by Pilgrim's Pride | December 26th, 2012
Part II: Cognitive Dissonance as Agitation Propaganda
Note: Part II was originally to discuss counter-techniques. However, by request, it will delve into the origins of Cognitive Dissonance as a tool of political repression. Part III will address countermeasures instead.)
A Quick Review
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological state in which the conscience is perturbed by a public statement at variance with private belief. It has nothing to do with knowledge or fact, error or mistake. It is an artifact of belief. Because the human conscience exists to prevent such a state, to promote integrity of belief and character, anxiety results, in proportion to the disparity, until the dissonance is resolved.
Normally, cognitive resolution leads to admission of guilt, repentance, reconciliation, and character development. But that is consequent only from legitimate dissonance, dissonance born of ignorance.
Applied Cognitive Dissonance
Induced dissonance is another beast entirely. If one adopts an alien position because of financial inducement, peer-pressure, extortion or black-mail, resolution means exposure as a fraud, a deliberate liar. Indeed, this is the very power of blackmail and extortion. Were the private truth publically known, the blackmailer would have no leverage to use against his victim.
This application must be understood in some detail. Blackmail and extortion compel men to outrageous lengths to conceal their guilty deeds. Think of Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” or any of a thousand prime time television programs from Charlie Chan to Law & Order. In one memorable — and instructive — Hollywood Portrayal, Pluto wrestles with his conscience in Disney’s “Lend A Paw“.
Obviously, a man’s conscience is built-in and its desire for integrity is a powerful motivation, even if criminal means must be employed to maintain appearances.
This also explains the corrupt State’s hatred of Christianity, which it seeks to suppress or at least emasculate. Christ offers man redemption from the guilt of his sins, thus restoring his character’s integrity through the acts of contrition and repentance.
Cognitive Dissonance as Political Brain Washing
When inculcated by the State’s propaganda apparatus, which strictly punishes utterances at variance with the official narrative, it is possible to create a state of self-induced hypocrisy, as a matter of simple Pavlovian conditioning, in which the individual autonomously imposes dissonance on himself for fear of reprisal. This is the essence of the Stockholm syndrome.As a practical matter, it means one’s conscience is overridden by external imposition, creating a perpetual state of dissonance, fully manipulable by the State’s propaganda agents.
This is also the gist of Political Correctness, which is a practice and a term masterfully employed by Lenin himself in his series of Isvestya essays, “What is to be Done?”. From part II’s section B. Bowing to Spontaneity. Rabochaya Mysl, Lenin explains the need of correctness to advance the political cause of international social democracy,
The entire history of international Social-Democracy teems with plans advanced now by one, now by another political leader, some confirming the far-sightedness and the correct political and organisational views of their authors and others revealing their short-sightedness and their political errors.
Lenin amplifies this notion of political correctness in part III section C, Political Exposures and Training In Revolutionary Activity
Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected — unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other.
The effect on a man is powerful. In extreme, it leads to the absolute corruption of the soul, which we say among the prisoners of Nazi concentration camps. Special privileges were awarded to “kapos” who would maintain order against fellow vicitms. They were widely known as especially brutal and savage; dehumanizing their fellow prisoner was a means of achieving cognitive resolution, albeit a false resolution that led to crimes against humanity.
Orwell explains in practical terms how one manages his daily life under a regime of imposed doublethink:
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
Clearly, this is the present state of the United States electorate who, despite full knowledge to the contrary, find it expedient to mouth the Regime’s party line, while obtaining cheap grace and false resolution by demonizing the enemy du jour, whom they make to be the most evil, most hated object since the last one.
The Evolution of Imposed Cognitive Dissonance
In Lenin’s Russia, the victorious Bolsheviks imposed cognitive dissonance at the point of a gun. Terror forced proletariat compliance with the party line, but the compliance never transcended mere extortion. When the terror subsided, the Soviet state collapsed as a house of cards, there being no truth to the party line – only the ravings of true believers and the knowing but supremely ambitious strongmen that used it as a means to their ends. Recall the farmers never rose up as expected while the army and navy were already sore at the Tsar for reasons unrelated to communism or socialism.
Nazi Germany was more adept at imposing cognitive dissonance as their grievances seemed accurate in the wake of the Treaty of Versailles. Whereas the Soviets went down the path of paranoia with the enemy within (counter-revolutionaries), Hitler’s regime promoted the cognitive dissonance friendly “us versus them” distinction in which unresolved dissonance could be and was safely directed outward to an already hated and despised minority. Membership in the volk was sufficient to expiate any sin, save treason itself.
The U.S. version has followed on the heels of Nazi Germany with emphasis on external enemies, but it would be incorrect to assume it derives from National Socialist ideology. In fact, U.S. political correctness is a direct descendant of the Soviet progenitor, modified by the hard-won lessons of the Cold War. Internal paranoia destroys trust, which is necessary to maintain a sophisticated, productive economy as desired by all, especially the apparatchiks and nomenklatura that need a strong economy to support their ambition. As such, new classes were invented to serve as the external outlet that permits unresolved cognitive dissonance to take on religious aspects of zealotry and unquestioning obedience. (Recall that the U.S.S.R. was the official ally of the United States during WWII; FDR invited tens of thousands of Soviet agents into the Allied war effort and host countries. After the peace, they simply never left. They formed the basis of Joseph McCarthy’s allegations of Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government. His mistake was to characterize them as infiltrators when, in fact, they were invited guests that simply never left.)
The new classes that serve as dissonance targets are varied to serve the needs of the day, but they are always marginalized and dehumanized by way of a massive, coordinated agitation propaganda campaign before official repression begins. It is this agitation propaganda that creates the necessary and desirable state of cognitive dissonance, representing a closed-loop system with virtuous, reinforcing cycles that tend to be unstable — but useful.
We have seen a steady progression of resolving test-cases since the 1960s: parents that spank their children (a Christian tenet of child-rearing); manhood (feminism’s misogyny and so-called homophobia); smokers; “The Wealthy”; rural folk; “Bible Thumpers” and “Fundamentalists” (which “somehow” become confused with the Taliban…) ; homeschoolers; organic food advocates; anti-government extremists; the self-reliant; opponents of foreign wars; and lately gun owners yet again.
In each case, the semantic description of the target is defined to apply to a small segment of the population, perhaps 2- or 3% at any given moment, for the purpose of not being “too close to home” and remaining a safe target for cognitive resolution. Of course, in aggregate, the accumulation of these segments would include most all the population but thanks to short attention spans, this is rarely noticed.
In Part III we will discuss a few techniques that reverse or undo the effects of applied Cognitive Dissonance. This is a difficult practice as the State’s resources are practically unlimited. After sixty years and billions of dollars, the dissonance is deep, effectively deeper than that of Big Brother, accepted almost subliminally by its target population. However, deep as it is, it remains contrary to the Laws of God, not to mention our own human experience. These provide the vectors of our counterattack.