Artikel-Schlagworte: „Kognitive Dissonanz“

Cognitive Dissonance and Political Correctness

by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage

[Original title: „Kognitive Dissonanz und Political Correctness“,, april 19, 2011]


The most striking feature of the socially dominant leftist ideology is the glaring discrepancy between its doctrines and visible reality:

It is obviously true that intelligence is heritable, that Islam is anything but a religion of peace, that men and women are by nature different, that western nations owe their wealth above all their own creativity and intelligence (and not „exploitation of the Third world“), that multiethnic societies bring about ethnic conflicts, that normal families are more stable than patchwork families, etc., and everyone – if honest – knows it is true. And yet all these assertions are marked as „evil.“ „Good“ is just the opposite of all this, i.e. the bare nonsense.

How is it possible that a system of thought of such a surreal remoteness from reality whose absurdity even a fool can see through does not collapse under the weight of its own ridiculousness?

This has to do mainly with the fact that it does not operate with the distinction of true and false, but of good and evil. Nobody even claims that one of the above statements is untrue, but everyone is taught that they are evil:

That’s what we learn in kindergartens and schools, from newspapers and TV, in the diversity campaigns of our employers, in the gender-studies courses in universities, from European Union directives and resolutions of the UN; that’s what we are taught by pop stars and athletes, and what we are told from church pulpits and read on propaganda posters (which are in Berlin almost as ubiquitous as they were in the eastern part of the city before 1989). Not even in the football stadium we are spared – there is simply no propaganda-free zone in our life.

Spoken in Freudian terms, the superego is ideologically manipulated to internalize the affirmation of certain dogmatic assertions of fact as a moral norm, and thus even as a part of one’s own self-description, because of course nobody would like to describe himself as evil.

At the same time each person is confronted daily with information that contradicts this dogma, and is even forced to act accordingly (e.g. by avoiding to confront noisy yobs with immigrant backgrounds in public transport, even though there would be no reason to do so if the dogmas of Political correctness were correct in an empirical sense).

The manipulated citizen is living in a state of permanent doublethink. At a certain level of his consciousness he knows things which he must not admit at another level. He is living in a state of cognitive dissonance; to reduce this dissonance he has to struggle against one of the two components of his worldview, either against the learned and internalized or against the actually perceived.

To the ruling ideology, this cognitive dissonance means a latent danger: The citizen will be persuaded not to trust his eyes and to prefer to adhere to political correctness only as long as the PC social monopoly of morality is not challenged. The more gets around that you are by no means an „evil“ person when rejecting the leftist doctrines and defend an alternative description of reality, the greater – from the perspective of the ideologues – the risk that the cognitive dissonance will be dissolved to the other side: i.e. that the dogmas are thrown overboard in favor of one’s own perceptions rather than vice versa. This is the reason why alternative, particularly rightist descriptions of social reality must not be effectively articulated. They are noticed only in the distorted form in which they are portrayed by their opponents, who do anything to stamp them „evil“. The stronger the tension between visible reality and the leftist dogma system, the more grimly the monopoly has to be defended. The militant intolerance we encounter every day is an expression of weakness, not strength of our opponents.

As long, however, as this tension does not lead to an overall breakdown of political correctness, its absurdity, from the standpoint of the ideologues, is quite functional:

It forces people to fight against their own better insight. Yet sometimes this insight gives vent to itself: At the latest after the third beer when they are alone and believe no one is listening to them, even liberal high school teachers complain about the „fucking wogs, don’t get anything“, and in a small circle a green top politician says she would „like to throw a bomb at Neukölln“. (Both quotes were reported by trustworthy sources.) Such breakthroughs of reality, however, do not lead to a change of attitude, but (because of the bad conscience about the fact that such realities at all perceived), to increased penitential exercises (at the expense of third parties), and therefore a intensifying of the „fight against the Right“. The hysterical fanaticism with which the remote-controlled gooder fights „against the Right“ is psychologically easily to decode as a fight against the own challenge by reality. In the „Right“ they fight what they fear within themselves.

On the other hand, it is just the absurdity of leftist ideology that allows a clear distinction between friend and foe: Since it is not based on arguments, but at a priori set moral claims, it cannot be discussed. You can submit to it or not. Whoever affirms the ideology has to make this affirmation known through appropriate behavior: gender-neutral language, distancing oneself from the „Right“, i.e. any people and opinions labeled as evil, avoiding words that are on the index, such as „Negro“, using ideological vocabulary. Such submission rituals are the equivalent of the Gesslerhut or the Hitler salute or the Islamic headscarf requirement: They differentiate the subjecting from the nonconformist and expose the latter to the firing.

And finally, it is just the ideology’s remoteness from reality that allows its use as a means of manipulation:

Since facts do not matter, and the ideological description of reality cannot be challenged with reference to facts, there is no standard for individual judgments. People who have been conditioned to confuse true/false with good/evil, are literally unable to make use their own reason.

The puzzled citizen thus depends on the changing provisional patterns of explanation offered by various „authorities“ – media, politicians, scientists. He grabs these patterns of explanation, even considers them to be his own, because otherwise the world that he believes to know would slip away. He is in the situation in of a lost wanderer, being offered a (wrong) map. Even if the map seems odd, he will suppress his doubts, because the mere existence of the map gives him a false sense of „safety“ he would lose once he soberly and clearly states that it shows a completely different area than the one where he actually is. The human mind is constructed to accept any interpretation pattern, and be it absurd, rather than none.

He will, for example, rather believe that a terrorist assault commited by a man shouting „Allahu Akbar“ has nothing to do with Islam (and has therefore to be attributed to poverty, mental illness, discrimination, special local tribal customs in the Thingamabob desert, or whatever ad-hoc explanation the media currently offer), rather than to accept the „evil“-stamped statement that Islam is possibly a jihad system.

But do not forget: As much as this helps cement leftist ideology, it is, at the same time, its Achilles heel. This Achilles‘ heel is what we have to target at.