Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cognitive Dissonance Run Rampant

Today in cognitive dissonance:
The front page of "24 Hours Toronto" (a free rag published by Postmedia - a conglomerate that foments support for libertarian, "free-market" economics and white-bigot-right-wing ideology) has the headline:
SHOW US THE MONEY! Wounded soldiers aren't happy PM settled with Khadr while vets fight in court over benefits.
Cognitive dissonance Aspect #1:
The accompanying photo is of two legless men in uniforms. *British* uniforms.
This is the same idiotic super-patriot crap that I unfriend people for passing along. You know, those maudlin photo messages featuring emotional pleas or slogans to 'support our troops' (which completely twisted the original message around 180 degrees from anti-war protest into pro-war jingoism) with pictures of foreign -- usually U.S. -- soldiers.
It's a gross insult to our own vets and our own soldiers. It's ignorant and instantly devalues whatever argument you were about to make right there. 'Support Canadian veterans', but do not even have the good grace to use Canadians in the imagery? Be thankful all I can do is unfriend you, because what I'd LIKE to do is stuff you into a bottle & drop you off the coast of Labrador. Same with these jingoistic war-shills at Postmedia.
Cognitive Dissonance Aspect #2:
It is currently fashionable to falsely contrast the Khadr payout to veterans non-payouts, triggering a sense of gross injustice and unfairness. So who are we upset at? The Liberals and Trudeau!
Why? Well because... it turns out, they are the ones holding the bag. No, I'm not happy about the $10m payout. (If that actually was the amount paid out. Remember we don't actually KNOW that is the amount. It's just the number "someone" leaked to the news media.) But I'm going to put the blame where it belongs.
So who is really at fault? Harper and the Conservatives.
So why isn't everyone who feels this is unfair upset at Harper and the current Conservative caucus, many of whom were part of the government that colluded in the torture of Khadr while he was imprisoned without trial for a crime he was not accused of until years after his imprisonment. The same Conservatives who spent many tens of millions of dollars losing case after case in courts of law and who were on track to lose the $20m lawsuit that the Liberals cut short. The Conservatives who claim to be all about law and order and who not only broke the actual law, but violated their own purported moral values. The Conservatives who changed the laws and rules to strip those wounded and damaged veterans of their financial support, even as they made jingoistic, flag-waving, maudlin gestures like naming part of Highway 401 "the Highway of Heroes" &c. &c. The Conservatives who figured out how to cut a number of service personnel who served in Afghanistan from ALL support by changing the rules and cutting their tours short so they got nothing.
Those Conservatives.
The Conservatives that people who are angry about the Khadr payout like to quote.
Now, Trudeau's Liberals could gain a lot of brownie points by straightening the whole veterans benefits mess out and fixing it, and the fact that they don't is totally on them. But the cognitive dissonance comes from those at fault encouraging criticism of and anger at those not at fault.
Cognitive Dissonance Aspect #3:
We are the good guys because we do good things and therfore everything we do must be good, even if they are bad things, because we are the Good Guys who do good things.
Corollary: It's OK to do bad things to Bad Guys because we are Good Guys and don't really need to live up to our own standards when dealing with people who have very bad behaviour (according to us). And we know they are Bad Guys. Because they do bad things. Or think bad things. So it's OK to treat them badly, we are still the Good Guys.
I'm getting really, really heartily sick of this idiotic tautology that is, I'm sure, part of the cause of so much PTSD in our veterans, who have to deal with the betrayal of their ideals by the same people who enthusiastically put them in harms way.
They (the Taliban) are bad people who follow an arbitrary subset of tenets drawn purportedly from their religion and apply those rules injudiciously and capriciously against everyone who pisses them off.
We are supposed to have a constructed rule of law that applies to all those who are born here and all who become citizens. We have a system of courts and evidentiary rules and what is admissible and why, to avoid injudiciousness and capriciousness, to the extent possible. (We still have a long ways to go. Quite a long ways, actually, but we are getting more refined and better with each passing generation.)
If we are good, then let's act like it, consistently, especially when it's hard. It's what people with honour and integrity do. That means sometimes having to treat contemptible people with more respect than we feel they deserve, and that's a bitter pill, but in the end it's good medicine for the soul.
Or just publicly admit that we are bigoted, religionist racists who love arbitrary vengeance with all the reflexiveness of a pre-teen.

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