There is a saying along the lines of “money talks and bullsh*t walks” that means “cheap talk will get you nowhere, while money will persuade people to do as you like.” Most people understand the meaning of the saying easily enough, and only people suffering cognitive defects actually believe that currency is speech. Talking, or speech, is the vocalized form of human language based upon the syntactic combination of lexical and names that are drawn from a very large (about 10,000) number of words created out of phonetic combinations of a limited set of vowel and consonant speech sound units. For Republicans, conservative belief tanks, and the Supreme Court’s Koch 5, speech is really money as evidenced by 2010’s Citizens United and last month’s McCutcheon ruling eviscerating campaign finance laws.
The next repeal of campaign finance laws enacted by the Koch 5 will erase political action committee donation limits because the McCutcheon case lawyer claims, “The right of groups and individuals to speak are being treated very differently” and donation limits are an attack “on First Amendment activities (speech).” McCutcheon’s lawyer is livid that the Koch brothers’ speech is being silenced and intends to appeal to Koch conservatives on the High Court to end limitations on the richest Americans who circumvent individual contribution limits by setting up brand new PACs.
The purpose of this article is not to argue that speech is not money, but to point out that there is science that proves regardless the original purpose of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, the Koch 5 are convinced that when the Constitution’s Framers devised the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee, they meant it was heresy to limit campaign donations; nothing will ever change their minds. So say scientists at Yale and Dartmouth Universities, among others, who studied an occurrence known as “motivated reasoning” that demonstrates the Koch 5 cannot be trusted to ignore their Republican affiliations, personal politics, or loyalty to the Koch brothers to decide cases according to what the law does or does not allow because “their brains simply are not capable of such disinterested reasoning.”
What results of the several studies demonstrate is that once a partisan is confronted with unwelcome facts about their beliefs, the centers of their brain associated with emotional distress light up and remain active until their defective brains “rationalize away the unwanted information.” According to one of the scientists conducting the studies, when conservatives and Christian zealots rationalize away unwanted information, the centers of their brains associated with positive feelings turn on and “overlap substantially with those activated when drug addicts get their ‘fix.’”
The studies also prove that despite showing conservatives, Republicans, gun fanatics, and evangelical special interests facts, scriptures, and even video evidence that their strongly held beliefs are pure fantasy or absolutely wrong, conservative (and some liberal) brains automatically reject facts because they refute their personal beliefs. Research teams at Yale and Dartmouth discovered, for example, that highly skilled mathematicians will, more often than not, deliberately reach an incorrect answer if data leads to a conclusion that is contrary to their political worldview. There are myriad examples of conservatives and evangelical fanatics disputing hard data, the Constitution, and the Christian bible because they are programmed by conservatives’ buzzwords, memes, and outright lies into believing their errant conclusions and faith are fact.
For example, conservatives and gun maniacs are convinced the Constitutions’ framers included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights for the express purpose of arming citizens to rebel and overthrow the United States government when some 221 years later Americans elected an African American man as President. Republicans and former Confederate states are certain the Constitution provides for states’ supremacy over the federal government despite the Supremacy Clause, even if they see it in black and white in their handy dandy pocket version of the U.S. Constitution. Many, many Republicans, teabaggers, and sundry conservatives know in their heart of hearts that under President Obama’s Administration, taxes are higher than at any time in U.S. history regardless they are shown taxes are at their lowest rates in 60 years. Then there is the Christian right and their extreme dependence on “motivated reasoning” and “theory of mind” dysfunction.
Theory of mind explains the human quality fundamentalist Christians lack putting them in the same category as mindless, single-celled life forms and animals that lack the “ability to attribute mental states, beliefs, intents, desires, and knowledge to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.” Theory of mind deficits typically occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurotoxicity due to alcohol abuse. Coupled with motivated reasoning, Christian zealots suffering theory of mind defects pose a danger to America on par with the John Birch Koch brothers.
The religious right adamantly believe that god wrote the Constitution and created America as a Christian nation and specifically included the “freedom of religion” clause to empower Christians to impose biblical edicts on the entire population. Any attempt to show a Christian zealot the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and denied America was created as Christian nation is met with outrage and increasingly, explicit death threats. The Christian right also believe that any American’s unwillingness to submit to Christian domination is persecuting them and waging a war on Christianity, especially after the people elected an African American President in 2008. Christian leaders initiated a propaganda crusade in 2009 to use the “religious liberty” meme to indoctrinate Christians into believing that no law, or constitutional amendment, is binding if they violate Christians’ “deeply held religious beliefs.” Five years later and it is cemented in evangelicals’ consciousness they are immune to the nation’s laws and Constitution and complain bitterly that their bizarre faith is under assault because they are not above the law.
Pro-life groups are certain the second a sperm punctures an ovum it is a living breathing being worthy of 14th Amendment rights that supersede those of the woman carrying the zygote. Any and every attempt to use their god’s own words in their bible refuting their deep-seated, and scripturally errant, assertion the moment of conception is a living human being is met with outrage and more claims of religious persecution. The Christian right is every bit as dysfunctional as Republicans, teabaggers, and particularly the Supreme Court’s Koch 5, and as a concerted movement there is little hope America will ever escape becoming a corporate plutocracy ruled by Christian theocrats.
The message for Americans still capable of objective analysis and reaching conclusions borne of facts is that it is a monumental waste of breath attempting to reason with evangelical fundamentalists and conservatives clinging to beliefs with absolutely no basis in facts. The conservative Supreme Court will continue handing the reins of power to the wealthy elite because it is burned into their brains the First Amendment’s freedom of speech guarantee is reserved for those with the most money, and Christian fanatics will never believe for a nanosecond that god did not write the Constitution with the sole purpose of creating a Christian theocracy in 2014. The only recourse for Americans mortified of living in a Christian theocracy funded by the Koch brothers is to exercise their right to vote, if they still have that right. But let us face facts; the Southern United States will always be a third world nation, Koch conservatives on the Supreme Court will pander to big money, and evangelical fanatics will continue decrying the phony war on religious liberty because they are all mired in “motivated reasoning” and “theory of mind” dysfunction that means as a nation, American democracy is all but finished.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.