Post # 850    THE “MOLLUSK” EFFECT

To declare that the American Nation at present is highly divisive, is to, uselessly, state the obvious. Among the many divisive and contentious issues, are, abortion rights, Trump’s election “Big Lie,” immigration, gun rights, gay marriage, various Church/ State matters and educational curricula relating to the “dark” periods in the Nation’s history, viz., slavery and the wrongful displacement of indigenous Americans. Nevertheless, we have noted a unique phenomenon, concerning the associative configuration of all such contested views, which we have termed, “The Mollusk Effect,” due to our recent perception of its bizarre, bifurcated nature.

The bi-valve mollusk, characterized by two distinctly, separate but identical shells, (valves), attached at a small, bottom hinge can be visualized, as a contextual metaphor, for the empirically, conglomerate nature of apparently, two diverse groups of the American public; the members of each such opposing group, respectively, of common mind, on the various disputed issues.  Said structurally conglomerated, duality of National divisiveness, is such that, notwithstanding the plethora of contested issues, one can, discern another’s individual stance, on any issue, merely, by the awareness of his particular shell.   

For clarification, we would refer to a contrasting, but equally perverse, instance of a voting pattern, castigated by us, in an early essay. The latter, demonstrably, is the obverse of the subject, “mollusk” syndrome, a practice, which we termed, “one issue- voting.” We observed that there are a considerable number of people, who, as informed, would vote for a particular candidate, solely, and myopically, based on his position on their personally, premier, issue, viz., guns, abortion, Israel, capital punishment, or the like. Such mode of voting ignores the professed positions of the candidate on other issues, thus, skewing the resultant vote on those (other) issues, and presumably, distorting the voters’ demonstrated, will.  We, of course, recommended that voters cast their ballots, based upon their appraisal of the totality of the candidate’s platform, so that his acceptability may be properly and fully, considered.  

The “mollusk” syndrome apparently functions with a virtually, opposite (composite) dynamic but like the “one issue,” thoughtless practice, is equally capable of distorting the expressed will of the voters and, effectively, frustrating the foundational purpose of elections.

The “Mollusk Effect,” is exemplified  by voting that is in consistent manner with the others, mutually included, in one of the two ideological halves of the typical clamshell, each of which halves encompasses a separate, competing, conglomeration of identically, shared opinions, on the outstanding issues.

This faulty, and misleading, mode of selecting candidates, by contrast, is not characterized, by a mono-focused, myopic dedication to one selected issue, as criticized, above, but rather, on a thoughtless and neurotic, groupthink or “herd mentality,” acting in neurotic mutual replication, of the others, within their applicable group (“shell”). Moreover, the social expression of such common need for group acceptance is such, that  anyone’s point of view, on any issue, can be accurately, comprehended, merely by the awareness of any one of  his views ( or, those of his shell)  on another albeit, unrelated, issues.

The current state of the Nation’s divisiveness, thus, has morphed into a bifurcated, (i.e., clam- like) state, viz., two competing sections, mutually, evincing fixed political and social opinion, associated, in one or the other half shell. Thus, by illustration, if an individual is against abortion rights, it can be safely, assumed that he opposes liberal policies of immigration. If one opposes reasonable gun regulation, it is, empirically, reasonable to assume that he opposes the teaching of the “dark periods of American history (e.g., slavery, and the displacement of the indigenous Americans). An ardent opponent of censorship and book burning, can confidently, be expected, to favor legalizing abortion.  An individual, who thinks that Trump’s “big lie,” is tactically, contrived would predictably, favor governmental safety regulations and equitable tax reform.  

The identification of the associative dynamics of our proposed, “Mollusk Effect,” does little, if anything, to enhance needed reason or advance morality. Nevertheless, the pragmatic awareness of which half   of the clamshell, with which one may be confronted can save valuable time and possibly, some angst.  


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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