cartoon credit here
So many of my friends and relatives seem to live rational lives, yet when it comes to politics, their emotions take over. That makes it next to impossible to apply critical thinking to a discussion of issues of concern. But it’s not a new phenomenon.
Paul Murphy just published a column at the American Thinker website, provocatively titled “Democrats in the Cesspits of Despair.” He goes into the theory of cognitive dissonance and applies it to what we’ve seen with Bush or Palin Derangement Syndrome, and now, Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Murphy’s analysis won’t make hard left liberals (and that’s most of the media) more honest or less destructive, but at least it explains the behaviour. (Another article on the related topic of “The Obama Cult” is here).
Anyway, here are a few take-aways from Murphy’s column (and the entire article is here):
When Leon Festinger and his associates undertook the work leading to their widely misunderstood and maligned theory of cognitive dissonance, their ultimate goal was to understand how forty million decent Germans and tens of millions in the rest of Europe could so enthusiastically support Nazi methods -- and it's their research on how cult members react to the unequivocal disproof of some central belief that's important today -- because the increasing calls among Democrats for violence shows that same process at work here as in Germany of the 1930s.
In brief, what happens when events disprove a cult's major belief is that some adherents drop out; a majority first reshape their vision of reality to accommodate both their belief and an edited version of reality and then either gradually fade out of the cult or double down on their efforts to find confirmatory opinion by compromising others; and, a few set out to force others to act as if the belief stands unchallenged.
. . .
The key elements that have to be in place for the true believers to slide toward dishonesty and violence are personal commitment to the belief, undeniable disproof, and enough rationality for the person to know that the belief has been disproven.
That two of these are in place with the Trump victory deniers is obvious: most of the journalists and others now attacking Trump in particular and Republicans in general have overwhelming and long term commitments to the progressive cause. This despite the fact that every major attempt to act on those beliefs, whether by Uncle Joe, Chairman Mao, the Kim Dynasty in North Korea, or that great hero and champion of the poor, Hugo Chavez, has turned into a murderous regime corrupting everyone and everything it touched.
. . .
Thus the behavioral explanation for the fact that conservatives will generally accept electoral defeat gracefully whereas Democrats eagerly embrace hypocrisy, corruption, dishonesty and even violence to continue the fight by any means necessary is simply this: reality supports conservative belief, but pushes leftists down the slippery slope to the insanity of Trump derangement syndrome. Reality forces them to continually choose between recognizing the emptiness and historical absurdity of their core beliefs or holding themselves hostage to those beliefs by escalating their commitment, no matter what foul means may be required to make reality conform to their fantasy.
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