Cognitive Dissonance

Am I the face of Cognitive Dissonance?

Someone named Floyd Hanson displayed my face on Facebook with the caption, “Cognitive Dissonance has a face.”

Floyd Hanson
Cognitive dissonance has a face

Image may contain: 2 people, eyeglasses

Floyd Hanson’s

This occurred under a thread by Sean Hemmings. Mr. Hemmings’ post displays some pictures of women bleeding from severe whippings purportedly administered in Saudi Arabia with the statement, “There was no Women’s March when Hillary Clinton took millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, where women are treated as less than human beings, stoned to death, sold as slaves, forced to obey dress codes, no education & more!” The implication seems to be that Hillary is to blame for these women’s wounds. I wrote a sarcastic comment which I won’t repeat here. You have the link. You can read the whole thing.

christopherThere’s a group of people on Facebook which I have dubbed “ultra-leftists.” I didn’t call them “extremists” because they are no more “extreme” than many other progressives. What distinguishes them is that they seem more upset with what they keep calling “liberals” than they  are with the upheaval in our (the United States) government with the election of Donald Trump. I have felt that they were acting like liberals were the real enemy and today I found confirmation. Christopher Alan Driscoll opened today’s post with the news that “I have many friends who, over the years, have pretended to be communists, but are actually liberals in all but name.” His tirade ends with the statement, “Liberalism is our greatest enemy. Fight it with all your might!” There it is. No shilly-shallying.
maureOther similar expressions include the one by Maure Claire Briggs, “It is a bizarre and revolting world we live in… when barring Muslims from the country garners far more outrage and activism than bombing, droning and murdering them does…” This started with a post by Ms. Briggs damning the women’s march on Washington. I covered this in my Soapbox blog in the post called The Sowing of Discord. In my post, I expressed dismay that people who should be allies are fighting each other bitterly and compared the discord to that fomented by the evil villain, Voldemort in Harry Potter.
crazyIn the past, I have discussed the epistemological problem with radically different “realities” in the world today. Are You Crazy went into  the whole subject of how we determine what is real and what is delusion. It’s a complex subject. Today, cognitive dissonance is greater than ever. We have groups of people embracing beliefs that are completely at odds with beliefs of other groups. I’m not talking about religion which we must admit is a wild card and always has been. These groups are not basing their beliefs on faith but on normal logical arguments which, we find can be twisted very effectively to trump2find widely different conclusions. Trump has been said to have “alternative facts.” He and his followers live in a very different universe than those who consider Trump a madman. Of course, we are all familiar with the phenomenon known as insanity. We all know about madmen who are psychotic and often locked up because they are a threat to themselves and others or who just plain can’t function in the “real” world. But what do we do when large groups embrace ideas that seem bizarre in the extreme? How do we separate truth from delusion. Is truth really subjective?
laingThe very idea of mental illness has been criticized by such intellectual giants as R.D. Laing, Thomas Szasz and others. When one deconstructs the concept of mental illness, one can be drawn into questioning the very concept of illness, itself. Of course, it’s a lot easier to believe in physical illness than mental illness. All of these things boil down to what should be. Even what a healthy body isn’t always agreed on and how we get one even more disputed.
hillaryThe internet is highly conducive to the dissemination of pet theories. I once debated with a guy who insisted Hillary Clinton is part of a ring of pedophiles. Unfortunately, it has become popular to argue by means of the ad hominem. I think the Right is the most guilty of this. They seem to thrive on tearing organizations and people down by misrepresenting them. I still remember what that Breitbart together with Fox “News” did to the fine organization, Acorn, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which was devoted to organizing the poorest and most oppressed Americans. Of course, they didn’t want to admit they were against helping the poor. So, with the okeefehelp of a slimeball named James O’Keefe, ginned up a scandal spreading the lie that Acorn was about helping underage prostitutes sell themselves. Breitbart was behind the “sting” operation but, once the fraud was exposed, claimed he had been tricked by O’Keefe. I am happy that Breitbart dropped dead. Unfortunately, his organization lives on. Steve Bannon, Trump’s pick for Security Council, was the Chairman of Breitbart “News.
1984aIn fairness, I’m sure people on the Right are accusing the Left of the same thing. To say the Left has had a lot to say about the new administration is a vast understatement. Of course, there has been a lot to talk about, most of it indisputable fact. How one interprets facts could be a point of disagreement. And Trump has been accused of lying about his own “alternative facts.” This phrase has been widely called Orwellian and sales of the book 1984 have skyrocketed. Another word for “alternative facts” could bannonbe the big lie. The acid test of the effectiveness of Trump’s bold-face fibbing will be in how many people accept them. Our society has been plagued by immense division among people about what is true. The mass media and the internet have not narrowed the parameters of what the public believes. It’s almost a free-for-all. Maybe that’s better than everyone believing the same thing. At least we are free to pick our poison (so far). But I wonder how long a society can function with so many alternate universes spinning around. It’s not just about what we believe. It’s political. If the masses unite, they may create a new reality we will all have to accept because it will be real. Not that Trump will sit back and let that happen if he can help it.
revolutionThe reality we will be facing might come out of the barrel of a gun.  If a revolution takes place, it will not be the naysayers who condemned the women’s march on Washington. The vanguard will not write people off because they are not radical enough. The vanguard educates everyone willing to take a stand and learn.
Confession: Although I know it’s a serious situation, I can’t help finding the whole thing rather exciting.

Links that Matter

  • Think the Women’s March Wasn’t Radical Enough? Do something about it. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor  “The women’s marches in Washington DC and around the country were stunning, inspiring and the first of a million steps that will be needed to build the resistance to Trump. It might not have been as black, brown or working class as many might have liked. But criticizing it from the sidelines doesn’t help anyone.”
  • Ideology May be Elliptical. You go so far in one direction, do you wind up on the other side? Could be. Elitist “leftists” are directing their ire to liberals instead of fascists.
  • We Are Living in Interesting Times. Trump has made the news exciting again.
  • The Sowing of Discord. Unity anyone?
  • What is Truth? Pontius Pilate washed his hands. Can we afford to wash ours?

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