The Calm Before the Storm, Episode LVIII: For newer readers (great timing, gang; be sure to sign up for the newsletter), or if you just need a refresher, Festinger’s book When Prophecy Fails was a study of a UFO cult which predicted the end of the world on a very specific date… in 1953. Festinger was on hand to see what happened to the cult when the world didn’t end, and he discovered a very important psychological principle. He called it “cognitive dissonance,” but since that term has taken on a life of its own, we’ll swipe one from Internet and call it a “retcon.”
For those with even a moderate level of commitment to the cult (and I’ll leave it to you to speculate what moderate commitment to a cult might be; Festinger’s work is not without its critics), disconfirmation of the cult’s central belief led, astoundingly, to an even greater commitment to the cult. “The world will end on X date” was immediately retconned into “the world didn’t end on X date because of our righteousness.”
You know you’re really onto something when it seems head-slappingly obvious in retrospect. Yeah, of course they did that. Everybody does that to a degree. You expect something isn’t going to work out, then it does work out — it must be because you’re special, right? It’s another way of assigning yourself agency in a world where you’re basically powerless over the big stuff. Humans are wired to believe they have agency, that things happen for a reason. It sounds like I’m giving Festinger at best a backhanded compliment, but I’m very seriously singing his praises — “everybody knows” this stuff, but no one had isolated and described it before. That’s a major achievement — if I could have the equivalent of “discovered cognitive dissonance” on my tombstone, I’d die an ecstatically happy man.
Nor can Festinger be blamed for not taking the seemingly-obvious step and applying his insight to politics. I know nothing of the man, personally, but given that his professional discipline was Soash I assume he was a hardcore Leftist, since you’ve got a better chance of seeing a yeti than a conservative in the “soft sciences.” Fish don’t notice water, so something like Gramsci’s theory of “hegemony” — which, to an outsider, appears to be nothing but a massive UFO cult-style retcon — just seemed right to him. But we’re not Festinger, so we can take the leap. We’ve had a spectacular example just recently, and we’re about to have another.
The just-passed one involved the CivNats, and for the sake of everyone’s slim remaining dignity, let’s pass it by quickly: Their reaction to the obvious theft of the 2020 election was, of course, a vow to vote even harder next time. The just-upcoming one involves, for the umpteenth time, the “Storm.”
The Q and Vox Day crowds have stated explicitly that shit’s going down today. Tomorrow at latest. All those National Guard troops in DC to install the Great Pretender, this theory goes, are really Trump’s coup forces. So when that doesn’t happen, you’ll be able to watch a giant Festinger-style retcon happening in real time. It’ll be a hoot, but more importantly, it’ll confirm for you, like nothing else can, that there are people too far in to ever get out. If you’ve ever wondered why folks got willingly into the boxcars, or went to the Lubyanka’s back room shouting “Wait until Comrade Stalin hears of this!”, here’s your chance to see it firsthand. It’ll all boil down to Teh Jooooos!!!, of course, or it’s really just another “op” for the really really really long game the “God Emperor” is playing, or both.
Without You, There Is No Us. Reader Frip, on Leftists:
Liberals are rapists. They’re not ok with just jerking off to their bizarre fantasies. They’ve got to seek you out and stick it in. YOU are everything.
I don’t think there’s anyone to the Right of Mao who hasn’t thought, at some point, that secession is the answer. Leftists claim they’re the science people, the “reality-based community” (remember that one?), that “the facts have a Liberal bias” (another hoary old favorite), and so forth. Well, ok then, why don’t you just GO? Go live your lives in your perfect, factual, scientific utopia, and leave all us benighted deplorables here to rot. Obviously we can’t be saved, since if we were smart enough to understand the “facts” we’d be Liberals…
…but we can’t understand them, and yet here you are, arguing with us anyway. I call it the Fundamental Paradox of Internet Liberalism, and it’s a key to Leftist psychology. It’s not enough for them, to actually BE smart. It’s not the factuality of the facts that is important to them, it’s the “Liberal bias” part — that is, they have to make sure that WE know the “facts” support them. When Leftists claim that everything is a social construction, they really mean it. For the Leftist, if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound, because “hearing” requires ears and only people have those.
The psychology of this is above my pay grade, but Frip’s phrasing reminded me of a great illustration of the principle — a book called Without You, There Is No Us, by Suki Kim. It’s one of the most meta things I’ve ever read; the irony nearly made my toes rust. Her title is supposedly taken from a song North Korean children are required to sing to Dear Leader, but Mx. Kim is so solipsistic that it’s really all about HER. It was published in 2015, and if you really want to get inside the head of the Basic College Girl, I can think of no better reading. One small example: she’s a teacher at a school for the sons of the Nork elite. She knows — she writes, several times — that their names appearing in her book might well get those kids and their parents killed. Which is sad, of course, but the important thing is how very very very sexy they all found Mx. Suki Kim.
Jeez, now I have to go put that on the suggested reading list over at the other site. Please don’t pay for it, but please DO go read it. That’s what we’re dealing with, y’all. That’s the mental world of our Rulers.Loading Likes...