In his autobiographical Experience Martin Amis recounts a kind of occurrence that I wish we had an agreed upon name for (henceforth "Amis infraction"), an experience where someone does something to you based on false beliefs, but where their reaction would still be ethically unwarranted even if the relevant beliefs were true. In Amis' example he was walking underneath some construction scaffolding around a building and considerably slowed down because a bag-laden older woman was shuffling in front of him. All of the sudden he felt himself being picked up and placed in the road by a hurried musclebound guy behind him. The smirking cretin's girlfriend laughed at him and said something like, "You don't want to be getting in the way of my man." Amis just stared dumbfounded as the cars swerved around him and the blockhead and girlfriend walked away. The old woman had entered the building and the two jerks had no idea that he had been walking slowly because of her.
I think that, like Amis, most of us carry these kinds of experiences around with us. For example, once when I was riding my bicycle across a street a pickup driver came very close to squashing me, theatrically speeding up to me after we'd made eye contact and then slamming on his breaks. It was pretty terrifying and caused a lot of adrenaline. And of course the guy driving the white Ford F150 (picture a late middle aged non-rednecky but sort of typically aliterate, in the way of Baton Rouge drivers of white Ford F150s) said, "Hey! You people got to follow the laws too!" It was an Amis infraction because I'd actually had the right of way. I was on the sidewalk on the left side of the street and my light showed a protected left turn. He was coming towards me on the right side of the street, which meant he had a red light. One for which he didn't stop.
The weird thing about Amis infractions is that we carry them around with us in part because we can rehears in our head a quick argument about how wrong the infractor is, an argument that we weren't able to give because the fight or flight adrenaline is pumping too hard. But this explanation doesn't quite add up. As with being bodily placed into a busy street because you are walking slowly, nothing justifies trying to teach a cyclist a lesson by nearly killing him with your truck. Even if the Baton Rouge F150 guy had had the right of way it wouldn't have justified teaching me a lesson and then nearly killing me with his truck. So, on reflection, I think that Amis infractions probably continue to haunt us in part precisely because we know that it would have been pointless to point out the mistaken beliefs that the infractor used to justify the infraction. Amis infractions are more traumatic because in this way they amplify our own powerlessness.
Part of the reason the recent presidential election has been so bad for reasonable people's mental health is because everyone who voted for Trump committed an Amis infraction. First the infraction was a a serious infraction because it is so potentially damaging to so many people (immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBT people, the poor, the unemployed and sick, etc. etc. etc.). Second, even if the false beliefs that Republicans used to justify voting for Trump were true, it would not have been the case that they were justified in voting for him. For example millions of people could only bring themselves to vote for Trump by believing pretty obvious falsehoods about Clinton. Even if all of those things were true, that would have justified not voting, rather than voting for Trump. So clearly the internal justification for voting for Trump wasn't really whatever set of beliefs were aligned on to justify it. And this generalizes to to other reasons, such as pro-lifers and cut-rich-people's-taxes. Even if those beliefs were true, it wouldn't justify voting for Trump. Third, due to the second criteria being fulfilled, the victims of the Trump voters are far more powerless than normal electoral losers. There's absolutely nothing one can say to the Trump infractor. Even if you could convince them that Hilary's financial greasiness is very small potatoes compared to Trump's, or that John Podesta is not a cannibal, it wouldn't make any difference. They'd still vote for him.
In one of Paul Feyerabend's books he rather terrifyingly intones, almost apropos nothing, "And of course, when conversation breaks down, then we must resort to violence." I pray that Feyerabend is wrong in making a dichotomy between conversation and violence. If he's not, and if I'm right about the ubiquity of Amis infractions in our body politic, then we are in for terrible times. I suspect that the excluded possibility here is just getting lucky as a society, which is I guess another thing to pray for.