Chauncey Devega in Salon:
As the new Faith in America survey by Deseret News & Marist College highlights, the basic understanding of the role of religion in a secular democracy has become so polarized that 70% of Republicans believe that religion should influence a person’s political values, where as only 28% of Democrats and 45% of independents share that view. Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, also do not consume the same sources of information about news and politics. Conservatives now inhabit their own self-created media echo chamber, which functions as a type of lie-filled and toxic closed episteme and sealed-off universe. The creation of such an alternate reality is an important attribute of fascism, in which truth itself must be destroyed and replaced with fantasies and fictions in support of the leader and his movement.
America’s struggle for democracy and freedom against authoritarianism is taking place on a biological level as well. Social psychologists and other researchers have shown that the brain structures of conservative-authoritarians are different than those of more liberal and progressive thinkers. The former are more fear-centered, emphasizing threats and dangers (negativity bias), intolerant of ambiguity and inclined to simple, binary solutions. Conservative-authoritarians are also strongly attracted to moral hierarchy and social dominance behavior.