Daniel Pipes’ Cognitive Dissonance

The National Review Online hosts an exercise in how to avoid cognitive dissonance by Daniel Pipes, who favors the strategy of just continuing to maintain one’s assumed beliefs in the face of all evidence in order to do away with the dissonance that might otherwise bother an intellectually honest person.

Barack Obama suffeers from an inherent policy contradiction, especially in foreign affairs.

On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.

Logically, he cannot reconcile the contradiction of these two imperatives: If he wants to be reelected and celebrated as a great leader, he has to forward American interests; but if he wants to implement his preferred policies, he subverts the country and fouls his nest.

Let me translate that for you: “I can’t complain about Obama’s actual foreign policy because he’s done pretty much everything I would support. But I cannot reconcile that with my irrational presumptions about his motives. So I will just continue to repeat those presumptions as if they were consistent with the evidence and will project my own cognitive dissonance onto Obama.” He could revisit his assumptions, but he is too wedded to them emotionally; he has applied the label of “liberal” to Obama and that triggers all of his ridiculous beliefs about liberals hating America and wanting to destroy it. So rather than reconsidering the label and what it implies, he just doubles down on the stupid. Well done.

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