Projection or imagined telepathy?

As pointed out by others MSNBC cropped the video of the black guy with a rifle at the Obama protest down enough to not show his skin color. Then they talked about gun owners being white racists against Obama.

I have to wonder what the basis for that belief was and why they would put effort into falsifying the evidence to fit their, obviously, false beliefs. Do they think they have some sort of telepathy such they can read the minds of others? Or is it as Say Uncle pointed out:

So, you were assigning stereotypes to a broad group of people? Supposedly trying to address bigotry in this country while being bigoted yourself seems to lessen your point. It’s OK, they’re only gun owners.

Although there are a people who believe they have telepathic powers I believe projection is far more common and all the evidence appears to fit that diagnosis.

Projection is very common in the anti-gun camp and it’s one of the first thing you should look for when you encounter an anti-gun person. Do they say they are afraid of what someone might do if they carried a gun while at a school/church/restaurant/wherever? The evidence is overwhelming that people with guns in those places do nearly exactly the same things that other people without guns do in those places. It’s actually their fear of what they might do if they had a gun in those places. Never mind that a police officer with a gun in the same location is just fine for nearly all of these people–disregarding the fact that police officers accidently shoot innocent people at a much higher rate than private citizens do.

So in this case the media representatives feel, without a factual basis, badly toward gun owners. They then search for something that could justify their bad feelings. Racism is an easy “hook to hang their hat on” since there once was a great deal of racism against people of color in this country and President Obama has the necessary pigmentation to be a target of white racists. But it’s the feelings of the media that drove the conclusion that someone else must be racists rather than the evidence of racism that drove their feelings.

This can be generalized to freedom in general. People are afraid of making their own decisions and they attempt restrict others decisions via some “wiser” authority with the justification being that someone else might make a bad decision–regardless of the fact that government “one size fits all” decisions for nearly everything cost more and are less effective than private solutions. Hence because of their feelings of fear of their own decision making ability drove the demands that others not make decisions for themselves rather than actual fear of others making their own decisions.

I suppose another psychological model that could be applied is one of stress reduction. It’s more stressful to believe that you are bigoted than to falsify the evidence to indicate someone else is bigoted.

In the case of the generalized freedom issue the stress reduction model works there too. It’s impossible to predict the future in any detail so having someone else to blame for making the wrong decision relieves the stress of making the, possibly wrong, decision yourself–even if the situation of nearly everyone is worse than if they made their own decisions. It appears to be more stressful for many people to see a disparity of outcomes than for everyone to have the same bad outcome. As a friend, Susan K., told me many years ago there are people who would rather everyone earns $1.00/hour than for the minimum wage in a truly free market (no government imposed minimum wage) to be $100/hour if there were other people earning $10,000/hour. I found this hard to believe but I’m now convinced it is true as long as there is some method by which the person desiring this sort of outcome can put some sort of whitewash, such as using phrases such as “social justice”, over the ugly truth.

As a side note I’ve heard it said that Bill Gates earned, on the average, about $100/second or $360K/hour while at Microsoft. This may have contributed to the great pressure put on Microsoft by the U.S. Justice Department during the 1990s and the European Union legal action that continues to this day.

Human psychology is a strange thing. What we call rational thought and socialization is only a very thin veneer over something far, far different which it pokes its ugly head through the veneer far more frequently than we realize.

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