Getting past the “idiot,” “nuts” and “wacko” factor so that liberals have their moment of cognitive dissonance *UPDATED*

I’ve been thinking a lot about responses to my post regarding the gal who is running for town council, the one who donated to Obama, and who nevertheless seems to be a fiscal conservative.  I asked how she can live with the cognitive dissonance.  Several of you pointed out, in one form or another, that it’s not cognitive dissonance if you don’t know facts sufficient to create that dissonance.  In other words, if this gal lives in the traditional liberal world, watching CNN or MSNBC, listening to NPR, and reading the New York Times and The New Yorker, she went into the election cycle with a “unified theory of Obama” that included the belief that Obama had the intelligence, the temperament and even the experience to bring fiscal control to Washington, D.C.  In other words, the media was feeding her (falsified) data entirely consistent with her fiscal beliefs.  Cognitive dissonance, if she feels any, should be hitting about now, when even the most loving media cannot hide the disconnect between Obama “as sold,” and Obama “as is.”

I had this point — namely, that liberals are incapable of making rational decisions because they’re relying on intentionally faulty data — dramatically illustrated to me this morning when my husband was just kvelling about Thomas Friedman’s column saying that he thinks incivility on the right is building up to the same levels that characterized the time preceding Rabin’s assassination.  I countered by saying that Friedman had no credibility because, during the Bush years, he completely ignored all the death threats against and assassination fantasies about Bush, and that even now he is still ignoring the vile insults major political figures are raining down on people opposed to ObamaCare.  My husband’s response:  I was “nuts,” an “idiot” and “wacko.”  Why?  Because I was making all of that stuff up.  My husband’s mental furniture didn’t include any death threats against Bush, and there were no fantasies about his assassination.  And as for the debate now, nobody’s been hurling insults at conservatives.

And you know what?  In my husband’s completely insular media universe, everything he says is absolutely true.  None of that has happened.  He has been completely protected from any words or images showing ugliness emanating from the Left.  And now he’s seeing only ugliness emanating from the Right.  Therefore, in my husband’s mind, Friedman is absolutely correct to write a column about the horrors of conservative hatred, because it’s the first time political hatred has happened.  Now, my husband has a small excuse for this type of ignorance, because he doesn’t work in the media.  Further, since he religiously reads the paper and magazines, and listens to the radio, he believes he’s informed.  Friedman, who works in the center of New York’s media, has no such excuse.

This why the type of work O’Keefe and Giles did, with Andrew Brietbart’s help, is so incredibly important.  They are breaching the heavily fortified walls guarding the media universe, and forcing the gatekeepers to acknowledge the existence of data inconsistent with its prevailing world view.  And as more of that data leaks into the liberal kingdom, more and more of the liberals trapped within those walls are going to start figuring out that they’ve been on the receiving end of the big lie.

UPDATE:  Dan Rather perfectly illustrates, not just life in the bubble, but the refusal to venture out of the bubble.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Nobody that hasn’t learned how to control and understand propaganda is informed by anything except what other, better people decide to inform them.

  • CollegeCon

    The Bookworm household sounds… interesting. I’m surprised you put up with him.

    On topic- Its the same/worse on a college campus. Little to noone has to deal with fiscal consequences, and their sources of news are Jon Stewart at best and NYT/NPR/etc. at worst.

  • gpc31

    Two quickies:
    “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” — Mark Twain

    “But the key idea, which associates back to Pressfield’s idea of ‘tribes’ in Afghanistan and Reynold’s Army of Davids, is that bloggers (in general any content provider) catalyze tribes. This is a very powerful insight, possibly the key realization of the new information age. (Think of Chris Anderson’s concept of the Long Tail) It is the failure to grasp this point that underlies one of the key failures of the MSM. The Internet is a self-organizing medium; it’s a declaration of governance and independence whatever else it may be. The MSM has been trying to reinvent networked communications and return it to the Age of Kings. The MSM is the town crier model and its day is over.”

    Richard Fernandez at

    Thanks for catalyzing this tribe, BW!

  • gpc31

    OK, I will continue a bad habit of double-posting — sorry about that — but this article by the great Theodore Dalrymple entitled “The Cult of Insincerity” is as usual so outstanding that I cannot not post a link to it, along with some excerpts. It’s germane to the discussion above, plus it casts light on the Polanski affair.

    Newspapers perform more or less the same function for me. There is always something in them to irritate me profoundly, and there is nothing quite like irritation to get the juices circulating and the mind working. Oddly enough, only the print version of a newspaper, not the online one, has this tonic effect upon me; perhaps this is a conditioned response. I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs, who salivated at the sound of a bell. I have only to hold a newspaper in my hand to feel a pleasant frisson of outrage coming on.

    ….There is always plenty in them to infuriate me, and so they are well worth the reading; for it must be confessed that indignation is one of the most rewarding of all emotions, as well as one that automatically gives meaning to life. When one is indignant, one does not wonder what life is for or about, the immensity of the universe does not trouble one, and the profound and unanswerable questions of the metaphysics of morals are held temporarily in abeyance.

    ….The desire to blur limits and boundaries, in order to overturn society, has long marked out a certain kind of leftist. Because in social phenomena there are always borderline cases, they wish to undermine the very idea of categories. They are like people who would deny that anyone is tall because there is a fine gradation between tallest and shortest. Thus, because some things were considered crimes that are so considered no longer, and some things that were once legal that are now deemed criminal, they deny that the crime is anything other that an arbitrary social construction. A criminal is someone who merely has difficulty in his relations with society as some men have difficulties in their relations with their wives (and vice versa). What more natural, therefore, than that they should all attend the same day care centre, where they will be cured of their difficulties by psychological means?

    ….There is in the article a moral exhibitionism, which is generosity of spirit at other people’s expense. This, I think, is one of the sicknesses of our age, the desire to appear more-compassionate-than-thou. I suspect that, in his heart of hearts, the author does not believe a word of what he says: a common thing among intellectuals.

  • Ymarsakar

    A college campus itself is like a miniature government where you pay in and they then distribute your money according to their views of what is or is not important.

    You aren’t given many opportunities to only pay for what you want to use. And while there are student bodies, again, this places power in the activists, not in the average person, because once the money leaves your hands, it’s now in the hands of the activist student body to decide.

  • aaron

    Good observations. I agree that MSM coverage is the litmus test by which liberals determine what is news and what isn’t news. If it isn’t covered, then it’s either irrelevant or is the work of “nuts” on the Right. That’s why they’re helplessly confused by and uniformly despising of Fox News. It doesn’t fit into the worldview shaped for them by the MSM. Hence the wild ideas that it’s the Right’s propaganda machine, Glenn Beck is a mad man, etc. But last I checked it was Fox News with highest rankings and increasing viewership.

    I wonder how many genuine journalists are left who believe in their traditional role as seekers of truth, as opposed to advocating for the liberal cause. I’m sure there are many, but are suppressed by the MSM powers-that-be. Hopefully ACORN and other blacklisted stories will help real journalists get the nerve to jump from MSM’s (slowly) sinking ship. I think of Michelle Malkin as a good example of a concerned journalist seeking the truth at any cost. Pajamas Media is interesting. Do others come to mind?

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    Hmmm. If I ever called my wife “nuts”, “wacko”, or an “idiot”, I’d be fortunate to be allowed to sleep on the couch, much less a comfy bed. Cold shoulder — big time.

    I’m hesitant to make a suggestion, but here’s a possibility. Spend ~15 minutes searching, and print out actual examples of the anti-Bush death threats and assassination fantasies, and current vile insults. Strive for a variety of sources and a variety of targets over a number of years. Try to find numerous sources, and only reuse those like AP, CNN, WP, NYT, etc. which he might find more compelling.

    When he gets home tonight, hand him the stack, saying, “You called me ‘nuts’, a ‘wacko’, and an ‘idiot’, and accused me of making stuff up. Read these. Read these *now* [firm, no yelling] and become a bit better informed about current events. Then let’s talk. If you still think I’m wrong, then fine. We can talk. But read these first.”

    Turn, walk away, and wait.

    You may have to modify the scenario if he’s smart enough to bring you flowers or chocolate tonight and apologize for the name-calling. You still should have him read the things, to show he really means the apology.

    Calling one’s spouse names like that crosses a line. Restoring the relationship should be now a big priority for him, and may make him more receptive.

    Just an idea: don’t know how good it is.

    Thanks again for your blog and posts. I really appreciated the Navy League one: during my active duty days, I often was grateful what they did.


    One lies and the other swears to it – it must be true.

    This is how libs filter information. Dismissive of any input, other than their carefully guarded opinions, they cling to their revisionist view of history.

    To do anything else would mean they would have to challenge a lifetime of being sucked into the vortex of a) being wrong, b) everything they did and say was wrong and for the wrong reasons.

    As to being called such names as; “nuts,” an “idiot” and “wacko” … I hope your children are never within earshot. It actually speaks volumes about Mr. Book – I certainly could not qualify these cheap, verbal potshots as a sophisticated discourse or intellect (extra snark).

  • Charles Martel

    Such a fusillade of retorts may mean that Book is striking closer to home than Mr. Book wants to admit. If you are married to a bright, articulate woman, to whom you’ve entrusted the task of rearing your children, the chances are overwhelming that you know she’s not a manipulable dimwit.

    If every time you try to pass off a Friedman or a Krugman as a serious thinker and your wife doesn’t hestitate for even a second to show the flaws in your assertion, your defensiveness may be anger at watching her effortlessly inflict one kick-ass crack after another on what you had thought was an invulnerable world view built of only the finest (orthodox leftist) materials.

    So I think’s idea is a damn good one.

  • Al

    I think things, ie. international, national, and personal “politics”, are coming to a head.
    Read the AT blog post entitled “Iran’s Nuclear Future” dated Sept 30, look at the sales figures of Sarah Palin’s book before it has even gone to print. etc, etc.
    We all are on the beginning of a very rough ride.
    A strong, mutually understanding family is a good vehicle to survive the journey.
    I would include all in that vehicle.

  • gpc31

    I too have a “mixed” marriage. Just picture and listen to “Flight of the Bumblebees” in your mind and you’ll get the idea. (You know, aerodynamically speaking, they’re not supposed to fly, but they do….)

    Living proof that there will never be a science of politics or of love.


    For reference, the 22 September 2009 issue of National Review has an article by Jay Nordlinger, “All Wee-weed Up” which lists numerous instances of the kill-Bush type of rhetoric. It would serve as a start prior to looking on-line for more contemporary references.

    Charles Martel, you have a good point and one I hadn’t thought of prior to this. It is very possible that things are as you say and, to borrow from Al, things may be “coming to a head” no matter what.

    Thank you again, Ms. Bookworm, for your wit and wisdom and sharing with so many of us here. God bless.

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