Monday, June 24, 2013

Cognitive Dissonance Is Strong

Libertarians and conservatives are obviously dissatisfied with Obama's leadership while President of the United States, but we forget that the President, and his party, have consistently failed to address the many 'suppossed' issues that progressive voters care about such as:

  • Getting rid of the Patriot Act, he recently extended provisions that were going to expire.
  • End America's foreign meddling, honestly how could anyone ever believe that promise.
  • Greater transparency to government, about that.
  • Greater accountability to our security agencies, honestly an almost impossible task for any President.
This is just a very truncated list but it illustrates the many broken promises by the Obama administration when it comes to issues that progressives 'care' about. It takes little perception to see, and it would be no exaggeration to say, that Obama's presidency has been little different from his predecessor, however, progressive activists at Netroots Nations take umbrage with that assertion.  The cognitive dissonance is strong with these individuals. Despite all the failures of the President, as well as his administration and congress, to uphold progressive ideals, by and large they have failed to do so.  They would have every right, along with conservatives and libertarians though for different reasons, to chastise the president, but they don't. The question is, why?

The answer is pretty simple and be directed at the 'conservatives' in the republican party as well.  First off, let me articulate that I neither hate, nor blame, the sitting President, or former Presidents, for the problems we have today. The fact is that the President wields far less power than we would like to believe and that the return to sane constitutional government would take decades if not longer. The Presidents fault is failing to even address the issues so that they would be at the forefront of the conscience of the body-politic. In regards as to why progressive activist cannot admit how much alike Obama has been to Bush is for one very simple reason. It would require that they admit that there is really no fundamental difference between the party.

Back when I was in college, and a different President held the highest office in the land, I rattled the cage of my progressive class mates one time, by claiming that the only difference between President Bush and Vice President Gore would the letter head of the paper upon which the laws would be written on. I wasn't the libertarian I was now, and I was simply trying to piss of my class mates but I inadvertently spoke the truth. The President occupies a unique position in that, not only does he represent the nation, but he also represents his party. If the current President cannot address the worst aspects of 'Bush's Presidency', with a super majority no less, then you can only come to one conclusion:

There is no real fundamental difference between the parties other than rhetoric.

When this realization begins to dawn on you, you can do one of two things. You can either accept the truth, not matter how painful it may be, and readjusted your world view to fit the facts that are presented, or you can stick your fingers in your ears and go on with business as usual. Around 2007 this is what happened to me. I was confronted with the reality that the parties were no different and I underwent a painful transition.

I remember the light bulb moment when President Bush uttered something along the lines of going against capitalism to save it. I had already been what you called an apologist conservative, there were tenants of the party that I felt uneasy about, but I knew that the republicans was better economically for the country than the democrats.  That day shattered those illusions, and all the other uncomfortable thoughts in my heads could no longer be suppressed, I effectively ceased being a 'conservative' and underwent a year and half review of my belief system.

At first it caused some alienation amongst my more 'conservative' family members, and absolutely delighted my progressive friends.  Now, a few years later, my conservative family members are less concerned about my ideology, mostly to due with the fact that the democrats control D.C, and my progressive friends are aghast at some of the things I believe; I'll write more about what it is like living in a major progressive city with some progressive friends. It was painful at first but now I enjoy the freedom of independent thought, and as another bonus/negative, I am no longer surprised when the parties betray their constituents. My worldview is no longer dependent on the good party defeating the evil party.

The activists do not have the benefit of this freedom because they have opted for the second course of action. They cannot admit to themselves that all Obama's talk of hope and change was just that much campaign bullshit. In fact, given the absolute near deification of Obama by the left, equal to the deification of Regan by republicans, and admitting this truth is damn near impossible. Try getting a republican, especially a democratic to republican convert from the 1980s, to admit that Regan was not a small government President? You might as well try to change the tides. Despite all the betrayals by Obama the most hard core leftist cling to Obama the way a drowning man clings to a piece of floatsam in the middle of the ocean.

These individuals have too much a vested interest in the party to deal with the facts that are lain before them. Cognitive dissonance is one of the biggest reason why we are in the mess we are in today. This sort of thing can only exist when critical analysis of the facts are rejected in favor of blanket ideology.  It's something I am constantly watching myself for now that I have become aware of it. I certainly hope you are on guard for it as well.


  1. I remember very well when GW Bush challenged Clinton's nation building policies and promised to remove us from all that interventionism.
    GWB campaign quote: "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that."

    I thought he'd end the no fly zones over Iraq. Instead, we invaded and occupied.

    No, the parties aren't any different.

  2. We've all heard lots of joking insults about politicians, and politics but we don't spend enough time thinking about just how awful they are and how true those jokes really are.

  3. I gave up on politics for the same explanations and reasons that you wrote about here. It's all rigged in my opinion and hard to take seriously when you have Party A and Party B doing almost the exact same crap and having people try to blame their problems on whatever party they aren't part of.

    There are still liberals and progressives blaming everything on Bush years after his term was done and then there are conservatives who have the nerve to still say that Bush or Reagan were economically conservative. The double standards are beyond appalling.


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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.