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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What the %#@! is Happening in America?

I know that it's hard to accept. I know you don't want this to be real. But it is. And you must.

Every day the noose seems to tighten. Each day we see the eroded monuments of our natural freedom -- we witness the ruin all around us. And we stare into the abyss -- until we become the abyss.


Our beliefs are inexorably bound to our identities. Our moral code, our philosophical perspectives -- these are woven into the very fabric of who we are. We celebrate these virtues; we share them and solidify them within the social context. We forge our identities through the foundry of conversation and debate. We test the mettle of our beliefs, shape them, refine them... but seldom do we give them up.

Yet many times, we must.

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, a deeply held belief is difficult to diminish.


The term
Cognitive Dissonance is used in psychology to describe the inherent tension that exists when an individual tries to hold two contradictory beliefs in his or her mind at the same time.

--If a person believes that he or she is good and decent but steals money from a relative, he or she will likely experience a form of cognitive dissonance. Sociopaths are common exceptions. As are politicians.

Dissonance increases in intensity the more profound a given subject is to an individual. A scientist, for example, who discovers "anomalies" contradicting conclusions held through years of academic blood, sweat, and tears will not easily relent -- just witness the crumbling evidence regarding the entire man-made global warming scandal. Al Gore must have literally crapped a carbon credit when the little scheme know as climategate lit up the Internet (despite a mainstream news blackout).

For the scientists at the IPCC, it was quite natural to disregard the medieval warm period in perpetuating and promoting a previously held belief. Many other statistical "anomalies" were also easily disregarded. In truth, we should expect nothing less. People have objectives. People have bias. People have perspectives. People have agendas.


I love philosophy and theory. I always have. Especially as applied to politics.

-- I began as a democrat (long before I had to pay taxes), became a republican (G. Gordon Liddy used to talk to me while I would search for a parking place near campus), mutated into a libertarian (I rediscovered Ayn Rand and started to obsess on political theory), transformed into a neo-con after 9/11, then mutated back into an extreme libertarian a few years ago. Each time, various degrees of cognitive dissonance had to be overcome. Now I might have a knack for it. Perhaps it's time that you join me, if you haven't already beat me to it.

In Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous essay,"
Self Reliance", he spends a good deal of time negotiating this psychological phenomenon (mind you, over one hundred years before Leon Festinger codified and developed the idea into a theory):

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you speak now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. -- 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misundestood.' Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

Emerson argues that an important part of human growth is a willingness to shed the skin of yesterday. We must be willing to accept new realities for what they are and not condemn them to obscurity through the foggy lens of "foolish" consistencies. This means overcoming the cognitive dissonance associated with shifting positions and giving ground.

I think that most Americans are willing to admit that there was some level of deception on the part of the government concerning the tragic events of 9-11. Even several of the actual
commissioners who sat on the 9-11 Commission have acknowledged that the government narrative regarding the events of that day is erroneous at best, deceptive at worst. Of course, this is just scratching the surface. There are so many anomalies and inconsistencies regarding the events of 9-11 that anyone with a willingness to investigate just a little will come away realizing that agencies within the government must have been complicit. This is difficult to say, and difficult to believe. Tremendous dissonance. But the truth is truth.

The vision of our free and great republic has been replaced by a gradual yet familiar tyranny. The incremental erosion of our freedoms leading up to 9-11 has only been amplified since.

It has served as the excuse for endless warfare abroad and overt assaults on personal liberty at home. The militarization of the police. The Orwellian surveillance grid. Body scanners and sound cannons. "Free speech zones" and "
unlawful assemblies". The death of posse comitatus. Check points and blood samples. The list goes on and on and on.

Somewhere along the line, there was a quiet coup that struck at the foundations of our governmental systems. The shadow government that
Eisenhower warned us about has ASSUMED CONTROL.

I know that it is hard to accept. I know that you don't want this to be real. But it is. And you must.

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