Where Is the Left's Cognitive Dissonance?
Merriam-Webster defines cognitive dissonance as "psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous beliefs and attitudes (as a fondness for smoking and a belief that it is harmful)." Given all the hypocritical stances taken by liberals these days, one might expect to see them quivering uncontrollably with dissonance-related tremors, or at least losing a lot of sleep. But I can't say I've seen any signs that liberals are very troubled.
A few examples of their contradictory positions will serve to make my point.
In the March 6 edition of The Wall Street Journal, "above the fold" on page A8 was a story entitled "Iraqis Tell of Brutal Islamic State Tactics." The article is illustrated with a picture of a terrified Iraqi man carrying his daughter while running down a war-scarred street in his stockinged feet in Mosul. It is the sort of image that won photojournalists Pulitzer Prizes during the Vietnam War.
The story goes on to describe the atrocities perpetrated on the residents of Mosul by their Islamic State occupiers. ISIS members planted a bomb outside one 76-year-old man's doorway, in hopes of blowing up Iraqi troops as they advanced into the city – only the bomb blew up the elderly man's wife instead, when she tripped it going to milk the family cow. They park explosives-laden cars near civilians' homes to deter air strikes. Lately, ISIS has taken to using chemical weapons and drone-dropped bombs on civilians. These are the tactics employed by fanatical adherents to Islam against their co-religionists.
Now, immediately beneath that article is one entitled "Same-Sex Parents in Italy Are Left in a Legal Limbo." That story is accompanied by a photo of two lesbian women with several children in tow being congratulated by former mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino. The two women were beneficiaries of a ruling by an Italian court to allow each to adopt the other's offspring. The article goes on to describe the "confusion" these days in the once deeply Catholic, tradition-bound land of historic monasteries and papacies from the disparate rulings of judges regarding the adoption of children by same-sex couples. All of this, we are told, is a result of legislation that was rushed to enactment in 2016 to pave the way for civil unions. The law left out provisions for the custody of children in such unions so as not to create polarization.
My point here is not to consider the merits of same-sex unions, or even the merits of a blood-soaked, seemingly psychotic seventh-century totalitarian ideology claiming to be a religion.
Rather, the stories illustrate two worldviews pretty much as oppositional as they could be. After all, we can easily envision what those Islamists using drones to drop hand grenades willy-nilly on non-combatant fellow Muslims in Mosul would do to those two Italian women celebrating their newly acquired rights to claim parentage of each other's children. Islam is pretty clear on its view of homosexuality, and the people running ISIS send videos of their atrocities against gays across the internet to make sure we all get their point.
Yet Europeans of the left, Italians among them, have been the primary driver in welcoming refugees from lands dominated by the "Religion of Peace" to their shores.
According to a report by Pew Research, Italy was set to surpass Greece in late 2016 as "Europe's new focal point for refugee flows." Eighty-five percent of the refugees who arrived in Italy last year, the story continues, were from African countries "such as Nigeria, Eritrea and Sudan." Those would be predominantly Muslim countries. Italy accepted over 170,000 such refugees last year.
One might think those of the leftish bent who simultaneously pushed for Italy to become, as the Journal noted, "one of the last [countries] in Europe to approve civil unions for gay couples" might be a little squeamish about welcoming onto the Boot hordes of folks whose core belief system calls for the slaughter of homosexuals. As the estimable Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid helpfully explains at his handy Islam Question and Answer website, Islamic scholars disagree a bit on the exact manner of disposing of LGBT community members, but the options can include stoning, throwing from a high place, and burning with fire. (There is nothing quite like academics quibbling over execution methodology to raise the hair on the back of your neck.) Regardless of manner, the end result is the same. Or, as Shaykh al-Munajjid writes: "The Sahaabah [i.e., companions of Prophet Muhammad] were unanimously agreed on the execution of homosexuals, but they differed as to how they were to be executed."
This sort of liberal hypocrisy manifests itself in other ways as well. To take Merriam-Webster's example a step farther, leftists in the United States have been pushing everywhere and anywhere to legalize marijuana use. Yet I seem to recall in the not too distant past that leftists were trying with convert-like zeal to destroy the tobacco industry for profiting from its evil cancer-producing "nicotine delivery systems." They waged a war on the tobacconists that would have made Genghis Khan proud. Yet now they say, "Smoke away on those doobies." What happened to all their moral preening? While I don't recall much from DEA intelligence school a couple decades ago, I do distinctly remember that the chemicals in marijuana are far more carcinogenic and lethal than those in tobacco.
Then there is the issue of waterboarding. Leftists in the U.S. and around the world caterwauled endlessly during the Bush administration about the "torture" it inflicted on precisely three members of the aforementioned Religion of Peace crowd. At least these jihadis survived their treatment at the hands of America's defenders. That can't be said of those thousands President Obama blasted to smithereens with drone and other air strikes. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, President Obama ordered ten times as many such strikes as did President Bush. Now, I'm not judging Mr. Obama's decisions in this regard. I only mention it to point out that so many of those Democrats who decried President Bush's "torture" of a few jihadis with a water spritz up the nose were quiet as mice when their man sent many more of the same bad guys (and not a small number of civilian bystanders) to Paradise on the Hellfire Express.
So where are the signs of liberals' cognitive dissonance? I'm not sure, but I think the same psychological processes that produce this condition may explain why liberals in my experience have always lacked a sense of irony. Both require a basic lack of self-awareness. I am not a doctor and don't play one on TV or elsewhere, but maybe a real one would find it worthy of a serious academic study.
William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for over 30 years. Presently he is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. (The views expressed are the author's alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)