Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Cognitive Dissonance Cluster Bomb

Dilbert guy's take on the reaction. This part should hit home with the "neo-liberal conspiracy!" types around MMT:
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.)


peterc said...

My attempt at a neoliberal conspiracy is a bit different. It goes something like this ...

The Republicans' normal role is to push things to the right at quite a steady pace.

After a while, this can cause voters to get annoyed and vote for the Democrats instead.

The Democrats' normal role is to make sure nothing too progressive (from a left perspective) actually happens under their watch. If possible, they keep pushing to the right, just at a gentler pace. But if not, they might need to tread water for a while, or even grant a minor concession or two.

Eventually voters will get angry with the Democrats and vote in Republicans again. Normally, this clears the way for a rinse and repeat.

However, sometimes (such as with this election), voters get so angry that it seems they might really do something unusual, like vote for a Sanders or a Trump.

The role of the Democrats then is to prevent at all costs the election of a Sanders, even if it comes at the expense of the voters electing a Trump.

At the end of the day, establishment liberals prefer conservatism (arguably even fascism) to social democracy or socialism. Conservatism (and fascism) are much less threat to elite interests than social democracy or socialism.

I'm not so sure the Republicans are too upset either. They may be able to push harder to the right under Trump than would have been possible with a more typical candidate. It is hard to say, because it is so unclear what Trump intends to do and how Republicans intend to respond.

End of conspiracy theory. :-)

Ryan Harris said...

I think Republicans need to do **whatever it takes** to get Donna Brazile on side.
That woman is pure. When she lied straight into the camera, you could see in realtime, her struggle, as she realized that she was on the wrong side of history.
She was clearly someone not used to lying and consciously trying to deceive destroyed her image of herself and that is the type of person you want in politics. Democratic party should have had her at top of the ticket with Bernie.

peterc said...

From the article:

"The protesters ... [against Trump] ... 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.

2. Their good judgement told them Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler, or something similarly bad.

3. 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. ..."

I found the article interesting, but I don't really buy the argument.

It could just as easily be said:

1. MMTers believe they are relatively informed about sovereign currencies.
2. Their good judgment tells them that a currency-issuing govt OBVIOUSLY cannot run out of money.
3. 90+ percent of the voters think the US is in a public debt crisis.

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

There are two ways for an MMTer to interpret that reality. One option is to accept that if 90+ percent of the public thinks there is a public debt crisis, perhaps there is."

I am not questioning cognitive dissonance theory. (Actually, I once applied it, in a chapter of my doctoral dissertation.)

Matt Franko said...

I don't think an MMTer would see the 2 ways... just the one (correct) way...

The "neo-liberal conspiracy!" MMT people are being too "nice" or "kind" in a way towards the people that don't exhibit our understanding...

They're on one hand respecting the cognitive abilities of the people to be able to understand it but then they turn that around and accuse them of lying about it... when the truth is they don't possess the cognitive ability in the first place...

Matt Franko said...

e.g. Wrt this election a lot of females over here were very disappointed with the Trump win while I as a male voted for Trump... and see his election as no big deal...

I have literally NO cognitive ability to understand the disappointment of these females .... zero... zip.... nada....

So it would beabig mistake for them to assert that I really do understand their disappointment but that I must be hate women or something because I voted for Trump anyway even though (to them) they think I understand the female view.... I don't understand anything about any of that...

peterc said...

You could be right, Matt. It's hard to distinguish between people who pretend not to understand and people who really don't understand. :-)

Tom Hickey said...

It's often hard to distinguish between those who are lying, those who are telling the truth, those that are clueless, and those operating under cognitive-afective bias.

peterc said...

So true.

Matt Franko said...

Well if we are serious about turning this thing around we need to truly understand what we are up against...

Tom Hickey said...

It's a matter of strategy.

I think one starts by assuming that people think that they are telling the truth, e.g., have the facts right and valid reasoning. Then one can address this by showing error in fact or logic.

The response is the tell.

1. If someone really thinks they are telling the truth and being honest, then that person is open to counteragent and understands justification based on evidence and reasoning. Then it becomes a matter of argument and criteria.

2. If someone is lying and is caught out, denial and distraction are the usual response.

3. If someone is clueless, they may not be able to understand an evidence-based logical argument.

4. If someone is operating under cognitive-affective bias such as that induced by ideological commitment they are likely to double down on their position.

jrbarch said...

I thought there was something of a (Jane Goodall) primal element to the US election.

The power brokers in the troop deciding this time, on a matriarch to hide their deliberations; under assault not so much from an opposing troop, but a rogue male. Sanders neutered in the process to make the way clear for Mother Hen v. the Rooster.

The rogue male won and elevated the opposing troop; so now it is a matter of loyalties. And the usual plots from the vanquished troop.

Beyond this is the emotional element. The troops of both parties are hyped up and inflamed. Leaderless, some of the vanquished troops vent their feelings. Concepts are used like arrows to sting, wound, kill. Concepts are knitted into patterns (ideologies) to be used as tools of war. The pundits cast their stones.

I can’t see any logic in any of it.