Confirmation bias is a relatively new (last 10 years or so) ‘thing’ in Psychology, yet i believe it’s tied to the survival trait of making patterns out of what we perceive. To a hunter gatherer , patterns helped you recognize food sources, and dangers. We still carry that tendency and it is combined with not just our personal history, but the history of our clan, our people, our social group.
I’m reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell; it is a very good read, I’m just starting the second half where he discusses the history of feuds throughout Appalachia. What you see in those feuds is the replication of the harsh, and violent ‘honor culture’ that came with the Scotch and Irish immigrants to the region. Honor was, and is still paramount within the culture of the region and throughout much of the South. This as Gladwell explains, is the reason that Southerners most often kill not strangers, but those they know- and both parties typically know why.
I mention this in relation to the last election. The much mocked disdain for ‘Yankees’ is more a product of how much Southern people and culture have been the butt of endless cruel jokes. In the last election Hillary Clinton made the famous ‘deplorables’ remark and lost any and all chances to pull in Southern states.
Since that time, the Democrats have doubled down on disdain by calling Trump’s election the result of ‘White Nationalism", “White supremacists”, “White racists” and of course Van Jones’ classic: “Whitelash”.
This was a calculated insult designed to
- denigrate Trump voters,
- prevent an honest discussion of why people voted for Trump, and
- provide an easy answer to the teary, weary queries of Hillary’s SJW kiddies, so used to easy answers.
Honor culture brings up images of some Palestinian murdering his rape victim sister, but in the South it is anything but. The ‘honor’ of police officers was trashed repeatedly by Obama and his DOJ, and unless you are a criminal, you respect cops, and resent those who hate cops, those who mouth off to cops, and those who try to kill cops. What they saw was a President and DOJ who clearly hated cops. They also saw violent protests road blockades, etc. - and they hated it. It was a defilement of America’s honor, as the kneeling bit with the NFL is (rightly or wrongly) seen today.
The ugliest things they heard Rush Limbaugh et. al. say about Democrats was unfolding before their eyes. The smug shrug of the Democrats was enough to drive them to the polls in droves.
Looking at Northern, urban cultures you get a number of cultural traits-
- A desire to go along and get along, a necessity for crowded urban environments
- Honor is seen as a silly relic of bygone days
- Groupthink is considered correct behavior, as “surely those leading the way have thought this through…”
- A civic insularity that rivals gang culture in that what goes on outside their city is of no importance, and generally ignored.
- A firm belief that those outside the city (NYC, Boston, and SF especially) are ignorant inferiors whose opinions are at best tolerated with a hint (or more) of smugness.
All of this tends to reinforce and ‘confirm’ biases. People outside NYC see New Yorkers as obnoxious because haughty disdain is obnoxious. New Yorkers see the South and Midwest as ‘flyover country’ inhabited by ‘rubes’ because that’s what the groupthink bias says- and they always believe it.