Rob asks us to think about, "What are the biggest lies and
delusions that keep people voting against their own interests?" My broad answer is, American minds have
been programmed from birth with a worldview that induces them to act contrary
to their own interests. It is as
if they have been infected with a parasite that possesses their brains and
motivates the victims to do its bidding.
Let me elaborate.
We are encultured. We are born into a family within a nation, and we incorporate the national beliefs, values, goals and way of life into the structure of our own mind. We become a member of the culture, sharing its beliefs and values and willingly participating in the ways of life that are consistent with those beliefs and values. A child born to American parents and raised in the USA grows up and becomes "an American".
Enculturation programs our brain with a worldview. We learn how to think, feel and behave like "an American". The worldview functions as an operating system for our brain. Our genetics and prenatal environment (womb) builds the basic firmware of our information reception and processing systems; builds our "neural nature". The operating system configures the firmware to determine how we will process information inputs to interpret and perceive reality. Neuropsychology explores how our perception of reality is literally configured by the worldview we have installed as the operating system in our brain.
Different worldviews produce different perceptions of "reality". The reality that we know is the reality that we perceive. Perception 'is' reality. Or at least it is the reality that is available for us to be aware of. Unless/until we consciously perceive some thing -- either as a sense perception or as an internally generated idea or image -- we have no knowledge that the thing exists. We apply our reasoning to the perceptions of reality that we know. We are simply not aware of all other realities that exist, but which we have never been introduced to via sense perception or logical inference or imagination.
Enculturation with a worldview determines the reality that you will perceive yourself to be living in. And unless you are one of the few who spend their lives exploring the inner space of their own and other people's brains/minds, you will believe your perception of reality is providing you with accurate information about reality as it is in itself. "Objective reality". You will believe you are perceiving, that you "know", objective reality.
As an unexamined and unreconstructed product of our nature and our nurture, our beliefs and values are manufactured for us. We are "made". Human products of a genetic and cultural manufacturing process. "Americans" are made by their parents and the American culture they were raised into.
We can unmake and remake/reconstruct our self. We can "change our mind". We can search, discover, examine, and modify or uninstall the beliefs and values that have been programmed into us. We can install alternate beliefs and values of our own choosing, and become a self-made person. But most people simply accept their encultured version of their life in the world as "normal" and "reality".
People who are like us -- fellow Americans -- share and confirm our beliefs and values and approve of our behavior and way of life. The confirmation reinforces our belief in the truth of our beliefs, the goodness of our values, and the rightness of our way of life. If we become aware of people from other cultures we find them strange, weird. If they disagree with our own cultural beliefs, values and goals we say they are wrong, because we are "normal" and our normal is "reality". Or at least our normal is the best version of reality. People who disagree with us are ignorant and/or evil, because everybody who knows and accepts the empirical and moral truths of reality is one of "us", or they want to be just like us. We are the shining city on a hill.