Monday, April 02, 2007

Beyond Cognitive Dissonance

Rarely, I'll argue something beyond my own belief in it. Semantics and filtering can be useful for those who don't like to lose arguments. But there comes that moment, if you're basically honest, when you smile and concede the point, particularly when presented with a mountain of evidence whose valleys echo with the piercing cries of "bullshit."

Glenn Greenwald caught Cliff May of National Review going way past simple poor forensic sportsmanship.
Just think about that: the lesson which right-wing, Bush-following war supporters drew from the mountain of empirical evidence in this post, as well as from this entire day-long exchange with Cliff May (to say nothing of the November, 2006 election), is that Americans support the War in Iraq and do not want to withdraw the troops. That is beyond jarring.
And it's beyond cognitive dissonance. It's on purpose. At this point it has to be because now is when May should smile and admit he was wrong. But that won't happen easily, as Greenwald points out,
Independently, the right-wing movement in this country has used as its principal rhetorical tactic over the last two decades the claim that they represent the "normal, mainstream Americans," while liberals are the subversive freaks on the coasts, hopelessly out of touch with mainstream American values. Hence, few things are more damaging to their political brand than for it to be acknowledged that on the most critical political issue of the decade -- Iraq -- they are about as isolated and fringe as a political movement can be. That is why they will deny whatever facts one presents, no matter how clear and compelling, which demonstrate just how repudiated their views are by the "normal, nonideological Americans" (h/t David Brooks).
This is the equivalent of an ideological life and death struggle, and Cliff May and his cohort must be feeling like the impala that jumped in the lake of the Okavango to escape the wild dogs on Planet Earth. It's going to be ripped apart by dogs or drowned in the lake. Either way, it will soon cease to exist (except the dogs on Planet Earth were called away when the rest of their pack killed a different impala, a circumstance often prayed for by dishonest bloggers, journalists and pundits, as well).

It's an ideological disembowelment. But it's a necessary culling, one that could actually strengthen the conservative herd. [/extended metaphor]

So, really, what's something as ephemeral as a little public humiliation and shaming when compared to the destruction of the very foundation on which one has based an entire life's endeavor? Bringing down the Cliff Mays of the commentary veldt is going to be more like taking down a cape buffalo. [/damned persistent extended metaphor]

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