Curmudgeonly Monday – Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is very grumpificating to me. It means my brain muscles are being forced to turn the gears and I may have to admit that I have more thinking to do about something. This happened to me tonight.

Before I explain that, I want to say that I have not changed my mind about what I said yesterday in regards to being good citizens. But, after reading the (wretchedly misnamed) Dumbest Blogger’s thoughts about our current situation in his piece called The Burden of Proof I realized that there is something else for me to say. He said it really well, but I feel a need to say more about it because I am an American.

In The United States of America, we are a country of laws. It was founded by people who wanted to get away from oppression and tyranny. The kind of people who came here before it was a country and then started a new country had to be a little bit nuts. Leaving your homeland and family for an unknown and hostile wilderness takes a certain kind of person. Same with the later era we call the Westward Expansion. Even men like my Great-Grandfather, who was in the German army but hated the Kaiser so much that he took his life in his hands and booked passage on a sailing ship to the United States as a legal immigrant. The British colonists complaining to a king was unheard of. After sending a letter to the king declaring that men had a right to be free and govern themselves by their own laws, they fought a bloody war (two if you count the War of 1812), and figured out a unique system of government. If you read the conversation I had with my friend, Tony Laplume, in the comments section of the Tag-Me-Tuesday of the 14th there was something he said that kind of stuck with me as well. His statement was, “I think it’s a fool-proof system, and again, the proof is exactly in the fools who have inhabited it.”

I think it works, too. Our Constitution is built on a series of checks and balances and the flexibility of it to be amended in some cases. As soon as it was ratified, James Madison began drafting a Bill of Rights, a set of amendments, that passed the following year. I quoted the first one yesterday, but it bears repeating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” What this boils down to is that as this thing draws down to a close, people need to start asking a lot of questions. There is already much unrest in a lot of places here as people in this country, who are used to coming and going as they well please and doing what they like, are getting sick of it and forming protests and already asking questions.

I’m not one of the protesters. I think all of these precautions probably have saved lives and I believe I need to “fear God and honor the king.” That’s my choice and what I plan to stick with. That does not mean I can’t or shouldn’t ever question the government; city, state or federal, about it and what they are going to do about fixing the mess they’ve created. It was nice of them to loan us some of our tax money back, but it is our money. How are we going to pay for all this? I can only address this country, but it’s got to be the same in all the free nations. I was told that, “They can just print more, they’re the government.” It was not a ten-year-old who told me that, either.

My cognitive dissonance comes from the fact that while I want to do my best to be a good citizen and keep others and myself from getting sick, I also want to question it, too. Thanks, Dumbest, for inspiring this post.

6 Comments

  1. It’s absolutely possible to go along with this and question it at the same time. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. On the one hand you have to address the seriousness of the situation. On the other you have to at least be able to question whether the measures we took, in full, were warranted. It does no one any good to say it can’t be questioned. But in effect we’ve been told exactly that, and the flimsy justification is that people will do stupid things if we don’t have these measures. Well, people will do stupid things anyway. Stupidly in inherently stupid. I thought that was self-evident?

  2. I think a lot of people are simply giving up. There’s no energy left to take a stand after you’ve tried to feed your kids. A great reflection Herb.

  3. Well said. Glad to inspire this sort of dissonance. I think you are asking some very good questions.

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