Logic versus emotion: Understanding the mass psychology of the Christian right

Logic versus emotion: Understanding the mass psychology of the Christian right
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Understanding the mass psychology of the Christian right is worth understanding, if for no other reason that you should know your opponent and understand their alliance with the Republican Party. In very simple terms, it happens when a person is so repressed and confused by their life experiences they they give up thinking, personal freedom, problem solving, and logic to someone else, like an authoritarian leader, which transmits to them an illusion of personal power and control.


Logic versus Emotion?

It is NOT a logical process, but an emotional one. Any authoritarian leader or religious hustler or cult leader can latch on to that emotion and energy. There is a strong repressed sexual aspect to this, and true followers, as opposed to the opportunists that take advantage of them, have had their spirits crushed by a lifetime of sex negative religious  dogma and emotional paralysis in dealing with sexual and personal relations. Every Patriarchal society and almost every nation is plagued by this development, and has the potential to develop in a fascist direction. The upper classes usually emphasize independent thinking and leadership for their own class, but a submissive to authority education and upbringing to the lower classes.

Those of us who have not fallen to such leaders are completely out of touch with the large segment of our country which follows them blindly. These millions of followers are quite naturally a valuable resource to be exploited by opportunist politicians like Trump, which seek to hide their true loyalties and irrational and destructive policies behind a public face of religious sympathy and support.It is NOT a logical process, but an emotional one. Any authoritarian leader or religious hustler or cult leader can latch on to that emotion and energy. There is a strong repressed sexual aspect to this, and true followers, as opposed to the opportunists that take advantage of them, have had their spirits crushed by a lifetime of sex negative religious  dogma and emotional paralysis in dealing with sexual and personal relations. Every Patriarchal society and almost every nation is plagued by this development, and has the potential to develop in a fascist direction. The upper classes usually emphasize independent thinking and leadership for their own class, but a submissive to authority education and upbringing to the lower classes.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans have succeeded in trapping and using this resource. Whatever one likes or dislikes about the Democrats, their appeal to voters is primarily to logic. Whereas the Republicans long ago learned to appeal to the dark side of people’s emotions, since they had no logical or progressive policies to sell. So the Republicans have become the party of hate, misogyny racism, bigotry, homophobia, war, and anti-immigrant sentiment affixed to a false and extremist Christian face. They now, and have been for some time, openly organizing people around these negative emotions and behaviors. The mainstream media fails to recognize the effects of the extreme polarization of the two party system, and blames BOTH parties equally for the log jams in Washington.Those of us who have not fallen to such leaders are completely out of touch with the large segment of our country which follows them blindly. These millions of followers are quite naturally a valuable resource to be exploited by opportunist politicians like Trump, which seek to hide their true loyalties and irrational and destructive policies behind a public face of religious sympathy and support.

People who have fallen under the influence of an authoritarian or religious leader will hold on furiously to their dependence. They have invested their self esteem into the identity and success of these leaders, and by supporting them, they have built up their own self worth. One of the reasons right wing religious leaders can get their members to send them so much money for such ridiculous and scandalous reasons.

We cannot assume that logic and reason will prevail over emotional biases. There are too many tragic historical examples of this human failing. As we all know, Christianity is the dominant religion in America. And it has not been immune to class compromise over the centuries and in America more recently. The state allows Christianity today a favored status as long as it remains compromised, and does not pursue a class based policy that Jesus reportedly followed, one which advocated for the poor. A policy which eventually also cost the life of Rev. King and many others.

Progressive But Moral/Emotional Arguments?

So what can be done, if anything, about the growing fascist movement in America today? One group, which is calling for a progressive perspective on Christianity, is the one led by Rev. William Barber. It calls for a moral revival and justice for both poor blacks and whites. It’s formally known as “Repairers of the Breach”. Work of this kind can not be underestimated. They have accomplished wonderful things in North Carolina and parts of the South. They are expanding across the country. As much as I sometimes may shy away of the concept of good religious dogma fighting bad dogma, it opens a door which is often closed to us, and one that will get the attention of any religious person. Remember that spiritual beliefs need not be connected to a specific religion or supreme being concept. Most of us accept some form of morality, and that can be a starting point for dialogue. It should not be forgotten that without dialogue there is often violence and oppression.

The problems which created the conditions for fascism and the religious right will  NEVER be solved until they are clearly understood. Among the well know individuals that have studied the problem is Wilhelm Reich, psychiatrist and student of Freud and former member of the German Communist Party in the 1920s. His book “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” is still worth reading, especially the original version

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