The world is redolent with danger. Even small children know the dangers in their playground: he knows he can fall from the monkey bars; she knows she can be injured by the seesaw if it gyrates unexpectedly. Every bulletin of news reminds us of dangers: on the road, at the seaside, on the ocean, at the workplace, even in the home. We can’t escape the reality that there are dangers everywhere. Aware of many of them, we are cautious. Yet how many of us are conscious of the powerful, and at times the lethal danger of entrenched belief? In my opinion, entrenched belief tops a forbidding list of existential threats to the social health of our society.
I won’t attempt an explanation of this phenomenon here. Instead, I refer you to a rather long piece published by TPS
on 16 December 2017 titled We need to understand entrenched belief
, which spells it out in detail.
Entrenched belief has been illustrated starkly by reactions to the results of the recent election for President of the US. Here are some samples, drawn from an opinion piece by Dean Obeidallah in CNN
titled Why Republicans still refuse to accept Trump's defeat.
According to one poll, 70% of Republicans say they don’t believe that the 2020 election was free or fair; according to another, 77% of Trump backers say President-elect Joe Biden won because of fraud, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 68% of Republicans said that they were concerned that the 2020 election was ’rigged’ and that only 29% believed that Biden had ‘rightfully won’. More than half of Republications said: ‘Trump “rightfully won” but the election was stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud that favoured Biden.
The Trump-requested recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia have been completed and failed to change the election results. Add to that, Trump's own notoriously loyal Attorney General Bill Barr announced last week that the Department of Justice had not found election fraud "on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election."
Yet on Saturday, The Washington Post reported that of the 249 Republicans in the House and the Senate, only 27 acknowledged Joe Biden won the election.
More alarmingly, when these same Republicans were asked if they would accept Biden as the "legitimate" winner of the election if (as expected) he's awarded enough electoral votes to become the next President, only 32 said yes; 215 gave no answer or were non-committal. (One Republican Congressman, Arizona's Paul A. Gosar, has said he would never accept Biden as the legitimately elected President.)
Obeidallah’s closing comment reads: ”This may be Donald Trump’s most enduring legacy: a nihilistic political culture, one that is tribalistic, distrustful, and sometimes delusional, swimming in conspiracy theories. The result is that Americans are disoriented and frustrated, fearful of and often enraged at one another.”