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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Cognitive Dissonance of the Liberal Mind

“It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good." — Thomas Jefferson

I have used the term “cognitive dissonance” in previous posts, but just for a boring refresher let me once again offer a definition of this term.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent beliefs. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. A closely related term, cognitive disequilibrium, was coined by Jean Piaget to refer to the experience of a discrepancy between something new and something already known or believed.

Experience can clash with expectations, as, for example, with buyer's remorse following the purchase of an expensive item. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.

A classic example of this idea (and the origin of the expression "sour grapes") is expressed in the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop (ca. 620–564 BCE). In the story, a fox sees some high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When the fox is unable to think of a way to reach them, he surmises that the grapes are probably not worth eating, as they must not be ripe or that they are sour. This example follows a pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it. Another term for this pattern is "adaptive preference formation."

Let’s look at a more concrete, simplified and less academic example of CD. You have a color swatch in front of you and you claim it is blue. By spectrographic analysis the RGB values of the swatch scientifically prove it to be green. If you are suffering a case of CD yu will find it very uncomfortable to admit your claim that the swatch is not blue, but in fact green. Instead you will find ways to hold to your belief that the swatch is blue in order to avoid the embarrassment of having made the wrong choice. This psychological condition is most prevalent and dangerous in political thinking, i.e. if a person is reared in a liberal progressive environment the chances are he or she will remain with this thinking no matter how the facts show the liberal progressive policies have failed all through history. On the other hand conservatives rarely suffer CD as they are able to see facts as facts and adapt their thinking in spite of philosophy, or as John Adams said; “facts are stubborn things.”

Some 160 years ago Frederick Bastiat put it this way when it came to socialist thinking and social justice:

"Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve. But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply, see if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay. No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.”

Now we come to a prime example of what the liberal thought on the recent London riots is. Via Big Hollywood, we learn the actor Russell Brand is blaming not only David Cameron but even Margaret Thatcher for riots in London in a long, incomprehensible, and meandering essay in the left-wing Guardian newspaper:

These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing.

If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together.

As you have by now surely noticed, I don't know enough about politics to ponder a solution and my hands are sticky with blood money from representing corporate interests through film, television and commercials, venerating, through my endorsements and celebrity, products and a lifestyle that contributes to the alienation of an increasingly dissatisfied underclass. But I know, as we all intuitively know, the solution is all around us and it isn't political, it is spiritual. Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Brand describes how he once was a London anti-capitalist protester himself at one point, which might explain this article landing in the anti-capitalist Guardian:

I should here admit that I have been arrested for criminal damage for my part in anti-capitalist protest earlier in this decade. I often attended protests and then, in my early 20s, and on drugs, IYoung-people-in-Birmingha-007 enjoyed it when the protests lost direction and became chaotic, hostile even. I was intrigued by the anarchist "Black bloc", hooded and masked, as, in retrospect, was their agenda, but was more viscerally affected by the football "casuals" who'd turn up because the veneer of the protest's idealistic objective gave them the perfect opportunity to wreck stuff and have a row with the Old Bill.

That was never my cup of tea though. For one thing, policemen are generally pretty good fighters and second, it registered that the accent they shouted at me with was closer to my own than that of some of those singing about the red flag making the wall of plastic shields between us seem thinner.

I found those protests exciting, yes, because I was young and a bit of a twerp but also, I suppose, because there was a void in me. A lack of direction, a sense that I was not invested in the dominant culture, that government existed not to look after the interests of the people it was elected to represent but the big businesses that they were in bed with.

I felt that, and I had a mum who loved me, a dad who told me that nothing was beyond my reach, an education, a grant from Essex council (to train as an actor of all things!!!) and several charities that gave me money for maintenance. I shudder to think how disenfranchised I would have felt if I had been deprived of that long list of privileges.

That state of deprivation though is, of course, the condition that many of those rioting endure as their unbending reality. No education, a weakened family unit, no money and no way of getting any. JD Sports is probably easier to desecrate if you can't afford what's in there and the few poorly paid jobs there are taken. Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.

I remember Cameron saying "hug a hoodie" but I haven't seen him doing it. Why would he? Hoodies don't vote, they've realised it's pointless, that whoever gets elected will just be a different shade of the "we don't give a toss about you" party.

Politicians don't represent the interests of people who don't vote. They barely care about the people who do vote. They look after the corporations who get them elected. Cameron only spoke out against News International when it became evident to us, US, the people, not to him (like Rose West, "He must've known") that the newspapers Murdoch controlled were happy to desecrate the dead in the pursuit of another exploitative, distracting story.”

This is just another example of some pinhead liberal spouting off his closely held CD beliefs regarding capitalism and social justice while living in a posh Hollywood Hills home and driving his BMW or Mercedes Benz to The studio each day. I guess the new spelling for the word hypocrite is: H O L L Y W O O D A C T O R.

They spout off their left-wing progressive anti-capitalist crap while living life of luxury and plenty due to the very capitalist system they decry. They believe society (that means you and me) have to take responsibility for the people who will not take responsibility for themselves and donate to the plunder they receive from the state. They have closely held beliefs that society must take care of these people whose families will not while over and over again the facts speak to the contrary.

In fact it was his disparaged Margaret Thatcher who said:

“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand 'I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it’ and so they are casting their problems upon society, and who is society? There are individual men and women and there are families, and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then after our neighbour and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations.” There is no such thing as society”.

As Charles Moore states in his article in the London Telegraph:

“So Thatcher-haters are wrong about what she was trying to do. I wonder why. I suspect that, even among the honest Left, of whom Andy McSmith is one, the idea of Mrs. Thatcher as the great anti-social force provides an alibi for the crimes of over-government. It allows them not to consider the harm done by welfare dependency, council housing, politicized trade unions and producer-dominated public services. After all, they called their creed “socialism’’. An alternative account of society was a much greater threat to them than a crude rejection of its existence.

Any proper critique of Mrs. Thatcher’s time in office should take her beliefs about society as she actually expressed them, and then see how much she succeeded. It is surely a more just criticism of her government that social security remained so high, healthcare so bureaucratic and schools so resistant to parental choice. Unlike in business and industry, where she really did “roll back the frontiers of the state”, the frontiers of the welfare state for the most part remained.”

I am sick and tired of these pinheaded wealthy progressive liberals and left-wing writers constantly telling me that it is the government’s role to provide for those who will not provide for themselves. There are two reasons people will not or cannot provide for themselves. The first is circumstances. Through no fault of their own a person may fall to circumstances such as a disability or a disabling disease. These people are in the minority and a society based in Christian and Judeo principles will look after them.

The second cause is behavioral. When generations grow up having babies out of wedlock, disrespect education, drop out of school, take drugs, buy their groceries with food stamps and use their welfare and aid to dependent children payments for liquor, cigarettes and drugs it’s a behavior problem. It is not government’s responsibility to look after them by taking money from the makers and giving it to the takers. This is wealth redistribution, a product of class warfare and so called social justice. Something Bastiat called “legal plunder”

For generations these people have depended on government entitlements for their existence. They blame the rich for their plight in life and believe they have a right to take what they want from those better off.

Just recently Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack claimed food stamps create jobs. Vilsack backed a White House claim that food stamps, which the Department of Agriculture administers, actually constitute a stimulus program, describing it as “the most direct stimulus you can get into the economy during these tough times.”

Vilsack was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” responding to questions about a recent Agriculture Department report that showed 1 in 7 Americans is on the program, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Obviously it’s putting people to work,” Vilsack said. “Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy. If people are able to buy a little bit more in the grocery store and then someone’s got to stock it, shelve it, package it, process it, ship it, all of those are jobs.”

The reason the number of recipients has increased is that the federal government has been working more closely with local governments to get more Americans on food stamps, Vilsack said.

How absolutely incredibly stupid can a government bureaucrat be. What Vilsack (former governor of Iowa and whose wife Christie is running for Congress against Rep Steve King) is really saying is that if the government takes one dollar out of your pocket it can generate $0.84 for the economy. Isn’t that just great! How about the lost opportunity cost accruing to you when the government picks you pocket of the one dollar. Perhaps you could use the dollar in some more productive way, or not use it at all but put it in your savings account. This is a perfect example of plunder.

And to what ends are the food stamps used? How much fraud and abuse is connected with the SNAP program. Right now there are almost 45 million people collecting food stamps or using EBT cards — that’s 1 in 7. Almost every grocery store check-out clerk will provide you with tales of how food stamps and cards are abused. As I stated earlier the recipients of food stamps will buy their meat, beans and bread with the stamps and then pull out the cash for the prohibited items such as booze, smokes and junk food.

In a recent blog on there was a write up by a recipient of an EBT card. The woman claimed:

“As a recipient of the federal food stamp program, I now eat far better than I ever did when I was working and scrimping by on $100/month budget for my children and me. Besides the substantial $525/month I receive as a family of three, I was shocked and appalled to learn what the tax payers are providing for my unworking ass.

Your taxpayer dollars will pay for energy drinks such as Red Bull. I also can purchase ANY candy or gum product. Gum is a food product, right Michelle? I also may purchase any mixers (strawberry daiquiri/margarita drinks) without alcohol in them. People always drink margarita mix as a substantial nutritional beverage, right?

One of my favorite things about this is that I may go to the deli or bakery section and get fresh donuts, customized party cakes, party subs, fresh salad bar, deli salads, etc. – all things I could not afford when I worked for a living. I also can purchase soda (which has a deposit in my state) and then return my empty cans to make some actual cash. Thanks guys! Keep paying your taxes!

I used to cut coupons and watch sale ads. Now I don’t even look at the prices on products. As for these hilarious media interviews, in which food stamp recipients claim to run out of money by the end of the month- I’ll tell ya what- it’s because they are either getting Delmonico steaks everyday or selling their food benefits for cash to buy drugs, etc- which is prevalent in the inner cities. That’s why their kids are hungry.

I don’t even have to go to the store either, as the Schwan’s man will deliver right to my door. Yes, thank you for my $19.99 gourmet fish I had this afternoon. The local butcher also takes them so I may eat farm raised choice meat products. I have lived on both sides of the food spectrum, and frankly it makes me sick to know that I was struggling while providing candy for others. If Michelle wants to regulate any food program, maybe she should look at her voters and regulate what is being paid for by the good taxpayers of America.

Oh, and guess what? Many of my friends and family will be receiving gourmet boxes of chocolate for Christmas this year.

Keep paying your taxes, guys!”

It this isn’t plunder I don’t know what is.

Star Parker, an African American woman who was once a welfare and food stamp liberal now turned conservative business owner, has stated over and over again the failure of the welfare, social justice state. She has compared it to slavery where the government becomes the master and the recipient the slave. They are slaves to the politicians, race baiters, and class warfare advocates who need the slaves to remain in power. They will plunder he makers so they can hand out goodies to the takers while claiming they are promoting social justice. And Obama is the head master of the plantation.

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