Cognitive dissonance warfare is one weapon of choice. It isn’t just UKIP and the Tories that use this method, I’ve seen the SNP, Green Party and other fringe groups claiming to be “on the left” use the same strategy, often.
We are subjected to an overwhelming barrage of contradictory, often vicious lies, smears and ferocious mudslinging – negative campaigning in the media. It’s like being trapped in a hall of mirrors with Beelzebub, a few of hells’ myrmidons and your best friends, all in fancy dress.
A good approach is to look for consistency and coherence in narratives, as well as evidence to support and refute the claims being made. And it’s increasingly important to examine the scope of what those narratives accomodate – how comprehensive they are, how much they connect up, how much they make sense.
If a person believes, for example, that they are not racist, but then they discriminate against someone on the basis of race, they are then faced with the discomfort of acknowledging that they are racist after all. In an attempt to escape this discomfort, they may seek to rationalise (explain away) their behaviour on some other grounds, which may be spurious, but which allow them to hold on to their otherwise discredited belief.
Many Ukip supporters, for example, say something like: “I’m not racist though, my brother-in-law/ friend/ uncle’s wife is actually Indian/Chinese/African” and so forth.
Another example is the “allthesame” myth. When you present people with evidence that refutes what was originally a Tory propaganda soundbite, rather than acknowledging that verifiable evidence, some people choose to start a hate campaign aimed at trying to attribute all kinds of bizarre “motives” to the person simply telling a truth.
Look at where we are: we have Tory small minds attempting to justify the Tory notion of a small state. But small states reduce us all. Small states disconnnect us from others, sever any sense of social responsibility and obligation we have towards others.
Iain Duncan Smith’s “magical elitism” thinking – he’s just knows he’s right – is another indication that we don’t have a democratic government that is willing to engage in dialogue: we have an authoritarian one that is interested only in imposing its own incoherent monologue on the masses.
Cognitive dissonance theory is being used as a means of thought micro-management to ensure that we don’t move and progress.
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