THE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE OF CONSERVATIVES
By Akin Ojumu
Conservatism is a worldview that never caught my fancy. That’s, perhaps, because of my intolerance to BS. There has always been, it seems to me, something insincere and sinister lurking deep at its very core. I philosophically disagree with, and I am diametrically opposed to, a school of thought that holds the view that being poor is karma. To think like conservatives, especially about the rich and poor in the society, that person needs a re-examination of their humanity.
It must take a degree of soullessness to hold on to the belief that people who are less fortunate in the material things of this world brought it upon themselves and, so, deserve it. I simply cannot, for the life of me, explain how anyone who shares such a sentiment manages to sleep well at night – if they sleep at all.
Amongst the many atrocious and detestable attributes that have come to characterize modern-day conservatism, none bothers me more than their deliberate amnesia and cognitive dissonance. It is a vast understatement to say these folks are intellectually dishonest. In the past, at least they tried to project an appearance of sincerity of convictions. Back then, you could reasonably make a case that conservatives actually believed the bile they espoused.
Stuart Stevens said it best. When describing William J, Buckley, one of the heavyweights of conservative think-tank, Stevens wrote, "For all his well-crafted sentences and love of language, Buckley was often a more articulate version of the same deep ugliness and bigotry that is the hallmark of Trumpism.”
Modern-day conservatives have thrown all pretenses out of the window. They no longer care to use fanciful words or deploy dog whistles to cover up their ugliness. These days, their words are crude and crass, and their malevolence is expressed loudly with bullhorns. Conservatives have mastered dissimulation and have perfected duplicity, turning it into an art form.
Take for instance, conservatives’ position on welfare benefits. It's all well and good, and even smart business, when wealthy individuals and blue-chips corporations exploit tax loopholes and use them to their advantage to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on the mountain of wealth they’ve accumulated on the blood, sweat, tears, and bruised backs of their impoverished workers. But when poor people, with little or nothing to show for it in terms of resources, take advantage of government provided welfare programs, such as food stamps and the likes, they are labeled lazy bums and indolent moochers.
Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s White House Counselor, in describing their perpetual confabulations, fabrications, and falsehood, called it “alternative facts.” That’s right. Conservatives have created for themselves a universe of alternative reality, and it’s inside this bilious bubble they’ve found permanent residence. This is why they often sound so patently dreadful and devolved from reality, and it is why they seem so incapable of rational thought.
Taking a page from the playbook of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, modern-day conservatives play up the fear of the “Other.” Their imaginary villains include plague-carrying and criminal-minded illegal immigrants with cantaloupe-sized calves pouring through the Mexico borders in an invasion of their beautiful homelands. Add to that, Antifas, Black Lives Matter Movement, and Middle Eastern Islamic terrorists.
Rank and file ordinary conservatives who feed on the lies from the cesspool of the propaganda-prone rightwing media echo chamber have been brainwashed to believe they are victims in an American society that has become demographically multicultural and heterogenously multi-ethnic. So, they go about enraged, consumed in an incandescent, spittle-flecked fury, and committed to take their country back and make America great again, by whatever means necessary.
Failing to remember history, conservatives are dangerously repeating the errors of ideologues of ancient past. A house built on the fault lines of falsehood will one day sink, and an ideology fed on the steady diet of mendacity is destined to crash and burn. If conservatives don’t repent and reverse course, they are doomed to end up like the Nazis; defeated, disgraced, and disembowelled.