Logic joins fact in the dumpster: At highly tribalized times, warring tribes will develop dueling collections of facts.
When Hugh Hewitt appeared with Don Lemon last night, he showcased a second part of this tribal breakdown. At highly tribalized times, traditional standards of logic may get discarded too.
Lemon asked the conservative talker about Trump's current apparent howler--his claim that he saw "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the twin towers back in September 2001.
Did Trump actually see such a thing? Fairly early in the discussion, Hewitt seemed to say that he thinks Trump's claim is wrong. "I think, obviously, he is recollecting the West Bank or the Gaza demonstrations," Hewitt said, referring to videotaped celebrations which happened halfway around the world from Jersey City.
"He's putting together a little bit here," Hewitt said as he continued. "...But a Trump supporter doesn't care."
Should a Trump supporter care? As he continued, Lemon said that Trump should at least acknowledge his error. When he did, Hewitt showed us how our most basic concepts can collapse at highly tribalized times:
LEMON (continuing directly): But if he doesn't want to apologize to people he believes are his opponents or to Democrats, shouldn't he apologize, or at least clarify, to the people who support him and say, "You know what, maybe I conflated a bunch of different events and I apologize if I did that," to his own good?Lemon suggested that Trump should apologize for his misstatement, or that he should at least "clarify" the facts.
HEWITT: Don, why would he apologize if he remembers it? I'm trying—
What I've been saying from the beginning is, I don't believe that happened, you don't believe that happened. But I often am wrong about my memory. I'm sure you're often wrong about your memory. You don't go around apologizing. Instead you say, "Why is the mainstream media obsessed about that?"
In response, Hewitt trod a narrow path. He flatly said he doesn't believe that the events in question happened. But why should Trump apologize, Hewitt asked, if he actually did remember events in the way he described?
Duh! People routinely apologize, or at least correct themselves, when they make an honest error based on faulty recollection. As the conversation continued, Lemon made that obvious point.
But these are highly tribalized times. For that reason, Hewitt continued to forge a new piece of moral logic:
LEMON (continuing directly): No, no, no. That's not true. That's not true, because—Lemon was making the world's most obvious point. If you make a mistake, even if you make a mistake in total good faith, you should correct the record. You should also perhaps apologize to whatever person your honest mistake may have wronged.
I owe Katrina Pierson an apology because we talked about the cell phone video last time. The next time she comes in this show I'm going to apologize to her because I was wrong about it, she was right.
That's what people do when they're wrong. So, I think that—
HEWITT: If you come to that conclusion, you should. But thus far, Donald Trump has not come to that conclusion, unless you think he is lying about his memory. And that's where, again, I recommended it this morning on New Day, Elizabeth Loftus' TED Talk on memory.
Watch it, Don. It explains the whole thing.
Until last week, that was an obvious bit of moral logic within American culture. But these are highly tribalized times. At such times, all kinds of basic facts may go, along with our most basic moral logic.
It's easy for us liberals to see the oddness of Hewitt's assessment. But as the tribalization grows, our own tribe is routinely behaving in similar ways.
We'll offer more examples tomorrow. As liberals, our reptile brains will bark and howl and insist these examples are wrong.