Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Self-Protection and Defensiveness in Politics

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jul 4, 2014 6:06 PM

It's a natural tendency to protect ourselves one way or another. Psychologically, we often do so by defensiveness and denial. Politics is group psychology, of course, because groups of people form opinions, agree or disagree with each other, make laws and create governments.

So, for example, we protect ourselves by fearing mass immigration, especially when it's illegal. Even when compassion may dictate an exception, we're afraid to create a precedent. We have good reasons practically-speaking but, even more, we base our rejection of these aliens on emotion. They are the unknown and, therefore, a threat. Rather than want to let them earn their way here with work and provide education, as with legal immigrants, we fear that they'll threaten our way of life and cost us a lot. They might before they assimilate and contribute like other immigrants have.

Sometimes, we don't believe the facts of science due to the same sort of fear. Pollution kills people. Unfortunately, people discuss the pollution problem in terms of climate control, which is harder to see immediately by the average person and easier to dispute. So, there are plenty of deniers with arguments based on climate fluctuation over the ages. Whatever....Pollution is still lousy and hurts us.

Threats, in general, are hard to face, whether it's the possibility of terrorism, gun violence or abuse of some sort in our families. Keeping an open mind, facing reality and knowing that truth  is better than ignorance is hard work, but we must try....

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