Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why don't liberals fall for glurge?

What the hell is glurge, anyway? Snopes says this. My experience is that glurge never comes from liberals. Instead, conservatives forward it on, breathlessly attesting to its truth. Sometimes I write them back (somewhere on the Internet someone is wrong!), and they often express their first skepticism at my debunking. Their friend who sent it to them checked it out. I guess they miss the handy link to real skepticism that I provide.

It's not just glurge; it's also warnings about the danger of gang wannabes following you home and putting your lights out if you flash your headlights to get them to turn theirs on. Or it's warnings of danger to women, who might be taken advantage of somewhere in an unnamed city. No matter how often you point them to, even after it becomes part of their vocabulary, their first impulse is to believe.

Liberals aren't taken in by these just-so stories, or so it seems to me. I'm sure we have our blind spots, too; they just aren't so glaring.

I think that an elemental conservatism is the default response of a social animal habituated to a tribal environment. The reflex to believe what one's prejudice shouts loud and clear is socially useful to keep the tribe united.

Liberals have a different more modern approach. We engage our brains to test our beliefs. This makes us amenable to learning, liberal arts, and the compromises of democratic government.

Conservatives once had some of these characteristics, too, but they've given them over. I think it happened about the time the Wall Street Journal started common cause between its core readers, the wealthies, and the fundies it thought it could co-opt to the great Bushist cause of obtaining more money for the already rich and powerful.


Capri said...

Don't kid yourself, liberals fall for glurge too, just not the sort that targets conservatives as much. I got a chain letter the other containing a really drippy dog story from a liberal. If it's about cute lovable little kitties and bunnies or some missive about saving the environment with a sappy glurge story, there are going to be at least some liberals falling for it. But it is undeniable that conservatives do fall for chain letters of pretty much any type, glurge, political rants, scary warnings, there is a real problem with conservatives and chain letters.

lovable liberal said...

I guess some of us do think that we can save the rainforest, whales, Haitians, shelter dogs, etc. by just clicking on a link.

Anonymous said...

This is an incredibly laughable post. Quite literally ALL the glurge I receive comes from liberals, who seize on every bleeding-heart story as an example of how love and kindness exist in the world and triumph over greed and impersonality. They show literally no critical thinking... it gets tiring debunking all the **** they post.

Love and kindness do exist, and we don't need magical stories to believe in them, thank you very much. The main point is that whom you receive glurge from depends more on YOUR social circle than any political trends. Your post shows me more about your own biases and lack of wide exposure to myriad political demographics than it elucidates any trend regarding glurge.

FWIW, I am an independent and voted for Obama over Romney (but McCain over Obama).

lovable liberal said...

I'm curious what led you to this 4-1/2-year-old post.

Glad you're not trying to debunk love and kindness.

My experience remains little changed. Conservatives of all ages from both the North and the South send glurge and warnings. Liberals across regions tend to send infographics. Some of them even have footnotes.

Of course, all parts of the political spectrum can haz cute cats.

Facebook memes tend to be more balanced, although conservatives still dominate in the bullshit department. I still get birther memes! There are of course sites and memes on the left that I haven't found to be credible.

Demographically, you're incredibly rare - a McCain voter who switched to Obama.