Cognitive Dissonance and the Democrat Party

The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to serve as a launching pad for so many different lines of thinking. His natural gift for mixing inductive and deductive logic, the big picture and the detailed facts, helps outline some of the key issues in our nation today. Rush is able to succinctly take a theoretical stab at deep seeded problems and situations we face.

One such instance of this direction are his views on the catalyst for the modern Democratic Party’s radical bent. He has referenced this piece before. He has detailed this origin story. And this week on Tuesday his show contained a synopsis of it.

RUSH: I just want to read you these two excerpts from the book Shattered Consensus. “The widespread feeling that the national culture contributed to Kennedy’s death encouraged an attitude of anti-Americanism that became a pronounced aspect of the radical and countercultural movements of the 1960s.”  Look, the simple fact of the matter is, for the longest time people would not accept that Oswald was the killer.  It was too simple.

…The American left and Soviet Union, nobody wanted communists to blame for this.  If a communist had killed “the most beloved president ever,” what does that say about the left?  It would have destroyed the modern-day Democrat Party.  They couldn’t allow that to happen.  They made a concerted judgment.  They made an effort to actually whitewash the assassination of Kennedy and blame people who had nothing to do with it in order to save their own skin.

And their own movement and then proceeded to cover all of that up by coming up with alternate conspiracy theories and an effort to blame right-wingers, gun-control freaks, John Birchers, and, you name it. …You go to the front page of the New York Times the day after Kennedy was killed. You’ll find two things…

“Leftist Oswald Kills Kennedy in Motorcade,” and you got details on his ties to Havana, and then also on the front page you will find an opinion piece by the revered James “Scotty” Reston blaming Dallas and blaming conservatives and extreme right-wingers.  …that’s how you end up with Hollywood people thinking Castro and Che Guevara are the biggest studs in the earth; how they’re big heroes and so forth.

…  How in the world can leftists embrace openly the people that killed JFK?  …it was because of a concerted effort by leftist opinion leaders at the time to create this alternative theory.  So… “The widespread feeling that the national culture contributed to Kennedy’s death encouraged an attitude of anti-Americanism that became a pronounced aspect of the radical and countercultural movements of the sixties.  This was an outlook that never entirely disappeared from the worldview of the American left.”

“Now, by any logic the assassination of a popular president by a communist should have generated a revulsion against everything associated with left-wing doctrines.  Yet something very close to the opposite happened in the wake of the JFK assassination, and for many of the reasons outlined.  Within a few years, radical ideas and revolutionary leaders — Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Castro among them — enjoyed a greater vogue in the US than at any previous time in our history, converting college students by the thousands to an anti-American, anti-capitalist creed.  Soon, those students were taking over campuses and joining protest movements in support of a host of radical and revolutionary causes.”

What you have here is a classic example of group think and massive cognitive dissonance. Festinger (1957) explained cognitive dissonance in these terms:

“The holding two or more inconsistent cognitions arouses the state of cognitive dissonance which is experienced as uncomfortable tension. This tension has drive-like properties and must be reduced.”

It is important to understand that this drive is not a mere preference for consistency or desire for favorable outcomes, in the same way we prefer that the Pittsburgh Steelers win a football game.  As a psychological drive it contains in it the necessity for resolution. People cannot live in this state of unease. They have to either abandon their previous beliefs or strengthen their existing beliefs in the face of disconfirming evidence. The result of cognitive dissonance is the bunker mentality that comes from doubling down on an existing belief system.

The modern Democrat Party is a perfect example of how a group of people can reconstruct history (past reality) in an attempt to influence the present. Consider the JFK movie. According to Harmon-Jones & Mills (1999) people acquire a worldview that makes it adaptively better to act upon the world in a consistent manner.  People do not like acting with ambivalence and promoting internal conflict. Therefore they must have an overarching meaning for their actions. To be part of a group that is part of a larger cause gives their lives purpose.

Radical Liberalism in the Modern Democratic Party is a way to justify the lives of people that allowed their beloved son to be sacrificed on the altar of ignorance.

They love the idea of a man, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whose memory is perverted. JFK now represents all that was possible but never achieved by the American Left. The anger and rage at his loss has been redirected away from Communists who killed him to Conservatives who fought him for the soul of this nation.

In many ways their frustration was the motivation to lash out and destroy Richard Nixon who was the rival and in many ways the antithesis of JFK. This new vision of America’s future as a way to remove sin in the seat of the Republican Party finds it’s modern incarnation in Barrack Obama.

The reason that liberals will always be enraged and striving to destroy the lives of people who disagree with them is their own self-inflicted psychosis. This cognitive dissonance created a people who cannot deal with reality. Instead they strive to recreate the world in their own image by destroy the remnant of what is really is.

Cooper (2007) demonstrated that dissonance has a magnitude and can be resolved in three ways. Dissonance reduction is accomplished by 1. lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors 2. adding consonant elements 3. changing one of the dissonant factors. People will use any and all of these techniques to create a new sense of psychic equilibrium and balance. A classic example of cognitive dissonance is the fable by Aesop of The Fox and the Grapes.

“Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’ People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.”

Democrats cannot gain the utopian nation that Communism promises. They try to lower the importance of America’s traditions and Constitution. Instead they only have more death and leave destruction in their wake. They add more fables to their creation myth to explain why and how America needs to be altered. Elster (1985) described this “adaptive preference formation” as the following pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one’s dissonance by criticizing it. The Democrats criticize America because she will not conform to their twisted ideal: a Godless, classless mass of humanity living in license to do as they please without consequence or pain.

This idea has become part of the common lexicon as “sour grapes” and refers to people pretending not to care for something they do not or cannot have. Communism has failed. An avowed communist even killed one of the most loved American presidents. Democrats need to find a new target for their hatred. Instead of dealing with this, the Modern Democrat Party has taken on the project of transforming America into a shell of what it was to placate their own errors in judgment and erase the lies that they have believed.