The Cognitive Dissonance Cluster Bomb (Repost)

Often brilliant and always humorous Dilbert cartoonist and lately political predictor and commentator Scott Adams has this to say about recent reactions to Donald Trump’s improbable presidential election victory, vis-a-vis cognitive dissonance:

Earlier this week CNN.com listed 24 different theories that pundits have provided for why Trump won. And the list isn’t even complete. I’ve heard other explanations as well. What does it tell you when there are 24 different explanations for a thing?

It tells you that someone just dropped a cognitive dissonance cluster bomb on the public. Heads exploded. Cognitive dissonance set in. Weird theories came out. This is the cleanest and clearest example of cognitive dissonance you will ever see. Remember it.

This phenomenon is why a year ago I told you I was putting so much emphasis on PREDICTING the outcome of the election using the Master Persuader Filter. I told you it would be easy to fit any theory to the facts AFTER the result. And sure enough, we can fit lots of theories to the facts. At least 24 of them by CNN’s count.

Generally speaking, the greater the persuasion, the more cognitive dissonance you get. Trump is – in my opinion – the greatest persuader of my lifetime. I expected this level of cognitive dissonance. Next time you see a persuader of this magnitude, you can expect the outcome to be cognitive dissonance in that case too.

This brings me to the anti-Trump protests. The protesters look as though they are protesting Trump, but they are not. They are locked in an imaginary world and battling their own hallucinations of the future. Here’s the setup that triggered them.

  1. They believe they are smart and well-informed.
  1. Their good judgement told them Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler, or something similarly bad.
  1. Half of the voters of the United States – including a lot of smart people – voted Trump into office anyway.

Those “facts” can’t be reconciled in the minds of the anti-Trumpers. Mentally, something has to give. That’s where cognitive dissonance comes in.

There are two ways for an anti-Trumper to interpret that reality. One option is to accept that if half the public doesn’t see Trump as a dangerous monster, perhaps he isn’t. But that would conflict with a person’s self-image as being smart and well-informed in the first place. When you violate a person’s self-image, it triggers cognitive dissonance to explain-away the discrepancy.

So how do you explain-away Trump’s election if you think you are smart and you think you are well-informed and you think Trump is OBVIOUSLY a monster?

You solve for that incongruity by hallucinating – literally – that Trump supporters KNOW Trump is a monster and they PREFER the monster. In this hallucination, the KKK is not a nutty fringe group but rather a symbol of how all Trump supporters must feel. (They don’t. Not even close.)

In a rational world it would be obvious that Trump supporters include lots of brilliant and well-informed people. That fact – as obvious as it would seem – is invisible to the folks who can’t even imagine a world in which their powers of perception could be so wrong. To reconcile their world, they have to imagine all Trump supporters as defective in some moral or cognitive way, or both.

As I often tell you, we all live in our own movies inside our heads. Humans did not evolve with the capability to understand their reality because it was not important to survival. Any illusion that keeps us alive long enough to procreate is good enough.

That’s why the protestors live in a movie in which they are fighting against a monster called Trump and you live in a movie where you got the president you wanted for the changes you prefer. Same planet, different realities.

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  1. #1 by The EcoFeminist on November 13, 2016 - 10:08 AM

    Actually Hillary is projected to have won the popular vote by well over two million… so no, half of the population did not vote for Trump. More than half voted for someone who is not a rapist, a racist, a xenophobic prick… and more than half voted for someone who actually has experience serving the public and has not filed bankruptcy multiple times to avoid paying his employees. Mock the situation all you want but we’ve got a big problem with the Electoral College and you know that if the shoe was on the other foot there would be riots as well. We’ve got kids running around shouting white power in the schools and all kinds of hate crimes happening after Trump’s win… not something you saw after Obama won and not something you would have seen had Hillary secured the Electoral College.

    • #2 by An Observer on November 13, 2016 - 12:38 PM

      1. “…no, half of the population did not vote for Trump.”

      Adams did not say “population,” he said “voters.” And I think he was estimating, particularly since what we know right now is that the results are statistically close (+/- 0.05% as of this writing) and projections are not yet fact (see the very election projections prior to the actual results we are now discussing for an idea of how accurate projections can be). Also, Clinton did not win a majority of the population either (or of the voters who actually turned out).

      2. “…more than half voted for someone who is not a rapist, a racist, a xenophobic prick…”

      Not an argument. Also, no evidence whatsoever that Trump committed rape at any point in his life. In fact, he was the subject of now-understood false allegations that many people I am sure believed, but for those who were paying attention such false accusations (or, at least, negligent investigative journalism at the time) is one of the many reasons the mainstream media has taken a huge hit. Also, I do not know if Trump is racist or xenophobic, but I do know that his words have been twisted and taken out of context, and that the Left’s traditional way of attacking people they disagree with is not with better ideas, but rather with ad hominems meant to generate de facto censorship. Regardless of whether he is either of these latter labels, this does not make Clinton an automatically desirable candidate.

      3. “…and more than half voted for someone who actually has experience serving the public…”

      “Serving the public” is a rather subjective interpretation of Clinton’s record, particularly if one considers the Middle East part of the “public” and the trauma she directly contributed to there “serving,” as just one example. In any event, many people voted for Trump precisely because he is not a career politician. To each their own in this respect, as this is not an objective standard. I do not consider experience in the political realm much of a valued qualification for public office, and neither did Barack Obama’s voters. Now that you mention it, I wonder why this has become such an inconsistent requirement for the Left now all of the sudden?

      4. “… not filed bankruptcy multiple times to avoid paying his employees.”

      I am certain you can prove this… (?) Otherwise, you are reaching. And for whatever it is worth, since you brought it up, Clinton has had allegations levied against her in the past for failing to properly remunerate as well.

      5. “Mock the situation all you want but we’ve got a big problem with the Electoral College and you know that if the shoe was on the other foot there would be riots as well.”

      I do not disagree that the Electoral College is fraught with archaic problems, but it is nonetheless the Supreme Law of the Land and Clinton (and everyone else) knew that going into the contest. One cannot be expect to be taken seriously when they were more than happy to embrace victory under a given set of rules going in, but are now figuratively flipping the table over when they lose under those rules. In any event, riots and other violence will not legally address the Electoral College’s perceive shortcomings. There are plenty of laws that I disagree with, but I do not attack other people and destroy their property to make these points.

      And no, I do not “know” that riots would be happening if the shoe were on the foot. In fact, as I have pointed out elsewhere multiple times, I do not ever recall in my lifetime masses of conservatives taking to the streets to violently burn down property, loot, and attack people simply for their votes. This is an assertion that is both improvable and not supported by actual evidence over at least the last generation and perhaps longer.

      6. ” We’ve got kids running around shouting white power in the schools and all kinds of hate crimes happening after Trump’s win…”

      Again, proof? Because given what I know about the mainstream media and proven hoaxes generally and specific to this election, I cannot accept such assertions on good faith alone. In any event, even if this were true there is a huge difference between someone saying something (i.e., First Amendment protections) and committing actual violence. It is really time for snowflakes to grow up.

      7. “…not something you saw after Obama won and not something you would have seen had Hillary secured the Electoral College.”

      As to the former, I totally agree – which goes to demonstrating point #5 above. As to the latter, total supposition but I tend to agree there as well, which again goes to point #5. I do not know if you are suggesting Clinton should have been chosen to avoid leftist violence, which is how it seems, but if so that is a terrorist tactic by definition.

      Incidentally, I did not vote for either candidate because both have their substantive problems. I am fine with people’s dislike and/or criticism of Trump, but not if they are based solely on assumptions, unproven assertions, fallacious reasoning, and/or feelings. Doing so on these bases actually proves Adams’ point regarding cognitive dissonance, rather than disputes it.

  1. People Angry Because Hillary Clinton Won the Popular Vote: Pump the Breaks |

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