Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cognitive dissonance

I'm convinced that at this point, supporting President Bush and his war is becoming increasingly painful for those in the Bush Frat. (I used to call it the Bush Cult, but I've downgraded it, mainly because I think it's a more accurate description of the phenomenon.) Psychic pain, I mean. They might want to jump ship, but they've put so much energy and time into supporting this guy that the more things go south, the more motivation they have to hang on. If they jump, that means they have to admit that their whole worldview was a mistake in the first place.

That's why fraternities put pledges through so much hell. Because psychologically, these young men think, hey, if I put up with all this in order to become a member of this group, I'm going to value that membership above all else. No criticism of my frat will be allowed. I will never betray my frat brothers. If being a part of this group is meaningless, then I ate all those goldfish and wrestled naked in the quad for no reason. And no one wants to admit that.

As the great Robert Cialdini, author of "Influence," said:
Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. We simply convince ourselves that we have made the right choice and, no doubt, feel better about our decision. It is, quite simply, our desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done.
Bush Frat Brothers have been through a lot - Plame, Katrina, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, no WMDs, Halliburton, Iraq, port security, and on and on and on. They sure as hell can't back out now.

No comments: