Political Loyalty Over Facts

By Beacon Staff

Most of us do not like it when one person controls things, controls our actions, blocks us, and holds power over our heads. But an interesting psychological phenomenon takes place even in such rather blatant abuses of our freedom to make our own choices.

Case in point: Grover Norquist’s hold over the Republican members of Congress. His power and reach are awesome. His ability to control the party politics is unchallenged. Here is the “psychological phenomenon” I mentioned: Even though the facts known to individual Republican members of Congress do not square with Norquist’s beliefs and agenda, because these members of Congress believe so firmly in their party, they allow themselves to be ruled, controlled and bullied by one man.

There is a psychological term for this: “Cognitive dissonance,” and it is the psychological experience of having to hold inconsistent ideas in one’s head. Now the most interesting thing about all this is that people choose, over and over again, political loyalty over facts, even when they will be hurt by it.

Amazing, right? But it is a fact. And I bring this up as an example of just one more of the many effects and problems within our present political system operating out of fear and greed.

The only answer to a mindset of fear and greed is a change of mind. No legislation, rules, laws or judicial decisions will change individual mind-sets. It is an inside job.

So, what is the bottom line as I see it? Until each of us is willing to look at ourselves and our mindsets honestly and with clarity, are willing to make mind-changes as needed and then act accordingly in our daily lives and relationships, we will continue as a nation to flounder within the fear and greed mentality.

The opposite of fear is love. The opposite of greed is generosity. The picture seems clear to me.

Bob McClellan

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