Newsweek is currently running several articles on lying. Not surprisingly, one article decides to explore why people believe lies in our political arena. This being Newsweek, and the national debate being what it is, one author takes on the lies at the heart of the health care "debate" and uses the "Iraq ties to 9/11" research as a basis.
Of course, this doesn't tell us much we don't already know. (Or, if it does, it will be dismissed outright for reasons the article explains....)
Liberal bias aside, the "inferred justification" part is what I find most interesting. People believe whatever they want, and then search for things to back up those beliefs. They disregard information contrary or challenging to things they believe. This has far reaching effects for policy considerations and only increases divisions within the American population.
This is why we have so many rhetorical gymnastics involving politics.
Inferred justification will explain about 90% of the things said about New Orleans and Katrina this week. (Case and point is the comments section at SWGA Politics, still going.) New Orleans is under sea level. People chose not to leave when they all could have. People just sat around waiting for someone else to save them. The governor screwed up and the Feds were not to blame. The Feds screwed up and the governor was not to blame. The Mayor was in a boat saving people. The levees were bombed by the President's plane. Etc. Etc. Etc.
This is dangerous as it erodes our shared history. It allows us to live with unchallenged false notions. It erodes the intellectual curiosity of our society to become a more perfect union. It allows us to ignore things we disagree with and get too defensive about it to accept other ideas. Innovation is stifled. Bad decisions are excused. Justice is postponed. Excuses are made. Stagnation sets in.