Why Fight Against Your Interests?
Why would anyone fight against their own interests?
Some folks have filed suit because it is soooo horrible that they are being offered a tax subsidy that would make health insurance affordable for them. (Supreme Court decision due this month).
But wait, There’s more:
- I saw a Tea Partier get on a bus to push legislation that would help the billionaire Koch brothers, but hurt his middle-class family. He forlornly said that it had to be done.
- Others vote for Congress members who want to increase middle-class taxes but cut taxes on the richest Americans.
- Here are food stamp recipients who are against food stamps:
I could go on.
Why do so many people fight against their own interests?
That’s what I wondered as I grew up watching women in my church fight against equal rights for women, priesthood for women, and even battered women’s shelters.
I had never understood it until I found myself in graduate school learning how much control the powerful have over ideas.
Seeing the world through the eyes of the powerful
Men, whites, straight people and the rich aren’t bad people. In fact, I fit into a few of those categories and I don’t think I’m a bad person. But their ideas are a lot more likely to get out into the world via media and the political and religious pulpits.
And when you hear an idea over and over again — and without an equally powerful critique — it can become embedded in your brain, both consciously and subconsciously. Their thoughts can become yours.
Knowing this, powerful players pay smart people to sell ideas in ways that will align you with their interests instead of your own:
Lazy people want to take your hard-earned tax money. We need tax cuts! (For the rich, anyway. Quietly raise them for everyone else.)
And don’t listen to alternative perspectives!
And then we’re told: Don’t listen to anyone else’s ideas:
- Don’t listen to outside media! (aka “liberal media”)
- Don’t listen to anyone outside of our church!
- Don’t listen to people who don’t think like you and me!
A lot of us follow that advice, keeping the wizard hidden safely behind the curtain.
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Posted on June 12, 2015, in feminism, politics/class inequality, psychology, sexism, women and tagged Affordable Care Act, class inequality, false consciousness, feminism, Obamacare, psychology, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.