A politician makes a promise.
“Drain the swamp!”
Promises trigger hope. We hear those promises. They sound so good. We hope it’s true.
Hopes grow stronger when reinforced with repeated promises. It’s like a little child, growing because they’ve been fed. Their little tummies full, they grow up. They mega-evolve into beliefs.
There’s a very fine line between “I hope it’s true” and “I want to believe it’s true”. The line is so small, that we cross it without really noticing.
“I want to believe it’s true” very easily becomes “I believe it’s true” in the face of adversity. All it takes is exposure to skepticism. “I don’t think that’s true.”
When we want to believe it’s true, but don’t really KNOW it’s true, our poor little belief is not strong enough to stand on its own. We love our little hope/belief like we love our children. And some mean, older bully has just pushed him down! We must defend our little helpless darling!
A belief defended grows stronger. It’s like a character in an RPG whose armor skill increases as it takes damage. With every battle, experience grows, arguments are refined, sources that confirm our belief are found, terms are twisted to our purposes, definitions rewritten, anything and everything is weaponized in defense of our furious warrior who takes no prisoners!
No disproving evidence can penetrate our armor. Yes, it is a part of me now. I will defend myself at all costs.
A belief defended becomes a certainty. Confirmation bias, its shield. Social media, its field of battle. Echo chamber, its sanctuary.
Politicians’ promises -> hope -> desire to believe -> belief -> belief defended -> certainty -> irrational insistence.
Some red pills are blue on the inside.