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Moral Mask, Rationalizing or Mental Illness?

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Before, during and after the election Trump and his allies tried to undermine democracy with lies. As this is being written, the worst outcome of these lies was when Trump followers attacked the capitol after Trump incited them. While the right tried to blame the attack on Antifa, the FBI quickly refuted this lie. Once it became clear that the attempted overthrow of the election had failed and the arrests began, members of Trump’s mob began pleading for pardons. While Trump did dispense many pardons, he had none for his capitol warriors—he abandoned them like they were an aging wife. Despite the lack of evidence for widespread fraud, despite the failure of the coup, and despite Joe being sworn in as president, the idea that the election was stolen persists and will, no doubt, be used to incite more domestic terrorism in the future. I am continuing my somewhat informal efforts in epistemic epidemiology and this persistent claim warrants ongoing analysis. In some cases, those who claim widespread fraud are engaging in the rhetorical technique of moral masking. This occurs when a person claims motives that are morally superior to their true motives. They are, metaphorically speaking, donning a mask of goodness to conceal less laudable or even wicked motives. This method does have value as a persuasive tool: pretending to have laudable motivations can influence others to agree with one’s views or, at the very least, encourage them to be more tolerant of one’s actions. Trump and his fellows said that they were refusing to accept the results of a legitimate election because they want Trump to remain in power to continue to get what they want, would probably have less persuasive power than their lies. This method often includes lying about the morality of one’s actions and being deceitful in related claims and arguments. Trump and his allies presented themselves as acting correctly in their efforts to undermine democracy, lied about fraud, and advanced what were at best. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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