I am seeing quite a bit of denial on several fronts; one of course is the inability of many Trump supporters to come to grips with the fact that Biden won the Electoral College.
Yes, I saw some of that in 2016 as well, though not to the same degree, and NOT coming from political leaders. So, this isn’t a symmetric situation but I did see some of it.
And I am seeing some denial with respect to COVID and hearing some ridiculous things:
And, no, this isn’t just in the US.
Interestingly enough, this reminded me a bit of what I read in Paul Fussell’s book Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (Review of this book here)
In the book there was a chapter about “rumors in war.” Of course, false rumors are always there, but it was a type of rumor that I especially remembered.
There was one rumor circulating among some US troops that, after they had seen some combat, they had done “their share” and would be soon heading back to the United States to train new troops. When they found out that the rumor was false..they were extremely upset.
In those days, you stayed until you either were killed, wounded, went insane or the war was won (the “tour of a set duration” for ground troops came out in later wars; it is true that aviators had a set number of missions..though survival of a full tour was no sure deal).
Another one: after a rough amphibious assault against fierce German resistance, there were rumors that somehow Germans had advance intelligence of the landing; someone had tipped them off. The idea was “well, this is our enemy; they are tough, disciplined and they will kill a hell of a lot of us, even if we win” was just too brutal of a reality to face. There HAD to be something else.
And so, I think we see some of that here. I think that, while there is some genuine ignorance, there is also probably a lot of people who don’t want to face the reality of COVID 19..that, left unchecked, it will kill a lot of us, and the infection you get will probably not kill you (though it can severely mess you up more than you want to admit) but it will spread to many others..eventually killing someone.
To a lesser extent I think this is reality in politics; voters can’t come to grips that about half (perhaps more) of the country finds the “evil” candidate you opposed to be perfectly acceptable. That can’t be the case, so they must have cheated somehow.
With that, there is the idea that your social bubble is NOT the whole country; there are a hell of a lot of people out there who think very differently than you do.