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Daniel Pipes’ Cognitive Dissonance

The National Review Online hosts an exercise in how to avoid cognitive dissonance by Daniel Pipes, who favors the strategy of just continuing to maintain one’s assumed beliefs in the face of all evidence in order to do away with the dissonance that might otherwise bother an intellectually honest person.

Barack Obama suffeers from an inherent policy contradiction, especially in foreign affairs.

On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.

Logically, he cannot reconcile the contradiction of these two imperatives: If he wants to be reelected and celebrated as a great leader, he has to forward American interests; but if he wants to implement his preferred policies, he subverts the country and fouls his nest.

Let me translate that for you: “I can’t complain about Obama’s actual foreign policy because he’s done pretty much everything I would support. But I cannot reconcile that with my irrational presumptions about his motives. So I will just continue to repeat those presumptions as if they were consistent with the evidence and will project my own cognitive dissonance onto Obama.” He could revisit his assumptions, but he is too wedded to them emotionally; he has applied the label of “liberal” to Obama and that triggers all of his ridiculous beliefs about liberals hating America and wanting to destroy it. So rather than reconsidering the label and what it implies, he just doubles down on the stupid. Well done.

Comments

  1. danielrudolph says

    Most people with views like this just believe what they want, then never really think about it. What’s amazing here is this guy did feel a need to come up with a rational explanation and thought about it a great deal. That is some dedication to his pre-conceptions.

  2. Michael Heath says

    What’s “well done” is how Ed convincingly takes Daniel Pipes down in one mere paragraph. I’m impressed.

  3. says

    What’s also funny is the wholesale projection of intrapsychic conflict into Obama. Pipes sees Obama as the one who can’t reconcile reality with his tribal identity, when it’s Pipes, in fact, who can’t reconcile reality with the fictional world packaged in his own tribal identity.

  4. says

    I will just continue to repeat those presumptions as if they were consistent with the evidence and will project my own cognitive dissonance onto Obama.

    Projection one’s own cognitive dissonance onto one’s enemy in order to avoid facing it within oneself in one’s responses to the enemy. What a neat trick. Daniel Pipes reaches olympic levels of self-deception with that one.

  5. says

    Obama a leftist? On what planet? He’s center-right or worse on almost everything, except where he doesn’t care or work too hard but is willing to go along on social issues like gay rights. The fact that most people in the media pretend that there’s anything left-leaning in the Democratic Party outside of a few social issues where they are merely centrist, is a problem that helps cause all the other problems.

  6. doktorzoom says

    “If you listen to a lot of conservatives, they’ll tell you that the difference between them and us is that conservatives love America and liberals hate America…. They don’t get it. We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America the way a 4-year-old loves her Mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.”

    –Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, 2003

  7. says

    It’s also interesting how he considers “forward[ing] American interests” to be in contradiction with not wanting to be a “force for ill in the world”…

  8. Scott Simmons says

    Don’t you get it, Improbable Joe? Obama hates all of these center-right policies he’s implementing. He just knows that if he implements the liberal gay Communist atheist Muslim policies that he really wants to, he’ll never get re-elected. But just wait–if he manages to trick the American people into voting for him and steals the 2012 election, he’ll shift into high gear towards making America into a smoking ruin by 2016. Mark my words!

  9. Doug Little says

    Scott @9

    Don’t you get it, Improbable Joe? Obama hates all of these center-right policies he’s implementing. He just knows that if he implements the liberal gay Communist atheist Muslim policies that he really wants to, he’ll never get re-elected

    And that brings up a very good point about the right, and another facet of projection on their part which is that they place reelection above all else when it comes to what the goal of the POTUS is.

  10. John Hinkle says

    Pipes reminds of Vizzini…

    Obama: All right. When will I destroy America? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide whether I’ll destroy America in my first term, or my second term.

    Pipes: But it’s so simple. You’re a leftist president, the most powerful leftist in the world, so clearly you should be planning to destroy America in your first term. But only a fool would do so and wreck his chances of re-election, so clearly you should be planning to destroy America in your second term.

    Obama: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

    Pipes: Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?

    Obama: Destroying America in my second term.

    Pipes: Yes, second term. You’ve also studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so clearly you must destroy America in your first term.

    Obama: You’re trying to trick me into giving away something. It won’t work.

    Pipes: IT HAS WORKED! YOU’VE GIVEN EVERYTHING AWAY! I KNOW WHEN YOU’LL DESTROY AMERICA!

    Obama: Then make your choice.

    Pipes: I will, and I choose… that it’s logically irreconcilable! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

  11. fastlane says

    John Winkle wins a sniny new internets for the day!

    Ed, I think for there to be cognitive dissonance, there has to be, you know, cognition.

    A necessary, but (clearly) not sufficient requirement.

  12. says

    Come on now, this is the same Daniel Pipes who advocated for the rounding up and interning of Muslims in the United States after 9/11. He’s a goddamned crackpot, and nobody should take his seriously.

  13. kermit. says

    YankeeCynic: He’s a goddamned crackpot, and nobody should take his seriously.

    Like Bachman? Palin? Newt, Cain, Paul? Rick “Yeehaw” Perry? Dubya?

    We have to take them seriously because they take them seriously.

  14. says

    On the other hand, this is why these idiots are kicking our asses up and down the curb. The fight dirty, they fight with lies and what appears to be some sort of paranoid delusional mental illness, but they fight to win. It doesn’t matter if Kerry was a milquetoast nothing, he was THE MOST EXTREME LIBERAL EVER when he ran against Bush. When Hillary was the frontrunner last time around, she became THE MOST EXTREME LIBERAL EVER. When Obama took the lead, he became TMELE/. Now that he’s TMELE-in-Chief, everything he does is proof of that position. If it isn’t extremely right-wing, it is leftist. If he does nothing, it is part of an evil plot to get reelected and THEN do it. If he does something truly liberal… well, we’ll see what happens if he ever does something like that.

  15. says

    Shorter Daniel Pipes:

    “The fact that the Kenyan Usurper has failed to act like the America-hating leftist I know him to be proves that he is a deeply conflicted individual.”

  16. dan4 says

    @13: “Come on now, this is the same Daniel Pipes who advocated for the rounding up and interning of Muslims in the United States after 9/11.”

    Citation needed.

  17. pacal says

    Pipe’s claim:

    On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.

    First I regard considering Obama a “Leftist” a very funny joke. Secondly the statement that Obama despises America. Just how does Mr. Pipes know this?

    Finally the statement quoted above is a bold-faced series of lies. Mr. Pipe’s is deliberately and cooly telling lies. So the question must be asked “Mr. Pipe’s why are you lying?”, “Why are you such a liar?”

  18. pacal says

    Damn forgot the quotes around:

    “On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.”

  19. dingojack says

    Doug Little (#10) – “… they place the goal of getting reelected as the most important of the US President’s objectives.”* [/pedamt]
    Dingo
    —-
    * ‘Prepostions are things one should never end a sentence with’

  20. laurentweppe says

    The National Review Online hosts an exercise in how to avoid cognitive dissonance by Daniel Pipes

    The day Daniel Pipes genuinly tries to avoid cognitive dissonance will be the day reality itself suffers a universe wide blue screen of death.

    On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world.

    Aaaaaaah, the old “you cannot be patriotic if you’re on the left” canard: as expected, the apocalypse will not happen today.

    ***

    Daniel Pipes reaches olympic levels of self-deception with that one.

    Or he may merely be using the classic but efficient “They will not realize how much a bastard I am so long as they keep on believing that I believe my own shitty rhetoric” gambit.

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