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63% of Republican participants in a recent Dartmouth poll still believe today, 2012, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. military attacked Iraq in 2003.
64% of that 63% of Republicans also still believe today, 2012, that Barack Obama was born in another country.
The poll, constructed by Dartmouth government professor Benjamin Valentino and conducted by YouGov from April 26 to May 2, found that fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003. By contrast, 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats shared that view.
Sure, polls come and go...and their findings vary. But the Obama Birther issue and the WMD-in-Iraq issue have been consistently received by Republican voters as fact....when there is not one shred of evidence supporting such a position on either issue.
What explains this phenomenon? Not a rhetorical question. I would like a literate conservative commenter to explain to me why it is that Republican voters refuse to accept reality when it comes to WMD in Iraq and Obama's birthplace. Seriously. What's the upside....what's the advantage....of clinging to known falsehoods, especially years after the falsehoods have been definitively exposed as, well....false?
And are these two examples of still believing in falsehoods about WMD and Obama's citizenship, by a 2-1 margin within conservatives circles, an indication of a willingness among conservatives to believe in many other things which are similarly untrue?
Take for example, supply side economics. It is not true, nor has it ever been true, that cutting taxes results in more revenues into the Treasury than before taxes were cut. That is an indisputable fact, and yet still today, most, if not all, Republicans keep telling us that if we just cut taxes some more our tax revenues will increase.
Another example of this phenomenon is climate change. Instead of acknowledging the scientific consensus that exists today over man's contribution to global warming......conservatives and Republicans have continued to reject those scientific findings as a conspiracy. A conspiracy by thousands of scientists who are alleged to be working secretly with socialist-communist forces with the only goal being the destruction of the United States through, I guess, slightly higher energy costs. The reason given by conservative fact-rejectors for why scientists would participate in such a vast sleight-of-hand conspiracy to deceive Americans.....the answer, laughably, comes back....."to keep those government research grants coming."
Again, what explains this?
Humans don't like being told they are wrong or mistaken. I know that I don't like it....especially when I KNOW I'm right about whatever is in question. But no one is correct in their evaluation of everything and all of us have been wrong, or held faulty positions, at least periodically throughout our lifetimes. Point being that to err is to be human.
And this is where I think conservatives in America in recent years have been struggling. They take themselves too seriously...as if they could never make a mistake.
If conservatives admitted that they had been mistaken about something....WMD, Birtherism, global climate change....that would be seen as evidence by these same conservatives that the ideology they cling to is not quite as perfect and flawless as they had imagined. This, in turn, could lead to conservatives questioning other long held policies and doctrines and before long......conservatives might just be thinking things through for themselves instead of relying only on what their media propagandists tell them to believe.
I know from personal experience that it is not easy changing people's minds....especially when those minds are already made up....but it can be done and it does happen. All that is required is an honest and open mindset towards inquiry. I don't expect anything of the kind from corrupt influence peddlers who lead the conservative movement in America....but average conservative Americans can be saved from the embarrassment of looking like ignoramuses in the face of empirical evidence...all it takes is personal integrity and a sense of honesty.