True-believer SyndromeMy best bud Lex pointed me to an interesting discussion on the term "epistemic closure", co-opted (rather than coined) by Julian Sanchez with some good commentary from others here and here. Very worthwhile reading!
Personally, I've been thinking more in the last few days about the apparent lack of cognitive dissonance among the Tea Partiers and their fellow travelers, who all, like Lewis Carroll's White Queen, seem to be able to believe "six impossible things before breakfast". Or certainly at least six totally contradictory things, without breaking a sweat. Quite probably, it is the "believe" aspect of that which makes it possible - who cares about facts? Unfortunately because that faith seems to extend from religious faith to faith in Fox News, there's really no way to argue with them - no way to point out that what they said yesterday about that thing directly contradicts what they're saying now about this thing. I can find no coherent narrative to this at all.
What makes this even worse is the fact that the people they have faith in are openly mocking them, yet still they believe. Glenn Beck can tell them point blank that he's a "rodeo clown" and doesn't care about politics, yet they still hang on every word. Rush can tell people that he's just an entertainer, yet the dittoheads repeat every utterance as some new gospel. True-believer syndrome, indeed.