Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cognitive Dissonance in American Politics

So, naturally after making a post about writing, I then don't post on my blog for a couple of months. I've been pretty busy lately, lots of things in life developing all at once, but that's not what I am going to talk about today. I've been thinking a lot lately about American politics, and the significant cognitive dissonance that exists within our major parties. One of the easiest ways to spot these issues is to look at the difference between the actions of politicians, and their platforms. Do their actions jive with what they tell us? If their actions across the board, are they just stupid, or is there some other agenda at play? What might that agenda be? The last question is almost impossible to answer and where conspiracy theories come from. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that conspiracies exist. Is that cognitive dissonance on my part? I don't think so (obviously). Most conspiracy theories are pretty out there, and have no basis in fact. But just because the conspiracy theorists aren't right in their specifics, doesn't mean they are wrong about the existence of conspiracies. So, lets look at some of the dissonance. I am going to start with national security in this post. This will be a series because to address all the cognitive dissonance in American Politics is beyond the scope of a single blog post.

National Security Dissonances

Lets look at some of the actions of our government, and think about their reasoning for these actions.

The NSA catalogs all phone calls within the United States. They tell us that they do not listen to these calls, just record who calls whom. I will take them at their word for the purpose of this article. So they catalog all incoming and outgoing calls made through the major telecom companies. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been accused of treason in the media, and by certain opportunistic politicians that obviously never read the definition of treason, the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution of the United States because it was a favorite accusation of the sort of despotic tyrannies they were fighting against. More moderate figures have accused him of espionage, an accusation for which there is no merit, especially considering the definition of espionage in the law, which I will not spell out here. If you really care, look it up for yourself. I'm not a professor or reporter here purporting to spoon feed you all information. You are responsible for educating yourself. Regardless, the NSA and the United States Government has come down on Snowden for endangering human lives, putting our troops at risk, and compromising national security.

The TSA currently primarily operates at airports, though there has been talk of expanding the operations of the agency to bus stations, random checks on the highway and on the streets in major cities. In airports they scan our bodies to make sure we aren't carrying weapons. They pat down people (supposedly at random) that seem suspicious, and if you don't want to expose your body to low amounts of radiation, you are subjected to a much more invasive pat down.

New York City practices a procedure known as Stop and Frisk. Police officers stop people on the street that look suspicious (such as, a black person wearing a hoodie, which is super suspicious) and frisk them, search their bodies. This is a direct violation of the Constitution's protection against unwarranted searches and seizures.

Why do we do these things? Well, terrorism for one, we are told. We are trying to stop the crazy terrorists from terrorizing people. These terrorists may blow people up and in order to keep our citizens safe, we must invade their privacy, and pervert the protections of the Constitution because we are so concerned about the safety of our citizens. Never mind the warnings of our founders stating that those willing to give up freedom for security will receive neither and deserve neither. We want everybody to feel safe. Stop and frisk isn't intended so much to thwart terrorism as it is to "keep people safe" you know, except the innocent people whose daily life is interrupted by thug cops looking for any excuse to arrest them, even going so far as brutal treatment designed to get the person in question to resist even a little bit so they can take them in and pad their records.

Now lets look at other actions taken by the government that are dissonant with their reasoning for invading our privacy, and treating us like criminals.

The first thing that comes to mind is the situation in Syria. It has recently been discovered that the CIA and U.S. Special Forces have been providing the Syrian rebels with training. Now we are also going to begin supplying these rebels with sophisticated and powerful weaponry. Who are these rebels? Well, most of them are Muslim. A good portion (granted not all) of these rebels are Al Qaeda, or directly supported by that terrorist organization that has sworn to bring about our destruction. Even if not all the rebels we arm are terrorists, we will still arm all the terrorist rebels.

These rebels have shown their radicalism by summarily displacing, raping, torturing, and executing large numbers of Christians. I can give you a video of one of the rebel groups beheading an Eastern Orthodox Bishop. I don't post it here because it is profoundly disturbing but if you ask me for it, I will send it to you.

These are the people we are arming. They have sworn to destroy the infidel (read anybody that disagrees with them). This isn't limited to Christians. They will kill Atheists, Jews, Bhuddists, Homosexuals, Immodest Women, and anybody else that disagrees with them just as quickly as a Christian bishop.

So the U.S. government claims that Snowden has put American lives at risk, while they put weapons in the hands of people that have declared us enemies and will kill our soldiers, and civilians just as Al Qaeda did (remember, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were contingents we armed to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, and here we are doing this all over again). The TSA, NSA, and various police departments and federal agencies treat American citizens like criminals in the name of national security while arming our enemies in the name of humanitarianism. If that's not cognitive dissonance, I don't know what is.

So the question I pose is, if the government isn't concerned enough about national security to abstain from arming terrorist organizations that have sworn to destroy our country, then what is their real reason for the erosion of our privacy, and their treatment of U.S. citizens as enemies? I don't know what the agenda is, but it seems like it's probably not benign.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Adam. This context certainly raises some interesting questions regarding the NSA. It is all quite enigmatic for me.