any particular day about any particular subject, Ron Christie, a republican analyst. And Trumpism explains Donald Trump. What Trump believes any particular moment on any particular day about any particular subject, may not be the same yesterday or tomorrow. And you can’t be sure what Trump believes today by listening to what he says today. Reminder: this is the President of The United States of America, and called “The Leader of the Free World”.

Republicans in Congress pretend President Trump is telling the truth, pretend that he is leading this nation, pretend that he is the man that should continue to lead us in the future. Political skepticism would be a conservative virtue. When will they ever learn?

Right now there isn’t an optimistic answer. If they haven’t learned by now, will they ever learn? The current evidence to unlearn is powerful. The hope is that republicans who are not in Congress (voters) might be learning. And there is recent evidence that even some republicans in Congress are beginning to learn. But don’t expect a complete republican ending to pretending.

Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true?  Robert Frost.

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1 Response to PRETENDING

  1. Marianne Fontana says:

    We have signed up to take an online course to learn how to tell truthful statements from non truthful ones. Wouldn’t think I would ever need such a thing, bu with so many lies being told by Trump and I know by other politicians I realize I let my biases take over wise discernment. Then I realize in other aspects of life, I am sure I don’t see truth from fiction because what I want the truth to be is not always so—-I suspect. I begin to understand the vast amount information we get in the world can be very deceiving as to its truthfulness. However, one thing I do know for sure is that four more years of Trump as President will destroy our democracy and peoples acceptance of equality.

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