Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Cognitive Dissonance

I read Steven Den Beste's USS Clueless pretty religiously. He is, as James Lileks put it, the Spock of the Blogosphere, with a keen, logical mind. Quite often I will read something he has produced that resonates with me well apart from the topic on which it was written. That was true of today's essay, Fan Mail from Flounderers. Today's column was about the anti-Bushwar protester's inability to make a case against the invasion of Iraq and their bewilderment at their failure to have any effect on either the American public at large, or the government in particular. It's an excellent piece (as usual.) But in it I found a most concise explanation for the behavior of not only the leftist anti-Bushwar movement, but also the gun-bancontrol movement:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)
Thank you, Steven, for putting it so succinctly.

Insanity has been described as "repeating the same behavior while expecting a different result." Or, as I've described it, "That didn't work, so we must try it again only harder!" This is otherwise known as cognitive dissonance, but Steven describes it perfectly in a paragraph.

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