We live in a country that loves a winner. There is no doubt about it; we can forgive someone of their public sins if they continue to remain in the spotlight. Mitchell Prell, in his new book Underdogma, asks “why then do we also love the underdog?”
There has been a shift in American culture— a psychological shift that states whichever side has less power is more powerful. At the bloggers’ briefing at the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Prell explained that people feel a need “to back the less powerful” individuals or parties, particularly in politics, under the illusion that they are doing the right thing.
The problem with this illusion is that generally people think the opposite. “At a horse race people will choose the strong horse over the weaker horse,” Prell claimed at Heritage on January 21, 2011. This contradiction in thought, termed Underdogma, is inconsistent with peoples overall thinking, but it has been focused on political action.
The people who apply Underdogma do not like anything that becomes too big, because they assume big means corrupt. “They liked America when it was small and still forming but not when it was big and powerful,” Prell explained. This ideology was shown clearly during 9/11 when “five high profile people called the terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings ‘courageous.’” They legitimized the terrorists, and in doing so denounced America.
The Underdogma concept is used on a more basic level as well. For instance, “Obama uses this [underdogma] daily,” Prell said. A top Obama advisor said, “We are going to speak truth to power,” revealing that the administration believes there is no truth or honesty in a power like the U.S.
This explains why Obama has “gone around the world apologizing for the power of the U.S.,” Prell continued. As Prell sees it, the president portrays an image of someone who “stands for the little guy and takes down the big guy.”