Sunday, June 20, 2004

Newsday exposes the White House's, and their fellow neo-cons, cognitive dissonance:

In research conducted in Australia and the United States, people watched a member of their group take an unpopular position on a political issue. Not only did the speaker experience dissonance, so did the audience. Being a member of the same group caused the audience to bond with the speaker.

The audience felt uncomfortable when the speaker took a position that was at variance with the facts and with his true attitude. The members of the audience changed their attitudes to make them consistent with the speaker's public statement. And the more the audience members identified with their group, the more they changed their attitude.

Many Republicans may well do the same. It is not that Republicans will change their opinions because they are convinced by the substance of the administration's argument; the substance of the argument is barely relevant. Seeing their leaders making statements that seem inconsistent with facts will cause group members to experience psychological discomfort, and they may resolve it by becoming adamant about supporting the Bush-Cheney position.

Clearly the solution is to increase the cognitive dissonance being produced by the White House, until all Bush supporters either come to their senses or experience nervous breakdowns.

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