Thinking About This Again: Extremely wise and interesting on how the more empirical reality tells the Trumpists to mark their beliefs to market, the more desperate they are to avoid doing so: John Holbo: Epistemic Sunk Costs and the Extraordinary, Populist Delusions of Crowds?: "Here’s a thought.... The first rule of persuasion is: make your audience want to believe...
...Trump has a talent for that. But I think it’s fair to say that he has often lived his business life by a different maxim: if you owe the bank $100 it’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million it’s the bank’s problem. There is a sense in which that works at the persuasion level, as epistemology.... There are two options as to things you might believe: (1) Justin Trudeau is a weak, nefarious dairy extortionist. (2) 1 is just f------ ridiculous. If 2 is true, Trump voters ought to be ashamed of themselves. Anyone can make mistakes. But the President of the United States should not be ridiculous. If you have to choose between being being ashamed of yourself or thinking Justin Trudeau is going to hell for dairy-related reasons, the latter option is far superior on grounds of psychic comfort. (Exception: you yourself are Justin Trudeau.)
But it adds up. I don’t just mean: you get wronger and wronger. It gets harder and harder to doubt the next ridiculous thing–since admitting Trump said or did one thing that was not just wrong but ridiculous would make it highly credible that he has done or said other ridiculous things. But that would raise the likelihood that you, a Trump supporter, have already believed or praised not just mistaken but flat-out ridiculous things, which would be an annoying thing to have to admit. So the comfortable option is to buy it all–the more so, the more ridiculous it threatens to be.
There is nothing uniquely Trumpian about epistemic over-investment. But Trump does seem to have a Too Big To Fail talent for locking folks in, by deliberately getting them deeper and deeper in epistemic hock.
Do you think it’s deliberate?