In his book Fantasyland, Kurt Andersen has made a very strong case for his theory that a significant portion of the present population has a perception of reality, a neuroreality, that is simply not true, that we are now in Fantasyland, as he states and quotes on page 416 and 417:
This book had been under way for a couple of years when the 2016 presidential campaign began. The fact that Fantasyland candidates were the consistent front-runners for the Republican nomination (Donald Trump and Ben
Carson at first, then Trump and Ted Cruz) was surprising and appalling but also, I have to admit, a little gratifying to me - empirical proof of my theory as it applies to politics. The day after the Republicans' second primary debate in 2015, at the Reagan Library, before the debates became completely cartoonish, a shocked New York times editorial called it a collection of assertions so untrue, so bizarre, that they form a vision as surreal as the Ronald Reagan jet looming behind the candidates' lecterns.
It felt at times as if the speakers were no longer living in a fact-based world where actions have consequences, programs take money and money has to come from somewhere. Where basic laws - like physics and the Constitution - constrain wishes. Where Congress and the public, allies and enemies, markets and militaries don't just do what you want them to, just because you say they will.
I read that and said out loud, "Welcome to Fantasyland." After his election, another Times editorial granted that Trump understood at least one thing better than almost everybody," that the "breakdown of a shared public reality built upon widely accepted facts represented not a hazard, but an opportunity."
Recall these quotes from page 414:
"For years, as a conservative radio talk show host," Charlie Sykes wrote in early 2017, "l played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to . . . destroy much of the right's immunity to false information." The conservative talk-radio host John Ziegler made a similar confession in 2016: "We’ve effectively brain-washed the core of our audience. And now it's gone too far. Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don't see how you reverse it."
I would like to add to Andersen’s Fantasyland theory that fantasy has become reality to a significant portion of the US population as he has applied it to the settlement of the New world over the last 500 years, to human evolution over the last 4 million years. Let’s review earlier statements.
Remember the 100 billion neurons in your brain create your global consciousness, your neuroreality. Let’s consider human evolution, brain function, cognitive bias, confirmation bias, argumentative theory and the tribal and warrior ethos as they may relate to neuroreality. As earlier mentioned, we evolved over the past 4 million years from Australopithecus, to Homo habilis, to Homo erectus, to Homo sapiens. Note that during these 4 million years there were other closely related human species, the most recent of which were the Neanderthals that went extinct only about 30,000 years ago, and floresiensis about 17,000 years ago.
In an extraordinarily complex world with and infinite number of stimuli and social circumstances that can surround an individual, perhaps it was beneficial to have a cognitive bias. Rather than analyze an infinite number of stimuli and social circumstances, the brain takes a short cut and has cognitive biases that allow the individual to make quick decisions and survive in his environment. A cognitive bias might also explain an inherent fear of the unknown.