(It’s not satire – it’s the Lib Dems!)
Liberal Democrats and their supporters – the few that remain anyway – fascinate me.
After all, why would a supposedly moderate, liberal, centrist party support a clearly authoritarian Tory administration with the most right-wing policies since Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s?
Well, I’ve been reading up a bit on political and social psychology and I’ve discovered three possible scientific theories which may help to explain this mystery.
Confirmation Bias is a tendency for people to favour information that confirms their decisions, beliefs or hypotheses avoiding information which disproves them. Confirmation Bias leads to a selective collection of facts and evidence – favouring those which support a decision, belief or point of view but completely ignoring any evidence which refutes it, no matter how strong or convincing it may be.
In modern psychology, Cognitive Dissonance is the strong need to avoid the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In some ways it is the opposite of ‘buyer’s regret’ – according to the theory of Cognitive Dissonance we tend to protect our ego by ignoring all the evidence that we have made a wrong decision and find numerous reasons to justify it no matter how ridiculous they may be.
This is the theory that when faced with choices, some of our cognitive functions can revert to a primitive state where conscious decisions of right and wrong are easily subverted by a profound psychological need to put two fingers up to every principle, belief and ounce of integrity you have ever stood for in exchange for a chauffeur-driven ministerial car and a seat at the top table in order to deal with Nick Clegg’s deep-seated feelings of inadequacy that in reality he’s just a jumped up, self-important arsehole who’d sell off his own grandmother for a taste of power.
OK I might have made up that last one – but still a likely explanation in my opinion.
Anyway, let me know what you think:
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