Sunday, August 30, 2015
Conservative Cognitive Dissonance
It is called Cognitive Dissonance or Denial, if you prefer, and we all engage in it to some degree. I do it whenever I light a cigarette. I know it's bad for me but I put that reality out of my head and smoke anyway.
In today's America, cognitive dissonance is rampant. You only have to read through your newsfeed on Facebook to see it staring back at you daily. Of course, as a liberal Democrat it seems to me that conservatives are far and away more prone to cognitive dissonance than progressives. (You can tell me in comments if I'm wrong!)
For instance, five years ago Colorado instituted a new program to provide free or reduced-cost contraceptives to teenagers. By all accounts, it was a huge success. The teen birth rate dropped by 40 percent. Yet in 2015, Colorado Republicans declined to continue to fund it.
This is cognitive dissonance in action. If you have a goal (fewer teens giving birth) and a program that accomplishes that goal (free birth control) and yet you rescind that program, what statement are you making? Can anyone explain?
Likewise, research shows that teenage pregnancy rates are highest in the states with abstinence only programs in their school and yet, Republicans continue to deny teens fact-based sex education.
And, ironically, these are the same people who piss and moan about paying taxes to support the welfare costs of assisting poor families raise their children.
Let's take the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Many Republicans were adamantly opposed to it even before they knew what was in it. It was the same knee-jerk reaction they have to anything espoused by the Obama administration. Some of them admit they believe the answer is war but more say they just want a 'better" agreement.
They don't say how they would propose to arrive at this better agreement. The Coalition that negotiated the plan was composed of the United States, the European Union, Russia and China. Strict economic sanctions were what convinced Iran to come to the table in the first place but our partners have already warned they would drop their sanctions, even if the U.S. reneges on the plan. So what leverage would we use to force Iran to agree to a better deal? There is no realistic possibility.
Which means, Iran would get the sanctions lifted and be in the same position they are in today - possibly months away from a nuclear weapon. Yeah, that sounds like a better deal, doesn't it?
Illegal immigration is a pet Republican issue and has been for years. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill a couple of years ago but the House refused to even allow debate on it. I was interested to see what their own plan would be when they took over both houses of Congress but to date, they have proposed zero, zip, nada.
Republicans , who often claim the religious moral high ground, are militantly opposed to both abortion and gay marriage but these are issues that Jesus never mentioned at all. Neither of them is cited in the Ten Commandments. But what Jesus does talk about...a lot....is helping the poor, honoring the elderly, caring for children. What? Do conservatives think he didn't really mean it? Upward and onward with Prosperity Theology!
The far right right trumpets limited government until they want the government to curtail a woman's right to plan her family or a gay person's right to marry the person they love or they need help due to a flood, drought or hurricane.
They believe in religious freedom....for fundamentalist Christians but certainly not for Muslims or atheists. They revere the Constitution....except for all the changes they want to make to it, like recalling the Fourteenth Amendment. They love them some Supreme Court justices....as long as they are voting the right way. If they uphold Obamacare, then they should be impeached.
Republicans are for a vast military and almost always vote for every bit of military spending that comes down the pipeline (except for veteran's issues, of course). On the other hand, they demand the right to buy any kind of gun and any kind of magazine and to carry those guns wherever they like because, you know, the Revolution is coming, and we may have to fight against that very military we just made stronger. Huh?
I just shake my head in amazement at how Republican conservatives are able to reconcile such conflicting attitudes.