On Trump, Covid-19, Cognitive Bias, and Evangelicals

[Sorry about all the ads. I think I got rid of them. Wait for it.]
As we know by now Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath. Not only can we tell by watching and listening to him speak about his rating "numbers, and his lack of empathy for the victims of Covid-19, two people who should know have come out in public saying so. His niece Mary Trump, as we should all know by now. But also Trump's ghostwriter for the book "The Art of the Deal." Tony Schwartz has written a devastating piece on Trump, warning us all about him, titled The Psychopath in Chief. He says,
Understanding what we’re truly up against — the reign of terror that Trump will almost surely wage the moment he believes he can completely prevail — makes the upcoming presidential election a true Armageddon. Vote as if your life depends on it, because it does.
The Atlantic Monthly has put out a few great articles on Trump, Evangelicals, and the Coronavirus. The most important one is a theme of mine about cognitive bias with regard to faith and religion:
One) The Role of Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic. The minute we make any decision—I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative:

Heaven’s Gate followers had a tragically misguided conviction, but it is an example, albeit extreme, of cognitive dissonance, the motivational mechanism that underlies the reluctance to admit mistakes or accept scientific findings—even when those findings can save our lives. This dynamic is playing out during the pandemic among the many people who refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. Human beings are deeply unwilling to change their minds. And when the facts clash with their preexisting convictions, some people would sooner jeopardize their health and everyone else’s than accept new information or admit to being wrong.
This helps explain the spin that Trump only acts like a narcissistic sociopath to get our goat!! This is batshit crazy. No objective evidence is needed. Say whatever it takes to keep belief alive. This is exhibit A that faith makes people stupid. It doesn't matter if the faith is in defending a god's incompetence or the POTUS by Trumpsters.

It also explains why people will die than wear masks, or in the case of religious belief, martyrdom:

It also helps to explain what retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Lance Dodes said:
Normal people have a tendency to project onto Trump their own humanity — their normal sense of empathy, care, concern for others, their sadness and loneliness. This is a mistake because Donald Trump has never shown the capacity for those feelings. There is nothing in his history or behavior to suggest he has any feelings beyond those of the predator: sadistic triumph if he can defeat or destroy others, and rage and violence if he feels attacked or is at risk of losing. LINK.
Two) The Cost of the Evangelical Betrayal White, conservative Christians who set aside the tenets of their faith to support Donald Trump are now left with little to show for it. In it we read of one Pastor of a large church on the Pacific Coast, who said, "There are many reasons why young people are turning away from the Church, but my observation is, Trump has vastly accelerated that trend. He’s put it into hyperdrive."

Three) A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming. There was always a logical explanation for why cases rose through the end of June while deaths did not. Dr. Michael Osterholm said that if the US doesn't extinguish "most of the virus activity by doing a hard lockdown and then letting our foot off the brake ever so slowly ... what we're seeing right now will seem as if it's just another day at the park."


The rejection of science due to faith is another theme of mine: Donald Trump Is At War With COVID-19 Science. The ongoing pandemic shows just how dangerous, and deadly, his continued rejection of science and expertise can be.

His rejection of science explains something important about Trump: Damning CNN supercut shows how Trump has been ‘wrong about every aspect of the pandemic’

My brief analysis done on the fly.

Flu deaths per case 1% 
Covid deaths per case 3.4% 

Flu vaccine, yes!
Covid vaccine, no!

Flu deaths last season 24k-62k
Covid deaths so far, 140k

Flu deaths without social distancing, masks and shut downs, 24k-62k
Covid deaths without social distancing, masks and shut downs, ????

Trump: It's fake news, a hoax. It will go away on its own. It's a lie to put me out of office, since the impeachment failed to do so.


The virus is real and kills exponentially if we let it run amuck. It would take a massive amount of co-conspirators to maintain such a lie, including all democratic politicians, pundits, and news reporters who are complicit by misrepresenting the numbers from hospitals, doctors, nurses and funeral homes.

The main differences, as it relates to America's shut down, is that there is a vaccine for the common flu whereas there isn't yet one for Covid-19. The other difference is that if we hadn't had "shelter in place" orders, quarantines, masks, and social distancing, this pandemic would've swept the world with deaths by overwhelming hospitals which could not take care of that many people.

If something positive is to emerge from this ghoulish nightmare of deliberately enabling mass deaths, it ought to be a final nail in the coffin of American conservatism. A public health crisis cannot be fought with rugged individualism. While many Americans now say they regret voting for Trump in 2016, the more important mass regret ought to be over decades of conservative policies that stood in the way of tackling real crises and decimating existing public services. The death of Trump’s career needs to coincide with the death of Trumpism as a whole.