Enquiring Minds Want to Know


The age of Trump has inspired many articles on the topic of the defects of human reason. Here’s a new one, out this afternoon, and it’s pretty good: Brian Resnick, 9 essential lessons from psychology to understand the Trump era. You know the score: motivated reason, tendency to reject facts you don’t like, et cetera, et cetera.

But I have some questions. I’ll cheerfully grant that both progressives and reactionaries suffer from these defects. I will grant that I myself, yes Arius A. Aardvark, suffer from them. But here’s what I want to know—and never seem to learn, from articles of this ilk.

  1. Does everybody suffer equally from these mental flaws? My experience and intuition tell me no. (And, goddammit, I’ll reject any evidence to the contrary!) But, Aardvarkian experience and intuition aside, what do the actual psychologists say?
  2. Motivated reason, rejection of inconvenient truths, and all the rest of these problems lead to irrational action, and irrational action leads to disaster. That being the case, what therapy is effective in mitigating the kinds of problems Mr. Resnick discusses?

Enquiring Minds Want to Know.