The power of illogicality

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The power of illogicality

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Hunter Brown, Life Editor

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Aldous Huxley said in his book, “Do what you will: Twelve Essays” that “consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” Donald Trump has been feeding off inconsistency from the start. He feeds off the dead, as Huxley would say it, because if the consistent are dead, then Trump is living off all of us.

After many months of Trump’s domination in the Republican primaries, it has finally come to an end for the other Republican candidates, and probably the entire party.

With Ted Cruz and John Kasich suspending their campaigns after Trump winning Indiana by over 20 percent of the votes, the competition for the Republicans has shifted to beating the Democrats in the general election polls.

So far Trump has shown that even though many believe that it’s preposterous to think he could even win, he can still win. He feeds off the fact of disbelief, and he has been doing it ever since he said that he would be running for president last year. But how exactly has he done that?

Trump’s inclination to be inconsistent has political strategists confounded and confused by what Trump can do with the power of rhetoric. Through every interview and every speech that Mr. Trump gives, he continuously succeeds in fooling all of us in his contradictory ideals, but that’s what his followers love.

It seems as though no matter what he may say, it simply doesn’t matter–only the fact that he is here, right now, and he is saying it, something that no one in politics has ever done. But how does he do this? It seems as if all the other candidates are seemingly held to different standards. Every candidate is held accountable for what they say. After all, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

An example of Trump’s ability to be inconsistent took place early in the stage of primaries when Mr. Trump refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalists who were endorsing him. Trump later condemned such groups. Yet many of the white supremacists that had been supporting him, such as David Duke,  and they continue to support him. Why?

I believe that the answer lies in the power of contradiction, and Trump’s effective use of it. It continues to tell us exactly who Trump is, that he may actually be a change that we have never seen.

So what’s wrong with contradicting yourself? Well one can be that it leads to incongruity. You can obtain any idea from a contradiction in a few simple steps. However, that is precisely what makes the flaw so useful from the point of view of political psychology – the more the deliberate the contradiction the better.

Something that politicians seem to do often is to “walk back” comments because that may have misspoken, or because the comment didn’t receive very good recognition from the media. But contradiction is the same as walking back a comment. If you happen to contradict yourself, it doesn’t mean you misspoke like you would have if you walked back a comment.

If you walk a comment back, you are taking accountability for what you said. If you contradict yourself, you put the credit on the shoulders of the listener. If I were to deny something I earlier avowed, then as a listener, you are left having to decide what what I really meant. And if you’ve taken a few psychology classes in your time (or if you’re prone to having good common sense), you would know that humans are all disposed to being “confirmation biased.” Therefore, we tend to decipher evidence to fit what we already believe.

So if we were not for abortion, we can read upon Trump’s remarks that he also isn’t for abortion. As his remarks state that he wanted to punish women for getting abortion, he has before said in a 1999 interview that he was “very pro-choice” and that he “hates the concept of abortion” but still believes in choice. Just as after he mentioned that women should get punished for getting abortion, he later changed his mind mentioning that “Only doctors should be punished; women are victims.”

Everyone has their own opinion about problems around the country, so you truly need to study on what politicians truly mean when they speak about their ideals. Of course we are aware of those politicians with different views than us. So that very fact can lead us to being prone to “conformation bias.”

As we see in George Orwell’s “1984,” the protagonist is tortured until he agrees that two plus two equals five. That is the deep power of contradiction. Though the character knows the truth, the torturer makes it clear to him that there is no truth other than what he is telling him. Don’t let political inconsistency make you give up on critical thinking.