Landry: Obama Letting Muslims Skip Security Checks!


Man, just when you think the right wing couldn’t get any crazier, here come Rep. Jeff Landry making the absolutely outlandish claim that President Obama is allowing Muslims to skip TSA security checks at the airport. He told this to Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice:

Landry: Down here in south Louisiana this is huge, this is very important to my constituency. I think the biggest problems that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings. Look, as they believe that there is a need to grant them special rights as they go through the TSA screening based upon their religion, that’s fine, I’m ok with that. But then don’t turn around and attack Christians when they stand up and say ‘listen, we believe that the policies you’re putting in place violate our religious freedoms as well.

It should be obvious by now that there is nothing too absurd or dishonest that some wingnut won’t say it.

Comments

  1. says

    It should be obvious by now that there is nothing too absurd or dishonest that some wingnut won’t say it.

    And there isn’anything so absurd or dishonest that every wingnut won’t believe it.

  2. Michael Heath says

    Dr. X:

    . . . there isn’anything so absurd or dishonest that every wingnut won’t believe it.

    I’m still mulling over Christopher Hitchen’s conclusion that, “religion poisons everything”. However the fact that religious indoctrination systemically taught to children develops people who’ll believe irrational assertions lacking any evidence, well that’s one compelling premise which supports Mr. Hitchen’s conclusion.

  3. harold says

    I’m still mulling over Christopher Hitchen’s conclusion that, “religion poisons everything”.

    On the other hand, Reform Judaism and Zen Buddhism aren’t associated with the type of thought pattern on discussion here.

    Plausibly, “racism poisons everything” would be a far more applicable statement.

    I am completely non-religious, and am not endorsing either of the religions mentioned above, they are examples only.

  4. Uncle Glenny says

    Maybe he or sooeone he talks to got wind of the Sam Harris / Bruce Schreier profiling kerfuffle and performed the usual GOP internalization of it.

    —-

    @Michael Heath:

    Surely there are somecommunities somewhere which are irreligious without necessarily being brought up explicitly secular, which someone could study – or even just have anecdotal knowledge of.

    Or is our need for some stabilizing power so great that we have to gravitate to something?

  5. says

    Michael Heath,

    There is abundant evidence from psychological research that irrationality is built into us, and that pre-rational heuristics govern our beliefs far more than rationality. Ideologies, social bonds and group identifications, not training, determine the ability of most of us to process evidence in dealing with matters related to our sense of social alliances. It’s easy to see how this powerful tendency was selected in human beings and no reason to assume that vulnerability to bias is trained into people or that we can be trained out of bias in some general sense during childhood. My mother loved me when I was born, not because of any inherent quality in me that made me more worthy of love. She regularly acted with disregard for her own interests to protect me. So much of our survival is based on pre-rational, preconscious tendencies and heuristics, while reason is a rather lowly step-child in social relations, and that would generally hold true for group identity.

    Reasoning is only a shaky overlay on non-conscious, pre-rational processes. One problem is that reasoning can actually be used quite effectively to support pre-determined views. In people who are more intelligent, the tendency is all the more pronounced. Smart people can talk themselves into a lot of things that aren’t true and sound very thoughtful and rational while they do it. A less intelligent person will be more comfortable with blunt denial. A brighter person will erect complex intellectual systems of justification without awareness that their opinion was already formed. It isn’t that those systems and reasons are necessarily wrong; quite often they’re right. The point is that the intellectual wouldn’t have gotten there if a strong tribal identification was standing in the way. Quite often, smart people who can earn an A+ in a Logic 101, go into false territory and cannot be talked out of it because of an existing group identification and the perception that the enemy holds an opposing position.

    I think wingnuts are especially crazy at this time because of the power of their group identity and the perception of a serious threat to the group. The evolved adaptive response to this situation is to become nuts in support of the tribe and nuts in contempt for the opposition.

    I also think that the history of the American South in relation to race and to Washington, the capital of the n-loving conqueror, is at the core of the wingnut identity. Republicans have ruthlessly and successfully exploited a fusion between downtrodden (read threatened) Southern, white group identity and an assortment of geographical, educational and religious markers, as well as a variety of cultural tics and habits that extend the identity well beyond the American South. In each of these areas, the idea has been promoted that white people, especially non-urban white men, are members of a unified tribe that is in a fight for its life, under attack from outside enemies. A person who identifies with that group and takes on that sense of life or death threat will not join the discussion as a reasoning, evidence-processing participant. They’re at war with the mental equivalent of Hitler or Stalin or pick your historical enemy who was beyond a reasoning and good-faith discussion.

    Why do some of us decouple from our early group identities and change our beliefs? I think there are many circumstantial and internal reasons that it can happen. I used to think I reasoned my way out of my early tribal alliances, but I’m now convinced that reason was only introduced to the extent that my tribal bonds were fraying for other reasons.

    Religion, rather than poisoning everything, is IMO usually a group identity not unlike any other group identity. It’s impact become poisonous when that identity feels threatened, but that’s not because religious people aren’t taught to reason. It’s because of group identification and evolved responses to group threat.

  6. says

    Dr. X-

    That is one of the best comments ever left on my blog, though there are a couple things in it I disagree with. I’m going to move it up to a post of its own with a response.

  7. garnetstar says

    It’s commanded by Allah, in the Koran, that Muslims must have special rights when screened by the TSA.

    Check it out.

  8. Michael Heath says

    Dr. X,

    As always, thanks for the post, yours are always worthy of consideration and this one deserves deep reflection.

    Dr. X wrote:

    Why do some of us decouple from our early group identities and change our beliefs? I think there are many circumstantial and internal reasons that it can happen. I used to think I reasoned my way out of my early tribal alliances, but I’m now convinced that reason was only introduced to the extent that my tribal bonds were fraying for other reasons.

    I am constantly evaluating whether my abandonment of the tribe of conservative Christians at age 18, where I never really fit in anyway, was merely replaced with another tribe in my 40s where I was merely lost in the wilderness in the interim. I happen to feel very comfortable hanging with liberals who take a more technocratic approach and ignore or disdain populism.

    So I agree with your points we’re all susceptible to tribalism and rationalization of preconceived biases – in fact I find myself occasionally fighting to dismiss or avoid arguments inconvenient to my own positions though those rarely arise in this forum but do elsewhere. However I also increasingly conclude that putting critical thinking at the same echelon as math, science, history, and grammar, i.e., an overtly continually taught topic which has a place in the curriculum at all levels, would significantly decrease people’s avoidance of inconvenient facts and flawed attraction to tribalistic sentiments. Not merely because continual rote instruction will cause people to adapt better thinking habits, which I think they would, but perhaps even more important because I think it would change our current paradigm where it’s culturally acceptable to voice opinions based on fatally defective arguments and instead promote arguments which meet a better level of quality. We’d be better checked by others if we were to make a bad argument, even those who favor our politics.

    Dr. X writes:

    Religion, rather than poisoning everything, is IMO usually a group identity not unlike any other group identity. It’s impact become poisonous when that identity feels threatened, but that’s not because religious people aren’t taught to reason. It’s because of group identification and evolved responses to group threat.

    Well I disagree religious people are taught to reason, I don’t think hardly any of us are properly taught to reason. Worse yet, Christianity not only avoids reason, but continually promotes a rejection of reason where fealty of such rejection is demanded to remain in good stead as a formal member of evangelical and fundamentalist denominations and even to a smaller degree in some more liberal denominations like Catholicism and Episcopalianism. Albert Mohler makes the most commonly used arguments on why Christians must reject reason though like Francis Schaeffer in his time, I doubt most Christians are even aware of his influence over their thinking.

    “Faith” is a celebrated and promoted attribute. Redundant affirmations of faith when Christians meet; through song, ritual, propaganda, and the celebration of fatally flawed thinking approaches consume the religionists’ time. Very little time is spent in actual education and when it is, the bias is towards promoting the preconceived articles of faith based solely on holy dogma and buttressed by little more than ignorant claims of divine revelation. [I claim “ignorant” since I’ve never met a conservative Christian who understands the commonality of their experiences relative to other cultures and religions along with what science understands when it comes to explaining the source of those experiences.]

    I do agree with your points about these people’s fear and how it motivates them. But again, the predominance of authoritarians in this mix is not a trait which we’re necessarily born to develop, but instead develop by being exposed to in such environments where rejection of the current order risks being ostracized.

    So from that perspective how religion is practiced amongst the old and young does poison the well by creating the very people as you pointed out, “who will believe anything”. Expose them to continual formal education in critical thinking and a culture which celebrates such thinking rather than effectively avoiding it altogether on matters such as politics and religion and it will be a lot harder for the propagandists to both find sheep and get those sheep to succumb.

  9. harold says

    Dr X –

    I agree with Ed Brayton that your comment is one of the best I have seen on this or any blog.

    It’s easy for me to agree because, unlike Ed Brayton, I agree strongly with every word of your comment.

    In fact, I’ve expressed most of those ideas myself, perhaps less eloquently, although usually in other venues.

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