Diagnosis of philosophical disease
Cognitive dissonance describes the discomfort caused by holding contradictory ideas. Symptoms range from nausea, schizoid anti-social behavior, isolation, disorientation, denial, accusing others, sex crimes, murder/suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, to immersion in cults, and criminal alliances.
Cognitive dissonance ranges from the philosophical-- for instance, the Supreme Court's verdict that "..counting votes could be unfair to George W. Bush.."; the conflict between "inalienable rights" and prohibition; the apparent contradiction between Christianity and military invasion-- to the moral-- trusted religious leaders sexually assaulting children,
Senators concealing their sexual orientation to engage in indiscriminate trysts with complete strangers, institutions of government engaging in illegal drug smuggling, theft, mass murder, fraud, the trade in sexual slaves; from governments to religious institutions to political parties to corporations and financial officers.
One of the tenets of the agreement we have all subscribed to, the Constitution, is that we have "inalienable rights". These can be described as innate qualities that enable each of us to make independent decisions and actions concerning our own lives. Actions like crimes that harm others or their property may and do too often happen. But these are dealt with
after the fact. We may violate others' rights, but in a free society we have the freedom to commit crimes, even while knowing justice may be swift and sure.
However, inalienable rights means that without harming others or their property we may do whatever we think is best for each of us.
In conflict with our rights are prohibitions that are enforceable only by accident of police discretion. It may be illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, but the police will enforce only when we create a problem for others. Many offenses are enforced only when we are caught.
A person may self-medicate without a prescription, a person may use banned substances, a person may engage in all sorts of behavior surreptitiously that, if known, would be grounds
for prosecution. Drink and drive-- don't get caught. These transgressions are possible because in a free society that admits the reality of inalienable rights, legal authorities must recognize the inalienable right of independent decision making, even if there are bad decisions among the many.
This creates cognitive dissonance. How could there be prohibition in a jurisprudence of inalienable rights?
If one believes in the doctrine of inalienable rights, prohibition is a joke. Billion-dollar border walls are vulnerable to ladders, tunnels and doors. Customs are vulnerable to smugglers. Prohibitions are subject to millions of individual decisions supported by inalienable rights to co-operate or not. Victimless crimes may escape prosecution altogether.
The Republican Party, whose name derives from latin for "a public matter"-- influence of the public over government, fights to eliminate, limit and disqualify the votes of the public.
Governments may spend billions on prohibition, but because people have inalienable rights, it will never succeed.
Religions may proclaim altruistic laws but by supporting war, they disqualify themselves. Cognitive dissonance.
Corporations may advertise they are cleaning the environment, but their product creates pollution. Christians may proclaim Jesus' call to love thine enemy on Sunday, but on Monday they minister to soldiers who are sworn (itself a "sin") to kill, not love, their enemies.
It appears we are driving slowly out of the fog of cognitive dissonance. Yet their are still many who see contradictions between preserving our environment and taking its resources for profit. "Clean coal "is evidently worth dumping mountaintops into stream beds. Profit is worth extinctions. Profit is worth poisonings. Coal-burning power plants can release mercury into the atmosphere even knowing the cost in psychotic episodes, kidnapping and murdering children, murder/suicides, "going postal", families killed by complete strangers or each other, increased incidence of autism, diabetes, alzheimer's, psychosis by chemical neuropathies-- the utter breakdown of the social contract and respect for "inalienable rights".
Humanity has been drowning in cognitive dissonance-- but we are coming up for air.
love holds the stars in their courses-- Maya Angelou